ARUPA: Aspects of God are tersely described as Rupa – easily tangible form; Rupa-arupa – form, formlessness, the less tangible form and Arupa – formlessness absolutely intangible. Rupa is anything constrained by height, length and width dimensions within the fourth dimension being space. If one can see and touch, then it is the rupa-form. This includes spiritual forms which we visualize in the mind. Rupa-arupa are forms that are less tangible and not constrained by the four dimensions but does take up space. For example, light, sound, mental or spiritual space, feelings such as love and hate are rupa-arupa because it takes up space. These distinctions are essential to comprehend god mystically and for God realization
PARASHAKTI: Is the unmanifest form, the original God Consciousness that pervades all existence. As such, Parashakti exists are Pure Consciousness from which all energy, intelligence and awareness arises. This cosmic energy is experienced and depicted as Divine Light, Pure Love, Pure Consciousness, Pure Space and Intelligence. It is Satchitananda, Bliss of formlessness. Then again, formlessness is the realm of Parabrahman which is Arupa, the third aspect of the Divine.
ARDHANARI AND SHIVALINGA: are symbols that explain the mystery of God in his form and formlessness. For want of a word, let us state that these forms of the formless explain the ‘co-existence’ and relationship between Parashakti and Parabrahman. Shivalingam represents formless Parabrahman in worship; Parashakti is deified within Shivalinga in the most beautiful and unique way. The most common form of Parashakti as used in worship is Ardhanarishwara; a single deity encompassing both the male and female.
Ardhanarishwarar depicts that Parashakti, can be realized or experienced when a seeker achieves a similar equilibrium of energies within himself or herself. Indeed spiritual disciplines when perfected bring about this equilibrium that leads the devotee to God Consciousness.
KUNDALINI SHAKTI: As we all know that, God lies in all beings in both dynamic and inactive aspect. Inactive aspect of God is Supreme Soul and Active aspect of God is Adi Parashakti. In all living beings God's both activated and Inactivated form lies i.e. God is Omnipresent. As inactive form, God is there as Soul within us and in activated form God is there as Kundalini Shakti, the epithet of Adi Parashakti. The male right side represents the masculine energy of willpower known as the pingala nadi and the feminine energy of passion courses through the left side of the body, known as the ida nadi. These two energy currents flows within both men and women to varying degrees, depending on their personality. Ardhanari represents the perfect balance of masculine and feminine energies, a state of equilibrium of these energies.
MANIFESTATIONS of PARASHAKTI: According to the Bhagavata Mahapurana, Adi Parashakti, the original Creator, Observer and Destroyer of the whole universe. Aum Shakti is used to describe the name of the goddess when she is without attributes. She is the ultimate Mother considered to be truly supreme spirit in Arupa form or Param Atman. In other words she is Nirguna Brahman. She manifests as Mahasaraswati, Malakshmi and Mahakali, possessing the three qualities of sattva, rahas and tamas gunas. This active energy is called Shakti referring to the power of the Trimurti; Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra. Parvati, the Goddess of Power is considered as the manifest or material form in her Saguna swarupa or human form.
PARASHAKTI WORSHIP: More common depictions of Parashakti in worship are indirect application of elements such as light. Hence, light or deepam and arati are showed at various times to keep shrines lit during worship. This is not to keep the deity lit but to depict God as Parashakti. The use of incense too represents Parashakti; aroma represents the All-Pervasive attribute of Parashakti.
GODDESS DEVI: In Srimad Devi Bhagwat Purana's 1st book and 4th chapter. Devi ordered and instructed the Trimurti. “I am Adi Parashakti, goddess Bhuvaneshvari. I am the owner of this universe. I am the Absolute Reality. I am dynamic in feminine form and static in masculine form. You are three parts of me. You all are my partial expansions. You have appeared to govern the universe under my jurisdiction. You are the masculine form of Absolute Reality, while I am the feminine form of that Reality. I am beyond form, beyond everything, and all the powers of God are contained within me. You will admit that I am the Eternally Limitless Power. I shall now assign each of you a task. She then commanded Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra to take up their individual assignments in the universe. She tells them that she will be by their sides as Shakti: Goddess Sharada as goddess of wisdom; Goddess Shri, the incarnation of Light and Mahakali, manifesting from Her left half, as consort of Shiva. She tells Rudra that it is due to her power that He becomes dynamic.”
PARVATI MANIFESTATIONS: From thereon, for the benefit of bhaktas, Adhi Parashakti manifests as Saguna form of Mother Parvati. Each of the following goddesses are aspects of the true form of Parvati in their roles as Shakti or the supreme god-head, Shiva’s energy.
UMA: Devi Gita suggests, it is suggested that before Parvati incarnation, Adi Parashakti appeared as Uma, Mountain Goddess born to the King of Himalaya and revealed divine, eternal knowledge to him. She explained herself as having neither beginning nor end and as being neither male nor female. She is the only, eternal truth. The whole universe is her creation and she is non-different from Para Brahman. She is one without second.
SATI is an ancient loving wife Goddess. Sati was the daughter of Daksha Prajaapati a descendant of Bhrama. Sati had married Shiva against the wishes of her father. In Satya Yuga, the vain Daksha performed a yagna to insult Siva. Daksha invited all of the gods and goddesses except his son in law Shiva. This did not deter Sati from attending the yagna against Shiva's wishes. She does so as an uninvited guest and is insulted by her father. Unable to bear this insult, Sati is also Dakshayani. She immolated herself by her yogic powers.
Siva hears of this and enraged at the insult and the injury. He went to the place where Daksha was performing his oblation, along with his ‘ganas’ or followers. The oblation site was destroyed. Siva through Veerabhadra and Bhardrakali, cut off Daksha's head and replaced it with that of a goat, as he restored him to life.
Lord Shiva then carried the dead-body of Sati and started wandering all over the place like a lunatic. He was immersed with extreme grief. It was Sati as Aparna, the digambra ascetic that lured him out of his meditative state. The celestial Gods had blessed the Siva-Sati marriage. He would not function without her. The universe thundered with his angered footsteps of the cosmic Thandava. He ran about and danced in sadness and anger. The celestial dance of destruction shook all the three worlds.
The Gods approached Lord Vishnu to intervene and relieve Siva of his grief and further destruction. Lord Vishnu brings this saga to an end by severing Sati’s dead body with his Sudarshan Chakra so that Siva could return to his sanity and go on his Trinity duties. Various organs and ornaments fell at different place. These places became famous as ‘Shakti-Peethas, in due course of time. Sati would be born as Parvathi at a later period as the daughter of Himavat. In these Peethas, Shakti manifests as Dakshayani, Parvathi or Durga. Bhairava refers to the corresponding consort, each a manifestation of Shiva. In all these temples the theological import of Sati’s story signifies her loyalty to Siva.
SHAKTI PEETHS: Brahmanda Purana mentions of 64 Shakti Peethas of Goddess Parvathi. Mahapitha Purana states there are 52 Peethas attributed to Sati. Some are of the opinion that there 108 Peethas. These locations are ambiguous. Some of the peethas are now non-existent. Of these, 18 are known as ‘Maha Shakti Peethas’ and hence Adi Shankara’s writing on the peethas is also known as Ashta Dasa Shakti Peetha Stotram. Shankara names the places and the Goddesses.
It is generally agreed that Peethas at Kamakhya, Gaya and Ujjain are regarded to symbolise the important aspects of Shakti – Creation, Nourishment and Annihilation. Curiously the three Peethas lie in a perfectly in a straight line symbolising that annihilation of the universe would not fail. The Goddess is often associated both with Gauri-Parvathi, the benevolent goddess of harmony, marital felicity and longevity, with Durga, goddess of strength and valour, and with Mahakali, goddess of destruction of the evil.
GAURI is the younger version of virgin Parvati. Goddess Gauri is one of the manifestations of Goddess Parvati. Indeed she appears to be Parvathi herself on a retrospect time scale. The common epithets for Parvathi are Uma and Aparna. In the Ramayana the name Uma is synonym for Mother Parvathi. In the Harivamsa, she is Aparna meaning One who took to sustenance. These are also correlative to Sati. Mother Parvathi is Shakti or the Divine Mother, appearing in many forms such as Durga and Kali also. In describing Parvathi’s complexion, she is addressed as Gauri, the fair goddess or as the dark Kali. Could one say that Gauri was indeed Mother Parvathi in her teens and its corresponding emotions and feelings?
PARVATI: Parvati is an ancient mountain goddess, associated with the Himalayas. She is similar to, but not identical with, the mountain goddess Uma. In terms of her vibrant personality and relationship Lord Shiva, she also shares some aspects and attributes of Sati, Shiva’s first wife. Parvati is the mother Shiva’s children. She is more connected to their abode in the Kailash mountains.
DURGA means the inaccessible or the invincible. Another meaning of "Durga" is "Durgatinashini," which literally translates into "the one who eliminates sufferings." The most common legend of Durga manifestation is the famed feat of killing the demon Mahisha who took the form of a bull and attacked the devas and gods. In this battle, Durga armed with the weapons of all the gods, none of whom could defeat the demon because he was immune to death at the hands of a male. So, she was the emanation of all the Gods. In all, Durga is a multi-faceted by being a member of the Kali- Sati- Parvati- Durga- Gauri- Ambika- Uma- Candi class of goddess, all of whom are formerly regional "great" goddesses later syncretized as aspects of the brides and consorts of Lord Shiva. She is the patroness of soldiers and bless their military weapons. In the rural setting, Durga is the ancient grain and battle goddess.
NAVADURGA: Shakti is the very possibility of the Absolute’s appearing as many, of God’s causing this universe. God creates this world through Srishti-Shakti -creative power, preserves through Sthiti-Shakti - preservative power, and destroys through Samhara-Shakti - destructive power. Shakti and Shakta are one; the power and the one who possesses the power cannot be separated; God and Shakti are like fire and heat of fire. The Navadurgas are Goddesses Sailaputri, Brahmacharini, Chandraghanta, Khusmanda, Skandamata, Katyayani, Kalaratri, Mahagauri and Siddhiratri.
SAPTA MATRIKAS: The Varaha Purana, stating them to be eight in number by including Goddess Yogeswari. They represent eight mental qualities which are morally wanting: 1.Yogeswari – kama or desire; Maheswari – krodh or anger; Vaishnavi – lobha or coveatness; Brahmani – mada or pride; Kaumari – Moha or illusion; Indrani – Matsarya or fault finding; Yami (Chamunda) – tale bearing and Varahi – asuya or envy. The Sapta-Matrikas portray beautiful allegory. Siva is the spirit of Vidya, knowledge. Andhaka represents, ignorance or the darkness of of Avidya. The more Vidya attacks Avidya the more it tends to arise and increase.
KALI: The Devimahatmya, quite correctly, states that Mother Durga pervades the cosmos and creates, maintains, and periodically destroys it in accord with the rhythm of Hindu cosmology. When there is adharma and cosmic balance is threatened, Mother manifests in different forms to be the upholder of dharma. In that she wields weapons and even manifests the fiercer Kali form.
Kali is typically shown as a deranged or wrathful half naked woman, and is often depicted dancing upon the corpse of her consort of Lord Shiva. She is multi-armed; her tongue protrudes; she wears a garland of skulls, holds a severed head in one hand, and brandishes a hooked blade called a kartri, along with other weapons. Yet to most of her devotees, she is a loving Mother, despite her ferocity. Kali means ‘black’ and is also the female form of the word ‘kala’ which means ‘time’. So she is also cremation-ground goddess who is the Mistress of Time.
According to the Shiva Purana or Parvati based Puranas, Kali came into being when Shiva teased Parvati of her dark skin and called her blackie. In response, she undertook penance to shed her black skin and became effulgently light, the epithet Gauri or ‘shining’.
KATYAYANI: In other accounts, Parvati's black skin did not take on life of its own as Kali but instead took on a life of its own as Katyayani, a kindly version of Kali, who rides upon a tiger or a lion, just like Durga, who arose from the emanations of all the gods. This is an attempt to synthesize Kali, Parvati, and Durga into one entity, while giving Parvati primacy.
Amarakosha, the Sanskrit Lexicon states Katyayani as Goddess Parvathi’s second name. In the Dakshan’s yagna episode, Lord Siva addresses Parvathi as Karthiyayini. She is also known as Katyayani Gouri later manifesting as the fierce form of Shakti, including Bhadrakali and Chandi. Katyayani is first mentioned in the Tittiriya Aranyaka part of the Krishna Yajurveda. Details about Katyayani is also found in the Matsya Purana, Agni Purana and Vamana Purana. Indeed some scriptures suggest that Goddess Katyayani is just another name for Mahishasura Mardini Durga.
DASAMAHAVIDYA: The spectrum of Mother Goddesses cover the whole range of Feminine Divinity. This encompasses fierce and horrific goddesses at the one end to ravishing beautiful and loving ones at the other end to give the meaning of Mahavidya: Maha – great, Vidya – Knowledge. They are Goddesses of Great Knowledge.
The Mahavidya Mothers are Kali: the Eternal Night, the Goddesses of Time, Tara: The Goddess Who Guides through Troubles, Tripurasundari: She who is Lovely in the Three Worlds, Bhuvanesvari: She Whose Body is the World, Chinamasta: The Self-Decapitated Goddess, Bhairavi: The Fierce and Terrible, Dhumavati: The Widow Goddess, Bagalamukhi: The Paralysing Goddess, Matangi: The Outcaste Goddess and finally Kamala, the ever-beautiful Lotus Goddess.
Tantra Sadhana involves tantric puja, rituals and sadhanas for worshiping the ten aspects of Mahavidya goddesses. Various yantra and mantra recitation are prescribed for their worship. This must be done under the guidance of a guru.
Hara Hara Mahadeva
(draft Mother Goddess Worship)
by Yogi Ananda Saraswathi... so grateful for all his writings..