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

Hinduism - Who Are The Mahavidyas?


A collective term for 10 strong and powerful Goddess manifestations.

According to legend, the goddess Sati takes on each of these forms in order to convince her husband, the deity Shiva, to let her attend a sacrifice performed by her father Daksha.

These 10 forms are all terrifying and terrifying, even to Shiva, demonstrating the Goddess's supremacy over Shiva.

  1. Kali, 
  2. Tara, 
  3. Chinnamasta, 
  4. Bhuvaneshvari, 
  5. Bagala, 
  6. Dhumavati, 
  7. Kamala, 
  8. Matangi, 
  9. Shodashi, and 
  10. Bhairavi are the 10 forms.

Some of these manifestations, particularly Kali, have risen to prominence as deities in their own right.

See David R. Kinsley's Hindu Goddesses, 1986, for further details.

You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.

Hinduism - What Is The Significance Of The Goddess Across The Hindu Pantheon And Believers?

India is home to a variety of gods and goddesses.

Despite the fact that goddesses vary significantly in appearance and personality, they are always thought to be manifestations of a single female deity.

This goddess's vision corresponds to the characteristic Hindu practice of allowing for various appearances of a deity while maintaining his or her fundamental truth as a single entity.

Many of India's goddesses are site-specific deities, worshiped specifically in that location.

Sacred locations (tirthas) are likewise related to this great Goddess since these local deities are all mythically linked as different manifestations of a single great Goddess.

The holy locations, known as pithas or "benches," constitute a network that stretches over the whole subcontinent.

The goddess cult's roots in India are unknown.

Female figurines with gigantic breasts, hips, and buttocks have been discovered during excavations of Indus Valley civilisation settlements.

These statues resemble the Venus of Willendorf, which was discovered in Bronze Age Europe and suggests that women's fertility was the subject of a cult.

The Indus Valley figures have been interpreted by some as proof that the religion of the Mother Goddess started in the Indus Valley civilisation, however there is little empirical evidence to support this assertion.

Another reason why some scholars think goddess worship originated in indigenous Indian culture is because the deities listed in the Vedas, the oldest Hindu religious writings, are nearly entirely male.

Ushas (the dawn), Prthivi (the earth), and Nirriti (the sea) are the only female goddesses mentioned in the Vedic hymns (death and destruction).

Female divinities, on the other hand, were lifted from virtual obscurity to become imagined as the universe's dominating authority.

In the fifth century, the worship of the Great Goddess comes fully developed, apparently out of nowhere.

The Devimahatmya ("greatness of the Goddess"), which is also a portion of the Markandeya Purana, is where she initially appears.

Scholars believe that this cult had existed for some time, maybe as a hidden religious society available exclusively to initiates, based on the complexity and nuance of her representation in this book.

The Devimahatmya goddess is a strong, independent feminine force who can do what the gods cannot.

She is made out of the gods' combined brightness (tejas) and comes into the world to vanquish a demon with whom the gods had fought in vain.

In the three episodes of the Devimahatmya, she appears as Mahasaraswati in the killing of the demons Madhu and Kaitabha, Mahalakshmi in the slaying of a demon called Mahishasura, and Mahakali in the fight against the demon generals Shumbha and Nishumbha.

Many of India's goddesses are patron deities of certain locations and are thought to be unique to that location.

The Shiwalik goddesses, for example, are found only at certain locations across the Shiwalik highlands.

All of these goddesses are considered different manifestations of the same divine energy at the same time.

Each place is identified with a certain bodily component of the ancient goddess, according to the charter story.

Sati commits herself when her father Daksha criticizes her husband Shiva, according to legend.

Shiva takes Sati's body and carries her throughout the world on his shoulders.

Shiva neglects his heavenly responsibilities as a result of his sadness, and the universe starts to break apart.

The other gods ask Vishnu for assistance, fearing that the world would be destroyed.

Vishnu cuts off portions of Sati's body with his razor-sharp discus till there is nothing left.

Shiva journeys to the mountains after his body is fully gone, where he gets engaged in meditation.

Wherever a piece of Sati's body falls, it becomes a Shakti Pitha ("seat of the Goddess"), dedicated to the Goddess in a specific form.

The number of these locations varies depending on the source—some sources mention fifty-one, while others count 108.

Regardless of the number, the sites are distributed over the subcontinent, from modern-day Pakistan's Baluchistan to Assam in the far east and deep into southern India.

Each Shakti Pitha is linked with a certain bodily portion of the great Goddess, has a distinct female deity as its presiding deity, and a distinct Bhairava as her companion.

From this vantage point, the whole subcontinent is seen as a single coherent one, with a network of locations that are linked together like body parts.

As a consequence of the desire to create a location and give it status, several sites may claim the same body component.

For example, Sati's vulva, the most powerfully charged portion of the female body, is often said to have fallen in Assam, while the same assertion is claimed in the Himalayas in Kalimath.

There is no one authoritative list of websites, and contradictory claims are prevalent.

Many Hindus are indifferent by the apparent inconsistency of the same bodily parts being claimed by various places; possibly this reflects the belief that the Goddess is behind them all, and that the particular are therefore less essential.

While some goddesses are solely revered in their own land, such as the Shiwalik hills deities, others have been more widely adored, and some have even become pan-Indian.

The Goddess is represented in the pantheon by two distinct sorts of manifestations.

In the forms of Parvati, Lakshmi, and Saraswati, she appears as a wife and mother.

Although not utterly powerless, these wedded goddesses are often friendly, kind, and fortunate.

Her other incarnations are Durga and Kali, both of whom have male consorts who are considered submissive to them.

These independent incarnations of the Goddess have the capacity to aid their bhaktas (devotees), but they are also volatile and possibly harmful, since their power is occasionally released without control.

This dual viewpoint, according to cultural analysts, illustrates Indian women's cultural views, notably the notion that women's procreative powers should be channeled via the safe, restricting boundaries of marriage.

Because their creative force has been regulated under male control, married women are auspicious, life-giving, and life-sustaining as spouses and mothers.

Unmarried women continue to pose a threat to the family's reputation, since the corruption of a family's women is the fastest way to tarnish its good image.


You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.