In the ancient days, the Rajasic (aggressive) worship of Devi was prevalent. Devi worshippers were called Shaktas. They used to wear red and pay their reverence to the Mother using red vermillion powder and red flowers.
This worship was based mainly on the Tantra and was often violent. Animal sacrifice was common and even human sacrifice was not unheard of.
Today Devi worship is mostly Satvic (pure, calm devotion). But the tradition of wearing red continues. Red increases the will power and discrimination in the worshipper, removes all sloth and inertia and makes him dynamic and active. White is the colour worn by the worshippers of Lord Shiva. It symbolises His qualities of stability and purity.”
Ramakanth asked — “The worship of the divine mother is said to remove all Maya (illusion). What exactly is Maya ?”.
Shri Nimishananda Guruji said — “Most human beings are unaware that God exists within them and that they are divine. Living your life trapped in this illusion of separateness from divinity is called Maya. When this illusion is shattered, we become divine. Enlightened beings can see God in every atom of creation because the divinity established within them is reflected everywhere”.
From Bhanu Prakash’s house, Shri Nimishananda Guruji came to the Darshan Hall of the Ashram where many devotees had gathered and were waiting for His Darshan. Lady devotees draped in colourful, traditional silk saris, wearing fresh, fragrant jasmine flowers in their hair welcomed Pujya Guruji with the melodious Annapoorneshwari sloka (Hymn to the divine mother who is the provider of both material nourishment and spiritual wisdom). Several families were present and many of them were represented by all three generations — grandparents, parents and children.
The atmosphere was festive and exuberant.
Many South Indian married women have the traditional custom of giving each other betel leaves, betel nuts, vermillion powder, turmeric, glass bangles, some fruits and a coconut on this festival. When one married lady gives this to another, both of them are acknowledging the presence of the Divine Mother in each other and paying their reverence to Her in this way.
The Scriptures prescribe this as a very effective traditional custom for a married woman to attain a long and harmonious married life. Today many lady devotees offered prostrations before Shri Nimishananda Guruji giving Him this customary offering, since in Him they saw the divine mother Herself.
This article has been taken from the book Wisdom Through the Eyes of Nimishananda by His Holiness Shri Shri Nimishananda Guruji