One recent morning, while celebrating Maa Durga on Navaratri I decided to offer Her a walk.
(Looking back now it is most likely that the decision was not really mine - but I didn’t know then She needed to talk to me)
As I walked around the lake, every step, every thought, every breath was an offering I placed on her Puja Table. I had gone out with what I thought were pure and selfless intentions. I was disregarding the very subtle feeling of pride underlying, that of doing a good thing, the right thing. I was screaming for attention “look, am I not a great devotee ?”
My ego had still a tight grip on my heart.
That is when She appeared. Taking me by surprise, just like She does. Since She found her way to me on a dune back in January I seem to be unable to escape Her. That morning -and I am ashamed to say- I was triggered by Her interrupting my so-called devotional walk. How ironic.
You look for something and that quest alone gives you the illusion that you are no longer lost, that you are following a certain path. But the day you reach that thing, no satisfaction is felt - simply because your intentions did not flower from the Heart. You were just fooling yourself, trying to find a way of reassuring the most basic fears that you never dared to address.
She gracefully landed at the centre of my chest. And Autumn settled in. My thoughts and lies falling like leaves I was no more than the naked trees surrounding me. I knew she had nothing else for me but Truth. The uncomfortable Truth.
I had read of her immense beauty, of clouds forming in her hair, of flowers dripping from her fingers. She made me look at my hands. She made me see them.
She confronted me to a destructive habit I have been dragging around for years, that of stripping the skin from my fingers. Shedding like a snake, in the most violent way, the sight of blood would not even make me stop.
Looking down that morning I saw one hand attacking the other - a civil war, sad expression of the duality in me. How many other battles as such do we nest ? If not my hands, isn’t my mind often torturing my body; my body biting my mind ?
There were no flowers at my fingertips - I had consumed every drop of Spring. But the red of my fingers reminded me of Her power.
Then it all made sense.
Devotion is not an act, it is not a prayer you repeat each day, it is not a walk in the park. It is a state, the most profound state of your being ; or like Sadhguru says : “the sweetest way to be”. And there I was, devoting some of my precious time to the Beloved while destroying my own flesh. I had forgotten that Devotion implies surrendering yourself entirely to the Divine so that the lover and the beloved can finally be reunited. And if the beloved was me and I was the beloved I was, as that very moment, hurting my own Mother.
This thought became unbearable and reminded me how we too often treat others differently than ourselves - never would I afflict such pain to someone else. But Devotion knows no separation. It dissolves the ‘I’ and the ‘You’, it devours Time. If only we allow it to, Bhakti naturally pours out of a Heart. The endless and most sacred river ; and listen, it has a sound.
Something changed in me that day - asking for forgiveness, I forgave myself. I kept walking. One hand holding the other, heart between my palms.
It is ok to take detours, to invoke the power of deities - just remember you are only trying to return to yourself. I wish you to honour every part of you, just like you honour every part of me.
In Love, let’s meet. Om Parashaktye Namaha