Tag Archive: hinduism


Goddess Kamala

“Kamala’s themes are spirituality, love, relationships, passion and pleasure. Her symbols are the color yellow and lotuses.  The Hindu ‘lotus girl’ of pleasure promotes ongoing faithfulness in our relationships inspired by mutual enjoyment and an abundance of love. Kamala also makes us aware of the spiritual dimensions in our physical exchanges that sometimes get overlooked.

In India, today is a time to celebrate the birth of Krishna, the most charming and kind incarnation of Vishnu. Kamala, as one of Lakshimi’s incarnations, joins in this festivity as his lover and companion. To participate in the gala, eat Indian food, especially hot, spicy items that ignite passion (although you may want to follow this meal with breath mints and antacids). Anything that includes cinnamon, garlic or saffron is a good alternative choice, as these items bear Kamala’s lusty energy.

To improve your ability to give and receive love, including self-love, wear yellow-colored clothing today, especially an item that is worn near the heart chakra (a blouse, shirt, tie, bra or perhaps a gold necklace or tie back). As you don that item, say,

‘Let pleasure flow freely from my heart;
Kamala, abide there – your love impart.’

Wear this piece of clothing or jewelry again anytime you enact spells or rituals focused on sexuality or relationships.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“Goddess Kamala is one of the Ten Mahavidyas who is known as the wisdom Goddesses.  She is also the Hindu Goddess of consciousness and creation.  Goddess Kamala is represented as a beautiful woman adorned with golden skin and seated or standing on a lotus.  She is also seen holding two more lotuses that symbolize both fertility and purity.  The Goddess is accompanied by huge elephants who pour jars of nectar on Her.  Goddess Kamala is considered as the Mahavidya form of Goddess Lakshmi, who represents wealth and beauty.  As one of the Ten Mahavidyas Goddess Kamala represents the unfolding of inner consciousness into the richness of creation.  The Goddess is known for the power to eradicate poverty, both material and spiritual.  Kamala’s name, which means, ‘She of the lotus’ is also seen as Kamalatmika.

Kamala Goddess has an elegant golden complexion.  In Her four hands She holds two lotuses and is seen granting boons and giving assurance to Her devotees.  She wears a dazzling crown on Her head and puts on a silken dress.  She also wears a kaustibha Gem and has a smiling face.  The Goddess is seen seated on a lotus in a lotus posture.  As the Goddess of material and spiritual wealth and beauty, Kamala is worshipped during tough economic times.  She is a benign Goddess who blesses Her devotees with good luck, power, wealth and safety.

Goddess Kamala is also widely known for Her creative force.  She has the power to create beauty and wealth around us, and to see beauty in everything.  The bija mantra or the seed mantra of the Goddess is EE.  In transliterated Sanskrit there would be an i with the line over the top.  One needs to place an M after the EE, to make EEM.  This would show Her complete energy in beej form.  From EE sound to closed M makes the range of Her Shakti.  This is the primal Shakti beej, this sound is heard in all other beejam such as Shreem, Hreem, Kreem.  This EEM beej is sometimes named as Yoni beej.  Yoni is the form of a female’s sex organ and is in form of a lotus.  It is the basic female principle.  Goddess Kamala is also considered the most beautiful Mahavidya.” [1]

“Kamala as lotus Goddess also represents developement of the person by maintaining the dharma of keeping the seven chakras open. She upholds sadhana. Lotus=chakra. Lotus Goddess is advancement Goddess. This is why She, as Shree or Lakshmi, is called Shakti of Shiva.

In beauty the Goddesses who most represent Her are Shree, Lakshmi, Bala, and Lalita. She is very sattvic like Venus or Aphrodite, and of the Mahavidyas most like the Christian Mary.

Kamala is the first and most primal female energy. More developed, She takes on the other qualities of the other Mahavidyas. In fact, there is really no difference here because we are discussing deities that can change forms like lycantropes.

When God manifests She does so to suit the moment like how we humans dress for success. We don’t always try to look uptight and professional, sometimes we like to dress down in bikinis and relax. Kamala is very much dressed down and relaxed.

To worship Her in any form is acceptable because She is in all forms as all forms are from Prakriti or Mother Nature. We still maintain decorum even in bikinis. So also Her worship entails restraint. She is the Light Goddess and likes fine and sattvic things and actions like charity.

As bride of Vishnu She loves a person who preserves other lives.

Ask Her to help and She will give you Her blessings. But remain generous and faithful or She will be fickle. You should worship Her during hard times for relief. She gives peace, prosperity and pleasure, and moksha.” [2]

 

 

 

Sources:

Bernhardt, Kirk. Shaktisadhana.50megs.com, Shakti Sadhana – Kamala“.

Indianetzone.com, “Goddess Kamala, Indian Goddess“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Divinetantrictouch.com, “How to Worship Kamala – Lotus Goddess of Spiritual Wealth“.

Kamakhyamandir.org, “Kamala: Lotus Goddess of Spiritual Wealth“.

Sabrina. Goddess A Day, “Kamala“.

Wikipedia, “Kamalatmika“.

Goddess Parvati

“Parvati’s themes are fertility, femininity, cleansing and devotion. Her symbols are lotus, elephants and dance.  The celebrated Hindu Goddess of women is the center of festivities in Nepal today. Parvati’s domain is that of faithful companionship and fertility as She is the consort of Shiva. Art often shows Parvati dancing in the company of Shiva or with an elephant’s head.

Try following Nepalese custom. Wash your hands and feet with henna (or henna-based soap product) for Parvati’s productive energy. Or, go out and swing on a swing set singing sacred songs; this draws Parvati to you.

Another way to invoke Parvati is by giving a special woman in your life (a friend, lover, relative, etc.) a gift of thankfulness for her companionship. The Goddess exists within that friendship and will bless the relationship. Take a ritual bath to cleanse yourself of negativity and problems of the last year. Water offerings are also a suitable gift to the Goddess. Pour a little bit on the ground and then drink some to internalize any of Her qualities that you need.

Wearing fine clothing and flowers is also customary, because all things of beauty please Parvati. So get out your finery for your celebrations and put on a boutonniere! Or wear something with a flower pattern to draw Parvati close to your side.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“One of the greatest Goddesses of India is the daughter of the Himalayas, known as Uma, Gauri, and sometimes Shakti (‘energy’).  She was the consort and enlivening force of Shiva, the lord of life’s dance, and many myths surround Her.

She gained Shiva’s attention by practicing magical asceticism until She had such power that he could not resist Her.  Thereafter he spent this time sexually pleasing the Goddess.  Once, when interrupted before She was satisfied, Parvati cursed the gods so that their consorts were barren but they themselves were pregnant.  They were most miserable with the affliction, until Shiva allowed them to vomit up the semen that had impregnated them.

Parvati had one son of Her own.  It was no thanks to Her spouse, for Shiva did not want to be bothered with children.  As they argued about it one day, Parvati cried out that She wanted a child to hold and caress. Shiva teased Her, ripping a piece of Her skirt and handing it to Her, telling Her to fondle that.  Hurt and betrayed, Parvati grasped the red cloth to Her breast, and – touching the nipples of the mother Goddess – the cloth took form and began to nurse.  Thus was Ganesha, the benevolent god, born.  But Shiva, angry and jealous, found an excuse to behead the child, saying that he had slept in a ritually incorrect way.  Parvati was desperate with grief, and Shiva, ashamed, told Her he would find the boy another head.  The only one he was able to locate – Parvati must have received this news suspiciously – was an elephant’s.  And so Ganesha was reborn half human, half elephant.

Shiva’s Shakti is also called Kali and Durga, for She is at times a fierce form of femininity.  One legend explains how the Goddess divided Herself.  Originally, it seems, She had dark skin, about which Shiva teased Her once too often.  Furious at him – for She felt less than beautiful, wishing that Her skin was golden like his – She set off for the mountains, intending again to practice asceticism until She gained Her desire.  Ganesha accompanied Her; She left Viraka, Shiva’s attendant, to guard his bedroom so that he didn’t enjoy other women’s company during Her absence.  But a demon disguised as Parvati attempted to kill Shiva.  He lured the god to bed after loading his illusory vagina with real nails.  Shiva recognizing the deceit, put a sword on his penis and dispatched the demon.

Parvati’s informants spread the word that a woman had been seen entering Shiva’s bedroom, and Parvati exploded with anger.  Her anger shot out of Her mouth in the form of a lion; She cursed the false guardian Viraka to become a rock.  Then She continued practicing yoga until Brahma took pity on Her and asked Her what She wished.  When She said She wanted a pure golden skin, he blessed Her.  From Her body sprang another Goddess, one ugly and black, usually named Kali.

Now golden and beautiful, Parvati started home.  Viraka, still on guard, refused to let Her enter, not recognizing the Goddess in Her new skin.  Realizing that She made a mistake in cursing him – but unable, so powerful are a Goddess’ words, to recall Her ill wish – Parvati mitigated it by allowing him to be reborn as a girl named Rock” (Monaghan, p. 248 – 249).

“Parvati represents the part of ourselves that creatively brings forth nourishment even in the midst of what seems to be rejection and disapproval. She is a wonderful affirmation that there are no limits to what a woman can do when she uses her spiritual energy in the pursuit of any goal she chooses.  When we embrace love, Parvati is there to bless us.” [1]

 

 

 
Sources:

Goddessgift.com, “Parvati: The Hindu Goddess of Love and Devotion“.

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Parvati”.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Goddessparvati.com, “Goddess Parvati“.

Kumar, Nitin. Exoticindiaart.com, “Parvati the Love Goddess: Tales of Marriage and Devotion in Art and Mythology“.

Lotussculpture.com, “Hindu Goddess Parvati – Daughter of the Mountain“.

Soulcurrymagazine.com, “Goddess Parvati – Wife of Lord Shiva“.

Wikipedia, “Parvati“.

Goddess Sri

“Sri’s themes are joy, protection, fertility, insight, and wealth.  Her symbols are the color blue and pink lotuses. In Nepal, Sri, which means ‘prosperity’, is said to protect the Dalai Lama. Invoke Her to bring abundance for tax paying! Sri is portrayed as having three eyes, giving Her the additional power of perspective when ours is lacking.

Celebration of the Nepalese new year, Nava Varsha, includes heartfelt greetings for luck and ritual bathing for fertility. As you see people today, smile brightly and wish them a good day. This provokes Sri’s fortunate energy and a little extra felicity wherever you go.

Wearing something blue today makes Sri happy, which in turn sharpens Sri’s shrewdness in you to promote a safe, frugal day. Or, carry a tumbled soldalite for Sri’s focus, a blue topaz for Her help in maintaining financial reserves, or a turquoise so that Sri will preserve your well-being.

Try this visualisation when you need Sri’s attributes to begin blossoming in your spirit: Envision an unopened pink flower in the region of your heart. Above, the sun shines with the pink-blue light of dawn and beats with the rhythm of your blood. You feel your heart’s petals open to embrace it, accepting the warmth and energy without reservation. As your soul-flower absorbs the light, you can see it is a lotus, Sri’s flower. She is there with you now, in your hearth, to call on as needed.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“Goddess Shri Devi, or Sridevi, is one of the numerous forms of Goddess Lakshmi and is the prime Goddess among the various Vishnava Goddesses, to include Bhūmi, or Bhu Devi, and Nila Devi who are also said to be different manifestations of Lakshmi worshipped in Hindu religion. Legend has it that Goddess Laxmi appeared in the form of Sridevi during the Samudra manthan or the ‘churning of the ocean’. This is mentioned in the Vishnu Purana. Goddess Shri Devi was one among the precious items that appeared during the churning of the ocean.

Hindu holy scriptures mention that in the form of Sridevi, Goddess Lakshmi has the face like that of full moon with red lips. She has a benign and smiling face. In this form, She is dressed in white color sari and wears jewelry. The young age of Goddess Lakshmi is depicted in the Sridevi form.

Goddess Sridevi is usually visualized as having two hands and sitting in Padmasana. In some scriptures She is mentioned as having four hands and She carries a pasha (noose), ankush (shining hook), rosary and lotus.” [1]

She is the beloved inseparable consort of Vishnu, his ‘Shakti‘ or power, enjoying the same status of Vishnu.  “When Sri Devi (Lakshmi) and Vishnu are depicted together they are known as Lakshmi-Narayana. In many instances, as seen below, Devi Lakshmi manifests as two separate Goddesses, Shri Devi and Bhu Devi, who appear on either side of Lord Vishnu. While the former denotes energy, the latter represents fertility.

Both the Goddesses are depicted similarly, wearing exactly the same clothes, ornaments and even a similar crown, signifying that the Lord holds equal affection for both. Their red saris and green blouses have wide gold borders, much like the beautiful zari saris made in South India. The South Indian influence is also evident in the high tower-like crown of Lord Vishnu, while that of the two ladies definitely betrays a Mughal influence.” [2]

“While Sri Devi as previously mentioned enjoys the same status as Vishnu, She is however held in higher esteem by the Vaishnava acharyas.  This is due to the fact that She possesses certain motherly qualities such as compassion (daya) and forgiveness (ksama) on account of which She has a tendency to overlook the offenses of the devotees.  She also has a tender affection (vatsalya) towards all beings like a mother towards a child, by not taking notice of their offenses.  Above all, She has natural inclination to shower grace (anugraha) upon all.” [3]

 

There were some really beautiful videos on Youtube dedicated to Lakshmi and I ended up choosing this one to share with you all.

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Exotic India, “Lord Vishnu with Manifested Energy and Fertility“.

IndiaNetzone, “Goddess Sri, Vaishnava Goddess“.

IndiaNetzone, “Vaishnava Goddesses“.

Rajendran, Abhilash. Hindu Blog, “Goddess Shri Devi – About Hindu Goddess Sridevi“.

 

Suggested Links:

Devotional Only, “VaraLakshmi Vratam – Pooja Procedure and Story“.

Exotic India, “Lakshmi: The Lotus Goddess“.

Sai MahaLakshmi.com, “Goddess Lakshmi Maha Lakshmi“.

SaiSathyaSai.com, “Mother Lakshmi Devi – Goddess of Wealth“.

Sri Venkateswara Temple, “About Temple – Sridevi (Lakshmi) and Bhudevi (Andal)“.

Wikipedia, “Sri sukta“.

Goddess Maheswari

“Maheswari’s themes are protection, overcoming and prayer.  Her symbols are masks, drums and prayer wheels.  An epic mother-Goddess figure in the Hindu pantheon and a protective aspect of Lakshmi, Maheswari hears our prayers for assistance in risky, threatening, or seemingly impossible situations. When your back’s to the wall, Maheswari opens a doorway for a clever, smooth exit.

Consider following the Indian custom of dancing to drums while masked and enacting a pantomime in which you victoriously overcome some negativity in your life. If you’re trying to quit smoking, for example, dance over your cigarettes and destroy them. To overcome a broken heart, jump over a paper heart, then carry it with you to manifest Mahesvari’s life-affirming energy in your heart.

A fun version of the Buddhist prayer wheel can be fashioned from a children’s pinwheel. Write your prayers to Maheswari on the blades of the wheel. Then focus on your intent and blow! The movement releases your prayers so Maheswari can begin answering them.

Finally, find something that can act as a drum in this spell for protection and victory. Sprinkle the head of your makeshift drum lightly with rosemary and powdered cinnamon. Then tap it, saying:

 ‘Away, away, Maheswari, take the problems away.’

Continue until the herbs have been cleared off completely, symbolically clearing away that obstacle.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

Shiva (leftmost) with the Matrikas: (from left) Brahmani, Maheshvari, Kaumari, Vaishnavi, Varahi, Indrani, Chamunda.

“Goddess Maheshwari is one among the seven mother Goddesses or Sapta Matrikas.  Matrikas (Sanskrit: lit. ‘The Mothers’), also called Matara and Matris, are a group of Hindu Goddesses who are always depicted together.  Since they are usually depicted as a heptad,  (Sanskrit: ‘Seven Mothers’): Brahmani, Vaishnavi, Maheshvari, Indrani, Kaumari, Varahi, and Chamunda or Narasimhi.  However, they may sometimes be eight (Ashtamatrikas: ‘Eight Mothers’).  Whereas in South India, Saptamatrika is prevalent, the Ashtamtrika are venerated in Nepal.” [1]

The Sri Chakra, frequently called the Sri Yantra.

“In the scheme of the Khadgamala, each of these Eight Mothers represent a human passion that must be overcome and controlled before we can enter further into Sri Chakra. We worship each passion as an aspect of Devi, then internalize it; and when we internalize each deity, we *become* Her, so that She is not separate from us. In that way, we “conquer” each passion, just as – in the first enclosure wall – we conquered each siddhi.

MAheshwari here represents Her subtle aspect as ANGER.” [2]

 

 

 

“The Matrikas assume paramount significances in the Goddess-oriented sect of Hinduism, Tantraism.  In Shaktism, they are ‘described as assisting the great Shakta Devi (Goddess) in Her fight with demons.’  Some scholars consider them Shaiva Goddesses.  They are also connected with the worship of the warrior god Skanda.

The Seven Matrikas

In most early references, the Matrikas are described as having inauspicious qualities and often described as dangerous. They come to play a protective role in later mythology, although some of their inauspicious and wild characteristics still persist in these accounts.  Thus, they represent the prodigiously fecund aspect of nature as well as its destructive force aspect.” [3]

"Goddess Rudrani (Shodash Matrikas) by Rabi Behera

The Goddess Maheshwari is the power of the god Shiva, also known as Maheshvara.  Maheshvari is also known by the names Raudri, Rudrani and Maheshi, derived from Shiva’s names Rudra and Mahesh. The vehicle or Vahana of Goddess Maheswari is Nandi (the bull).  Goddess Maheswari is usually depicted as having four arms – two arms are in Varada Mudra (granting wishes) and one is in Abhaya Mudra (protection) and two arms are depicted as holding the Sula (lance) and a Akshamala or a Damaru.  The white complexioned, Trinetra (three eyed) Goddess holds similar weapons to Shiva and has numerous other symbols and characteristics of Shiva: when She is depicted with six arms, She carries a Trishula (trident), Damaru (drum), Akshamala (a garland of beads), Panapatra (drinking vessel) or axe or an antelope or a kapala (skull bowl) or a serpent and is adorned with serpent bracelets; and two hands are in the Varada Mudra and the Abhaya Mudra.  Sometimes She is shown wearing a crescent moon and the jaṭā mukuṭa (a headress formed of piled, matted hair).  In some very rare images, Goddess Maheshwari is depicted as having five face.  [4] [5]

 

 

 

Sources:

Rajendran, Abhilash. Hindu Blog, “Goddess Maheshwari“.

Shakti Sadhana Org,  “Maheshwari Devi“.

Wikipedia, “Matrikas“.


Suggested Links:

Divine Downloads, “Sapta Matrukas – Divine Mothers“.

Exotic India, “Conception and Evolution of the Mother Goddess in India“.

Jai Maa Vaishnavi.com, “51 Shakti Peethas of Maa Durga – Maa Sati, Dakshayani| Jai Maa Vaishnavi“.

Krishnaraj, Veeraswamy. “The Saktas“.

Omsakthi.org, “Supreme Goddess Adhiparasakthi and the Seven Goddesses“.

Sabrina. Goddess A Day, “Kamala“.

Sri Chinmoy Library, “Will You Speak About the Divine…

Write Spirit, “Maheshwari“.

Wikipedia, “Goddess Maheshwari“.

Wikipedia, “Shakti“.

Wikisource.org, “The Bhagavad Gita (Telang translation)/Chapter 12“.

Goddess Vac

“Vac’s themes are purification, protection, offerings and communication.  Her symbols are the spoken word and fresh flowers.  The Balinese/Hindu Goddess of charms and incantations, Vac joins today’s celebrations using Her powers to banish any lingering shadows or negativity from our lives. Traditionally, Vac is present in any sacred words that convey occult power or knowledge. This is especially true of mantras that reaffirm, sustain, and shelter one’s soul.

Artistic renderings reveal Vac as a mature, graceful woman bedecked in gold (an allusion to solar energy). She sometimes also appears as a cow, which is Her mother-Goddess aspect.

Bali legends say that hellish beings roam freely during this time of year, so everyone cleanses themselves and the land through magic and supplications. In this spirit, periodic spiritual ‘house cleaning’ is a good habit to get into, especially if you live in the city. Leave an offering of flowers on your altar, saying Vac’s name as you put them out. This begins the process of purging any clinging bad vibes and restoring your home’s sanctity.

Use noise makers to chase out any male-intended magic or spirits. Burn sweet-smelling incense to welcome Vac to your home, saying:

 ‘Vac, charge my speech with security
so no darkness can dwell in my home or me
Vac, be welcome in and through my words
Let the magic ever be heard!'”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“Vāk or Vāc is the Sanskrit word for “speech”, “voice”, “talk”, or “language”, from a verbal root vac- “speak, tell, utter”.  Personified, Vāk is a Goddess; most frequently She is identified with Bharati or Sarasvati, the Goddess of speech. In the Veda She is represented as created by Prajapati and married to him; in other places She is called the mother of the Vedas, having inspired the sages to write them, and wife of Indra.  In certain texts She is a daughter of Daksa and the consort of Kasyapa. Alternatively She is the daughter of Ambhrna, and, also, is known by the epithet “queen of the gods” and  is believed to be able to lead a man to become a Brahman. Vac also personifies truth and sustains soma, the liquid essence of vision and immortality.” [1]

“She is described in the Rig Veda as not only speech itself, but also as truth and perception, which allows us to turn divine knowledge into words.  Vac’s name is also seen as Vak or Vach, and sacred texts give Her the following names… She is generally depicted as an elegant golden-skinned woman, dressed in gold; but in a secondary capacity as a mother Goddess, She is depicted as a cow, a symbol of nourishment.” [2]

“This Hindu Goddess’ manifestation is thought to have come from the early reliance on the sacred oral teachings “heard” by the rsis (holy men) properly intoned and accented, thrust the folk-divinity Vac into prominence. Since effective service depended upon effective speech, the supreme vehicle of knowledge and ritual power… Vac even gained precedence over Agni. As the “Word,” Vac is somewhat like the Neo-platonic “logos“: Vac is the source of creation, and the mother of the Veda. In the Tantric tradition She is celebrated as Para-vac, Transcendental speech, the mother of all sacred mantras.

Vac, although prominent in the Rig Veda, almost completely disappears from Hindu mythology later when being syncretized with the river Goddess Sarasvati,  whose banks of the sacred river served as fertile soil for the growth of brahmanical culture.” [3]

 

 

Sources:

Mystica.org, “Vac“.

Sabrina. Goddess A Day, “Vac“.

Wikipedia, “Vāc

 

Suggested Links:

Kinsley, David. Hindu Goddesses: Visions of the Divine Feminine in the Hindu Religious Tradition, “Vāc“.

Sitarik, Jessica. Crystal Vaults, “Vac: Hindu Goddess of Written Words and Wisdom“.

Goddess Tamra

“Tamra’s themes are air, earth, nature, health, longevity, devotion, wishes and relationships.  Her symbols are feathers and birdseed.  In Hindu tradition, this Goddess was the ancestor of all birds, She can teach us their special language, which often bears communications from the divine. As the consort of the turtle god, Kashyapa, She also represents a potent union between earth and air elements.

People in Nebraska spend six weeks watching the cranes who rest and feed here during the migratory season. This region of the United States boats the largest group of sand hill cranes, about fifty thousand birds.

Magically speaking, these creatures represent health, longevity and devotion. Visualise a crane residing in your heart chakra anytime you need improved well-being.

Birds offer numerous magical applications. For warmth in a relationship, scatter feathers to the winds with your wish. The birds will use the feathers in their nests, symbolically keeping your nest intact and affectionate.

Or, disperse birdseed while thinking of a question. As the birds fly away, watch their movement. Flight to the right indicates a positive response; to the left is negative. If the birds scatter, things are iffy. If they fly straight up overhead, a heartfelt wish is being taken to Tamra.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

Yet, another Goddess that proved to be elusive.  Apparently, She was one of the 13 daughters of the Prajapati Daksha (AditiDitiKadruDanu, Arishta, Surasa, SurabhiVinata, Tamra, Krodhavaśā, Ida, Khasa and Muni) all of whom were given in marriage to Kashyapa.[1]  The only real mention I found of Her was in the Agni Purāṇa (a genre of Hindu religious texts, containing the descriptions and details of various incarnations (avatars) of Vishnu).  It states, “Kasyapa was the son of Marici, who was the son of Brahma. Kasyapa’s wife Tamra had many daughters like Kaki, Syeni, Bhasi, Grdhrka, Suki and Griva. From Kaki were born the crows in the world.” [2]

“Tamra had six daughters. These were the mothers of the birds and of goats, horse, sheep, camels and donkeys.” [3]

Sources:

Bharatadesam: everything about india, “Matsya Purana” (down to subheading “Daksha’s Descendants“).

Parmeshwaranand, Swami. Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Purāṇas: S-Z, “Kaka (Crow)” at p. 717.

Wikipedia, “Kashyap“.

Suggested Links:

Hamilton, Francis. Genealogies of the Hindus: Extracted From Their Sacred Writings… 

International Gita Society, “1. Brahma Purana

Yahoo! Answers: India, “Hinduism – Why the Crows are referred our ancestors? What about other birds?

Goddess Gauri

Maha Gauri

“Gauri’s themes are spring, protection, fertility, harvest, beauty, humor, youthfulness, wishes and equality.  Her symbols are balsam, golden-colored items, milk, mirrors and lions.  This fertile Hindu Goddess extends spring-like youth, beauty and tenderness into our lives. Gauri has a sympathetic ear for all human needs and wishes. In works of art She is depicted as a fair maiden, attended by lions and bearing wild balsam and a mirror. She was born of a milky sea, and Her name translates as ‘golden one’, indicating a connection with the sun. She is offered rice to ensure a good rice crop.

Holi is India’s most colorful festival, filled with Gauri’s equitable spirit. It celebrates an epic tale in which the sun (Gauri) is freed from a god’s mouth by getting him to laugh! Customarily, caste restrictions are shed today in order for people to simply have fun. Everyone squirts colored water at one another, and by the end of the day, no one can tell who is a servant and who is a king! This translates into a good-humored water-balloon toss. Focus on a goal while you play. When a balloon breaks, it releases Gauri’s youthful joy and productivity into your life.

Hindu custom suggests eating sweets to generate Gauri’s beauty and pleasantness in your spirit today. Or, pour Her a libation of milk while making a wish for something you’d like to ‘harvest’ in your life. Hang balsam in your home to foster Gauri’s fairness in your family’s interactions.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

Goddess Gauri is one of the manifestations of Goddess Parvati.  She is the divine energy, Mother Goddess.  She is considered as a perfect wife for Her husband, Lord Shiva.  She is a clear representation of purity and austerity.  She is the Kanya (Kumari or unmarried girl) who performed severe tapas (penance) to marry Lord Shiva.  After the conclusion of Her ferocious form Goddess Kali, She observed a severe penance to get rid of Her black complexion.

In another version I read, Parvati first sought out Shiva to seduce him, Shiva found Her dark skin to be unattractive. Parvati retreated into the forest, where She lived a very austere life, developing Her spiritual powers. Brahma took notice of Parvati’s mastery of Her physical self, and decided to grant Her one wish. Parvati asked that Her dark skin be taken away, so that Shiva would love Her. Brahma took the darkness and created the Goddess Kali with it, leaving Parvati with golden skin, and She became the Goddess Gauri.   Because of Her golden color, She is associated with rice and grains, taking on the role of a fertility Goddess.

Gauri Worshipping Lord Shiva

Gowri Puja is an important ritual during the Ganesh Chaturthi festival.  Married women worship Goddess Gowri with Sindoor or kumkum for their sowbhagyam (marital bliss).  Unmarried girls worship Her in order to get virtuous husbands.  One prays to Goddess Gauri because according to Puranas, She is the Divine Mother and the origin of the Universe.  Mother Goddess, Shakti, has various celestial manifestations like Goddess Sri Raja Rajeshwari, Goddess Gauri, Lalitha Tripura Sundari Devi, etc. [1][2][3]

 

 

Sources:

Sabrina. Goddess A Day, “Gauri“.

The Hindu Universe, “Goddess Gauri“.

Hindupad, Goddess Gauri – Gowri Devi“.

Goddess Aditi

"Universal music" by MysticalMike

“Aditi’s themes are luck, change, perspective, time, protection, prosperity, overcoming obstacles and divination.  Her symbols are butter, the number twelve and anything that changes shape.  Aditi means ‘unfettered’. In India She represents the infinite sky and the boundlessness of time and space. She offers us this expansive perspective – one in which we are citizens of eternity. Additionally, Aditi is a protector who aids in averting or surmounting difficulties. In regional prayers, people refer to Her as the ever-young protectress who guides life’s boat safely through the roughest waters.

Buddhists believe that the world is transient – that only spirit is eternal. The Butter Festival illustrates this concept with huge butter statues of heroes that are torn, distributed to participants for luck, or tossed in a river to melt away into time. Following this custom, take out an ice cube. Relax and watch the ice as it melts. Consider: Is the ice still there, even though it’s gone? Similarly, does the spirit exist outside its ‘shape’ – the body?

For a less ponderous way of honoring Aditi, light twelve candles (yellow is ideal) and watch the flame. Hindus use butter lamps instead, but this is far easier! If the flames appear dark red, your spirit is filled with strife. Mottled flames indicate weakness, tall flames symbolize mental clarity, crescent-shaped ones reveal a peaceful soul, and round ones proclaim magical power.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“One of India’s most honored Goddesses is Aditi. The name means “limitless.” In that respect, it fits Her well because She is considered to be all encompassing.

"Conceiving the Heavens" by B30wuLf

A strong and mighty deity, Aditi is also called Mother Space. As such, She is credited with giving birth to the planets and the stars, which in turn tie her to the seven dimensions of the cosmos. It is said that she has a special connection to the Milky Way, although that connection is never fully explained.

Considered a highly benevolent and gentle Goddess, Aditi holds an honored position in the pantheon of Indian Gods and Goddesses. She is the Goddess of the past as well as the Goddess of the future. She is also the keeper of the light that illuminates all life and ensures consciousness.

According to Hindu myth, Aditi was given as consort to Kasyapa. She gave birth to many children including Vishnu (in his early stages of life) and Krishna (in the latter stages). He is, of course, a figure of great import among the Hindu. Aditi’s son Mitra was god of the sun while Her son, Varuna, was god of the moon. Another of her children, the great Goddess Indra, was called the mother of kings because Her children fathered a long line of rulers.

"Aditi" from The Book of Goddesses by Kris Waldherr

However, Aditi is best known as the mother of the Adityas. These children were amed in Her honor and were later associated with the signs of the zodiac. They were also believed to protect humankind from all illness and catastrophe.

All of this would certainly seem to make Aditi the ultimate mother; having given birth to those who, in turn, brought life to everything else including plants, animals, and human beings. She became the guardian of all life and the supporter of all creatures.

It is in this latter role, that Her people often seek Her assistance in much the same way that a human child would turn to his or her mother. Her children ask for help from everything from sickness to sin. She, in turn, assists them in finding the path that will bring them the happiness and contentment they deserve.

The Goddess Aditi is often shown in the guise of the cow. The reference is considered particularly honorable because of the nurturing parallel. She sustains all life and nourishes the earth in much the same way that a cow nurtures and nourishes human beings with its milk.

Some claim that, while Aditi is always present even though She cannot be seen, that she will make Herself fully visible at the advent of the apocalypse. It is then that She will wrap Her children in Her eternal cloak and protect them for all eternity.” [1]

 

Here is a  reading from “The Book of Goddesses” by  Kris Waldherr about Aditi

 

 

Sources:

Kuchinsky, Charlotte. Yahoo! Voices, “Aditi: Uncovering the Myth of the Indian Goddess”.

 

Suggested Links:

Hinduwebsite, “Aditi, the Mother of Gods“.

Mystic Wicks, “Aditi – अदिति {Goddess of the Week}

Path to the Soul, “Aditi: The Goddess of Void and New Creation

Sitarik, Jessica. Crystal Vaults, “Aditi: Hindu Goddess of the Boundless Sky“.

Wikipedia, “Aditi“.

Goddess Tara

Painting in the Dunhuang Series by Zeng Hao

“Tara’s themes are Universal Unity, peace, cooperation, destiny, energy and spirituality.  Her symbol is a star.  In Hindu mythology, Tara is a star Goddess who encompasses all time and the spark of life. She extends this energy to us, fulfilling our spiritual hunger. In so doing, Tara strengthens our understanding of the Universe and its mysteries and gives us a glimpse of our destiny.

Tara’s name literally means ‘star’. In works of art She is depicted as beautiful as the silver turret points of the night sky, young and playful. From Her celestial home Tara challenges us to live life fully no matter the day or season, looking to the stars and our hearts to guide us.

I cannot help but believe that Tara was standing by whispering in scientists’ ears as they launched Pioneer10 into space on this date in 1972, bearing a message of peace to anyone who might find it. In this spirit of exploration and hope, today is definitely a time to reach for the stars! Try something new or set some bold goals for yourself.

If you live in an area where you can observe the night sky, go out tonight and absorb Tara’s beauty firsthand. As you watch, let the starlight and Tara’s energy trickle into your soul.

Make a wish on the first star that appears, and then find concrete ways to help that wish come true. If you see a falling star, it is Tara coming to join you!”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“Goddess Tara is probably the oldest Goddess who is still worshipped extensively in modern times. Tara originated as a Hindu Gddess, a Great Goddess — the Mother Creator, representing the eternal life force that fuels all life.

There are 21 embodiments of Tara, but the best known are the White Tara and the Green Tara.

The peaceful, compassionate White Tara gently protects and brings long life and peace. The more dynamic Goddess, Green Tara is the ‘Mother Earth’, and a fierce Goddess who overcomes obstacles, and saves us from physical and spiritual danger.

In Sanskrit, the name Tara means ‘Star’, but She was also called ‘She Who Brings Forth Life’, The Great Compassionate Mother, and The Embodiment of Wisdom, and the Great Protectress.

Adopted by Buddhism, She become the most widely revered deity in the Tibetan pantheon. In Buddhist tradition, Tara is actually much greater than a Goddess — She is a female Buddha, an enlightened one was has attained the highest wisdom, capability and compassion. . . one who can take human form and who remains in oneness with the every living thing.

In the legends of Tibet where the worship of the Goddess Tara is still practiced in the Buddhist tradition, it is told that the Goddess Tara is the feminine counterpart of the Avalokitesvara, the Bodhisattva who is reincarnated as the Dalai Lama.

Bodhisattvas are beings who have reached enlightenment and are ‘eligible’ for Budda-hood but have postponed their own Nirvāṇa, choosing instead to be remain in the cycle of birth and rebirth in order to serve humanity and assist every being on Earth in achieving Nirvāṇa themselves.

It is told that Tara first appeared rising from a lotus blossom in the lake that had formed from Avalokitesvara’s tears of compassion, tears that fell when he first beheld the scope of suffering in the world.

“White Tara Thanka” by Penny Slinger

Because of Her essential goodness, She was granted the right to assume Her human form as a man. But Tara elected instead to remain in Her womanly form.

The Goddess Tara vowed:

‘There are many who wish to gain enlightenment
in a man’s form,
And there are few who wish to work
for the welfare of living beings
in a female form.
Therefore may I, in a female body,
work for the welfare of all beings,
until such time as all humanity has found its fullness.’

One of the myths of the Goddess Tara demonstrates Her compassionate and loving nature and tells how She got the name “Tara of the Turned Face”.

An elderly woman who was a sculptor worked in a city where there was a large Buddhist temple called the Mahabodhi (Great Wisdom). She sculpted a statue of the Goddess Tara and built a shrine to house it. Upon completing the project she was filled with regret when she realized that she had not considered the placement of the shrine. ‘Oh no,’ she thought, ‘Tara has Her back to the Mahabodhi and that isn’t right!’

Then she heard the sculpture speak to her, saying ‘If you are unhappy, I will look toward the Mahabodhi.’ As the woman watched in amazement, the door of the shrine and the image of the Goddess Tara both turned to face the Temple.

Such is the love and compassion of the Goddess Tara.

The ancient Goddess Tara in Her many incarnations has many gifts to share with contemporary women. Tara embodies the feminine strengths of great caring and compassion, the ability to endure stressful and even terrifying moments, the acts of creation, and the source of sustenance and protection.

Demonstrating the psychological flexibility that is granted to the female spirit, the Goddess Tara, in some of Her human forms, could be quite fierce and wild.

Refugees fleeing the horrors of the occupation of Tibet by the Chinese armies recounted numerous stories of the Green Tara that protected them during their torture and guided their flight to freedom.

In other of Her forms, such as the White Tara, She embodied inner peace and spiritual acceptance. She symbolizes purity and is thought to be part of every good and virtuous woman.

Tara is an archetype of our own inner wisdom. She guides and protects us as we navigate the depths of our unconscious minds, helping us to transform consciousness, our own personal journeys of freedom.

It is the Goddess Tara who helps us to remain ‘centered’. The myths of the Goddess Tara remind us of our ‘oneness’ with all of creation and the importance of nurturing the spirit within.” [1]

 

“White Tara” by Marianna Rydvald

White Tara (Sveta Tara) is the incarnation of Bhrikuti Devi or Tritsun, princess of Nepal and wife of the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo.  She is regarded as companion of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. She is closely related to the Dalai Lama who is also regarded as an incarnation of Avalokiteshvara.  She is generally portrayed as seated, dressed and crowned like a Bodhisattva with an extra eye on the forehead.  Her right hand is in Varada Mudra (Boon Granting Gesture) and sometimes in Abhaya Mudra (Protection Gesture) with a full blown lotus at one or both shoulders.  Her left hand is in Jnana Mudra (Teaching Gesture) or holding the stem of a lotus.  Her right leg is sometimes hanging down supported by a lotus, this is also known as lalita asana.  She is often depicted in a standing or half dancing pose.  White Tara has seven eyes.  An eye of knowledge is found on Her forehead while the remaining ones are the usual eyes on the face and on one on each of the palms of her hands and soles of Her feet.” [2]

“She is described in manuals as having ‘the youth of 16 years’ but is often depicted as more full-bodied than Green Tara.  White Tara is referred to as “Mother of all the Buddhas.”  This is because she embodies the motivation that is compassion.  Her whiteness “Radiant as the eternal snows in all their glory” is indicative of the selflessness — the purity — of this compassion but especially the undifferentiated Truth of the Dharma.

 

Chintamani Chakra Tara (The Jewelled Wheel) is a protector form of White Tara with a violet or rainbow aureole.” [3]

 

“Green Tara” by Zeng Hao

Green Tara (Harit Tara) also known as Arya Tara in Nepal is considered the consort of Amoghasiddhi.  In sculpture She is portrayed in the same form as White Tara but She has a water lily (utpala).  She is a Buddhashakti and is regarded as a protector.  She is often depicted as slender and graceful.  Green Tara is often represented with a mischievous or playful smile on Her face. Green Tara’s powers are focused on protection. However, She is also a powerful guide during meditation.  Her most common identifying symbols are the utpala (blue lotus) and vara and vitarka mudras. The utpala opens at sunset, blooms and releases its fragrance with the appearance of the moon, with which it is associated. Tara’s right hand is outstretched in boundless giving-the vara mudra. Her left hand is in vitarka mudra. All fingers extend upward, except the ring finger which bends to touch the tip of the thumb. Vitarka is usually translated as “reflection” and is known as the the Three Jewels Mudra, or the mudra of Giving Refuge. Green Tara is often depicted with one leg out of the lotus position, extended down and ready to rise indicating Her quick response when needed.” [4]

“Green Tara is typically pictured as a dark, green-skinned girl of 16. In Tibetan culture, and some others, green is considered to include all the other colors. Buddhaguyha says that Tara’s green color is the result of the mixing of white, yellow and blue standing for pacifying, increasing and destroying respectively.  That means that Green Tara practice incorporates that of White Tara and of all the others, including that of golden Goddess of wealth, Vasundhara (Tib. Norgyun, Norgyuma). ” [5]

 

Nila Saraswati (The Blue Tara)

Blue or Ugra Tara (Ekajata Tara, Khadga Yogini or Vajrayogini*) is a dreadful manifestation of Tara and has a ferocious form and is associated with transmutation of anger.  She was overpowered by Padmasambhava.  She typically wears a five-skull crown.  These five skulls symbolize the first five perfections attainable on the Vajrayana path which are: generosity, discipline, patience, effort and meditative Concentration.  She has three eyes, symbolizing Her ability to see past, present and future simultaneously.  In Her left hand, She holds a skull cup filled with swirling brains and entails of the enemies of the Dharma and in Her right hand is the kartri, a curved flaying knife, the instrument used to annihilate these enemies.  She wears a garland of 50 human skulls.  She is adorned with six kinds of ornaments, as is usually the case with tantric divinities symbolizing their perfection in the six paramitas.  Vajrayogini helps those with strong passion to transform it into the realization of great bliss.  Vajrayogini, Vajravarahi or Bijeshvari Devi ranks first and most important among the dakini.  She is a Vajrayana Buddhist mediation deity and as such She is considered the female Buddha.  Vajrayogini is a key figure in the advanced Tibetan Buddhist practice of Chöd where She appears in her Kalika or Vajravarahi forms.” [6]

“According to the ‘Hindu’ Yogini Tantra: ‘Tara is the same as Kali, the embodiment of supreme love. So also is Kamakhya.  In thinking of them as different from Kali, one would go to hell.'” [7]

 

 

Vajrayogini

*Vajrayogini is not so terrifying and She is not blue but red, which is the proper color of Vajrayogini. Yet She has been called Ugratara-Vajrayoginiat least since 1775 when King Pratap Malla of Kathmandu put up that inscription after he built the present temple. Perhaps the most that can be said is the She is a peculiarly Nepalese form of the terrifying Blue Tara, possibly based on an iconographic source that has been lost.” [8]

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Golden Tara” by Marianna Rydvald

Bhrikuti Tara (Yellow Tara) is affiliated to the Dhyani Buddha, Amitabha.  She is typically either in a standing or sitting pose, one faced and three eyed.  In painting She is yellow in color.  She is associated with wealth and prosperity.  One of Her hands is usually in the boon granting gesture while the other holds a Buddhist rosary also known as malas, a vase and a triple staff.  She wears a crown on which a figure of Amitabha is carved.” [9]

“She is related to Hindu great Goddess Lakshmi, and Her Sanskrit name Vasundhara indicates She is the source of the eight ‘bountiful Vasus.’  Therefore, according to the epic Mahabharat, She is the bounty that is the waters of the river Ganges — the Goddess, Ganga whose origin is the snows of the Himalayas.

Ritro Loma Chen An emanation of Tara that is golden, with three faces and six arms.  Her power helps overcome plagues and epidemics, and illnesses new to the world.  Those who suffer from incurable conditions can still benefit from Her blessings.

Orange Tara As The Liberator, She is believed to be able to free prisoners and those confined in other ways.  This ‘freeing’ extends to Her efficacy in helping with childbirth.” [10]  She is also said to purifying all poverty. [11]

The Red Tara Kurukulla

Red Tara (Kurukulla) the passionate lotus dakini, originated from the country of Uddiyana.  She is said to have emanated from the Buddha Amitabha.  Among Amitabha’s three female emanations Kurukulla is the most important one.  Kurukulla is often called Red Tara (sgrol-ma dmar-po) or Tarodbhava Kurukulla, “the Kurukulla who arises from Tara.”  According to the texts, Kurukulla is a sixteen year old maiden because sixteen is an auspicious number which signifies perfection (four times four).  She is red in color because of Her magical function of enchantment and magnetism.

She has a single face because She embodies non-dual wisdom beyond conventional distinctions of good and evil.  She is naked because She is unconditioned by discursive thoughts.  She has four arms because of the four immeasurable states of mind, namely, love, compassion, joy, and equanimity.  She holds an arrow stretched on a bow entwined with flowers and leaves because she can give rise to thoughts of desire in the minds of others.  In Her other two hands She holds the hook that attracts and summons them into Her presence and the noose by which She binds them to Her will.  Both of these implements enable Her to catch those of us who have strayed from the path of the Dharma.

Kurukulla wears a crown of five skulls signifying the five perfections, whereas She herself embodies the sixth perfection, that of wisdom.  She wears a necklace of fifty freshly severed human heads dripping blood because She vanquishes the fifty negative emotions.  She is dancing because She is active and energetic, Her compassionate activity manifesting in both Samsara and Nirvana.  She dances, treading upon a male human corpse because She enchants and subjugates the demon of ego and desire also known as Kamadeva.  She stands within a flaming aura because Her nature is hot and enflamed with passion and upon a lotus blossom because She is a pure vision of enlightened awareness.  In the practitioner’s meditation, such is the recollection of the purity (dag dran) of the vision of the Goddess.  Usually She is one faced but can have 2, 4, 6 or 8 arms.  In the 6 armed form She has six Dhyani Buddhas engraved on Her crown; in the 2 armed form She is known as Sukla Kurkulla; in the 4 armed form she is known as Oddiyana Kurkulla and by several other names.  Her mantra is ‘Om Kukulle Hum Hrih Svaha’.” [12]

“The Drikung Kagyu Four-Armed Red Arya Tara is less common. Her activity is described as ‘overpowering’ in the sense of overcoming obstacles.” [13]

“Black Tara” by Paul Heussenstamm

Black Tara is a wrathful manifestation, identical in form and, no doubt, source, to Hindu Kali and is associated with power. Like Kali, She has a headdress of grinning skulls, like Kali, she is black, like Kali She has three eyes. Like many Tibetan deities in the wrathful aspect, She has the fangs of a tiger, symbolizing ferocity, a ferocious appetite to devour the demons of the mind. Her aura or halo is fiery, energetic, full of smoke symbolizing the transformation of fire.” [14]  “The Black Tara has been compared to the perfect guardian of the void, the Divine Mother of compassion and a firm Goddess to ward off any forms of evil.” [15]

 

“There are several ‘Black’ Taras invoked by Buddhists:

The Terrifier (Jigjema, Skt. Bhairava): brownish-black with tinges of red. She is “Victorious Over the Three Worlds.” She subdues evil spirits and cures any illness caused by them.

The Invincible (Shen.gyi.mi.tub.ma) “Crushes the Forces of Others” is black.  She causes your acts, intentions and aspirations to be invincible.

The Conqueror of Opponents (Shen.le Nam.par Gyel.ma) is red/black.  “Pulverizer of the Maras,” She nullifies the influences of any who oppose one’s spiritual aspirations.” [16]

 

“Some have a vision of you (Tara) as red as the sun with rays more brilliant and red than lac and vermilion.  Others see you blue like the sapphire.  Some again see you whiter than the milk churned out of the milky ocean.  Still others see you golden.  Your vishva-rupa is like a crystal which changes its color with the change of the things around it.” ~ Arya Tara Shragdhara stotra [Nitin Kumar’s newsletter, Nov. 2000)

 

 

 

ASSOCIATIONS:

General: Star, third eye (in the middle of the forehead), seven eyes (including eyes in the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet), full moon, lakes, rainbows, the numbers 3, 7, and 11.

Animals: Owl, raven, sow and mare.

Plants: Lotus blossom, either open or closed and any orange flowers.

Perfumes/Scents: Incense, rose and musk, jonquils

Gems and Metals: Diamonds, rose quartz, pink tourmaline, emerald, (any pink or green stones)

Colors: All colors, but especially white and green. [17]

 

 

 

* On a personal note, Green Tara holds a very special place in my heart.  She helped me through some very tough times a few years ago.  These two songs are my absolute favorite renditions of the Green Tara Mantra and fill me with peace, love and joy every time I listen to them.  Namaste.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Amelia. Friendburst.com, “Tara: Goddess of Peace and Protection“.

Dharma Sculture, “Tara, the Mother of All Buddhas“.

Goddessgift.com, “Goddess Symbols: Tara“.

Khandro Net, “Tara

Locke, John Ph.D. Digital Library & Museum of Buddhist Studies, “Vajrayogini Temple of Samkhu

Threads of Spiderwoman, “Black Tara“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Devika. Order of the White Moon, “Tara, Goddess of Compassion“.

Exotic India Art,Tara and the Cult of the Female in Buddhism“.

Kagyu Samye Dzong Finland, “Green Tara: The Praise of 21 Taras

Religion Facts,Tara: Buddhist Goddess in Green and White“.

Sabrina. Goddess A Day, “Tara

Stolan, Mihai. Liveonlineyoga.com, “Yoga of the Ten Great Cosmic Powers“.

Vortex Distribution, “21Taras.HTM

Wikipedia, “Tara (Buddhism)“.



Goddess Kali

“Kali” by Lisa Iris

“Kali’s themes are rebirth, cycles, joy, courage, hope, cleansing and change.  Her symbols are flowers, dance, iron, swords, peacock feathers and honey.  Kali, a Hindu Goddess whose name means ‘time’, is the genetrix of natural forces that either build or destroy. Even in destruction, however, She reminds us that good really can come of bad situations. If you find your hopes and dreams have been crushed, Kali can change the cycle and produce life out of nothingness. Where there is sorrow, She dances to bring joy. Where there is fear, She dances in courage.

During the Festival of Shiva, or Maha Shivratri, Hindus gather at Shiva’s temples to honor this celestial dance of creation, and Kali dances with them in spirit. Beforehand, they fast and bathe in holy waters for purification. Doing similarly (in your tub or shower) will purge your body and soul of negative influences. Add some flower petals or sweet perfume tot the bath to invoke Kali’s power.

To invoke Kali’s assistance in bringing new life to stagnant projects or ruined goals, leave her an offering of honey or flowers, and make this Kali amulet: Take any black cloth and wrap it around a flower dabbed with a drop of honey, saying:

 ‘Kali, turn, dance, and change
Fate rearrange
End the devastation and strife
what was dead return to life.’

Carry this with you until the situation changes, then bury it with thankfulness.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

Who can comprehend the Divine Paradox of Mother Kali?  Fierce, black in color, large, shimmering eyes, destructive, triumphantly smiling amidst the slaughter of billions of demons, wearing a necklace of skulls and a skirt of severed arms, glowing effulgently like the moon in the night sky, holding the head of a demon, a Trident that flashes like lightning and a knife etched with sacred mantras and infused with Divine Shakti, Kali stands peaceful and content, suffused with the fragrances of jasmine, rose and sandalwood!

Goddess Kali

Goddess Kali is equated with the eternal night, is the transcendent power of time, and is the consort of the god Shiva. It is believed that its Shiva who destroys the world, and Kali is the power or energy with which Shiva acts. Therefore, Kali is Shiva’s Shakti, without which Shiva could not act. Frequently, those not comprehending Her many roles in life call Kali the Goddess of death and destruction.  It is partly correct to say Kali is a Goddess of death, but She brings the death of the ego as the illusory self-centered view of reality. Nowhere in the Hindu stories is She seen killing anything but demons nor is She associated specifically with the process of human dying like the Hindu god Yama (who really is the god of death). It is true that both Kali and Shiva are said to inhabit cremation grounds and devotees often go to these places to meditate. This is not to worship death but rather it is to overcome the I-am-the-body idea by reinforcing the awareness that the body is a temporary condition. Shiva and Kali are said to inhabit these places because it is our attachment to the body that gives rise to the ego. Shiva and Kali grant liberation by removing the illusion of the ego. Thus we are the eternal I AM and not the body. This is underscored by the scene of the cremation grounds.

According to Hindu myth, The Goddess Kali is an incarnation of Parvati. She assumed this form in order to vanquish the demon Raktabija, whose name means “the seed of blood”. The gods could not kill the demon Raktabija because he had received from Brahma the boon of being born anew a one thousand times more powerful than before, each time a drop of his blood was shed. Every drop of his blood that touched the ground transformed itself into another and more powerful Raktabija. Within a few minutes of striking this demon the entire battlefield covered with millions of Raktabija clones. In despair, the gods turned to Shiva. But Shiva was lost in meditation at the time and the gods were afraid to disturb him. Hence they pleaded with his consort Parvati for Her assistance.

“Kali” by maigo-no-kirin

The Goddess immediately set out to do battle with this dreaded demon in the form of Kali or “the Black One”. Her eyes were red, Her complexion was dark, Her features gaunt, Her hair unbound, and Her teeth sharp like fangs. As Kali came in to do battle, Raktabija experienced fear for the first time in his demonic heart. Kali ordered the gods to attack Raktabija. She then spread Her tongue to cover the battlefield preventing even a single drop of Raktabija’s blood from falling on the group. Thus, She prevented Raktabija from reproducing himself and the gods were able to slay the demon. Another form of the legend says that Kali pierced Raktabija with a spear, and at once stuck Her lips to the wound to drink all the blood as it gushed out of the body, thus preventing Raktabija from reproducing himself.

Drunk on Raktabija’s blood, Kali ran across the cosmos killing anyone who dared cross Her path. She adorned herself with the heads, limbs and entrails of her victim. The gods were witnessing the balance of the universe being shattered. As a last resort they had to rouse Shiva from his meditation. To pacify Her, Shiva threw himself under Her feet. This stopped the Goddess. She calmed down, embraced Her husband, shed Her ferocious form to became Gauri, “the Fair one”.

Kali intends Her bloody deeds and destruction for the protection of the good. She may get carried away by Her gruesome acts but She is not evil. Kali’s destructive energies on the highest level are seen as a vehicle of salvation and ultimate transformation.  She destroys only to recreate, and what She destroys is sin, ignorance and decay. The Goddess Kali is represented as black in color. Black in the ancient Hindu language of Sanskrit is kaala –the feminine form is kali – so She is Kali, the black one. Black is a symbol of The Infinite and the seed stage of all colors. The Goddess Kali remains in a state of inconceivable darkness that transcends words and mind. Within Her blackness is the dazzling brilliance of illumination. Kali’s blackness symbolizes Her all-embracing, comprehensive nature, because black is the color in which all the colors merge; black absorbs and dissolves them.

Kali’s nudity has powerful meaning. In many instances She is described as garbed in space or sky clad. In Her absolute, primordial nakedness She is free from all covering of illusion. She is Nature (Prakriti in Sanskrit), stripped of ‘clothes’. It symbolizes that She is completely beyond name and form, completely beyond the effects of maya (illusion). Her nudity is said to represent totally illumined consciousness, unaffected by maya. Kali is the bright fire of truth, which cannot be hidden by the clothes of ignorance. Such truth simply burns them away.

“Kali” by Dazy-Girl

She is full-breasted; Her motherhood is a ceaseless creation. Her disheveled hair forms a curtain of illusion, the fabric of space – time which organizes matter out of the chaotic sea of quantum-foam. Her garland of fifty human heads, each representing one of the fifty letters of the Sanskrit alphabet, symbolizes the repository of knowledge and wisdom. She wears a girdle of severed human hands – hands that are the principal instruments of work and so signify the action of karma. Thus the binding effects of this karma have been overcome, severed, as it were, by devotion to Kali. She has blessed the devotee by cutting him free from the cycle of karma. Her white teeth are symbolic of purity (Sans. Sattva), and Her lolling tongue which is red dramatically depicts the fact that She consumes all things and denotes the act of tasting or enjoying what society regards as forbidden (i.e. Her indiscriminate enjoyment of all the world’s “flavors”).

Kali’s four arms represent the complete circle of creation and destruction, which is contained within her. She represents the inherent creative and destructive rhythms of the cosmos. Her right hands, making the mudras of “fear not” and conferring boons, represent the creative aspect of Kali, while the left hands, holding a bloodied sword and a severed head represent Her destructive aspect. The bloodied sword and severed head symbolize the destruction of ignorance and the dawning of knowledge. The sword is the sword of knowledge, that cuts the knots of ignorance and destroys false consciousness (the severed head). Kali opens the gates of freedom with this sword, having cut the eight bonds that bind human beings. Finally Her three eyes represent the sun, moon, and fire, with which She is able to observe the three modes of time: past, present and future. This attribute is also the origin of the name Kali, which is the feminine form of ‘Kala’, the Sanskrit term for Time.

Kali is considered to be the most fully realized of all the Dark Goddesses, a great and powerful black earth Mother Goddess capable of terrible destruction and represents the most powerful form of the female forces in the Universe. Worship of the Goddess Kali is largely an attempt to appease Her and avert Her wrath. Her followers gave her offerings of blood and flesh, which was important in Her worship, just as blood sacrifice was important in worship of the early Biblical God, who commanded that the blood must be poured on his alters (Exodus 29:16) for the remission of sins (Numbers 18:9).  As mistress of blood, She presides over the mysteries of both life and death.  Regardless, Her followers still found Her to be a powerful warrior Goddess and found Her greatest strength to be that of a protector.

Kali is not always thought of as a Dark Goddess.  Despite Kali’s origins in battle, She evolved to a full-fledged symbol of Mother Nature in Her creative, nurturing and devouring aspects. Some groups of people, unfamiliar with the precepts of Hinduism, see Kali as a satanic demon probably because of tales of her being worshipped by dacoits and other such people indulging evil acts. By not understanding the story behind Mother Kali it is easy to misinterpret Her iconography. In the same way one could say that Christianity is a religion of death, destruction and cannibalism in which the practitioners drink the blood of Jesus and eat his flesh.  Of course, we know this is not the proper understanding of the communion ritual. Rather, She is referred to as a great and loving primordial Mother Goddess in the Hindu tantric tradition. In this aspect, as Mother Goddess, She is referred to as Kali Ma, meaning Kali Mother, and millions of Hindus revere Her as such.

Of all the forms of Devi, She is the most compassionate because She provides moksha or liberation to Her children. She is the counterpart of Shiva the destroyer. They are the destroyers of unreality. The ego sees Mother Kali and trembles with fear because the ego sees in Her its own eventual demise. A person who is attached to his or her ego will not be receptive to Mother Kali and she will appear in a fearsome form. A mature soul who engages in spiritual practice to remove the illusion of the ego sees Mother Kali as very sweet, affectionate, and overflowing with incomprehensible love for Her children.

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Bijjam Snaps, The Story of Kali

The Buddha Garden, The Hindu Goddess Kali

Dolls of India, Kali the Goddess: Gentle Mother…Fierce Warrior

Exotic India, Mother Goddess as Kali – The Feminine Force in Indian Art

Infinite Goddess – Embracing the Divine Mother, Kali Goddess

Mythical-Folk, Kali Ma

Rise of Womanhood, Goddess of Destruction

Sathya Sai Baba, Hindu Gods & Goddesses in India – Hinduism, Mother Kali – Goddess Kalika Devi

 

 

Suggested Links:

Kila. Matrifocus: Cross-Quartly for the Godess Woman, “Reconciling Kali and Gauri: Goddess Thealogy and the Art of Peace“.

Pirera, Anna. Goddess Gallery, “Kali“.

Revel, Anita. igoddess.com, “Kali: chaotic kindess“.

Stolan, Mihai. Liveonlineyoga.com, “Yoga of the Ten Great Cosmic Powers“.

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