Navadurga: Chandraghanta – Courage and Tranquility

Originally posted on the Princeton Hindu Satsangam blog as part of our Navratri series.


Last year at Diwali at the Chapel, I shared a med­i­ta­tion on the story of Hanu­manji and the stone bridge. I spoke about a near-death expe­ri­ence and find­ing strength to pull through from call­ing on God’s name. In the Ramayana, build­ing the bridge to Lanka (a tremen­dous act of courage) is made pos­si­ble by Ram Nam as the “glue” hold­ing every­thing together. In the Bha­gavad Gita, Krishna says, “All things rest upon Me as pearls are strung on a thread.” The per­son­al­ity of Chan­draghanta reminds me that all things rest upon the Divine as Source and Main­tainer, in what­ever form the Divine takes.

Chan­draghanta is the form of Durga that leads the bat­tle against the demon Mahe­sha­sura, pro­tect­ing all that is good against his over­pow­er­ing force. If we let Her, She also leads the bat­tle against our own inner demons of fear, envy, and per­fec­tion­ism (to name a few). I often find myself liv­ing in fear of being over­pow­ered by the world around me, or by my inner demons. My ten­dency is to take respon­si­bil­ity for fight­ing that bat­tle. It’s an impos­si­ble task and gen­er­ates its own sort of fear and pride.

But that’s not my job. Almost every one of our sacred sto­ries con­tains a reminder that the Divine is the Cre­ator, Main­tainer, and Destroyer – and that the respon­si­bil­ity for these sorts of bat­tles rests in the That.

Chan­draghanta reminds us that when we sur­ren­der our own sense of strength and pride to the Divine, we also sur­ren­der fear. We find the sort of courage that brings tran­quil­ity and humil­ity with it. Chan­draghanta is, after all, Devi, the God­dess – not just a war­rior but also a nur­tur­ing mother.

When I can let go of my own sense of strength and respon­si­bil­ity and rest in the Divine, then I can find both courage and peace.

Prinda­japra vara­rood­haa chan­dakopastha kairyutha

Prasadam thanuthe mahyum Chan­draghantethi vishrutha

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