Shakti worship in India
G. L Khajuria
The Devipurana has a very interesting and astonishing narration as how sage nard perplexing supplicated Lord of Lords the Supreme Shiva: oh lord Mahadeva, yourself, the Bharama and the Vishino are unison the Supreme Trinity. But it is mystifying that all of you are in deep adoration. And further revered lord Mahadeva to let know about his deep meditation which lasts for centuries and centuries together. Who then is above and superior in Shakti (Super Power). Smilingly, Lord Mahadeva impressioned, “oh Muniraj, we adore and worship the Prashakti, the primordial.” She is superb and supreme. She is the creator, sustainer and destroyer of all the worlds.
The Shakti Goddess is one with varied manifestations or embodiments and is all pervading Maha Shakti. She is knower of unknown, perceiver of the unperceived and the controller of all times-The present, the past and the future. She is the Aditi, the Mother of Gods. She is overflowing with the love of mother to all and is benign enough to forgive even to the erring. She protects, safeguards us against all oddities and squabbles.
Though formless, her manifestations come to the world as Mahashakti, Durga and Saraswati in unison epitomise as Shri Mata Vaishno Devi.
The worship of Shakti or female principle is a widespread cult in India. It is as old as human civilisation and along with Shivism and Vaishmavism constituting thereby one of the three principle divisions, though never with rigid demarcating line of Saguna worship viz worship of gods with attributes.
In prehistoric times, in the cities of Mohanjodaro and Harppa Shakti worship was believed to be common. In the words of Gibbet the Edinburgh professor of archeology, the numerous clay figurines of women suggest that as in Baluchistan, some forms of worship of Mother Goddess in which there figuring’s played their prominent part in house hold shrines which was very much common in India during Indus Valley civilisation.
In vedic times, the Mother Goddess was being worshipped as Ushaamongst Aryans. In rig Veda as Srigayatri and in Yajur Veda as Mahalaxmi and Durga in other Veda and Puranas. Mother Goddess has as well been signified as Uma and Umaivati in the Opanishads and other Puranas. In Agamas she has been addressed and worshipped as Maha Kali, Tripura Sundri and Raja Rajarayeshwri.
As such, there is an unbroken tradition of Shakti worship as a Mother Goddess for the unknown years in India. In this long tradition of Shakti worship in India two prominent aspects of Godliness can be discerned, first, the fierce formof dity which is most fearful and is propitiated and the second most benign aspect of her love and benevolence.
The first on is, of course, most primitive and Tamasik are Rajasik personification of the Maa Shakti. Fear, ofcourse, is predominantly related to emotion in the devotee. And in disrespect, the fear of natural climates, illness, poverty, ignorance and even death are apprehensive. Her frightening form is imagine with multihued heads and hands, carrying deadly weapons. She resides in secludedness of forests, cremation grounds and she is worshipped to win favours for personal objectives. She is offered wine and the sacrifice of living being such as goats, buffaloes, other animals and birds to the extent of human beings.
The second being ‘Satvik’ form of Shakti which more sublime. And this concept is as a result of the project of Upanishadic thought, virtues and actions and under the shadow of mother sublimity, the devotee shed the fear of ferocity and attains great good of knowledge and wisdom. He feels utmostly affectionate towards Shakti Goddesss. The Goddess Mother is found sited in lotus, gardens, beautiful lakes and other multihued surroundings of peace and tranquility.
She is being worshipped with the sole objective realising higher and higher reaches of consciousness of knowledge with offerings of flowers, milk and honey. She is Mahasarawati object of Shakti who presenting the aspirant with the ultimate reality, the Atama Inana which deeds him to self-realisation. In Hindu theology Shakti Hinduism or Shaktiism or Tantraism, the latter name is derived from the word Yantra. The worship feminine form of divine power had taken a particular exclusivity. Here, the worship focuses exclusively on Goddess so much so that the male aspect become secondary.
The credit goes to Sri Sankra for rescuing various schools of Hindu worship, particularly Shakti worship from these odious practices and reestablishing it in its pristine vedantic purity as right hand path are Samaya- Mata. This Samayachara is the ritual adopted in the monastic institution established by Srisankara where the presiding diety is Srisarda. The Samayachara, like all other disciplines of Hinduism, is a system of integrating within itself the Yoga of Mantra, Laya, Shakti and Inana.
In his book hindu epics, myths and legends, Vassiliss Vitsoxis writes, ” In order to understand the idea of Shakti, and the part that this concept plays in Hinduism, one should start from fundamental idea of universal unity, which involves both a continuous division into pairs of opposites in conflict with one another and a continuous merger of these into a harmonious synthesis. The absolute splits into pairs of opposites, in conflict as well as incorporation with one another. The most common of these pairs is expressed by the opposites and complementary character of the two sexes”. On the parallel, and on the same level of worship of the supreme Triad(Bharama, Vishna, Shiva) stands the female diety or the female expression of the devine. In Hindu mythology, this is a fundamental and infinite aspect of the Trinity, and it takes the shape of a woman par excellence , daughter of the Himallaya, (Parvati), spiritual means the one from mountains or Parvat.
Indria , the story has it that he manged to send Kama, the God of Love to evoke lord Shiva who was in deep meditation . After doing his all bits of tricks Kama filed and ultimately he arrowed the fore head of Lord Shiva . The Lord Shiva overwhelmingly infuriated and when he opended the third eye, Kama was reduced to ashes.