Hello Guys. This thread is dedicated to Goddess worship of all cultures. In India Goddess worship predates the Vedas and Vedic cultures. Likewise there are several other cults, esp the Greeks, the Romans, the Maya etc, which venerate the motherly aspect of nature and the feminine aspect of divinity. In this thread, we would discuss the various feminine deities and personalities, not only from Indian but other myths too.
In modern India, one of the three primary branches of devotional Dwaita Hinduism is Shaktism. Shakti is the believed to be the Primordial Mother of the cosmology who brings forth the material universe and all other beings, including the Gods, demi-Gods, celestials, mortals and demons, out of her creative energy - Maya. She's Lalita - the divine player, Shivaani - the better half of Shiva, Narayani - the divine sister of Narayan, Brahmi - the inseparable consort of Parabrahm. Her names like Herself is endless. But it is said that if we utter any one name of Devi, it is equivalent to chanting the thousand names of Shiva and Vishnu combined. I dedicate my post to HER and HER various aspects
Parameshwari - The Sovereign Mistress of the Universe
Jagadamba - The Mother of All
Ardhanarishwara - Brahm and Shakti are the Inseparable reality. Brahm is worthless without his divine consort Shakti. Para-Shiva and Adi-Shakti remain in a state of Eternal Coitus. Maha-Vishnu is one and only witness to this Divine Union.
When Brahma - the creator, got tired and exhausted, unable to bear the burden of Creation of Universe, he went to Lord Vishnu. Vishnu was unable to help him and directed him to Lord Shiva. Shiva too was unable to help but He invoked Adi-Shakti and reported Brahma's plight. Adi-Shakti smiled and removed an outer sheath from her body just like a snake removes its skin. A beautiful Goddess emerged out of Shakti's skin. She had four arms and pearly complexion. Shakti ordered Brahma to accept her as his consort. Shakti named the Goddess as her own first partial manifestation and her first daughter Saraswati who would give Brahma the requisite power and the will to create till MahaPralay.
Due to the curse of Sage Durvasa, heaven lost all its glory. All the wealth disappeared from the creation. Even Lord Vishnu's divine abode was a barren and withered place. Under the guidance of Vishnu, the Devas and Asuras churned the Kshirsagar. Many valuable jewels and stones emerged, but none was enough to bring back the prosperity of the Gods. To revive the lost Glory, at the request of Lord Vishnu, Adi-Shakti removed another sheath and threw it in the Kshir Sagar. A four armed Goddess emerged out of the ocean and once again wealth and prosperity returned to the universe. She married Narayan and became the mistress of Vaikuntha. She was Lakshmi, the second partial manifestation and the second divine daughter of Adi-Shakti.
For the first time, Maa Adi-Shakti, Herself manifested in Her Shaguna form in the house of Brahma's son Daksha, the most powerful among the Prajapatis, the secondary creators who assisted Brahma in the process of Universal Creation. It must be noted that while Lakshmi and Saraswati, are direct unborn manifestations, or Ayonias, Shakti Herself takes human birth like any ordinary human. This is a divine leela of Devi, perhaps to complement Her Eternal Consort Shiva, who, unlike any other God, lives on earth like an ordinary Yogi, dwells in caves, begs for food and associates with Ghouls and Aghoris. Sati, as was Her purpose, won Shiva's hand against Her father's wishes and married Him.
Self-Immolation of Sati
Shiva's rage. Lord Vishnu dismembered the body of Sati into 51 pieces each of which fell upon earth and came to be known as Shakti Peeth.
As Sati had promised, She came once again in Treta Yuga as the daughter of Himalaya, the king of mountains. While Sati was a mild and benevolent aspect of Shakti, Parvati is the complete manifestation. She has every single aspect of Shakti. She is mild as Lalita, Brahmacharini, Shailsujata, etc. She is homely as the wife of Shiva and mother of Ganesha and Kartikeya. She can be fierce as Durga and ruthless as Kali and Chamunda. Precisely She encompasses the three Gunas - Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. And yet She is Nirguna. She is the Creator, the Preserver and the Destroyer Herself. Just like Krishna in Vaishnavism, Parvati is not merely an Avatar, Lalita Sahasranama declares Her as complete Adi-Shakti and the Supreme Mistress of The Universe. She is Neerisha - one with no superior. Everyone else is Her subordinate. She is Shivaradya - the one who is worshiped by Shiva.
Devi Ganga, the daughter of Brahma, the common second consort of Shiva and Vishnu according to some texts. She originating from the right toe of Vishnu and descending from the matted locks of Shiva is the source of Moksha in the three worlds.
When Gods were defeated by Mahishasura, they begged to Vishnu for help. Vishnu unable to help, led the Gods to Shiva. Shiva prayed to Parvati to salvage the situation. Parvati took the form of a magnificient warrior goddess called Durga with the complexion of Sun and 10 arms and three eyes, riding a lion. The Shaktis of Vishnu, Brahma and all other Demigods coalesced in Her and Durga created her own army comprising 9 Goddess - Shailputri (the daughter of mountains), Brahmacharini (the maiden Goddess), Chandraghanta (Goddess with the crescent moon), Kushmanda (The creator of Universe), Skandamata (the mother of Skanda), Katyani (the One who manifested in the Ashram of Sage Katya), Kaalratri (the dark One), Mahagauri (The fair one), Siddhidatri (The liberator). The Army spearheaded by Durga, wiped out the Asura Army from the Three Worlds and killed Mahishasura in a 10 day war.
After killing Mahishasura, only Raktabija remained and he seemed Invincible. Even the combined effort of the Nine Goddess could not kill him as he had a boon from Brahma ; with his every drop of blood that falls on ground a clone of the Asura would be born. A furious Durga reabsorbed the Nine Goddesses in herself and assumed the form of Mahakaali. She licked up every drop of blood before it could fall on earth and killed the Asura. She drank the blood from the Asuras and got intoxicated. She realized that unrighteousness was not merely limited to the Asuras ; it had entered every soul. To purge the cosmology from evil, she declared that she would destroy the universe and create a new one free from evil. She began to dance the violent and destructive Tandava. She began to kill Sages, Gods, Demigods, humans and Demons indiscriminately. When Lord Vishnu attempted to stop her, She sucked out all His powers and with that every being became lifeless. Shiva realized that She could not be stopped by strength as Her strength is incomparable. She could be calmed only by Devotion and Surrender.
Shiva laid in the battle field as a corpse, waiting to be tramped by his beloved consort. The moment Kali stepped over Shiva, She froze and stuck Her tongue out, at the sin of kicking Her husband's chest. But Shiva bowed before Her in reverence and declared that She is the Supreme One. She has the ultimate power to create, preserve and destroy. She is Sat-Chit-Anand. Moksha lies at her feet. That is why she has actually favoured Shiva by touching Him with her divine feet.
Another version depicts that after Vishnu fails, Shiva takes the form of a baby and lied on the battleground crying for milk. When Kali, the mother of the universe, saw Him, She instantly dropped Her weapons and started suckling Him. With Her milk, Shiva sucked out all Her wrath and thus calmed Her down. It is perhaps for this reason, our scripture says that no woman can ever be infertile. Even if she doesn't bear a child, she's still the mother of her husband.
Goddess Sita, an aspect of Goddess Lakshmi and consort of Lord Rama, the Maha Avatara of Treta Yuga. She is said to be the reincarnation of Vedavati who cursed Raavan that some day she would be reason of his death. Sita is an embodiment of devotion, obedience and sacrifice.
Radha, the childhood lover of Shri Krishna and the source of the power of the Lord. She's the manifestation of human devotion towards the God. Just like without Shakti, Shiva is meaningless, without Radha, Krishna too is of no use. Krishna had 16108 wives, but still Radha is the one with whom Krishna is associated the most because of their platonic relation, innocence and love.
Devi Chinnamasta ; Parvati hacked off her own head to feed her own blood to her hungry attendants, Jayaa and Vijayaa ; once again depicting herself as The Mother who can not see her children hungry at any cost.
Goddess Tripura Sundari, seated atop the inert body of her husband Shiva, flanked by Lakshmi and Saraswati, Brahma, Vishnu, Ganesh and Kartika seated at her feet.
Lord Venkateshwara (Vishnu) doing the Kanyadaan of His sister Goddess Meenakshi (Shakti) to Lord Sundereshwara (Shiva).
Goddess Annapurna, the provider of the universe.
Ashta Matrikas : Brahmani, Vaishnavi, Rudrani, Indrani, Varahi, Narsimhi, Kaumari and Chamunda. It is said Shiva created the 8 Mother Godesses to assist Kartikeya to defeat the forces of Tarakasura. They are also depicted serving Parvati.
The Tridevis : Durga and her daughters Lakshmi and Saraswati. It is said that Lakshmi and Saraswati continuously quarrel about the superiority of Wealth and Knowledge. That is why either their little bro Ganesha or their Mommy Durga stand between them.
Primal Shakti, I bow to Thee!
All-Encompassing Shakti, I bow to Thee!
That through which Divine Creates, I bow to Thee!
Creative Power of the Kundalini, Mother of all Mother Power, To Thee I Bow!
Edited by Darklord_Rehan - 01 September 2011 at 5:27am