Showing posts with label Hindu Goddess. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hindu Goddess. Show all posts

Hinduism - Who Is Yogmaya In The Hindu Pantheon?


Yogmaya is a powerful Goddess form known for her capacity to bewitch and perplex people—in other words, her ability to wield maya, the power of illusion.

Yogmaya is mentioned as the divinity who assumes the shape of a newborn girl and is subsequently slain by Krishna's cruel uncle, Kamsa, according to certain modern texts.

All the inmates of Kamsa's palace fall slumber under her enchantment the previous night, according to these texts, and Krishna's father, Vasudeva, is able to take the child away.

Yogmaya is said to have facilitated Krishna's clandestine rendezvous with the ladies of Braj later in his career—when Krishna plays his flute, the women come to him, but all the others fall under Yogmaya's influence and are oblivious of their absence.

Yogmaya is a strong goddess because of her capacity to manipulate maya; she is honored on the fourth day of Navaratri, the festival of the "nine nights" that are holy to the Goddess in her many incarnations.

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Hinduism - Who Is Goddess Yellamma In The Hindu Pantheon?


Presiding deity of the sanctuary atop Yellama hill in Saundatti, Karnataka's Belgaum district.

Yellama's temple is famous for being a historic center for devadasis ("[female] servants of the Lord"), a class of women held in temples as singers and dancers in the service of the temple's presiding goddess, to whom they were traditionally considered "married." Both boys and girls may be consecrated in Yellama's temple.

Although the devadasi tradition has been associated with common prostitution for the past two centuries, it was far more common in earlier times for a devadasi to live with a single man for the rest of her life, despite the fact that she could not marry him because she was considered dedicated to the deity.

This devotion is sometimes done in response to a demand from the goddess herself, which is revealed via possession; in other situations, the parents undertake it in the hopes of gaining some tangible benefit, most notably recovery from sickness.

Yellamma is linked to fire, as well as causing (and maybe treating) skin disorders, which can be seen as a metaphor for "burning." According to the old paradigm, devadasis possessed a distinct social status and unique legal privileges, including the right to family inheritance and the ability to conduct religious ceremonies that were not available to other women.

These privileged powers vanished with the banning of the devadasi system, which was partially carried out by the British and was finally carried out in post-independence India.

Although such dedications continue to occur, they are often used as a cover for procuring the girls, who are then transferred to brothels in Bombay, Pune, and other central Indian towns.

Most of the girls come from very impoverished families, and their devotion to Yellamma is a method for them to avoid having to pay for a wedding, which is a big expenditure in modern Indian culture.

The dedications are said to be common and take place on the full moon in the lunar month of Magh (January–February), although the laws prohibiting them are seldom enforced due to secrecy.

See Frederique Apffel Marglin's Wives of the God-King, 1985, for a more in-depth look at the devadasi system at the Jagannath temple in Puri.

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Hinduism - Who Is Goddess Ratri In Hinduism?


Ratri  is the name of the Night Goddess.

Night is personified as a goddess, although She is not widely worshipped or revered as such by the Hindus.

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Hinduism - Who Is Goddess Parvati In The Hindu Pantheon?


 ("mountain's daughter") Parvati is the Hindu goddess Parvati, who is the wife of the god Shiva and the daughter of the minor deity Himalaya (the Himalaya Mountains personified) and his wife Mena.

Shiva has been lost in monastic seclusion since the loss of his first wife, Sati, and Parvati comes in human form to entice him to father the offspring required to defeat the demon Taraka.

Even as a kid, Parvati swears to have only Shiva as her spouse, according to her legends.

Shiva has made a vow of asceticism and is engrossed in profound meditation on Mount Kailas, so her parents attempt to dissuade her.

Parvati's initial attempt to stir Shiva's passion fails miserably.

Kama, the god of love, attempts to kill Shiva with a desire arrow, but Shiva shoots a torrent of fire from his third eye, burning Kama to ash.

Undaunted, Parvati enters the mountains and starts her own program of extreme physical asceticism (tapas): standing for long periods of time on one foot, suffering the heat of summer and the cold of winter, and practicing severe fasting (upavasa) and self-denial.

Shiva is ultimately awakened by the spiritual strength created by her austerity, and he appears to her dressed as an elderly brahmin.

He attempts to dissuade Parvati by making harsh statements about Shiva's lifestyle and behavior, but Parvati remains steadfast in her decision.

Shiva eventually exposes his actual self to her, and the two marry.

Shiva is the Hindu image for the perfect husband because of his love to his bride, yet their family life is uncommon.

The pair has no stable residence or means of support since Shiva is the metaphor for the ideal ascetic, and Parvati is sometimes shown as lamenting about being an ascetic's wife.

Their marriage, symbolically, marks the ascetic's domestication and entry into social and family life.

Their marriage exemplifies the cultural conflict that exists between the two most fundamental Hindu religious ideals: the householder and the renunciant ascetic.

Shiva and Parvati conceive offspring, but not in the traditional way: Skanda grows from Shiva's semen, which falls on the ground during their interrupted love-making, while Ganesh develops from the invigorated soil from Parvati's body.

Parvati, like other married Hindu deities, is seen as compassionate and gentle.

She may be spiteful in certain legendary myths, but on the whole she exudes a loving and motherly presence.

Her mythology is nearly completely linked to Shiva's, demonstrating her subjugation as the perfect wife, and her devotion is also frequently linked to him.

Parvati has a crucial role in tantra, a secret, ritual-based religious practice, since she is often shown as the one asking Shiva and later as the pupil receiving his instructions in tantric scriptures.

See David R. Kinsley's Hindu Deities, 1986, for further information about Parvati and all the Hindu goddesses.

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Hinduism - Who Is Goddess Minakshi In The Hindu Pantheon?


Minakshi (meaning "fish-eyed") is a Sanskrit word that means "fish-eyed." Minakshi is the presiding goddess of the Minakshi temple in Madurai, Tamil Nadu.

Her name alludes to her eyes' form (long and oval) as well as their fluttering movement, both of which are considered feminine beauty features in ancient India.

Minakshi was formerly a local divinity who served as the city's protector.

Minakshi grew in importance as Madurai grew in importance as the capital of the Pandya kingdom.

Minakshi is born with three breasts, which is already a clue that she is odd, and is nurtured by her parents as a male, according to her charter myth.

She swears that she would only marry a man who can beat her in war when she ascends to the throne in Madurai.

She battles and defeats all of the earth's rulers, but when she approaches the deity Shiva, she is overcome with modesty and turned from a fierce warrior to a meek and bashful girl.

Her third breast vanishes at this point, signaling the end of her unique status.

Minakshi and Shiva (in his Sundareshvara incarnation) get wedded.

Every year at the Chittirai festival in Madurai, their wedding is commemorated.

Minakshi remains a peculiar goddess, despite her metamorphosis in the charter tale.

A goddess's wedding generally signifies her domestication and servitude to her spouse.

Minakshi, on the other hand, is still the most significant goddess in Madurai, maybe due to her past role as the city's guardian deity.

Dean David Shulman, Tamil Temple Myths, 1980, has further information.

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Hinduism - Who Is Mena In Hindu Mythology?


In Hindu mythology, the goddess Parvati's mother and the wife of the lesser deity Himalaya.

When Parvati declares her wish to marry the deity Shiva, Mena christens her daughter Uma with the exclamation "U Ma!" ("Oh, don't!").

The Shiva Purana describes Mena's first dissatisfaction with her unusual son-in-law, but then goes on to describe Shiva as the perfect husband, since he is entirely committed to his wife.

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Hinduism - Who Is Goddess Mansa Devi In The Hindu Pantheon?


Mansa Devi  is a Hindu goddess. One of the nine Shiwalik goddesses and the presiding deity of Manimajara, a small town in the Shiwalik Hills near Chandigarh.

This is one of the Shakti Pithas, a network of Goddess-sanctuary places that stretches throughout the subcontinent, according to local legend.

Each Shakti Pitha commemorates the location where a piece of the goddess Sati's severed corpse fell to earth and took on the shape of a different goddess; Mansa Devi was Sati's head.

The term "mansa" means "wish," and it is said that Mansa Devi would fulfill any desire brought to her by a devotee (bhakta).

In the holy city of Haridwar, there is another temple of Mansa Devi on the hill above the bathing (snana) ghats; here, too, the officiants promise that the presiding goddess would grant all one's requests.

The Manimajara's founding story Mansa Devi depicts her power and compassion for her worshippers during the reign of the Moghul emperor Akbar.

Akbar assigns a Rajput ruler to oversee the Manimajara region.

The chieftain is unable to pay his taxes one year because the crops have been damaged by harsh weather.

The chieftain is imprisoned, but one of Mansa Devi's worshippers is moved by his predicament and asks her to intercede on his behalf.

The chieftain is liberated and the taxes are canceled; when he realizes how this occurred, he is so thankful that he builds a shrine in her honor.

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Hinduism - Who Is Goddess Manasa In The Hindu Pantheon?

Manasa is a local deity who is said to be a manifestation of the Goddess.

She is usually linked with snakes and snakebites, and is revered mostly in eastern India.

Manasa's divine presence is disclosed brutally with snakebites, which is regarded a type of divine possession, much as Shitala's divine presence was revealed by infection with small pox.

This conception exemplifies the duality of many regional deities, who are both strong and deadly.

It is always painful, and sometimes catastrophic, when Manasa comes; such is the essence of human relationships with divinity.

Manasa is revered for both preventing snakebites and aiding in the recovery of those who have been bitten, which is a very serious worry in an agricultural nation with extremely poisonous snakes.

Annual festivals honoring her are held, during which people chant songs in her honor and are often distinguished by divine possession and snake-handling.

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Hinduism - Who Is Mahasaraswati In The Hindu Pantheon?

The Devimahatmya, the oldest and most significant source for Goddess mythology, depicts the goddess Mahasaraswati, Mahalakshmi, and Mahakali in three separate manifestations.

The narrative starts with the creation of the universe.

The deity Brahma is attacked by two demons called Madhu and Kaitabha as he emerges from the lotus sprouting from the god Vishnu's navel.

Brahma attempts to avoid the demons, but Vishnu is unable to assist him since he is deep sleeping, overpowered by the Goddess's influence.

She only leaves Vishnu when Brahma praises the Goddess, allowing him to awaken.

The demons' brains are then clouded, allowing Vishnu to deceive (and slay) them.

Saraswati is the goddess of art, learning, and culture in the Hindu pantheon—anything involving the life and activity of the intellectual and aesthetic faculties.

Mahasaraswati is also associated with intelligence, implying that she has the power to influence people's perceptions.

See David R. Kinsley's Hindu Deities, 1986, for further information about Mahasaraswati and the Hindu goddesses.

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Hinduism - Who Is Goddess Lakshmi In The Hindu Pantheon?

Lakshmi ("prosperity," "good fortune") is the Goddess of Wealth and Abundance in Hindu mythology and Vishnu's consort and bride.

Lakshmi is said to be born when an ocean of milk is churned to produce the nectar of immortality.

Lakshmi is the purified essence of the primordial ocean, signifying all the wonderful things that come from it, much as butter is the refined essence of milk.

Lakshmi is the goddess of money, good fortune, and prosperity, and she is seen as the personification of all three.

Lakshmi is often shown with the lotus and elephant, both of which are symbols of good fortune.

Many of the photos feature gold coins falling from her hands, which represent riches.

Lakshmi is a powerful force in Hindu culture because of her powerful ties.

Lakshmi wields her power just by being present: when she arrives, she gives riches and good fortune, and when she departs, she takes these blessings with her.

People are naturally eager to please Lakshmi, given her power, particularly because she has a reputation for being capricious and fickle in her human relationships—a reputation that represents a realistic assessment of life's vicissitudes.

People are exceedingly cautious while dealing with Lakshmi because of her capriciousness and reputation for being somewhat bitter.

They want to avoid offending her, even if accidentally.

Diwali is Lakshmi's main yearly celebration, during which she is said to traverse the world.

People spend the days leading up to Diwali cleaning, repairing, and whitewashing their houses in preparation for the goddess's arrival.

People open all their doors and windows (to make it easier for her to enter) and arrange lights on their windowsills and balcony ledges to welcome her in on Diwali evening.

During Diwali, gambling is a popular pastime.

Gambling is normally thought of as a bad habit, but during Diwali, it underlines the link between money and Lakshmi, who appears as Lady Luck.

Despite her erratic personal interactions, Lakshmi is regarded as the ideal wife, especially in her love and obedience to her husband.

When Lakshmi and Vishnu appear together, she is much smaller, indicating her status as a servant.

Another popular depiction of the couple has Lakshmi rubbing Vishnu's feet, implying her wifely servitude.

Lakshmi is not only a role model for human spouses, but she is also said to be present in each one.

Married ladies are said to represent the household's good fortune.

It is widely acknowledged that families that are not respected will never be rich.

See David R. Kinsley's Hindu Deities, 1986, for further information about Lakshmi and all the Hindu goddesses. 

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Hinduism - Who Is The Mother Goddess Kali?

 ("black") The Mother Goddess in an incomprehensibly ferocious and mighty heavenly aspect.

In its most frightening forms, Kali is the divine's horrible, uncontrollable power.

Her home is a cremation site, and she is often connected with imagery of blood, death, and devastation.

Her iconography depicts her as having several heads and limbs, as well as a thin, gaunt, and haggard figure with a lolling tongue and blood-smeared lips.

Surprisingly, millions of Kali's bhakta (devotees) refer to her as "mother." Kali's origins are unknown, however she is thought to be an autochthonous ("of the soil") goddess.

Her dark skin, which is linked with low social status, her affinity for living in remote locations, and her worship by Indian aboriginal tribes and individuals on the fringes of society all appear to indicate to her roots as a local deity, maybe of tribal people.

Some early Sanskrit operas, such as Bhavabhuti's Malatimadhava, mention violent deities who accepted blood gifts from their worshippers.

The Thugs were featured prominently in nineteenth-century fiction using the same idea.

The Devimahatmya, the oldest known source for the belief that God is feminine, has one of Kali's earliest descriptions.

The birth of Kali (in her Mahakali form) is described in one of the Devimahatmya events as the Goddess incarnate's fury.

Kali begins the myth by stuffing the demon armies into her mouth and devouring them whole, signifying her all-consuming ability to destroy.

In this book, she also defeats Raktabija, a demon who is granted the blessing that each drop of his blood that falls on the ground would instantaneously change into a clone of himself, making him almost unconquerable.

Kali defeats him by consuming his blood as it is shed till it runs out.

Both of these instances bolster her reputation as a terrifying and powerful goddess, as well as her proclivity for destruction and her links with drugs and acts that are generally deemed defiling.

As Kinsley points out, Kali may also be seen as a symbol for the inevitability of human existence, and that catastrophe and misfortune can strike without warning, despite the best-laid preparations.

Kali worship has taken two courses, one in accord with these gruesome visions and the other in opposition to them.

On the one hand, Kali has long been revered by practitioners of tantra, a hidden, ritual-based religious practice.

Reality, according to the tantras, is created by the interplay of polar opposites, personified by the deities Shiva (awareness) and Shakti ("power").

Shiva is the Ultimate Reality and provides the organizing principle, while Shakti is the energy and dynamism that makes things happen.

As a result, goddesses play a significant part in tantric practice.

Kali stands out among these goddesses, maybe because she is the most extreme expression of feminine power and hence can be perceived as wielding the most power on behalf of her adherents.

The representations of Kali standing over the prostrate Shiva, plainly in a dominating position, indicate her power over all things and Shiva's helplessness without it.

The tantric specialist is seen as a heroic character who obtains strength from the goddess in this faith.

The tantras also emphasize the reconciliation of opposites as a means of eradicating all mental dualism and affirming the ultimate oneness of the world.

Tantric rituals may involve acts utilizing generally banned substances, such as the Panchamakara, or "Five Forbidden Things," in order to underline the provisional nature of all purity and impurity judgements (ashaucha).

Kali is the ultimate tantric goddess since her iconography and story include activities that are generally considered unclean, such as consuming blood and accepting animal sacrifices, residing in a crematory, and dressing herself in severed limbs.

The adoration of Kali as a mother is another popular picture.

This image is dominant in the Bengal area, where it has grown well-established over the last several centuries.

Kali's image is based on Indian maternal imagery, which are highly idealized in terms of a mother's dedication to her offspring.

The basic concept is that if a devotee approaches Kali as a meek child willing to bear whatever blows she delivers, she would eventually direct her mighty energies to defend her follower.

The nineteenth-century Bengali celebrities Ramprasad and Ramakrishna are Kali's most renowned worshippers; the former is famed for a poem in which he claims that there are terrible children but never a bad mother.

This conflict between Kali's horrible demeanor and her image as a mother has been maintained by religious adepts such as Ramprasad and Ramakrishna, but it has mostly been lost in common devotion.

Kali is often shown as youthful, lovely, and even benevolent in modern depictions, which seek to sweeten or overlook her horrible qualities.

See David R. Kinsley's The Sword and the Flute (1975) and Hindu Goddesses (1986) for further information about Kali.


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Hinduism - Who Is Goddess Jwalamukhi?


 ("mouth of fire") One of the nine Shiwalik goddesses and the presiding deity of the Jwalamukhi temple in Himachal Pradesh.

Jwalamukhi is one of the Shakti Pithas, a network of locations holy to the goddess that stretches throughout the Indian subcontinent, according to the site's legendary charter.

Each Shakti Pitha commemorates the location where a piece of the dismembered goddess Sati fell to earth and reincarnated as a new goddess; in the case of Jwalamukhi, the bodily part was Sati's tongue.

Because the human tongue is such a strong portion of the body, linked to speaking, eating, and sex, Jwalamukhi is seen as a highly powerful temple.

A little natural gas vent in the cave where the shrine is located has been illuminated for as long as anybody can remember.

This flame is said to represent the Goddess's self-expressed (svayambhu) form, manifested in the shape of her tongue.

See David R. Kinsley's Hindu Goddesses (1986) and Kathleen Erndl's Victory To The Mother (1993) for further information.


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