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 Associate Professor of Medicine at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine in Royal Oak, MI. She has studied with various teachers including Advaita Vedanta through the Chinmaya Mission, the Direct Path with Greg Goode in the lineage of Sri Atmananda Krishna Menon, Sri Vidya Sadhana with Sri Chaitanyananda and Sri Sivapremananda, Tantra and Ayurveda with Dr. Sumit Kesarkar, and Kashmir Shaivism with Paul Muller-Ortega. Her workshops, courses and writings on meditation, Yoga, Tantra, Ayurveda and non-duality strive to bring these time-honored traditions to modern living in practical ways. She is the author of The Heart of Wellness (Llewellyn Publications, January 2018), which brings together Yoga, Vedanta and Ayurveda to change the paradigm of health and wellness, and Shakti Rising (New Harbinger Publications, October 2017), which is a fresh exploration of the ten great goddesses of cosmic wisdom known as the Dasha Mahavidya. Shakti Rising won the Nautilus Gold Award for Best Books of 2017.