Tag Archive: sati


Goddess Gujeswari

“Anapurnadevi – Hindu Goddess of Abundance” by Geoglyphiks

“Gujeswari’s themes are Earth, water, abundance, offering and prayer. Her symbol is a bowl of water. Gujeswari is a potent Nepalese Goddess of Earth and all its bounty, and today is Her festival day, known as Gujeswari Jatra. In many temples, the Goddess’s presence is represented by a simple bowl of water, the life-giving substance and purifier of body, mind and spirit.

Buddhists and Hindus in this region honor the mother Goddess Gujeswari today by giving Her offerings, usually preceded by fasting and prayer.  Follow this example, and put a bowl of fresh water on your altar or a special place where it won’t be disturbed for the day. If physically feasible, abstain from eating one meal today to honor the Earth and Gujeswari’s goodness by returning (or preserving) some of that bounty. Otherwise, simply abstain from a favorite food for the day as a kind of sacred sacrifice.

At the end of the day, just before you go to bed, sprinkle the water from the bowl around your living space. First, go counter-clockwise to banish negative energy that hinders free-flowing blessings. Then go clockwise, allowing Gujeswari’s water to cleanse and renew the ambiance in every room.  If you have some left over, sprinkle your pets (for health), your car (for safety in travel), and children’s beds (to protect them from nightmares), and dab some on mechanical objects to keep them working smoothly.”

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

I really couldn’t find anything on today’s Goddess or the festival; it seems as if this Goddess and festival are some big secret.  The only information I could find was on a temple called Guhyeshwari Temple, that I had initially assumed would be dedicated to Her.  “Guhyeshwari Temple, also spelled Guheswari or Guhjeshwari, is one of the revered holy temples in KathmanduNepal. This temple is dedicated to Adi Shakti. This refers to the popular legend where Shiva distressed was carrying the corpse of Devi Sati and Vishnu annihilated it with his Sudarshan Chakra. Shiva later declared the 51 such places where Devi Sati’s body parts fell to be worshipped as the Shakti Peethas and meditated at all these places as various forms of Bhairavas. The place where Devi Sati’s knees fell is Guheswari in Kathmandu. In Nepal the form of Shakti is Mahashira and the form of Bhairava is Kapali. King Pratap Malla built this temple in the 17th century.

The temple name originates from guhya (cave) and ishwari (goddess). Non-Hindus are not allowed to enter this temple.

Guheswari Temple is located near Pashupatinath Temple. It represents female force.” [1]

  

In another piece I read on nepal.com, it states: “The two main religions in Nepal are Hinduism and Buddhism and very often worshipers from the two faiths intermingle at temples and shrines. This sort of interfaith is practiced throughout the country though really each person is worshiping his or her equivalent of the god to which the temple or shrine is dedicated. There are a few exceptions to this intermingling of believers though and the Guheswari Temple is one of them. The temple is strictly a Hindu temple and all non-Hindus – whether the person is Christian, Buddhist or from some other faith – are not allowed access to the temple courtyard let alone the temple itself.

The Guheswari Temple in Nepal is a very sacred temple which is dedicated to the Goddess Parvati. The name ‘Guheswari’ is sometimes also spelled ‘Guhyeshwari’ or ‘Guhjeshwari’. The temple has a strong sexual connotation that is not only linked to its fabled beginning but also to its name. According to legend the wife of Lord Shiva, Parvati, sacrificed Her life by burning Herself to death in Her father’s ritual fire. Her distressed husband then chose to wander the world, carrying the body of his dead wife as he did so. As he passed over the spot where the Guheswari Temple is located today it is said that Her ‘yoni’, or female sex symbol, fell to the earth. In the 1653 King Pratap Malla saw fit to restore the magnificent Gushewari Temple. This temple represented the female force that Parvati was the very embodiment of.

Guhyeshwari (Guhjeshwari) Temple by goutammitra

The Guheswari Temple is located in Kathmandu not far from the Pashupatinath Temple. The actual temple does not house any images of the legendary Goddess but there are a lot of other things here worth seeing. The building is ornate and beautiful and the worship of the people here is usually very sincere and touching. Many believe this to be the temple to go to in order to pray for marital fidelity and a lot of different Hindus will make the trip here to ensure that their marriages do not suffer.” [2]

Several other articles I read also said that this is where Her yoni had fallen.  This makes more sense to me as when you break Guheswari down: guhya (cave) and ishwari (goddess) – the cave is a very earthy and primordial symbol of the womb; which is exclusively female – making it a female force.   Also, I found that “devotees offer wine, eggs etc. in a holy orifice which has been regarded as the place of  worship since times immemorial.” [3]  Again, eggs being a very feminine symbol and this holy orifice symbolizing the yoni.

“Yoni” by ~aerphis

So, in conclusion, I do not believe that Gujeswari is a Goddess per se, but more of a primal force, aspect or attribute of Parvati, who is considered as complete incarnation of Adi Parashakti (who is considered to be truly spirit without form – the Great Divine Mother Goddess, the source of all other Goddesses).  Good stuff to wrap your head around, eh?

 

 

 

Sources:

Geneeyuss-placesofpilgrimageofnepal.blogspot.com, “GUHESWARI TEMPLE“.

Nepal.com, “Guheswari Temple“.

Wikipedia, “Guhyeshwari Temple“.

 

Suggested Links:

Nkdedhann.com, “List of 51 Shakti Peetha of Goddess Durga“.

Wikipedia, “Adi Parashakti“.

Wikipedia, “Mother Goddess [Hinduism]“.

Goddess Srinmo

“Srinmo’s themes karma, Universal Law, excellence, sports and cycles. Her symbols are the wheel and boomerang. In Tibet, this Goddess holds the Great Round, a cosmic wheel upon which the movement of human life is recorded with each thought, word, and deed. Srinmo’s demonic visage represents the human fear of death and reminds that one should strive for good in this life for the beauty it brings now and n our next incarnation.

In Virginia, the Boomerang Festival is a festival of skill centering on the ancient boomerangs believed to have been used originally by the Egyptians.

Metaphysically speaking, the boomerang’s movement represents the threefold law and Srinmo’s karmic balance (i.e., everything you send out returns to you thrice).
To give yourself a greater understanding of this principle, or to recognize the cycles in your life that may need changing, carry any round object today, such as a coin. Put it in your pocket, saying

‘What goes around comes around.’

Pay particular attention to your routine and the way you interact with people all day, and see what Srinmo reveals to you.

For aiding the quest for enlightenment, and generally improving karma through light-filled living, try this little incantation in the car each time you make a right-hand turn today:

‘As I turn to the right,
I move closer to the Light!'”

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

Today’s research comes from a fantastic piece written by  Victor & Victoria Trimondi; and the following excerpt is the story of the bondage of the earth Goddess Srinmo and the history of the origin of Tibet.  “According to Tibetan tradition, the whole Tibetan territory can be represented as a vast wild female demon lying on her back facing East and stretching her limbs all over the country. The accounts of this conception are found in several Tibetan texts that originated between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries, including the famous terma-revealed chronicle Maṇi Kabum (ma ni bka’ ‘bum, 12th century) and above cited chronicle The Clear Mirror (rgyal rabs gsal ba’i me long) written by the great scholar Södnam Gyaltsen (bsod nams rgyal mtshan, 1312-1375).” [1]

“The Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara is considered the progenitor of the Tibetans, he thus determines events from the very beginning. In the period before there were humans on earth, the Buddha being was embodied in a monkey and passed the time in deep meditation on the ‘Roof of the World‘. There, as if from nowhere, a rock demoness by the name of Srinmo appeared. The hideous figure was a descendent of the Srin clan, a bloodthirsty community of nature Goddesses. ‘Spurred on by horniness’ — as one text puts it — She too assumed the form of a (female) monkey and tried over seven days to seduce Avalokiteshvara. But the divine Bodhisattva monkey withstood all temptations and remained untouched and chaste. As he continued to refuse on the eighth day, Srinmo threatened him with the following words: ‘King of the monkeys, listen to me and what I am thinking. Through the power of love, I very much love you. Through this power of love I woo you, and confess: If you will not be my spouse, I shall become the rock demon’s companion. If countless young rock demons then arise, every morning they will take thousands upon thousands of lives. The region of the Land of Snows itself will take on the nature of the rock demons. All other forms of life will then be consumed by the rock demons. If I myself then die as a consequence of my deed, these living beings will be plunged into hell. Think of me then, and have pity’ (Hermanns, 1956, p. 32). With this she hit the bullseye. ‘Sexual intercourse out of compassion and for the benefit of all suffering beings’ was — as we already know — a widespread ‘ethical’ practice in Mahayana Buddhism. Despite this precept, the monkey first turned to his emanation father, Amitabha, and asked him for advice. The ‘god of light from the West’ answered him with wise foresight: ‘Take the rock demoness as your consort. Your children and grandchildren will multiply. When they have finally become humans, they will be a support to the teaching’ (Hermanns, 1956, p. 32).

Nevertheless, this Buddhist evolutionary account, reminiscent of Charles Darwin, did not just arise from the compassionate gesture of a divine monkey; rather, it also contains a widely spread, elitist value judgement by the clergy, which lets the Tibetans and their country be depicted as uncivilized, underdeveloped and animal-like, at least as far as the negative influence of their primordial mother is concerned. ‘From their father they are hardworking, kind, and attracted to religious activity; from their mother they are quick-tempered, passionate, prone to jealousy and fond of play and meat’, an old text says of the inhabitants of the Land of Snows (Samuel, 1993, p. 222).

Two forces thus stand opposed to one another, right from the Tibetan genesis: the disciplined, restrained, culturally creative, spiritual world of the monks in the form of Avalokiteshvaraand the wild, destructive energy of the feminine in the figure of Srinmo.

In a further myth, non-Buddhist Tibet itself appears as the embodiment of Srinmo (Janet Gyatso, 1989, p. 44). The local demoness is said to have resisted the introduction of the true teaching by the Buddhist missionaries from India with all means at Her disposal, with weaponry and with magic, until She was ultimately defeated by the great king of law, Songtsen Gampo (617-650), an incarnation of Avalokiteshvara (and thus of the current Dalai Lama). ‘The lake in the Milk plane,’ writes the Tibet researcher Rolf A. Stein, ‘where the first Buddhist king built his temple (the Jokhang), represented the heart of the demoness, who lay upon Her back. The demoness is Tibet itself, which must first be tamed before She can be inhabited and civilized. Her body still covers the full extent of Tibet in the period of its greatest military expansion (eighth to ninth century C.E.). Her spread-eagled limbs reached to the limits of Tibetan settlement … In order to keep the limbs of the defeated demoness under control, twelve nails of immobility were hammered into Her’ (Stein, 1993, p.34). A Buddhist temple was raised at the location of each of these twelve nailings.

Mysterious stories circulate among the Tibetans which tell of a lake of blood under the Jokhang, which is supposed to consist of Srinmo’s heart blood. Anyone who lays his ear to the ground in the cathedral, the sacred center of the Land of Snows, can still — many claim — hear Her faint heartbeat. A comparison of this unfortunate female fate with the subjugation of the Greek dragon, Pythonat Delphi immediately suggests itself. Apollothe god of light (Avalokiteshvara), let the earth-monster, Python (Srinmo), live once he had defeated it so that it would prophesy for him, and built over the mistreated body at Delphi the most famous oracle temple in Greece.

The earth demoness is nailed down with phurbas. These are ritual daggers with a three-sided blade and a vajra handle. We know these already from the Kalachakra ritual, where they are likewise employed to fixate the earth spirits and the earth mother. The authors who have examined the symbolic significance of the magic weapon are unanimous in their assessment of the aggressive phallic symbolism of the phurba.

In their view, Srinmo represents an archetypal variant of the Mother Earth figure known from all cultures, whom the Greeks called Gaia (Gaea). As nature and as woman She stands in stark contrast to the purely spiritual world of Tantric Buddhism. The forces of wilderness, which rebel against androcentric civilization, are bundled within Her. She forms the feminine shadow world in opposition to the masculine paradise of light of the shining Amitabha and his radiant emanation son, AvalokiteshvaraSrinmo symbolizes the (historical) prima materia, the matrix, the primordial earthly substance which is needed in order to construct a tantric monastic empire, then She provides the gynergy, the feminine élan vitale, with which the Land of Snows pulsates. As the vanquisher of the earth Goddess, Avalokiteshvara triumphs in the form of King Songtsen Gampo, that is, the same Bodhisattva who, as a monkey, earlier engendered with Srinmo the Tibetans in myth, and who shall later exercise absolute dominion from the ‘Roof of the World’ as Dalai Lama.

Tibet’s sacred center, the Jokhang (the cathedral of Lhasa), the royal chronicles inform us, thus stands over the pierced heart of a woman, the earth mother Srinmo. This act of nailing down is repeated at the construction of every Lamaist shrine, whether temple or monastery and regardless of where the establishment takes place — in Tibet, India, or the West. Then before the first foundation stone for the new building is laid, the tantric priests occupy the chosen location and execute the ritual piercing of the earth mother with their phurbas. Tibet’s holy geography is thus erected upon the maltreated bodies of mythic women, just as the tantric shrines of India (the shakta pithas) are found on the places where the dismembered body of the Goddess Sati fell to earth.

Srinmo with different Tibetan temples upon her body

In contrast to Her Babylonian sister, Tiamat, who was cut to pieces by Her great-grandchild, Marduk, so that outer space was formed by Her limbs, Srinmo remains alive following Her subjugation and nailing down. According to the tantric scheme, Her gynergy flows as a constant source of life for the Buddhocratic system. She thus vegetates — half dead, half alive — over centuries in the service of the patriarchal clergy. An interpretation of this process according to the criteria of the gaia thesis often discussed in recent years would certainly be most revealing. (We return to this point in our analysis of the ecological program of the Tibetans in exile.) According to this thesis, the mistreated ‘Mother Earth’ (Gaia is the popular name for the Greek earth mother) has been exploited by humanity (and the gods?) for millennia and is bleeding to death. But Srinmo is not just a reservoir of inexhaustible energy. She is also the absolute Other, the foreign, and the great danger which threatens the Buddhocratic state. Srinmo is — as we still have to prove — the mythic ‘inner enemy’ of Tibetan Lamaism, while the external mythic enemy is likewise represented by a woman, the Chinese Goddess Guanyin.

Srinmo survived — even if it was under the most horrible circumstances, yet the Tibetans also have a myth of dismemberment which repeats the Babylonian tragedy of Tiamat. Like many peoples they worship the tortoise as a symbol of Mother Earth. A Tibetan myth tells of how in the mists of time the Bodhisattva Manjushri sacrificed such a creature ‘or the benefit of all beings’. In order to form a solid foundation for the world he fired an arrow off at the tortoise which struck it in the right-hand side. The wounded animal spat fire, its blood poured out, and it passed excrement. It thus multiplied the elements of the new world. Albert Grünwedel presents this myth as evidence for the “tantric female sacrifice” in the Kalachakra ritual: ‘The tortoise which Manjushri shot through with a long arrow … [is] just another form of the world woman whose inner organs are depicted by the dasakaro vasi figure [the Power of Ten]’ (Grünwedel, 1924, vol. II, p. 92).

The relation of Tibetan Buddhism to the Goddess of the earth or of the country (Tibet) is also one of brutal subjugation, an imprisonment, an enslavement, a murder or a dismemberment. Euphemistically, and in ignorance of the tantric scheme of things it could also be interpreted as a civilizing of the wilderness through culture. Yet however the relation is perceived — no meeting, no exchange, no mutual recognition of the two forces takes place. In the depths of Tibet’s history — as we shall show — a brutal battle of the sexes is played out.” [2]

Well damn…who knew??  I really had no idea how misogynistic Buddhism was until it was brought to my attention back in mid June of this year.  A person had shared several links with me and to be honest, it was very unsettling.  One relevant link that was shared I will share here in this entry is entitled Thai Buddhism and Patriarchy by Ouyporn Khuankaew.

“Although many people believe Buddhism is an ‘egalitarian’ religion, the fact will remain that sexism/gender bias has been a very integral part of the faith for many centuries. Overall, there is less virulent anti-woman bigotry within Buddhism than many other religions, especially the Abrahamic cultus of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, but misogyny and chauvinism have been apparent enough in the Eastern faiths as well, including the Buddhist.” [3]

Man, way to pop my happy little Zen bubble, huh?

 

 

 

Sources: 

Murdock, D.M. Examiner.com, “Women in Buddhism“.

Sehnalova, Anna. 4shared.com, “The Myth of the ‘Supine Demoness’“.

Trimondi, Victor & Victoria. Trimondi.de, “2. The Dalai Lama (Avalokiteshvara) and the Demoness (Srinmo)“.

Suggested Links:

Cabezón, José Ignacio. Thlib.org, “Pabongkha Hermitage“.

O’Neill, Brendan. Reason.com, “The Truth About Tibetan Buddhism“.

Trimondi, Victor & Victoria. Trimondi.de, “Part I – 1. Buddhism and misogyny – an historical overview“.  (Here is a link to the Contents page)

Visitourchina.com, “History of Jokhang Temple“.

Wikipedia, “Women in Buddhism“.

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