Navaratri

Swami Nishchalananda gave this online satsang and guided meditation on Friday evening, October 16th, just before the start of Navaratri. The following is his explanation of this celebration, and recommendations for mantras and chants during the period.

NavaRatri starts next Saturday 17 th October and ends on Monday 25 th October (depending on the
tradition and parts of India there are different dates, mantras and rituals; some celebrations are very elaborate over the nine days; below we have given a streamlined version). Navaratri literally means ‘Nine Nights’. It is celebrated every year all over India and elsewhere in the world among Hindus as well as many yoga practitioners. It is a celebration of the Goddess, the cosmic energy (known as Durga, Kali, Lakshmi, Saraswati and countless other names). This energy creates, sustains and destroys the universe, including everyone and everything in it.


Navaratri is based on the lunar calendar and comes just after amarvasya (new moon) in the month of Ashwin. (It is also known as Durga Puja, especially in Bengal and Bihar etc., celebrating Durga’s victory over Mahishasura, the buffalo demon, who symbolises blind ignorance, especially spiritual ignorance).

I would like us to join together in participating in this celebration.

Swami Nishchalananda


I would like us to join together in participating
in this celebration. I propose the following mantras
 (which I have greatly simplified, but which,
nevertheless, will be enormously effective),
together with the corresponding dates:

The mantras are as follows:

Durga Sat/Sun/Mon 17, 18 & 19 Oct
Lakshmi Tues/Wed/Thurs 20, 21 & 22 Oct
Saraswati Fri/Sat/Sun 23, 24 & 25 Oct

Om Dum Durgayai Namaha
Om Shrim Lakshmyai Namaha
Om Aim Saraswatyai Namaha


The last day, the tenth day, is known as Dashmi, Dussehra (Hindi) or Vijayadashmi. (It also celebrates Rama’s victory over Ravana). On this tenth day, you are invited to chant Om Namah Shivaya.
OR, if you wish, you can chant the 32 names of Durga throughout the nine days (see at the end of this message).

Note: Divali or Deepavali comes this year on the 14 Nov (based on lunar calendar it comes on the 15 th day of the lunar month of Kartik on the amarvasya, or new moon). This is the Festival of Lights which symbolises Enlightenment.


The 32 Names of Durga:
OM Durga Durgartishamani Durgapadvinivarini
Durgamacchedini Durgasadhini Durganashini
Durgatoddharini Durganihantri Durgamapaha
DurgamaGyanada Durgadaityalokadavanala
Durgama Durgamaloka Durgamatmaswarupini
Durgamargaprada Durgamavidya Durgamashreeta
Durgamagyanasamsthana Durgamadhyanabhasini
Durgamoha Durgamaga Durgamarthaswarupini
Durgama surasamhantri Durgamayudhadharini
Durgamangi Duramata Durgamya Durameshwari
Durgabhima Durgabhama Durgabha Durgadarini
(In my opinion, the sound vibration is more important than the meaning, but you will find the meaning on page 82 of the Ashram publication ‘Mantra Yoga and Ashram Chants’)

Getting what I want in life

Is this not the purpose of our life? Is this not what we have been educated for, and what modern marketing has led us to believe? 

Yet, ‘getting what you want is vastly over sold’, to quote Michael Singer, a wonderful contemporary yogi, teacher, and author. We are promised so much in life. In marketing and politics, for example, we are assured that if we just work hard enough, try hard enough, have enough money or resources, then we will be eternally happy. Even in our yoga practice we have the same aspiration … but is getting what I want the key purpose of my life? 

Coping with this viral situation… and other matters

Swami Nishchalananda gave this satsang via Zoom on Friday evening, 25th September

The themes in this session were driven by people’s questions. The first one was asking for tips on surviving the see-saw regulations being imposed on us during the coronavirus ‘Pandemic’.

The Space of the Heart

A guided meditation given by Swami SatyaDaya to Ashram residents on the morning of July 30, 2020. The essence of the meditation is allowing the sense of self, the consciousness, to rest into the Heart space (the domain of Anahata Chakra) and from there, welcome all experiences whatever they may be. This process is very much reflected in the poem by Rumi ‘The Guest House’. All experience can be welcomed into the light of awareness.

Swami Nishchalananda chants the Gayatri mantra

The morning chant in the ashram has changed from Mrityunjaya healing mantra to the Gayatri mantra, which we chant 27 times at 7.30 a.m. every morning. Swamiji decided that this mantra is now more appropriate to the times as they develop from the Coronavirus pandemic; times that need compassion but also wisdom.

Mandala Yoga Ashram gets a Branch in Africa

I’m Tony, recently given the name Narada by Swami Nishchalananda. The guy at the back in the green t-shirt in the pic above. Before I came to live in the ashram, I’d made contact with the delightful people who work at Tikondane Lodge, near Katete in Eastern Province, and founded a charity to raise funds for special school education for Ketty, a young deaf girl. This is a part of the world where people have very little indeed. But they have big hearts, and it’s a sharing culture. They’re my kind of people.