Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Indian Goddesses– Divinity Linked To Samsara

Women are Devis; a life-bestower, nourisher, lover, comforter and mother goddess. Archaeological revelation across Europe and West Asia shows ancient paintings and carvings, depicting extraordinary feminine features indicating the splendor of ancient artists. It also implies the role of man in the creative process is impulsive and momentary. It is women who carry forward the creation. She was, therefore, seen in ancient times as nature itself, or in Hindu we call it Prakriti.

So long as man touched with nature, he saw women as an interplay of creative and destruction process. But in the course of evolution, man left the calmness of woods, and gushed into the madness of cities and so called modern societies. He gushed into cities, and tried to escape from vagaries of nature. Nature now no more a divine force, but a turbulent wind, which must be mastered. As the thinking was gradually settling in the minds, man also naturally tried to master over the extension of supreme nature – the woman.

Eventually, psychological shift also reflected in the human society and women became the new mother; a subdued one, whose principle duty was to create life and became subservient to her husband’s will. She had become man’s property. There was no divinity, only a responsibility that a woman should carry.

The course of evolution, or say the play of time is queer. Eventually, women became strong and understood the weaknesses of men. The divinity was still there but covered with the dust of evolutionary and conditioned oppression.

Well, if we see now and we can see the future, we can understand the terrible shift in the human society. If we see the personal relationship in a family, or among individuals, we understand it is woman that is the culprit. Women have the wealth of beauty and man always associates her with carnality. The gifted charm of women captures the imaginations of men, fanatically now men take it an honor and try everything to reach the flesh of women.

The Goddess in India

Two traditions evolved in India: the Vedic and the Tantrik. Both linked the goddess to samsara, the manifest cycle of birth and rebirth, the material world, the realm of eternal change. She was the flow of energy, the substance that embodies the soul and gives form and identity to all.

As Shakti, the goddess was supreme untamable universal energy. As Shree, she was the supreme untamable universal energy. As Shree, she was the supreme domesticated goddess of fortune. She was Maya, the supreme unfathomable delusion of existence. She was Prakriti, Mother Nature, responsible pleasures and worldly powers, kama and artha (sensual desires and wealth).

Devi In the Vedas

In the Vedas, the earliest of Hindu holy books, the goddess was known as Aditi, the infinite one. She was presented as the mother of the powerful, chariot-riding, thunderbolt wielding, ambrosia-drinking solar gods who conquered cities and put their enemies to shame. These warrior-gods were seen as masters of the universe and were invoked through ritual ceremonies known as yagna.

Devi In Tantra

The Tantrik culture drew on the power of the Devi. It evolved potent chants or mantras, diagrams such as mandalas and yantras, gestures called mudras and vows known as vratas, to make Nature bestow health, harvest and happiness. Such a culture probably flourished in the cities of the Indus valley and survived in the villages and tribes of India.

Women played a powerful role in these rituals for they were mediums through which Devi’s grace percolated into society. Their presence was required to make every occasion auspicious. In spring festivals, women were asked to sing, dance and kick trees to accelerate their flowering and fruition.

This was the religion of the common man, of the farmer, the potter, the weaver, the tanner, the blacksmith and the forest-dweller. The goddess of this religion was powerful, untamable, wild and free.

The male gods were more closely associated with unmanifested reality, pure consciousness, the still soul or atma. The ascetic Shiva sought moksha, liberation from material fetters, while the more worldly Vishnu propounded the doctrine of dharma.

Thus, the goddess and the god stood at two ends of the metaphysical spectrum. She represented material reality, he represented spiritual reality. Together, they gave life fullness and completeness.

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