Hinduism is probably
the only religion in the world which talks about Shakti (the Sacred
Feminine) concept as being equal in power to the Parabrahma or the
Supreme Divine. According to Hinduism, the elements of Shakti (the
female or the Prakruti) and Shiva (the male or the Purusha) are two
parts of a whole. While they are incomplete by themselves, they form a
balanced, harmonious whole together.
Shakti, as the name
itself suggests, means "Strength". Lord Shiva has stated time and again
that He is nothing without His companion, Goddess Shakti. This clearly
depicts the important role play by the Mother Goddess in the Hindu
pantheon. In this article, we bring you the story about the Ten
Mahavidyas of Hindu mythology.
"Mahavidyas", comes from the Sanskrit roots of Maha, which means great
and Vidya, meaning, Wisdom, Knowledge, Manifestation or Revelation.
The Dus Mahavidyas
or the Ten Goddesses are actually ten aspects of the Devi or the Divine
Mother in Hinduism. These are Goddesses of Wisdom and represent an
entire spectrum of divinity, right from horrific goddesses, to the most
beautiful and peaceful deities.
The Mahvidyas, as a
group, represents a vital turning point in the history of Shaktism, as
it marks the rise of Bhakti in Shaktism. This movement reached its peak
in 1700 C.E. Commencing during the post-Puranic era, in about the 6th
century C.E., this new theistic movement envisioned the supreme being
as a female.
texts such as the Devi-Bhagavata Purana, especially in the seventh
skandha, which are known as the Devi Gita, talk about the Devi's
powers. This soon became the central texts of Shaktism.
In Shaktism, the
Divine Mother is jointly worshipped as a combination of ten different
cosmic personalities. She is seen as the One Truth in ten different
facets - the Dus Mahavidyas.
What sets the
Mahavidyas from other Devi forms is that are considered Tantric nature.
They take the following names and manifestations:
All of the above ten forms of the Goddess are worshiped as aspects of the universal Mother.
According to the
Mahabhagvata Purana, the Mahavidyas manifested as a result of an
argument between Shiva and Sati, the earlier incarnation of Devi
Sati's father, King
Daksha, disapproved of his daughter's love for Shiva. He was further
incensed when Sati went on to marry Him. Daksha organized a great yagna
(sacrificial ritual) to which he invited everyone except his daughter
insisted on attending the sacrifice, in spite of Shiva forbidding her
from doing so. Her anger transformed Sati into a terrible presence,
which multiplied into the ten Mahavidyas. These Goddesses jointly
subdued Shiva's resistance and thereby, Sati proceeded ahead to attend
the sacrificial ritual.
There is yet another
legend about the birth of the Mahavidyas. Shiva and Parvati are
believed to have played numerous love games with each other. On one
such occasion, things went a bit too far with a mock fight, with Shiva
threatening to walk out on Parvati. The Devi tried to cajole her Lord
into not leaving her. But Shiva refused to listen to her and tried to
move away from her.
Parvati then decided
to take ten different forms of herself, each facing one of the ten
directions. Thus Shiva was unable to escape from her, as he would find
one aspect of her standing in each of the directions he turned,
guarding it, preventing him from escaping.
This made Shiva
realize the true degree of their eternal love and also, that Shakti's
power was much superior to his own. The Devi demonstrated her own
endless powers to Shiva, also making him realize many essential truths
in the process.
This is why these
ten aspects of the Devi are called Mahavidyas - the great Goddesses of
Wisdom. These truths apply to mortals as well. The Mahavidyas are the
Goddesses who collectively guide us, inspiring us to search for and
find the spiritual beings lying dormant within us.
Let us now go ahead and learn more about each of these powerful Dus Mahavidyas.
"Kali Kali Mahakali Kalike Papanasini
Khadgahaste Mundahaste Kali Kali Namostu Te"
Kali is regarded as one of the fiercest deities in Hinduism. The word
Kali arises from the Sanskrit word "Kaal", which means time. This is
also why Goddess Kali is sometimes referred as the Goddess of Death. In
actuality, though, Kali is the slayer of the ego in a person.
A study of the
Goddess reveals that she only killed evil demons, who caused much
turbulence in the world. Kali is not in any way associated with Yama,
the Hindu God of Death. Interestingly, Goddess Kali is also considered
mother by her devotees - and is one of the few Goddesses who are
celibate, who renounced the whole world.
Kali is shown with
four arms. In two hands, she hold a sword and a freshly severed head,
representing the fierce battle in which she destroyed the demon
Raktabija. The other two hands bless her devotees, granting them
liberation in this life and in the next.
Kali wears a garland
of 52 skulls and a skirt of dismembered arms because the ego comes out
of identification with the body. Her black or dark blue skin represents
the womb from which all creation springs forth and into which all of
creation will ultimately return. She is the pure, un-manifested energy,
Goddess Kali is
depicted placing one foot on Lord Shiva, who is pure formless awareness
Sat-Chit-Ananda. Here, Kali represents "form" eternally supported by
Kali and Shiva are
considered to inhabit cremation grounds. The cremation grounds imply
the temporary nature of the body, as against the permanence of the
soul. Devotees actually visit these areas in order to pray to the deity
to destroy the ego.
Kali is also the
most merciful one, as she provides moksha or salvation to her children.
Both Kali and Shiva are the destroyers of evil and unreal. It is
believed that Kali will appear as wrathful to the egoistical ones. But
for people who are truly spiritually inclined, Maa Kali will appear as
a protective, benevolent and affectionate figure.
TARA PEETH KALI
"Pratyalidhapade Ghore Mundalamala Pasovite
Kharve Lambodari Bhime Ughratara Namostu Te"
Tara is often
depicted in a form similar to that of Kali. However, there are
differences in the depiction - Tara's complexion is blue whereas Kali's
can be black or blue. Tara holds a bowl made from a scull in one hand,
a pair of scissors in another, a blue lotus in the third hand and an
axe in the fourth. She is draped in tiger skin and has a necklace of
skulls. Though depicted to be a very fierce deity, she is considered to
be benevolent towards her devotees and showers them with blessings.
Tara is the deity of accomplishments and is frequently propitiated by business owners for success. She is also a provider of salvation, and speaking prowess.
"Om Aim Hreem Shreem Sri Lalita
Tripurasundari Padukam Poojayami Namah"
The above is the
simple mantra used in Chakra Pooja or Yantra Pooja, that is,
worshipping the Goddess in the form of the Shreechakra Yantra. This is
also regarded as the highest form of worship of Lalita Tripura Sundari.
literally means the "Beauty of the Three Worlds". Goddess Lalita (the
one who indulges in play), also referred to as Shodashi (the
Vermillion-hued One) and Rajarajeshwari (Queen of Queens), is regarded
as the most beautiful one ever.
IMAGE OF TRIPURA SUNDARI
from DUS MAHAVIDYA
Sundari is depicted as a sixteen year old (another meaning for
Shodashi), thus embodying the sixteen types of desire. She is described
as having a dusky complexion and is often depicted in an intimate
position with one aspect of Shiva. She is also shown sitting on the
Shree Peetham, a throne or pedestal which usually seats most of the
major Hindu Gods such as Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.
interpretation is that her body is said to be made up of the collective
Shaktis or energies of Brahma, Vishnu, and Rudra, that is, she is
Brahmani, Vaishnavi and Rudrani respectively.
Lalita holds five
flower arrows, noose, goad and bow. While the noose represents
attachment; the goad symbolizes repulsion; the sugarcane bow, the mind;
and the flowery arrows, the five sense objects.
combines Kali's determination and Durga's charm, grace, verve and
complexion. She has a third eye on her forehead. Clad in red, the
richly ornamented Tripurasundari sits on a lotus seat laid on a golden
throne. She carries in her hands various attributes associated with
Shiva. An aura of royalty characterizes her overall bearing and
Panchadashakshari (fifteen-lettered) mantra is the most guarded secrets
of Sri Vidya, which a Guru only gives to the most highly deserving
disciple. This mantra, it is said, should only be taught to a deserving
person as this is the King of all Vidyas.
Sahasranama describes the deity as extremely merciful, leading the
devotee to liberation. Adi Shankara's Tripura Sundari Ashtakam portrays
the Goddess as a Mother wearing a blue and red-spotted dress, holding a
pot of honey.
IMAGE OF BHUVANESHWARI
from DUS MAHAVIDYA
Namami Varadaam Suddhaam Kamakhyaroopineem Shivam"
Sanskrit, means the Creator of the World. Goddess Bhuvaneshwari is the
fourth of the Dus Mahavidyas. She embodies the physical cosmos and is
considered to give shape to the creation of the World.
regarded as the supreme goddess who creates everything and destroys all
the unnecessary evils of world. She is also the Mother goddess of Kali,
Lakshmi, and Saraswati also Gayatri. The Bija(root) Mantra of Goddess
Bhuvaneswari is "Hreem" and she is also known as Om Shakti or Adi
It is believed that
she is so powerful that even the navagrahas (nine planets) cannot stop
her from doing anything she wishes to do.
"Guptadurge Mahabhage Guptapaapapranashini
Saptajanmaarjitat Paapaat Traahi Maam Saranagatam"
who severs her own head", is also called Chhinnamastika or Prachanda
Chandika. This tantric goddesses is a ferocious aspect of the Devi and
can be identified by her fearsome iconography.
self-decapitated goddess holds her own severed head in one hand and a
scimitar in the other. Three jets of blood spurt out of her bleeding
neck, which is drunk by her own severed head and two attendants
standing by each side of her. Chhinnamasta is also usually portrayed as
standing on a copulating couple.
As the figure of
Chhinnamasta suggests, this particular Mahavidya is associated with the
concept of self-sacrifice as well as the awakening of the kundalini -
the spiritual energy lying dormant within the Sookshma Sharira (subtle
body). Chhinnamasta is a mixture of contradictions. She is regarded
both as a symbol of self-control on sexual desire as well as an
embodiment of sexual energy, depending upon the interpretation of the
As Chhinnamasta is
considered a dark and dangerous deity, she has few temples, mostly
found in North India and Nepal. Her individual worship is restricted to
Tantric worship by Tantrikas and yogis.
Chhinnamasta is recognized by Hindus as well as Buddhists. She is
closely related to Chinnamunda - the severed-headed form of the Tibetan
Buddhist goddess Vajrayogini.
shown as being red like the hibiscus flower and as bright as a million
suns. Portrayed mostly nude, with dishevelled hair, she is considered
to be a sixteen-year-old girl with full breasts, having a blue lotus
near her heart. Chhinnamasta is also depicted donning a serpent as a
sacred thread and a garland of skulls/severed heads, bones and other
ornaments around her neck.
She carries her own
severed head in her left hand and holds a khatri or scimitar-like
object in her right hand, by which she decapitated herself. Three
streams of blood string from her neck, one of which enters her own
mouth. The others are drunk by her female companions.
Both the attendants
are depicted nude as well, with three-eyes, wearing the serpentine
sacred thread and carrying the skull-bowl in the left hand and the
knife in the right. While Dakini is light-skinned and represents the
tamas guna, Varnini is red-complexioned and embodies the rajas guna.
often shown standing on Kamadeva (the god of Love) and his wife Rati,
who are engrossed in copulation with the latter, usually on top. Below
the couple lies a lotus and in the background is a cremation ground.
The copulating couple is sometimes different and sometimes, completely
According to one
legend from the Pranotasani Tantra, Parvati, while once having a bath
in the Mandakini river, becomes sexually excited, making her skin turn
black. At this time, her two female attendants Dakini and Varnini also
become extremely hungry and beg for food. Though Parvati initially
promises to give them food once they get back home, she decides to
behead herself by means of using her nails and gives them her blood to
satiate their hunger.
The other story is
narrated by Shiva. His consort Chandika (also an aspect of Parvati) was
engrossed in coitus with him in reverse posture, but became angry at
his seminal emission. Her attendants Dakini and Varnini rose from her
body. The rest of the story is similar to the earlier version.
There is yet another
legend that relates how the goddess Prachanda-Chandika helped the gods
slay all the evil demons. The enraged goddess then cut off her own head
too and drinks her own blood.
Her name also
appears in the Samudra Manthan episode (Churning of Ocean), where
Chhinnamasta drinks up the demons' share of the Devamruta (divine
elixir of youth) and then beheads herself to prevent the demons from
acquiring the same.
signifies that life, death and sex are interdependent. Her image
embodies the eternal truth that life feeds on death and that the
ultimate destiny of sex is to perpetuate more life, which in turn will
decay and die in order to feed more life. The lotus and the copulating
couple symbolize life and the urge to procreate. The blood flowing from
goddess' neck conveys death, which flows into the mouths of her
devotees, nourishing them. This symbolizes the aspect of the Goddess as
In a spiritual
context, the image of Chhinnamasta is a representation of the awakening
of the kundalini. The lovemaking couple actually represents the
awakening in the Muladhara chakra. The kundalini flows through the
central passage in the body. The blood spilling from the throat depicts
the upward-flowing kundalini, breaking all obstacles and finally
resulting in enlightenment.
The severed head
shows the transcendent consciousness. Daknini, Varnini and Chhinnamasta
can be related to the three main subtle nadis or channels, namely, Ida,
Pingala and Sushumna. The self-decapitation also represents removal of
ignorance and ego.
Shabdabrahmamaye Svacche Vande Tripurabhairaveem"
Terrible One, is also the consort of Lord Bhairava, a fearsome,
destructive aspect of Shiva. Bhairavi is the very embodiment of
destruction and decay. Hence, she is also termed as the Goddess of
Decay. Bhairavi's destruction, though, need not always indicate
negativity. The principle behind her destruction is that everything
that gets created needs to be destroyed, in order for the cycle of life
to keep moving.
BHAIRAVI AS KAAL RATRI
Goddess Bhairavi is
almost indistinguishable from the terrible Kali. They are much the same
in looks, except for the fact that Bhairavi is depicted as the consort
Bhairavi is also
referred to as Shubmkari, who is good to good people and terrible to
bad ones. Legend has it that, when Bhairavi entered the battle field,
her horrible appearance made the demons weak-kneed and cowered under
her gaze. Most of the demons would start panicking the moment they saw
Saptashathi, while slaying the demons Shumbha and Nishumbha, Bhairavi
is seen as the Mahakali. However, she also slays Chanda and Munda (the
Chieftains of asuras) and drinks their blood. Hence, Parvathi
gives her the name, Chamundeshwari.
Bhairavi in her
other forms, is also identified with Durga. In her violent form, she is
sometimes shown sitting on a donkey, her body covered with a tiger skin
and skeleton, her mouth dripping with the blood of the asuras. She
presents the abhaya mudra (gesture which grants the devotee succour)
and vara mudhra (bestowing boons on the devotee). Contrarily, she is
also shown holding heavy weapons such as a trident, axe, and
associated with the Mahapralaya (the Great Deluge at the end of each
yuga or epoch), during which all creation is dissolved in the formless
waters of destruction. Since everything that is ever created is
destroyed, destruction exists everywhere. In that sense, Goddess
Bhairavi exists everywhere.
Bhairavi is the name
given to a female yogini adept in Kundalini Tantra. A Bhairavi is one
who has succeeded in mastering the Kundalini shakti (power) inside her.
"Bhairavi", itself implies terror. It aslo means "awe-inspiring".
Hence, the one who attains the status of Bhairavi, is beyond the fear
of death, which is supposedly the greatest fear faced by living beings.
IMAGE OF DHUMAWATI
from DUS MAHAVIDYA
"Devim Koteshwarim Suddhampapaghnim
Namami Muktikamaya Dehi Muktim Harapriye"
"the Smoky One", represents the fearsome aspect of an old, ugly widow.
Like her depictio, she is associated with the inauspicious and the
unattractive, such as the crow and the Chaturmas period, which does not
augur well at all according to the Hindu calendar. It is believed that
Dhumavati manifests herself at the time of the Mahapralaya and is "the
Great Void" that exists before creation and after dissolution.
Though Dhumavati is
largely associated with ill-omens, her Sahasranama or thousand-name
hymn talks about both her positive and negative aspects. She is also
referred to as being soft-hearted and a bestower of boons, a great
teacher and one who reveals ultimate knowledge of the universe. Her
ugly form teaches the devotee to look beyond the superficial, to look
inwards and ultimately, seek inner truths, which matter the most.
Dhumavati is also
known to bestow siddhis or extraordinary powers on devotees and rescues
them from all troubles and ultimately grants them moksha or salvation.
Those who wish to destroy evil foes would do very well worshipping
Interestingly, Dhumavati is also worshipped by single persons, desirous of seeking life partners, by Tantrikas desiring to attain supernatural powers and also by those who want to renounce the material world.
In her temple at
Varanasi, Dhumavati goes beyond her inauspicious form and manifests as
a local protective deity. Though there are very few temples dedicated
to her worship, Tantrikas continue to adore her and worship her in
secluded places like cremation grounds and forests.
As a goddess of
hardships, hunger, thirst, destruction, death, poverty and despair,
Devi Dhumavati is often compared to Nairrti, the God of Sickness and
Misery. Dhumavati is believed to have a bad temper and encourage an
unhappy atmosphere, creating much rife and quarrels.
The Dhumavati Tantra
describes the goddess as an old, thin and ugly widow, with a pale
complexion. She is portrayed as restless and wicked. She wears old,
dirty clothes, wears no jewels and has dishevelled hair. Her eyes
inspire fear, her nose is long and crooked, and some of her long
fang-like teeth are missing, leaving her smile with gaps. Her ears are
ugly and rough and her breasts hang down.
One of her trembling
hands is held a winnowing basket, while the other has a varada-mudra or
chinmudra (granting knowledge). Her vahana (vehicle) is a horseless
chariot bearing an emblem of a crow and a banner.
Prapancasarasara-samgraha describes Dhumavati as having a very dark
complexion and wearing ornaments made of snakes. She holds a spear or
sword and a kapala or skull-cup in her hands. She also has an aged,
wrinkled face. Her nose, eyes, and throat resemble those of a crow. She
holds a broom, a winnowing fan, a torch, and a club.
She is also
sometimes shown as holding a trident. This terrible goddess also
sometimes chews the corpses of the demons Chanda and Munda, and drinks
a mixture of blood and wine.
Some rare paintings
portray her as a full-breasted, beautiful young woman, adorned with the
finest gold jewellery. She looks sexually tempting, but is still an
inauspicious widow. Some regions of Nepal depict her as a nude woman,
wearing a pearl necklace and headband, standing on a peacock, looking
into her own reflection in a mirror. A ring of fire, which probably
conveys cremation flames, surrounds her.
Dhumavati guards the
Southeast direction. According to the Shaktisamagama-Tantra, Dhumavati
arose from the flames which Sati had jumped into. The
Pranatosini-Tantra gives yet another story.
Once, Sati was very
hungry and requested Shiva to bring them some food. When Shiva refuses
to do so, she eats him up to satisfy her hunger pangs. Shiva asks her
to disgorge him, but she declines to do so. Shiva is incensed and
curses Sati that she would assume the form of a widow!
is the only Mahavidya who has no consort. Having consumed Shiva, she
destroys the male element (Purusha) in the universe. She is hence left
with nothing but a horseless chariot and nowhere left to go in
Dhumavati is also associated with sex and is said to be present where
sexual activity is, and to be occupied with sex. She is believed to
like liquor, to be intoxicated and to be worshiped by intoxicated
IMAGE OF BAGALAMUKHI
from DUS MAHAVIDYA
"Prapadye Saranam Devim Srikamakhyam
Shivasysa Dayitam Shuddham Kamakhyam Kamaroopini"
or Bagala is the One who destroys her devotees' enemies. In parts of
Northern India, she is also known as Pitambara and Brahmastra Roopini.
She is the one whose face has the power to capture or control. She
therefore represents the hypnotic power of the Goddess.
Bagalamukhi has a
golden, glowing complexion and is dressed in yellow. She sits on a
golden throne right in the middle of an ocean of nectar, covered with
yellow lotuses. A crescent moon adorns her head. She is depicted both
as Dwibhuja (two-handed) and Chaturbhuja (four-handed).
The former form
shows her as more benevolent. She if shown holding a club in her right
hand with which she beats a demon and pulling his tongue out with her
left hand. This image is interpreted as an exhibition of stambhana, the
power to stun or paralyse an enemy into silence.
She is known for her powers to turn everything into its opposite, such as speech into silence, knowledge into ignorance, defeat into victory and so on. This Mahavidya represents the knowledge whereby each thing must in time become its opposite. Bagalamukhi hence embodies the secret presence of the opposite wherein each thing is dissolved back into the Unborn and the Uncreated.
It is believed that
at one point in time, a huge storm had come over the Earth. So fierce
was its power that it threatened to destroy whole of the creation.
Fearing the unthinkable, all the gods assembled in the Saurashtra
region and prayed to the Mother Goddess for succor.
emerged from the 'Haridra Sarovara', and pleased by the requests of the
other demi gods, came down to Earth and calmed the storm down.
There are many
Bagalamukhi temples in Himachal Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. Nepal also
has a large temple dedicated to the worship of Bagalamukhi, in the
region of Patan.
Bagalamukhi Puja is
performed according to Vedic ritual, only by experienced Pujaris
(priests). Properly performed, it is believed not only to decrease the
power of one's enemy, but also to ultimately render them helpless.
IMAGE OF MATANGI
from DUS MAHAVIDYA
"Saraswatyaya Namo Nityam Bhadrakalyaya
Vedavedantavedanga Vidyasthanebhya Eva Cha"
Matangi is the
Tantric form of Saraswati (the She Who Flows Continuously). While
Saraswati's energies are directed towards learning, academics,
language, and the arts, Matangi's energies are focused inward, on
acquiring deeper wisdom.
Matangi is the hence
the patron of inner thought and speech. She guides her devotee to Aum,
the primordial sound. Considered the daughter of Rishi Matanga, she is
worshipped as Goddess Meenakshi at the temple at Madurai, Tamil Nadu.
Matangi is actually
an aspect of Sati. Appearing just after Bhagalamukhi, Matangi is
closely associated with the Poornima, the full moon - the 'night of
intoxication'. She is believed to grant control over all forms of
speech, including poetry and music. She is associated with the throat
chakra. She is also associated with vast and expansive knowledge and
therefore, with Saraswati as well.
Matangi is depicted
as having three eyes, dark (blue-black or dark emerald) complexion,
extremely beautiful and sensuous, with large breasts, slender waist and
long, flowing locks. She holds a goad, a noose, a sword and a sarod, a
musical instrument. Of course, these items differ from region to
considered to be born as a chandala or outcaste. Her father was a
chandala who was raised as a Brahmin. Maybe this is how she originated
as a tribal or non-Vedic deity.
Devi Matangi is
associated with strong sexual energy, the expression of which may take
several forms. Though part of the Mahavidya group of Shaktis, Devi
Matangi is complete in herself and is regarded as the most potent
"Sadachara Priye Devi Shuklapushpamvarapriye
Gomayadishuchiprite Mahalakshmi Namostu Te"
Kamala is closely
identified with the Tantric form of Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth.
Kamala is the goddess of creation and consciousness. This strikingly
beautiful goddess with golden skin and is shown either seated or
standing on a fully bloomed lotus, flanked by elephants on each side.
power is the destruction of poverty, both material and spiritual, and
the bestower of well-being, prosperity and fertility. In fact, both
Lakshmi and Kamala are the same goddess, though the latter is more
esoteric in nature.
lotus denotes purity, auspiciousness and piety. It is also a symbol of
the entire manifested universe, found in every yantra and is associated
with many deities of the Hindu Pantheon.
The other esoteric
significance of the lotus is that it grows from murky, muddy waters and
yet, is in no way attached to the water. It bursts forth into large
leaves and gorgeous, fragrant blossoms, symbolizing the emergence of
the pure, limitless Atman (soul) from the impure, limited material
body. This lovely flower is also very nourishing - almost all its parts
are edible and healthy. Hence, it represents the vital nature of the
spiritual path in nurturing our whole self.
The elephants that
shower Kamala with water symbolize the fertile rains of monsoon that
create and nurture the whole universe. They also give her an air of
royalty - she is the consort of Vishnu, the Preserver. Hence, she too
becomes the preserver of the Earth.
While Lakshmi is usually depicted as serving Vishnu, Devi Kamala takes the position of the primary deity as the elephants bathe her instead.
Kamala is the power
who creates happiness and abundance all around. Kamala also blesses
families with children, hence those experiencing difficulty conceiving
would do well to offer worship to this powerful Tantric Goddess. Those
who already have children also pray to Kamala for the well-being of
Devi Kamala is the
spirit of nature and is manifest in the natural world. Hence, we can
worship her by spending time in nature, appreciating its profound
beauty and also trying our level best to protect the Earth's natural
resources and the natural habitat. By doing thus, we can move on the
path of spiritual progress, of becoming a sadhaka of the Divine Mother
One can also worship
Kamala to help manifest their own creative vision, eliminate poverty,
stabilize the home environment and open up one's heart to spiritual
practice of the deity.
The day of Lakshmi
Pujan, during Diwali, is special to Devi Kamala. This is celebrated on
the full moon day of the Ashvin month. There are prescribed techniques
listed out for Lakshmi Puja. But even those not knowing about ritual
techniques can pray to this benevolent deity with their whole heart.
This wonderful deity immediately grants the seeker all his desires!
The worship of the
Mahavidyas in any form ultimately leads the sadhaka to liberation. Even
the deities who appear fierce are in actuality, always bestowing grace
on their devotees, leading them on to conquer forever higher peaks in
their spiritual lives.
The central aim
while becoming a Devi Upasaka (follower) is to stretch one's
consciousness beyond the conventional, to break away from binding
social norms and expectations. This liberates the devotee and raises
his consciousness from the inhibiting categories of proper and
improper, good and bad, polluted and pure.
The upasana of the
supposedly "bizarre" goddesses in the group of Mahavidyas probably
facilitate the devotee's spiritual climb, by helping him shun the
"approved" social norms and open out his heart to the more esoteric,
which is indeed the main prerequisite while on the path of deep
However, here is a
word of caution for those intent on seeking the grace of a Mahavidya.
Though each of these Mahavidyas is very powerful and grants all the
boons as desired by their devotees, Sadhakas (seekers) should
understand that they should never try and misuse the powers of the
special mantras attributed to these Devis.
All aspects of the ritual worship should be carried out faithfully, without missing a single point. Also, they should never endeavour to do ritual worship on their own, without the initiation and guidance of a Guru. Omitting any ritual in a certain Devi's worship, it is considered, will result in severe ill-effects for the devotee.
This article was written by:
Priya Viswanathan, a teacher/performer of Bharata Natyam, Classical Music and Classical Instrumental Veena. A recipient of several awards for both music and dance, Priya is also a freelance writer online. She currently writes for About.com, a subsidiary of IAC - the parent company of Ask.com. (http://mobiledevices.about.com)