Thursday, May 21, 2020

Today is so special as the auspicious Shodashi Puja

 Today is so special as the auspicious Shodashi Puja is celebrated. May Bhagavan Sri Ramakrishna and Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi shower their grace and blessings in abundance on this auspicious day of Shodashi Puja.

A little more than half of the Bengali month of Jaishtha 1280 [mid-May to mid-June 1873] had passed. It was the new moon night, an auspicious occasion for Phalaharini Kali Puja. Thi
s special festival is also observed in the Kali temple of Dakshineswar. The Master made a special arrangement for privately worshipping the Divine Mother as Shodashi* in his room rather than performing it in the temple. At the right side of the worshipper’s seat, a low wooden seat, beautifully painted with rice powder pigment, was placed for the goddess to sit on during worship. The sun had set and the new moon night arrived in a veil of deep darkness. Hriday was performing the worship in the Kali temple that night, so he helped with the preparations for the Master’s worship as much as possible and then left for the temple. After the priest Dinu had finished the evening worship service in the Radha-Govinda temple, he came to help the Master prepare for the worship, and then he left. It was 9:00 in the evening, when the preparations for the mystical worship were complete. The Master had sent a message to Sarada beforehand to be present during the worship, and now she arrived in the Master’s room. The Master sat for worship.

The Master finished the preliminaries and sanctified the articles of worship by repeating the mantras. He then beckoned for Sarada to sit on the decorated wooden seat. While she was watching the worship, Sarada had already entered a semiconscious spiritual state. So without fully knowing what she was doing, she moved like one, who is spellbound, and sat facing north on the right side of the Master, who was seated facing east. According to the scriptural injunctions, he repeatedly sprinkled sanctified water on her from the pitcher placed in front of him. He then uttered mantras and invoked the deity with the following prayer:

“0 Divine Mother Tripura-sundari! 0 Eternal Virgin, possessor of all power! Please open the gate of perfection. Purify her body and mind, and manifest Yourself through her for the welfare of all”.

He then performed the ceremony of nyasas** in accordance with the injunction of the scriptures, and worshipped Sarada with sixteen items as a veritable manifestation of the Devi. After offering food, he took some of it and put it in her mouth. Sarada lost outer consciousness and went into Samadhi. While uttering mantras in a semiconscious state, the Master also went into deep Samadhi. Thus, the worshipper and the worshipped became fully united and unified in the Atman, the Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute.

Some time passed in this way. It was long after midnight, when the Master gradually regained partial consciousness of the world. In that semiconscious state he offered himself to the Devi manifest in the person of Sarada, and then forever surrendered at her feet himself, the result of his sadhana, his rosary, and everything else. He then bowed down to her with this prayer:

“0 Consort of Shiva, the most auspicious of all auspicious beings! O Doer of all actions! 0 Refuge of all! 0 three-eyed goddess of golden complexion! 0 Power of Narayana, I salute You again and again”.

The worship was completed. The Master’s sadhana culminated in this worship of the Divine Mother in the body of a woman, who was an embodyment of spiritual wisdom. Both his divine and human aspects had achieved ultimate perfection.

(* The term refers to the worship of the Divine Mother in one of Her ten aspects, namely Shodashi, a woman as beautiful as an immaculate sixteen-year-old girl.

** Nyasa consists of touching the different parts of the body with appropriate mantras and mentally identifying them with the different parts of the deity. –Translator)

(Swami Saradananda "Sri Ramakrishna a
nd His Divine Play", translated by Swami Chetanananda, V2, Ch.20, Worship of Shodashi, pp. 350-1)

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