Tag Archive: india


When God Was a Girl

Take an hour out and treat yourself – reclaim your herstory, reclaim your divinity! Wonderful and informational.  “Historian Bettany Hughes visits a world where Goddesses ruled the heavens and earth, and reveals why our ancestors thought of the divine as female. Travelling across the Mediterranean and the Near East, Bettany goes to remote places, where she encounters fearsome Goddesses who controlled life and death, and she ends up in modern-day India, where the Goddess is still a powerful force for thousands of Hindus. Immersing herself in the excitement of the Durga Puja festival, Bettany experiences Goddess worship first-hand, and finds out what the Goddess means to Her devotees.”

 

Goddess Samjuna

“Ushas” by Lisa Hunt

“Samjuna’s themes are knowledge, learning, excellence and reason. Her symbols are walnuts (the mind). In Hindu tradition, this Goddess is the source of all conscious thought and action. Her name even means ‘consciousness’, and She is the patroness of learning, reason, logic and knowledge.

Every year at this time, the Nobel Prize is awarded for mastery in chemistry, medicine, literature and peace keeping. It is a time to revel in humankind’s achievements and limitless potential for good, motivated by Samjuna’s gentle leadings.

To honor this Goddess and the people who have achieved the pinnacle of what She represents, spend time enriching your mind today. For instance, you might read field manuals applicable to your career to advance your knowledge, watch educational television; go to a library, and perhaps donate to its shelves some old books that you no longer read; organize a local reading group for improved literary appreciation; or turn off the television and engage in intelligent conversation for mutual edification. The options here are limitless.

For a Samjuna charm that improves conscious awareness and your reasoning powers, carry a shelled walnut today. The shape of this nut equates to the mind. Eat this at the end of the day to internalize her power for thoughtful actions.”

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

Surya and Sanjana

According to Patricia Monaghan, “‘Knowledge’ was the Indian wife of the sun [Surya], whose brilliance finally so tired Her that Samjuna hid in the wilderness disguised as a mare, leaving behind a replica of Herself [Chhaya or Savarna].  But he discovered Her ruse and transformed himself into a stallion to seek Her and, finding Her, to have intercourse with Her.  From this union came the twin gods of agriculture , the horse-headed Aswins.  Samjuna agreed to return to the sky with the sun god, but first She had Her father [Vishwakarma] trim away some of the sun’s rays to diminish his brightness.  From the extra pieces of the sun were fashioned the weapons of other gods”  (p. 272).

“The Goddess Within Painting” by Louise Green

“Saranya, or Saraniya (also known as Saranya, Sanjna, or Sangya) is the wife of Surya, and a Goddess of the dawn and the clouds in Hindu mythology, and is sometimes associated with Demeter, Greek Goddess of agriculture. According to Max Müller and A. Kuhn, Demeter is the mythological equivalent of the Sanskrit Saranyu, who, having turned Herself into a mare, is pursued by Vivasvat, and becomes the mother of Revanta and the twin Asvins, the Indian Dioscuri (the Indian and Greek myths being regarded as identical). She is also the mother of Manu, the twins Yama and Yami. According to Farnell, the meaning of the epithet is to be looked for in the original conception of Erinys, which was that of an earth-Goddess akin to Ge, thus naturally associated with Demeter, rather than that of a wrathful avenging deity. [1]

“She is considered as the Goddess who gave birth to all animals.  She is also thought to be the Vedic Mare Goddess.” [2]

 

 

 

Sources:

Indianetzone.com, “Saranyu“.

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

Wikipedia, “Saranyu“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Crystalinks.com, “Gods and Goddesses of Ancient India“.

Held, Catherine Anne. Dreamhorsewomen.wordpress.com, “Saranyu: the Runaway Horse Goddess: Part I” & “Saranyu: the Runaway Horse Goddess: Part II“.

Wikipedia, “Chhaya“.

Goddess Dharani

“Dharani’s themes are luck, abundance, wealth and beginnings. Her symbols are baskets (filled), basil (sacred plant), rice and seedlings.  In Indian mythology, Dharani is the wealth-providing, luck-bringing, abundant aspect of Lakshmi. This prosperity, which She freely offers to us when our storehouses grow scant, is potently portrayed in artistic renderings, which show Her with an overflowing basket of rice or seedlings.

Around this time of year, people in India celebrate Diwali, a festival of lights, which is the beginning of the Hindu new year. This festival also venerates Dharani in the hopes of getting the new year off to a really good start.

To invoke Dharani’s good fortune, wash your floors, car, shoes, pets, and/or clothing with basil water to rid yourself of any lingering bad luck. Since basil is Dharani’s sacred herb, it banishes any energy of which the Goddess doesn’t approve!

Light candles carved with your personal good-luck emblems to that the shadows in your life will be free. When the flam melts the image, Dharani’s magic for good fortune is released (if you like, anoint that with a little basil oil, too).

Finally, to bless anyone visiting your home or desk today, fill a basket with rice cakes, offering some to any passers-by. This way you share the wealth and allow the Goddess to bring Her prosperity to many more lives.”

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

“Bumi Devi @ Mother Earth” by Q. Arlene

While researching this Goddess, I found that She was an avatar of Lakshmi and apparently a minor Goddess.  “Dharani (also dharini), in Hinduism as mentioned in epic and Puranic texts, is a Goddess, the consort of Parasurama (the sixth avatar of Vishnu), and avatar of Goddess Laksmi.

In Buddhism, dharani is the collective name for a group of deities; twelve personifications of a particular type of mystic religious text used as a charm.” [1]

On Exoticindiaart.com, I found that while “Kamala is denotative of [Lakshmi’s] form as Lotus Goddess; Dharini [is] suggestive of Her immense power to bear, is denotative of the earth and thus of Her Bhoodevi form.” [2]

 

 

 

Sources:

Exoticindiaart.com, “Lakshmi – The Lotus Goddess“.

Lowchensaustralia.com, “Indian Goddesses – D“.

Themystica.org, “Dharani“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Biharlokmanch.org, “About Lakshmi and her various Avatars“.

Lotussculpture.com, “Lakshmi – The Hindu Goddess of Wealth“.

Took, Thalia. A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery, “Sri Lakshmi“.

Goddess Vasudhara

“Vasudhara” by Sundar Sinkhwal

“Vasudhara’s themes are religious devotion, charity, thankfulness and abundance. Her symbols are cows and golden items. In India, this golden-breasted earth Goddess provides us with enough abundance to be able to give back freely of what we receive. Vasushara’s golden color alludes to some solar attributes, including manifesting financial prosperity for those who call upon Her. In Her wealth-giving aspect, Vasudhara sometimes appears as a cow.

Around this date, many churches in the United States and Canada begin their annual fund-raising campaign by asking parishioners to give back a little of what the divine has given them.  While many New Age practitioners don’t belong to a church, this idea still holds merit and would please Vasudhara greatly. Donate a little money to a pagan defense fund, for example.  Put on something gold to draw the Goddess’s prosperity back to you, then buy some good magic books for your library. The proceeds indirectly ‘give back’ to the teachers whom you admire through royalties!

If your schedule allows, stop in at your favorite New Age store and volunteer an hour of your time to give back to the community. Write thank-you letters to people who have somehow touched your life deeply. Should any of these people live nearby, help them with chores or bring them a special dish for dinner.  These acts of kindness are a type of stewardship that reflects Vasushara’s spirit by blessing others.”

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

A Newari Representation of Vasudhara

From Wikipedia: “Vasudhārā whose name means ‘stream of gems’ in Sanskrit, is the Buddhist bodhisattva of wealth, prosperity, and abundance. She is popular in many Buddhist countries and is a subject in Buddhist legends and art. Originally an Indian bodhisattva, Her popularity has spread to southern Buddhist countries. Her popularity, however, peaks in Nepal where She has a strong following among the Buddhist Newars of the Kathmandu Valley and is thus a central figure in Newar Buddhism.  She is named Shiskar Apa in Lahul and Spiti.

The origin of Vasudhārā in Buddhism appears in the Buddhist text The Vasudhara Dharani.  According to a legend in the text known as ‘The Inquiry of the Layman Sucandra,’ an impoverished layman named Sucandra approaches the Buddha Shakyamuni requesting a way to obtain large amounts gold, grain, silver, and gems in order to feed his large family and engage in acts of charity with the surplus fortune. Shakyamuni, aware of a mantra about the bodhisattva Vasudhara that would suit his purposes, bestows Sucandra with an incantation and religious ritual that when followed would result in good fortune and prosperity brought on by Vasudhara Herself. Upon commencing the rituals and teaching them to others, Sucandra begins to prosper. Noticing his success, the monk Ananda asked Shakyamuni how he had obtained this fortune so quickly. Shakyamuni instructs Ananda to also practice the Vasudhara Dharani and ‘impart it to others ‘for the good of many’.’

Although ‘The Inquiry of the Layman Sucandra’ seems to contradict the Buddha’s renunciation of material possessions and earthly pleasures, Shakyamuni does not instruct the monk to recite the mantra for material benefit but instead he stresses that the mantra is for ‘the good of many’ and for ‘the happiness of many’.  Thus the mantra is meant more as means of alleviating suffering rather than obtaining wealth through Vasudhara, who not only grants physical wealth and abundance but also spiritual wealth and abundance. Click here to continue reading about Her legends from Taranatha.

Like the legend of the ‘Inquiry of the Layman Sucandra’ these legends are significant because they encourage both the lay and monastic worship of Vasudhara.  In addition, they stress the importance of charity, teaching worshippers to share in their good fortune rather than amassing it for themselves.

Vasudhara [Tib. Norgyun(ma)]

In Buddhist art, Vasudhara has a consistent iconography. She can easily be identified as a bodhisattva by the elaborate headdress and the extensive amount of jewelry she wears.  Her skin has a golden hue in bronze and painted images. This color is associated with precious metals and symbolizes opulence, fertility, and generosity in Buddhist iconography. Vasudhara is typically seated on a lotus flower base in the lalitasana, or royal pose, with one foot tucked in towards her and the other hanging of the flower base but resting on a small treasure.  She can, however, also be represented in a standing position.  When standing, Vasudhara has a full vase representing abundance underneath each foot.

Despite this consistency in Her representations, the number of Her arms may differ from image to image. In visual representations, Vasudhara can have as few as two arms and as many as six. The two-armed representations are more common in Tibetan art and Indian art, while six-armed representations are almost exclusive to Nepalese art.  Although the six-armed image originates in India, they are rare and only few examples have been found.

In Her hands, Vasudhara holds a variety of objects attributed to Her. Most representations show Her holding a sheaf of corn in Her left hand, symbolizing an abundant harvest.  She may also be holding a gem or small treasure, a symbol of wealth. Representations with more arms, such as the six-armed Nepali representation, also depict Her holding a full vase and the Book of Wisdom. With Her free hands, Vasudhara performs mudras. A commonly seen mudra in paintings and figurines featuring Vasudhara is the varada mudra, also known as the charity mudra, which symbolizes the ‘pouring forth of divine blessings.’ Vasudhara is the subject of numerous bronzes and paintings. She is predominantly the central figure of bronze sculptures or painted mandalas. She may also, however, appear alongside Her consort, Vaiśravaṇa (Jambhala) the Buddhist God of Riches. Despite his status, She surpasses him in popularity and is more commonly the central figure of Her own mandalas.

Vasudhara is particularly popular in Nepali Buddhism among the Buddhist Newars of the Kathmandu Valley. In this region she is a common household deity. This is known from the countless number of bronzes and paintings found representing Her. These images are small in size, typically 18 cm or smaller.  Because of their small size it is known that these images were primarily for private use, namely household veneration of the Goddess. Additionally, there is a cult dedicated to Her worship followed by the Buddhist Newars.  Followers of this cult believe that Her worship brings wealth and stability. Despite the strong following of this cult by the Buddhist Newars, unfortunately, it is now in decline.

As the Bodhisattva of abundance and prosperity, Her popularity in this region is due to the predominance of agriculture and trade essential to the economy of the Kathmandu Valley.  The Newars believe that Her veneration will generally result in good fortune.

One of the earliest Nepalese representations of Vasudhara is a pauhba (textile art depicting Hindu and Buddhist images on course cotton), dating back to 1015 C.E.  This pauhba is known as the Mandala of Vasudhara. The Goddess is the central image of this mandala, which depicts scenes of dedication, ritual initiation, festive music, and dance associated with Her worship. Its purpose is didactic (to teach). The mandala teaches the importance of worshipping Vasudhara primarily through the narrative of a non-believer whom She converted to belief.

In addition to Her popularity in Nepal, Vasudhara is also an important ‘wealth deity’ in Tibetan Buddhism.  Although popular in Tibet, Vasudhara does not assume as important of a role as She does in Nepalese Buddhism. In Tibet, the worship of Vasudhara is limited to mostly lay people as opposed to worship by both lay and monastic life. This is because Tibetan monastic life regards Vasudhara as a ‘benefactor of the laity’ and instead primarily engages in the worship of the Goddess Tara for all their needs.  This, however, does not mean that monastic life disregards Her completely. They do perform rites and rituals to the Goddess habitually but it is usually at the request of a patron.

The iconography of Vasudhara varies slightly in this region. In Tibetan art She appears more commonly with two arms. The six-armed representations, however, also exist and it is believed they filtered into Tibet through Nepal because of the late appearance of these images in manuscripts and art.  Unlike Nepalese art, Vasudhara rarely appears alone in Tibetan art. Instead She is paired with Jambhala or appears alongside other deities.  Despite these slight differences, most of Her iconography remains unchanged and Vasudhara can be easily recognized by Her attributes in most Buddhist art.

Vasudhara is often compared to the Hindu goddess Lakshmi. As Goddesses of wealth, both deities have a similar iconography and are worshipped for their role in an abundant harvest.  Both assume a golden hue in artistic representations, perform the same mudra, and hold similar objects. For example, Vasudhara and Lakshmi are often depicted holding gems or having pots of treasure under their feet. It is believed that the convention of depicting Vasudhara standing on vases originated from earlier representations of Lakshmi.  Furthermore, both Goddesses are often depicted paired with their respective consorts, Lakshmi alongside Vishnu and Vasudhara alongside Jambhala.” [1]

“Invite Vasudhara into your home, offer Her flowers and water, and recite Her mantra daily to invite wealth and abundance into your life. Her mantra is: OM SHRI VASUDHARA RATNA NIDHANA KASHETRI SOHA.” [2]

Sources:

Fsmegamall.com, “Bejeweled Vasudhara – Goddess of Wealth and Abundance“.

Wikipedia, “Vasudhara“.

 

Suggested Links:

Huntington, John C. & Dina Bangdel. The Circle of Bliss: Buddhist Meditational Art, “125| Vasundhara“.

Isley, A. Krishna. Krishna76.deviantart.com, “Vasundhara in Vajrayana Buddhi“. (An excellent academic essay!)

News.richmond.edu, “Religion professor researches Buddhist goddesses of Tibet“.

Shaw, Miranda Eberle. Buddhist Goddesses of India.

Smithsonian Institution. Asia.si.edu, “Devi: The Great Goddess“.

Goddess Ka-Blei-Jew-Lei-Hat

Ka-Blei-Jew-Lei-Hat’s themes are work, rest, recreation and prosperity. Her symbols are all tools of the trade.  The Assam Goddess of the marketplace and merchants takes a much-deserved rest from Her labors today and focuses on rewarding tasks that have been well done throughout the last eight months.

For most folks in the United States, Labor Day represents a long weekend without normal workaday activities. From a magical perspective, this holiday offers us a chance to thank Ka-Blei-Jew-Lei-Hat for our jobs (which keep a roof overhead and food on the table) and ask for Her blessing on the tools we use regularly. A secretary might empower his or her pen and steno pad; a musician can charge his or her instrument; a shopkeeper might anoint the cash register, a book clerk might burn specially chosen incense near Goddess-centered books (and in the business section), and so forth.

Some potential herbal tinctures and oils to use for inspiring Ka-Blei-Jew-Hat’s prosperity and watchfulness include cinnamon, clove, ginger, mint, orange and pine. To partake of the Goddess’s abundance by energizing your skills with Her magic, blend all of these (except pine) into a tea!

This Goddess can help with job searches, too. Just tell Her your need, then renew the newspaper to see what companies catch your eye. Then get on the phone or get the resume out so Ka-Ble-Jew-Lei-Hat can open that doorway.”

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

“Devi” by ~twiggy101

Well, sorry guys.  I found nothing on this Goddess other than what Patricia Telesco has written for today’s entry.  Just as well I guess; it’s pouring (we’re getting the tail end of Hurricane Isaac up here), my internet is acting up, the lights are flickering and I have a feeling we may lose power.  Oh well, let’s hope for better luck tomorrow…

Goddess Tripura

“Tripura’s themes are religious devotion, forgiveness, relationships, kindness, truth, spirituality, patience and restoration. Her symbols are gold, silver and iron.  In Jainism, Tripura is the great mother who lives in three metallic cities (gold, silver, iron) that represent the heavens, the air, and the earth (or body, mind, and spirit). She unites these three powers within us for well-balanced spiritual living that reflects good morals and proper action.

Taking place between August and September, this Paryushana focuses on the ten cardinal virtues of forgiveness, charity, simplicity, contentment, truthfulness, self-restraint, fasting, detachment, humility, and continence. It is also a time to restore relationships that have been damaged during the year and generally reassess one’s life and perspectives, asking for Tripura’s assistance during your daily meditations with words like this:

‘Great Heavenly Mother, create in me a temple
that is strong and pure, a mind that seeks after
truth, and a spirit that thirsts for enlightenment.
Balance these parts of myself so I may walk along
your path with harmony as my companion.’

Another way to generate Tripura’s attributes within today is by wearing gold, silver, and iron toned objects or clothing. If you can’t find anything in an iron color, just iron your clothing using the magic of puns for power!”

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

“Tripurasundarĩ (‘Beautiful (Goddess) of the Three Cities’) or Mahã-Tripurasundarĩ (‘Great Beautiful (Goddess) of the Three Cities’), also called Ṣoḍaśĩ (“Sixteen”), Lalitã (‘She Who Plays’) and Rãjarãjeśvarĩ (‘Queen of Queens, Supreme Ruler’), is one of the group of ten Goddesses of Hindu belief, collectively called Mahavidyas.

As Shodashi, Tripurasundari is represented as a sixteen-year-old girl, and is believed to embody sixteen types of desire. Shodashi also refers to the sixteen syllable mantra, which consists of the fifteen syllable (panchadasakshari) mantra plus a final seed syllable. The Shodashi Tantra refers to Shodashi as the ‘Beauty of the Three Cities,’ or Tripurasundari.

Tripurasundari is the primary Goddess associated with the Shakta Tantric tradition known as Sri Vidya.  The Goddess Who is ‘Beautiful in the Three Worlds’ (Supreme Deity of Srikula systems); the ‘Moksha Mukuta’.” [1]

One source I found stated that “Maha Tripura Sundari is the Universal manifestation of the Mother Goddess Parvati.” [2]  Another explained that “Goddess Tripura is the ultimate, primordial Shakti, the light of manifestation. She is the garland of letters of the alphabet and said to be the one who gave birth to the three worlds. She is called ‘the beauty of three worlds’.  At dissolution, She is the abode of all Her devotees.

The Sri Chakra, frequently called the Sri Yantra.

Vidya means knowledge, specifically female knowledge, or the Goddess, and in this context relates to her aspect called Shri, Bala or Tripura Sundari whose magical diagram is called the “Shri Yantra” or the “Bala Tripura Sundari Yantra”. [2]

“Goddess Tripura Sundari is an integral part of the religious life of Tripura. The Tripura Sundari, along with other Goddesses, namely, Tara, Kali, Bhuvaneshvari, Chhinnamasta, Bhairavi, Bagalamukhi, Dhumavati, Kamalatmika and Matangi.

Kali, Tara, Shodashi, Bhuvaneshvari, Bhairavi,
Chhinnamasta, Dhumavati, Bagalamukhi, Matangi, and Kamala.

This Goddess is described as being the mate of Lord Shiva. It is commonly believed that the state of Tripura has derived its name from Tripura Sundari. One of the major temples of the satte is dedicated to the worship of Tripura Sundari.  The name of this temple is Tripura Sundari Temple. This popular temple of Tripura is situated at the top of a hill close to the village called Radhakishorepur. This place is not very far away from the prominent town of Udaipur. There is a hymn dedicated to Tripura Sundari.

The importance of Goddess Tripura Sundari in Tripura can be understood from the fact that it is considered one of the 51 pithasthanas associated with the religion of Hinduism.

Goddess Tripura Sundari is often referred to as Shodasi. Shodasi is commonly represented in the state as a girl of sixteen years. She represents sixteen different types of urges. The Shodasi Tantra is an important source of information about Tripura Sundari in Tripura. According to this source, Tripura Sundari is actually the illumination in the eyes of Lord Shiva.” [3]

Pertaining to Lalitha: “Lalitha means ‘She Who Plays’. All creation, manifestation and disslution is considered to be a play of Devi or the Goddess. Lalitha Tripura Sundari Devi is a Goddess who is representative of these Goddess on form, Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswathi. Tripura means the Three Cities, and Sundari means beautiful; specifically a beautiful female. Therefore Her name means, Beautiful of Three Cities. Tripura Sundari is also worshipped as the Yantra, which is considered by practitioner of Sri Vidya. Vidya means wisdom. Tripura Sundari combines in Her being Kali’s determination and Durga’s charm, grace and complexion. She has a third eye on Her forehead, usually four armed and clad in red or golden in colour, depending on the meditational form. She holds five arrows of flowers, a noose, a goad and sugarcane or bow. The noose represents attachment, the goad represents repulsion, the sugarcane represents the mind and the arrows are the five sense objects. She is the heavily ornamented and sits on a ‘Simhasanam’ before Srichakra. Srichakram is the most sacred thing for Hindus.

“Shakti” by Dhira Lawrence

Goddess Lalitha Tripura Sundari Devi and Red Goddess are one of the most powerful manifestation of Goddess, Shakti. Goddess Shakti incarnated as Lalitha demolish the demon called Bhandasura. As per legends Goddess Lalitha represents the panchabhuta of the universe. Panchabhutas are air, water, fire, space and earth. She always appears as She is 16 years of age. According to this theory Goddess Lalitha appears in the form of 16 nithyadevies, while depicting the war between Bhandasura and the Goddess Lalitha. Sahasranama Stotra mentions the Nitydevies, Her consort is Shiva Kama Sundara. The Lalitha Sahasranamam illustrates Her cherisma from head to foot. She described as the ‘One who recreates the Universe’.” [4]

 

 

 

Sources:

Astroved.com, “Bala Tripura Sundari Yantra“.

Prophet666.com, “Maha Tripura Sundari Mantra“.

Sivaniskitchen.blogspot.com, “Sri Lalitha Tripura Sundari Devi“.

Wikipedia, “Tripura Sundari“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Agaliha. Mysticwicks.com, “Thread: Lalita/Tripura Sundari/Shodashi {Goddess of the Week}“.

Indianetzone.com, “Goddess Lalita, Hindu Goddess“.

Shivashakti.com, “Lalita Tripurasundari, the Red Goddess“.

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

Wikipedia, “Mahavidya“.

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 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 Ganga

"The Descent of Ganga" by Om Prakash Saini

“Ganga’s themes are cleansing, health and mercy. Her symbols are water and yellow colored items.
As the Hindu Goddess of the river Ganges, Ganga represents purification, wellness and benevolence in the new year. Legend has it Ganga came to earth upon hearing the cries of people who were dying from drought. Shiva divided Ganga into seven streams so she would flood the earth upon her arrival. Part of this stream remained in the heavens as the Milky Way, and the rest flows through India as the river Ganges, where the Goddess lives. Art depicts Ganga as beautiful, controlling the makara (a sea monster on which she stands), with water flowing all around her.

In India, people gather on the river Ganges on this day and bathe in the waters for health, protection and forgiveness from ten sins. They welcome spring’s approach during this festival by wearing yellow clothing and colored food, like rice with saffron.

To adapt this tradition and prompt Ganga’s blessings, wear any yellow-toned stone (like citrine), and/or eat rice as part of any meal. Adapt your shower, tap, bath or lawn sprinkler to substitute for the river Ganges. As you stand beneath the water, visualize any figurative dirt being washed down the drain.”

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

The Ganges is the most sacred river to Hindus and is also a lifeline to millions of Indians who live along its course and depend on it for their daily needs. The documentary, “Mother Ganga: A journey along the sacred Ganges River” portrays a pilgrimage, starting at the Bay of Bengal where the Ganges enters the sea (Ganga Sagar), to Gangotri and Gomukh in the Himalayan Mountains where the Ganges appears.   This film can be purchased by going to www.gangamovie.com


So central is the Ganga to the Hindu imagination that all sects have an origin story for Her that reflects well on their chosen god. The Great Trinity of Hinduism is intimately associated with Ganga. She is described as the daughter of Brahma, the wife of Shiva, and the actual melted body of Vishnu. This multiplicity of roles happens because no worshipper wanted to feel left out from the saving grace of Ganga. For Ganga’s supreme virtue is that She can save you from sin. One drop of Her sacred waters is enough to wipe out all the sins accumulated over many lifetimes. One single drop of Ganga water on the cremated remains of a sinner is enough to wipe out all his sins and gain him heaven as one popular story goes. There is nobody who is so sinful that he or she cannot be saved by the waters of the Ganga. The Ganga is thus the ultimate in merciful mother Goddesses.

Goddess Ganga is represented as a fair-complexioned woman, wearing a white crown and sitting on a crocodile and is the only living Goddess in the Hindu pantheon. She holds a water lily in Her right hand and a lute in Her left. When shown with four hands she carries a water-pot, a lily, a rosary and has one hand in a protective mode.

Ganga represents the innermost pristine coolness, piety and purity. River Ganga continues to enriches the spiritual lives of millions and millions of Indians for whom the river is divine. The river Ganga itself embodies all the characteristics India is known for: mythical, serene, all pervading and assimilative.

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