Every time someone comes to our site, they are saying “Jai MAA!” simply by typing in the URL. The blessing repeats itself again and again. But what does it mean?
Jai means victory and MAA means Mother. So we are saying “Victory to the Mother!” This can sound a little clunky in modern English, though. What are we talking about when we say “Victory to the Mother!”?
In the second chapter of the Devi Mahatmyam (or Chandi, as it is also called), Brahma, Indra, and the other gods come to Vishnu and Shiva, complaining that the demon Mahisha (who takes the form of a buffalo – Mahisha literally means buffalo) has come with his army to battle the gods, and is taking over the world. Shiva and Vishnu become angry at hearing this news, and this stirs the shakti in all of them.
Shakti is energy or power, and it is personified as the Goddess. Shakti is alive in all of us, in everything, it is the vivifying power of the cosmos. When the Gods cried out for help, it was Mahadevi, the Great Goddess, who arrived, emerging out of their combined shakti, revealing Herself to be the true, limitless power of the universe, the animating power behind even the Gods. When She appeared, all of the devatas shouted, “Victory!”
When we say, “Jai MAA!” we should remember that the battleground is not outside, but inside ourselves.
Today, we shout, “Jai MAA!” Then as now, what we mean is to champion MAA’s victory over demonic forces, especially those that control us. We ask Her to have victory over our wily ego, over apathy and ignorance. We ask Her to conquer fear and depression, to vanquish the lies we tell ourselves (and others). Beyond this, we ask Her to destroy the demonic forces that bring strife to the world, to liberate everyone from ignorance of our essential oneness, so that there will be peace.
When we say, “Jai MAA!” we should remember that the battleground is not outside, but inside ourselves. When you say “Jai MAA!,” use that call of victory as a prayer, asking her to bring you awareness of your thoughts and actions, and to bring greater wisdom in your interactions with others, so that you may be an instrument of peace.
Photo credit: Skyward Durga Shrine at Kamakhya, by Kulasundari Devi