Today is Mahastami day, and a festival is going on all over Bengal especially, and in some portions of India and the world also. It is called Durga Puja. Durga means Mahamaya, and we are attacked by Mahamaya first. People like to worship Mahamaya for dhana [wealth], jana [followers], and so on, and pray to her, “Dhanam dehi [give me wealth], janam dehi [give me followers], rupam dehi [give me beauty], manorama-bharyam dehi [give me an attractive wife]”, but the gopis also worship the goddess Katyayani. That is another form. Katyayani means Yogamaya. You heard me speak in Bengali about apara-sakti and para-sakti. There are two kinds of sakti, three kinds of sakti including the jiva-sakti, the tatastha-sakti. Yogamaya is Katyayani, the para-sakti of Krishna, and Mahamaya is Durga, the apara-sakti of Krishna. People are worshipping Mahamaya, but Mahamaya is the shadow of Yogamaya.
The gopis worship Yogamaya for Krishna’s seva. In this way, we can engage our activity for Krishna’s seva. Yogamaya is extending and spreading Krishna-lila and Krishna-seva, and if we get the blessings of Yogamaya, we can easily enter her place. With the blessings of the liberated servitors of Krishna, we may get Krishna’s seva.
In this way, we can remember Yogamaya on this day. We can remember that in Vraja Dham the gopis are worshipping Yogamaya. There is also a mantram,
kātyāyani mahāmāye mahāyoginy adhīśvari
nanda-gopa-sutaṁ devi patiṁ me kuru te namaḥ
(Srimad Bhagavatam: 10.22.4)
“We only have one prayer: give me the seva of the son of Nanda Maharaj. This is our only prayer.”
In this way, the gopis worshipped Yogamaya, and we can remember that on this day.
Spoken on 2 November 1988.
The original audio recording of this talk can be heard here.