Showing posts with label Lakshmi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lakshmi. Show all posts

An Ode to the Goddess



Have mercy, O Goddess who relieves the pain of your supplicants!

Be humble, Mother of the Universe!

O world-protecting mistress of the cosmos!

Please, have mercy!

You're the mistress of all that moves and doesn't move!

You are the world's sole pillar, residing in the shape of earth.

You nourish the world in the shape of the oceans, O you of unrivalled prowess.

You are Vishnu's strength, boundless light.

You are the universe's ultimate seed.

This planet is raptured eternally by your intelligence, 

the web of illusion you cast in your endless bliss, O resplendent Goddess!

You are the source of release on Earth while you are gracious.

All the infinite wisdom and sciences live within you, Goddess.

You are all women, and you are the entirety of the universe.

This world is populated entirely by you, O Mother.

How do we thank you because you alone are the most praiseworthy manifestation of the high and low?

Praise be to you, Narayani, whose hands and feet are everywhere, whose heads, mouths, and eyes are everywhere, who watches and listens from every part of existence!

Save us from harm, O Mistress of the Cosmos, whose essence is the earth, overflowing with all forces!

Praise be to you, goddess Durga!

Katyayani, with your friendly face, I salute you!

Protect us from our worries, three-eyed Goddess!

Bhadrakali, I salute you.

Might your terrifying trident, encrusted with flaming stakes, Destroyer of all demons, hold us safe!

May your bell, which annihilates the Daityas' glory when it fills the earth with sound, shield us, your sons, from evil!

Might your blade be auspicious, smeared with demon blood and fat, ablaze with rays!

We bow to you, Candika!

Be generous to those who prostrate themselves before you, Goddess who takes away the world's misery!

Bestow boons upon these planets, worthy of worship from all who dwell in the triple universe!

~ Kiran Atma


The Puranas call several Goddesses, each with their own unique personality. They play a variety of roles, including wife, lover, and destroyer. Brahma and Vishnu's wives tend to be nothing more than appendages to their celestial husbands, with no tales or personality of their own. Yet, like Siva himself, Siva's queen, Devi, or "the Goddess," seems to be a jumble of diverse identities, both beneficent and fierce. It's unclear if the Goddess's various names refer to deities, or if the Goddess's plethora of epithets simply reflect the various qualities of what has only been a single deity.

The origins of Goddesses in Indian culture seem to be in doubt, provided that the Vedas, the oldest literature of this tradition, makes no mention of female deities of any type. However, the issue is even more serious. While their origins can be traced back to Vedic gods, both Vishnu and Siva, for example, have complex personalities in the epics and Puranas that appear out of nowhere, with divine feats and qualities that do not present in Vedic history.

The Goddesses feel the same way. The undocumented religious traditions of the indigenous, pastoral peoples of India who populated the Indus Valley long before the proto-Sanskrit speaking nomadic Aryans invaded northwest India around 1500 B.C. may provide an explanation for this.

For over a century, the Aryans dominated the hybrid civilization that resulted. The Vedas, their oral literature, show a sacrificial cult that worshipped celestial deities like Varuna of the heavens, Indra of the thunderstorm, and Surya, the light, to the exclusion of all Goddesses and earthly divinities.

Female figurines and phallic artefacts, on the other hand, abound in the archaeological remains of Indus Valley civilization, almost definitely used in some religious ritual, and aimed at the fertility of humans, animals, and the Earth. As a result, it's possible that the Puranic Goddesses are relics of non-Aryan indigenous peoples of the Indian subcontinent's fertility worship.

In the course of time their Aryan conquerors increasingly adopted the local religious practices until, in Epic and Puranic literature, the older tales were at last retold in the official language of the Aryans themselves, Sanskrit. Via the same phase the religious traditions and values of the lower classes become part of the upper-class or ruling culture of the country. Except for the fierce and warlike Durga and Kali, nearly every Goddess in the Puranas is married to a deity. Maybe the union of Gods and Goddesses in Hindu mythology represents a convergence that happened in the early history of Indian civilization between two distinct races and cultures.

Certainly, the Goddesses as wives are fully reliant on their gods, just as the tribal people were defeated and made slaves by the invading Aryans. In either case, it appears that the tales contained in the Puranas only include snippets of the Goddesses' lives in Indian culture. Depending on her mood, the Goddess brings fertility or pestilence and death to modern-day rural India. As a mother, she is both the source of life and the terrifying force that takes it away prematurely due to starvation or disease or calamity. Female deities, on the other hand, play several roles in the Puranas.

The Goddess can be a mother, a wife, a lover, or a war-like destroyer, but she is never just a mother. The archetypal Mothers, a nebulous group stemming from and formed by Siva's Shakthi, appear briefly and attempt to devour the earth. No Deity, on the other hand, literally gives birth or manifests maternal or loving qualities. The Goddess is described as the root of the universe with the same epithets as the gods Vishnu and Siva. In this way, the holy Goddess takes life again and again to preserve life, even though she is immortal. Both in a spiritual, mythical and metaphorical context, the price of life and existence is exacted as a sacrifice at the altars of the Goddess.

She is the one who deludes the world; she is the one who gives birth to it; she is the one who grants wisdom when prayed to and wealth when pleased. This 222nd incarnate Goddess from the bosom of Brahma, the creator is Mahakali. The Goddess yet pervaded the whole Brahma Egg, the lord of men within her own cosmic womb. She assumes the form of Mahamari, the world's great destructress, during the terrible period of dissolution or rapture. She is also its unborn source; eternal, she is the lifeblood of all living things, pervading through all manifestation. This vocabulary shows a monistic interpretation of the origins of the universe, but it is not unique to the Goddess. It contains what tends to be generalized conception formulae that can be attributed to any originating god, male or female, without distinction.

The only exceptions are the epithets Ambika, "Mother," and Mahamaya, "Great Illusion," which only the Goddess carries, meaning that hers is the force that comes from casting a magic spell, the insubstantial but tangible dream that is the earth, rather than biological motherhood. Each of the three main male deities, Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva, has a faithful and dedicated partner or Shakthi to accompany and empower him. Sarasvati, Brahma's wife, is rarely mentioned, but only in passing. She doesn't get her own story as a Goddess. The Sarasvati, on the other hand, is often eulogized in glowing words as the famed holy river that rises from the Himalaya mountains and flows underground at Kurukshetra.

In the Puranas, all rivers are female, and each one is holy and pure, bestowing blessings and benefits on those who bathe in them. They are the locations of hermitages and sacred fords, where devout devotees of all gods are urged to worship. In fact, the Puranas devote a significant portion of their content to praising these hermitages and shrines, which are almost always situated on or near a riverbank. Many feminine rivers, especially the Ganges and the Yamuna, are honored in this way, as are many pilgrimage places, the most notable of which are Prayaga and Varanasi, modern Banaras. More than mere names, all of these rivers carry in essence the spiritual intelligence, vitality and mythical attributes associated with the incarnate and manifest Goddesses they represent on Earth.

The rivers, on the other hand, are scarcely granted complete identities, and Sarasvati, as Brahma's official queen, is practically characterless. The petulant Yamuna, whom Balarama drags about with his plough, causing her to swamp the Kurukshetra plain because she failed to appeal to his drunken whim and present herself by his side so he could bathe, is one lovely exception.

Lakshmi or Sri, the Goddess of Wealth, is Vishnu's devoted queen. It's been said that she who blesses people with wealth can sometimes curse them with a lack of it. Yet, for the most part, Lakshmi continues at Vishnu's side as a lordly adornment. She, too, lacks a distinct personality.

She is not involved in the tale of the Churning of the Ocean, which prominently features her birth. She jumps from the ocean's foam onto Vishnu's chest, where she belongs, and she remains there. Only Parvati, Siva's wife, has a distinct appearance, a unique family history, and a collection of fascinating stories. She is known by many names, including Uma, which means "mother," Gauri, which means "white," and Sati, which means "virtuous."

She renounces the universe to perform tapas with Siva, which is an unheard-of endeavor for a child. By this way, she can obtain control over the god, and they are properly married. When her father insults her divine husband in a former life, she is so angered that she immolates herself in flames, thereby becoming the original divine Sati, or supremely virtuous virgin.

She engages in several deceptions to seduce her unwilling, meditating husband elsewhere, desiring children; the most tragic of these attempts ends in the disembodiment of Kama, god of love or Cupid, who is burnt to ashes by Siva's wrath. Parvati is a dedicated character in both stories: she wants to be the ideal wife and have children. As Sati, she is the daughter of Daksha, the primal progenitor and one of Brahma's wise sons. She is the daughter of the Himalaya mountain, the "little mountain maiden," and is known as Parvati.

This mountain heritage is shared by both the Goddess and her husband, Siva, whose holy abode is Mt. Kailasa and who wanders the mountain fastnesses without a family or clan as an ascetic mendicant. Sarasvati, Lakshmi, and Parvati are all faithful and obedient wives, whether they are vestigial or entirely engaged.

Their task is to help their best half, just as Sita in the epic Ramayana is associated with Lakshmi as Rama is with Vishnu; in any case, the deity, their companion, comes first in importance. The object of Parvati's challenging task, even for the brave Parvati, appears to be to convince the ascetic god to end the austerities that deprive the earth of fertility and marry and have progeny himself.

The majority of Siva and Parvati's stories are amusing because they imitate everyday domestic life that most Earthly societies can readily relate to. There is, though, very little romantic imagery; they are a respectable married couple. The suggested union in Parvati's efforts to seduce her husband is made clearer elsewhere in the Puranas, where god and Goddess are regarded as lovers who place a high sacred value on either physical union, or the imagery associated with it. However, instead of becoming a wife, the Goddess more notably takes on the part of a divine lover. Siva and Shakti are consorts, but Shakti manifests herself in more ways than one, perhaps even before their sojourn in union began.

~ Kiran Atma