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Devi, The Great Goddess

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The Goddess Files: Enlightenment through Discover

Devi, The Great Goddess

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Devi (Devanagari: देवी) is the Sanskrit word for Goddess.

Devi is synonymous with Shakti, the female aspect of the divine, as conceptualized by the Shakta tradition of Hinduism. She is the female counterpart without whom the male aspect, which represents consciousness or discrimination, remains impotent and void. Goddess worship is an integral part of Hinduism.

Devi is, quintessentially, the core form of every Hindu Goddess. As the female manifestation of the supreme lord, she is also called Prakriti or Maya, as she balances out the male aspect of the divine addressed Purusha. [1]


Devi or the divine feminine is an equal conterpart to the divine masculine, and hence manifests herself as the Trinity herself - the Creator (Durga or the Divine Mother), Preserver (Lakshmi, Parvati & Sarswati) and Destroyer (Mahishasura-Mardini, Kali & Smashanakali ).

The conjoined image of three especially popular manifestations of the Hindu Divine Mother: Lakshmi (wealth/material fulfillment), Parvati (love/spiritual fulfillment), and Saraswati (learning and arts/cultural fulfillment).


Who Is Devi

The Great Goddess, known in India as Devi (literally "goddess"), has many guises. She is "Ma" the gentle and approachable mother. As Jaganmata, or Mother of the universe, she assumes cosmic proportions, destroying evil and addressing herself to the creation and dissolution of the worlds. She is worshiped by thousands of names that often reflect local customs and legends. She is one and she is many. She is celebrated in songs and poems.

Always Blissful Mother
by Kamlalakanta Chakrabarti

Mother, you're always blissful.
You charmed destructive Shiva,
you dance in your own joy,
and clap your hands to keep time.
O Elemental, Eternal One!
Your form is empty space,
yet the moon adorns your brow.
Where did you get your garland of severed heads,
before the universe came into being?
You are the operator,
and we nothing but machines
that run by your rule.
We stay where you put us,
and say what you make us say.
Cursing you, O Destructive One,
restless Kamlalakanta says:
With the sword in your hand
you've slaughtered my faith
together with my disbelief.

Her Many Forms

She has many names and forms such as the warrior Durgha and the bloodthirsty Kali or she can be gentle as Parvati, mother of the elephant god Ganesha. Devi is the consort (wife) of Shiva which is Parvati. Shiva is the god of generation and destruction. Devi is the "Mother Goddess," meaning she is the mother of all. In her hands she holds joy and pain, right hand; and life and death is held on her left hand. Devi is the god of nature and life because she brings rain and protects against disease. Devi is mild and loving. This was the personality of Devi as mother of life.

As mother of death, she is terrible. In her description, Devi has eight arms, only one arm has a sword. When she is fighting against evil, she is usually mounted on a lion or a tiger. Devi holds the universe in her wombs. Devi is the warrior Durgha when she is the mother of death. Gods begged Durgha to kill and protect from the evil Mahisasura. Devi is in all the women's soul and she can also turn into the religious Uma.

Devi's diagram is called her mansions. In the middle of her forehead, she has a Bindu (drop or dot) which in some ways seems to be masculine. Lakshmi, wife of Vishnu is an incarnation of Devi. She is the goddess of creative power and represents all women in the universe.


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