Nawan Nagar, October 2022
Every year, the autumn (Ashvin) Navratri festival is dedicated to Maa, the Divine Cosmic Mother. From September 26 to October 4, 2022, Vishav Manav Ruhani Kendra (VMRK) celebrated the Navratri festival at its center located in village Nawan Nagar, in India.
This devotional event was much awaited because it had been two years since the last Navratri celebration. Vishav Manav Ruhani Kendra anticipated a higher turnout than previous events and made additional arrangements accordingly. In spite of this, the big tents filled to capacity and more tents were set up to accommodate the overflowing audience. Many people traveled from far away places and stayed at the center throughout the entire festival. Others from nearby places came in throngs each evening to enjoy the festivities.
Each night professional singers performed, singing praises of the Divine. The audience clapped and sang along exuberantly, as they enjoyed being in the presence of Sant Baljit Singh Ji.
During each evening’s musical performances, Sant Baljit Singh Ji walked amongst the audience for more than an hour. The audience joyously called out “Jai Mata Di” (which means “Praise to the Mother Goddess”) as Sant Baljit Singh Ji moved around them. In response, Sant Baljit Singh Ji also called out “Jai Mata Di” back to the audience.
Little girls offered Sant Baljit Singh Ji flowers, which he accepted and in turn brought them much joy when he gave the flowers back to them. In Indian culture, little girls, below the age of 10 years, are called kanya and are respected as a sign of the Divine Cosmic Mother.
Celebrating Kanya Puja
On the last day of Navratri, the kanya puja (a puja is a holy ritual of worship) was celebrated to worship the Divine Cosmic Mother whose forms are represented in little girls. This year, the kanya puja was celebrated at the VMRK center in Nawan Nagar as well as all the other VMRK centers. Traditionally, the feet of these young girls are washed and cleaned as a mark of respect for the Goddess. A special meal was offered which included puri, halwa, black chana, sabzi, kheer, and fruits.
Devotion for the Divine
On the last day, Sant Baljit Singh Ji gave a short talk stressing that God is only one and that One has taken many forms. He explained that it is not important which form one worships. Rather, the importance is the devotion one has for the Divine. He encouraged the audience to remember the feeling of love and devotion they had for the Divine Mother before coming to the program and to continue growing that love and devotion for the Divine Mother.