Our granddaughter, Mangala, celebrates her birthday on Wednesday, December 12, which is the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe. This day of celebration is a significant feast of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, in the Catholic Christian Tradition, especially in Mexico.
The name Mangala means “auspicious one” in Sanskrit and is one of the many names given to the Divine Mother in the Vedic Tradition. In English, “auspicious” refers to “being successful” and “fortunate.” Although, according to the dictionary it is not appropriate, today’s culture has given the word “auspicious” the meaning of “valuable, worthwhile, stupendous and significant.” In any case, when the word auspicious modifies human beings, it means to be free of any fear of the future.
A brief story about our granddaughter shows how easy it is to be proud of ourselves and how that self-awareness makes us less violent people. When we are aware that auspiciousness is part of our life, we become a benefit and a joy for all we know for all of time.
When Mangala was two years old her dad, Luke, brought her with him to the post office to mail some Christmas gifts. Mangala was busy looking at all the Christmas decorations and didn’t seem to be paying much attention to what was going on when the attendant asked Luke what her name was. Luke said, “Mangala.” The attendant immediately asked if she had a nickname. At which point Mangala turned and looked directly at the postal clerk and said quite clearly and emphatically, “MAN-GA-LA.”
She knew instinctively that she was “Auspicious,” and that no nickname could convey the truth about how auspicious she truly was and is. A nickname just would not suffice. Mangala emphatically and proudly stated the truth about herself… “MAN-GA-LA.” She displayed great confidence in who she was and her future life.
Actually, all of us, because we are made in the image and likeness of the Divine Mother-Father, are auspicious. Our future will be successful in reaching its fullness. When we deny that fact by not respecting ourselves or just ignoring it, we are doing violence to our true self. We are violating the number one yogic commitment, “AHIMSA.”
Ahimsa not only means not harming, or injuring others through our thoughts, words and deeds, but it also means not harming ourselves. We disrespect ourselves when we doubt ourselves, or when we worry about our future success in life, or when we put ourselves in dangerous situations, or when we criticize ourselves for our mistakes, or when we don’t honestly recognize our strengths and weaknesses.
Ahimsa doesn’t mean filling ourselves up with false pride and fake confidence, but means that we honestly pay attention to and act on the talents and skills that we have been given or that we have developed in our lifespan. Often, what happens when we discount ourselves, we find ourselves very vulnerable to the frustrations and irritations of others and of our perceived limitations. We often strike back, sometimes not even knowing why we are doing that.
When we don’t feel adequate or completely sufficient for all that we are supposed to do in life, we become violent. Sometimes that violence is directed inwardly by drinking too much or watching a movie that disturbs us or overwhelming ourselves with all the pains and agonies presented on the news, or even just overeating or worrying about things over which we have no control.
We must remember that we are AWESOME BEINGS with an AUSPICIOUS FUTURE—UNION WITH GOD!
The neat thing about our auspiciousness (remember, not bloated arrogance) is that we tend to shower the joy of our auspiciousness onto others, just like people tend to do at this Christmas-Hanukkah-Kwanzaa time of the year. We joyfully, because we are truly happy with ourselves and our future, gift others with our joy and happiness. True self-love that knows one’s life as auspicious is also true love of others in action.
Working on our awareness of the auspiciousness of our lives is a particularly wonderful act of non-violence. It is the initiation of “Ahimsa” into a world that greatly needs it.