Literally translating to “nine nights,” Navarathri is a celebration of the Divine Feminine (Shakti) and occurs twice a year in the spring and autumn. Although there are numerous stories associated with Navarathri, the most well-known are recounted in the Devi Mahatmyam, a lush text that describes Shakti’s victory over evil. Shakti takes innumerable forms across the eons to accomplish this task, the most famous of which are Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati. Although the Devi Mahatmyam keeps us spellbound in tales of despair and hope, its hidden power lies in its symbolism since the sequence of events in the text closely mirror the inner transformation on our spiritual journey.
This 4-part course uses the stories of the Devi Mahatmyam to explore the path of nondual realization. We will examine the increasingly subtle ways in which the ego stands in the way of radical transformation, and how to invite Shakti to lead us to victory. The stories of the text will be examined from the perspective of the gunas – tamas, rajas, and sattva.
We will also learn short hymns from the Devi Mahatmyam and a core Navarathri mantra for daily practice.
Dr. Kavitha Chinnaiyan is a Cardiologist and Professor of Medicine at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine in Royal Oak, MI. She has studied Tantra, Advaita Vedanta, Yoga, and Āyurveda with teachers across the globe. Her workshops, courses, and writings strive to bring these time-honored traditions to modern living in practical ways. She is a Śrīvidyā initiate and disciple of Śri Chaitanyananda Nātha Saraswatī (Haran Aiya), pīṭhādhipati and founder of the Rājarājeśvarī Pīṭham in Rush, NY. She has studied Advaita Vedanta at the Chinmaya Mission, the Direct Path with Greg Goode, Śrīvidyā with Śri Śivapremananda, and Non-dual Śaiva Tantra (also known as Kashmir Śaivisim) with Paul Muller-Ortega and Sally Kempton. She is the author of The Heart of Wellness (Llewellyn Publications, 2018), Shakti Rising (Nonduality Press, 2017), which won the Nautilus Gold Award for Best Books of 2017 and Glorious Alchemy: Living the Lalitā Sahasranāma (New Sarum Press, UK, 2020).