SHARANYA Newsletter: August/Sept 2008
In This Issue:
Jai Maha Devi: Awakening the Great Goddess
Open Community Puja - This Sunday!
Holy Days & Community Celebrations
Samanyarghya Mantra: Water Purification
Join our community!
Contact Info

Jai Maha Devi: Awakening the Great Goddess

Devi, as she is called in Sanskrit, is the supreme Goddess of Indian tradition. She is multifaceted and universal in appeal; however, understanding Devi, particularly from a western perspective, is frighteningly difficult. This is at least in part because we in the West have traditionally little upon which to base a conception of Goddess, let alone a Goddess who is both immanent and transcendent, unitary and multiplex, all-pervasive and immediately powerful. So, how do we approach Her?

As Kālī, the goddess has been venerated for most of recent history (and particularly popularized in West Bengal during the 19th century) as expressing love for humanity that is not unlike the love a mother has for her children. The Bengali saint Rāmakṛṣna, and the great, devoted poet Rāmprasād Sen knew Kālī as Divine Mother and greatly influenced devotion to Her. For these two men, Kālī asked that Her children accept her for all the ways in which she manifests in the world. As Rāmprasād says in one of his poems:

Who can explain Your play, Mother?
What do You take, what give back?

For You dawn and dusk are the same.
Nothing can stop Your perfect freedom.
You give exactly what’s deserved.

Even Shiva
Under Your feet, forgets
Your great design.

I see what You show me—a stone
Floating on water.
Rāmprasād is Your son. 
He can see right through those old ploys.

At SHARANYA, we honor Goddess through ritual that combines eastern and western practice, helping community connect to personal passion and devotion. We offer a safe space to explore childlike wonder in relationship to Devi, and offer a way to focus on the Divine--a way that allows love to flow and is not containable by country of origin (either our own or Hers).

However, because so much of what we do is informed by Tantra, we are often asked by devotees and newcomers to community how one should behave during ceremony, what is appropriate to wear, how it is best to worship, and so on. To help with your understanding of our worship and ritual practices so that you may know some of the most important elements, we have put together a page on temple etiquette and some FAQs on our website. Have you ever wondered why Maa has so many skulls associated with Her? Or how much of what we do in circle really is Tantrick...

Learn more about SHARANYA's public Kali Puja! >>


Open Community Puja - This Sunday!

Join us SUNDAY (8/31)
for Kali Puja in San Francisco!

Come be with us in celebration! Together we will worship Kali Maa through our devotional and (r)evolutionary worship that brings together traditions of East and West. Our ceremonies are fun, participatory, transformative and full of love for Maa.

We gather this Sunday at 5:30pm
and look forward to honoring the
Divine Mother with you.

Jai Maa Kali ki Jai!

Requested sliding scale donation is $11-21. No one is turned away for lack of funds - give what you can, even if it's just your love and devotion! We encourage you to wear red (Kali's sacred color), and to refrain from wearing black. You may bring flowers for the altar, and/or vegetarian sweets to share. We will have community time following the ceremony.

Please RSVP to View Map >>


Holy Days & Community Celebrations

*Community Kali Puja (8/31) Join us for an evening of transformative and heartfelt devotion in San Francisco! See above for details. If you can't join us physically, join us in spirit by lighting a candle and practicing this month's mantra (5:30pm - 8:00pm).

*Daughers of Kali Open Circle (8/31) Join us for a discussion about SHARANYA's teaching circle, Daughters of Kali - open to men and women - prior to puja at CIF (4:00pm - 5:00pm).

*Autumnal Equinox (9/22) Celebrated in nearly all indigenous cultures, the Autumnal Equinox is a time between light and darkness. In Neo-Paganism, it is typically a festival of the Lord of the Vine and the second of three harvest celebrations.

*Community Kali Puja (9/28) Join us for an evening of transformative and heartfelt devotion in San Francisco! (5:30pm - 8:00pm).


See our full calender of events >>


Samanyarghya Mantra: Water Purification

We teach samanyarghya, water purification, in its entirety during SHARANYA's closed circles as part of the Daughters of Kali program, but we use many of these mantras in our public pujas too. For example, the seven rivers mantra is sung alone for our water blessing at the start of our ceremony (listen to it sung here). We end the sequence by sprinkling water on all gathered and on our altars while speaking the last mantra, amritam kuru svaha. This is how we bless the space for our ritual work together. This can be done equally well in one's home, office, or any other space you wish to cleanse...

Read more and listen to the mantra >>


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SHARANYA: The Maa Batakali Cultural Mission, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit Devi Mandir (Goddess Temple). All donations are tax-deductible. For more information about upcoming events, please visit or email All are welcome!

Jai Maa!


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