Mother is the Goddess of Earth and prakriti’s bounty. Mother is therefore very nature clad and motherly. The name ‘Guheswari’ is sometimes also spelled ‘Guhyeshwari’ or ‘Guhjeshwari’. Her themes are water, abundance, food, offering and prayer. Mother is venerated as nature’s nakedness and richness. Her worship involves simple naivedya of a bowl of water. This symbolises apah, the life-giving substance. In anna yoga, water is not only anna, food but purifier of body, mind and spirit.
Mother Gujeshwari’s themes are linked to panchabhutas. Her main theme is her Motherliness. She represents earth, water, abundance, offering and prayer. Mother nature has simple lessons for us despite one not comprehending the essence of prakrithi. She is the life-giving substance and purifier of body, mind and spirit. In the Nepalese setting, Goddess of Earth and all its bounty, is symbolised by a Bowl of Water in the name of Gujeswari.
SHAKTI: While Goddess Gujesvari has a Nepalese emphasis, there is much to show the overlap of Feminine Divinity as originated in Mother Goddess worship in Shaktam or Shaktism. Nepalese Gujeswari and Shakti principles overlap and intermingle as equivalent Goddesses. Three principles emerge out of Gujeswari worship.
Firstly, there is sexual connotation befitting Shakti and yoni worship. Gujeswari is linked to Sati’s severed parts falling on earth. A slightly different story is told as Lord Shiva carrying the severed Uma’s corpse all around the world. As he was so wandering, he passed over the present Gujeswari Temple spot. Apparently Uma’s yoni, her female symbol fell here. Very much later, in the mid-16th century, the then King Pratap Malla of Nepal passed by this area, he sensed the sacredness of the place and found it proper to refurbish the abandoned temple. Since then the sthala represented Feminine Force of Shakti; somewhat the strength of Kamkhya . Gijeswari here is attributed to Goddess Parvathi.
Secondly, Gujeswari’s name gives way to the underlying yoni worship principles also. ‘Guhya’ means cave and ‘Ishwari’ is indicative of Shakti. This ‘cave’ is symbolic of earthly and primordial womb of Shakti. Her puja rituals is not complete without wine symbolizing blood and egg symbolizing the coming of life. Gujeswari worship is exclusively female and it is said that in the shades of the vagina in Kamkhya, bhaktas make this offerings in a holy orifice symbolizing the yoni.
Thirdly, there is no apparent Deity for Gujeshwari. She is more of a belief in a Goddess, rather a primal feminine force with aspects and attributes of Parvati. That is traced back to Adi Parashakti Herself, the Mother Goddess and Supreme Source without a form. Thus Gujeshwari is nirguna goddess without form or quality pervading the Universe as prakriti and motherliness. She appears with form as bhaktas want it by her own maya.
According to Hindu mythology, Gujeshwari passes off as Adi Parashakti, the Supreme Being recognized as Para Brahman. It is suggested in Devi Bhagawata Mahapurana that Adi Parashakti is the original Creator, Observer and Destroyer of the whole universe. In this Parvati is the truest material form of the Goddess. And Gujeshwari is a manifestation of Mother Parvati in the Nepalese setting. As represented by prakriti, Gujeshwari is as bare and also as rich as nature.
GUJESWARI TEMPLE: Nepal being a Hindu country, Tantric Buddhism and Tantric Shaktism find many common bases here. Siddharta Gautama was himself a Hindu who refined theological and philosophical teachings by way of Bhuddhism. The exceptions seem more in form, rather than content. So, one finds various shrines in Nepal accommodating interfaith visitors. But it is said this intermingling is not without strict confines. For one Gujeswari temple is strictly Hindu. Access to the temple or even the temple courtyard is not available to non-Hindus.
The Guheswari Temple in Nepal is a very sacred temple which is dedicated to the Goddess Parvati. It is located near Kathmandu and is not far from the Pashupathinath Shiva temple. Gujeswari temple is found on the south-west bank of the Bagmati river at Devpatan. Sthala purana has it that King Shankar Dev of the Lichhavi period constructed the present temple with help of a tantric practitioner, Narasingha Thakur. Later, King Pratap Malla, on advice by Tantric Lambakarna Bhatta repaired and refurbished it in mid-16th century AD. Apparently, King Rana Bahadur Shah offered prayers to Goddess Gujeshwari and presented the temple with musical instruments.
It is said that the actual temple does not house any images of the legendary Goddess. It has been a favourite spot to pray for marital fidelity and general welfare. Gujeswari Jatra is a festivity in which one abstains from eating to honor prakriti and Goddess Gujeswari. This is symbolic of preserving Mother Gujeswari’s bounty.
Hara Hara Mahadeva.
(draft Gods, Goddesses, Minor Deities and Sages) by Yogi Ananda Saraswathi