Originally posted by .Vrish.
Next question - what is the difference b/w Para Shakti & Adi Shakti?
Purely etymologically, 'Para' means 'the highest' and 'Adi' means first.
Now, the concept of 'Shakti' has been dealt with in two ways and we come across both the approaches in various scriptures.
In those texts, where the Devi is worshiped as the Supreme Power, she is referred to as 'Para Shakti'. In such cases, though she may be eulogized as Lakshmi, Narayani, Kali, Sharada, it refers to her various attributes rather than relationships with the male gods. It is a conceptual thing- the idea of Divine Mother- Maha Devi. In such cases, it becomes meaningless to argue "Why is the Devi being addressed as both Gauri and Narayani / Does this refer to Mrs Vishnu or Mrs Shiva?" The idea is one of the Highest Feminine Power- who according to her believers is the creator, sustainer and destroyer of the three worlds.
Now, in the Puranic stories, the distinction becomes very clear - because the stories revolve around incidents rather than abstract concepts. Hence it becomes clear whether it is Mrs. Brahma, Mrs Vishnu or Mrs Shiva. In such cases, Parvati / Devi is almost always the wife of Shiva. I will be surprised to find something to the contrary.
"Adi Shakti" is a generic term referring to the "First Lady" ( no pun intended). It can refer to Durga or Lakshmi depending on the text you are reading.