‘Shanta’ means peaceful as in ‘Santa Siva Advaita’ – Peaceful, Auspicious, Non-dual Brahman. Santi is calmness or peace implying spiritual peace. In Gita 16.15 Krishna states ‘santim nirvana paramam’ meaning ‘the supreme peace of nirvana which has its foundation in Me.’ Likewise ‘Shantimaya Siva’ means Siva full of peace. The Hindu name Santosh has its origin in Santi to mean one who is calm and self-controlled. Shantam means peace of being peaceful. But Mother also takes the Shanta Soumya form which is the fierce Durga Devi form.
PEACEMAKER: Shantadurga is a peaceful form of Goddess Durga. She got the name Shanta Durga Devi after she manifested to create peace between warring Shiva and Vishnu. So Shanta can also indicate a peacemaker and earns the name, Vijaya. The Puranas are replete with competitive wars between Vishnu in his preserving role and Shiva as the destroyer god. A fierce fight broke out between Shiva and Vishnu and that shook all the three lokhas. Brahma had to intervene before Shiva’s darkness engulfed the universe. Brahma realized that the fight would usher in total destruction and end of universe. So he prayed to Mother Goddess Shakti for peace and protection and reconciliation between Vishnu and Shiva.
Goddess Shakti appeared in the form of Shantadurga and put an end to the fight and simultaneously brought peace between her husband Shiva and Vishnu. Mother Lakshmi was also pleased of the peace treaty that Shantadurga blue printed. As Goddess Shantadurga form of Goddess Shakti is both wife and ardent devotee of Shiva, it is imperative that, while worshipping Mother Devi, Lord Shiva is also worshipped.
SANTERI TEMPLE: In Shantadurga Temple in Goa, also known as Santeri Temple, the garbhagruha near Devi, a Shivalinga is carved out of a black stone. Mother Shantadurga is both the consort and ardent devotee of Lord Siva. Both the deities are worshipped during abhishegham. Other depictions in art and sculptures are the murthis of Mother Shantadurga standing tall in between the murti of Shiva and Vishnu. Sometimes Mother Shantadurga is shown holding two serpents in each hand to symbolize Vishnu and Shiva. The serpents also represent that Mother is in control of the demonic qualities, in man, devas and celestial beings.
Mother is the patron goddess of fishermen. This is symbolized by the fish in her crown. Some take it that the fish is symbolical of Vishnu while the two serpents stand for Shiva. On the whole Goddess Shantadurga is symbolical of the feminine energy of Mother Goddess Devi. It is an illustration that without Mother Goddess, the earth will be barren and will be soon destroyed. What keeps the earth moving forward is the feminine aspect.
Hara Hara Mahadeva.
(draft Gods, Goddesses, Minor Deities and Sages)
Yogi Ananda Saraswathi