Devi Mata - Shaktism
Markandeya Purana is one of the 18 Maha Puranas; it glorifies the Great Mother - Devi Mata as the principle of creation, maintenance, and cremation of the universe. 700 verses from Markandeya Purana - Devi Mahatmyam (also known as Durga Saptashati or Chandi) is a very important text for the shaktas. Other important text is Srimad Devi Bhagavatam.
I optically recognized Markandeya Purana and it is here available for download as quality spell-checked text (translation by F. E. Pargiter, 1904). Devi Mahatmyam (Chapter 81 in Markandeya Purana) is also in the book. Download it here.
In Poland, there is a Black Madonna in church in the city of Czestochowa. Why is She black? Reports from centuries ago speak about miraculous events - of healings occurring to those who made a pilgrimage to the portrait. On the mountain called Montserrat in Spain (near Barcelona) there is another church with a 'miracle-working' statue of the Madonna and Child known as La Moreneta, that is: the dark little one.
The Chapter 2 of Devi Mahatmyam describes the materialization of the Infinite Female Divinity:
In former times war was waged between the deities and demons for the full space of one hundred years; also between Mahishasura, the greatest of demons, and Poorunder (the greatest of deities).
The Asura of ample heroism repulsed the army of the Devas; Mahishasura vanquished all the angels and became as Indra.
After this, the conquered deities went with Prajapati whose abode was the lotus to Garuda-dhwaja (or the eagle bannered).
The Tridasas laid before him the distress of the gods with an account of Mahishasura's actions.
That he had usurped the authorities of Surya, Indra Anila, Indu, Yama, and Varuna; and others himself.
They said, the gods are oppressed by the ill disposed Mahisha; the whole multitude of Devas have left heaven and wander on the earth like mortals.
Those are the deeds of the enemies of the immortals, we humbly bow to thy asylum to meditate on their death.
Madhusudana (Vishnu) hearkened to the words of the deities; Sambhu (Shiva) was wroth contracting his brows with furious ire.
Afterwards, Chakrini's face was transported with rage, abundance of light issued from Brahma and Sankara.
An immense mass of light proceeded from the bodies of Sakra and all the other Devas, and conglomerated.
This effulgent lustre appeared as a flaming mountain: the Suras having seen the flame receded to the extremities of regions.
The peerless light issued from the bodies of all the Devas and the phenomenon was transfigured as a woman extending through the three worlds.
The energy of Siva created her face; the brightness of Yama made her hair; her arms were formed by the light of Vishnu.
Her two breasts were made by the Moon; the space between them by Indra; her thighs and the calves of her legs by Varuna; her loins by the light of Bhuvi.
Her feet by the energy of Brahma; her toes by the rays of the sun; her fingers by Vasus, her nose by Kubera.
Her teeth were created by the brightness of Prajapati; her three eyes by the energy of Pavaka.
Her forehead by the light of Sundhia; her ears by Anila; the brightness of other deities formed her body.
From the glory of the light of all the Devas, Siva sprang; the Amaras perceived the destroyer of Mahisha and exulted.
Shaktism is a denomination of Hinduism in which devotees worship Shakti (the Divine Mother) in all Her forms. In pure Shaktism, the Great Goddess, or Mahadevi, is worshiped as nothing less than the Highest Divinity. The presently known Shaktism developed between the 4th and the 7th centuries CE in India, but many of its forms had started much earlier when aboriginal people had worshipped female attributes of nature. Followers of Shakti are called Shakta. Shaktism has a little non-Indian attribute - it contains rites with features uncommon in all mainstream Hindu denominations. Most Indians would never mix with other castes even today. The Shakta worshippers, however, do not pay much regard to these caste distinctions. Some scholars and historians therefore think that such an attitude had originated in aboriginal cultures (with matriarchal society) and Hindus adopted it later.
Parvati is the reincarnation of Sati, the first Shiva's wife. Sati, the daughter of an ancient god - Daksha (in Satya Yuga), had chosen to marry Shiva. Daksha disapproved this because for him Shiva was rather a paradoxical ascetic character associated with animals, ash, snakes, and ghosts. One day, Daksha held a big religious sacrifice (yagna) and invited all the gods, but not Sati and Shiva. However, Sati came, uninvited, to look at sacrifice rituals, but after hearing her father's sharp and ridiculing words in direction of Shiva she threw herself into the ritual pyre. (This is the root of the custom known as "Sati" - when widowed women ended their life alive on the funeral pyre with their deceased husbands - which appeared in India.) When Shiva found out what happened, He destroyed the yagna and killed Daksha. Shiva then took the Sati's corpse on His back and ran fiercely all around the world demolishing everything. Lord Vishnu wanted to stop Shiva and used His divine discus to cut the Sati's body into pieces in order to mitigate the Shiva's outrage. The chopped off pieces of the Sati's body fell down on Earth (on various places) and the spots they fell onto are today known as Shakti Peethas. Shiva is believed to be guarding each of these Shakti Peethas in His fiercest form known as Bhairava. Parvati is the incarnation of Sati and She is the Shiva's second consort and the Mother of Ganesha and Skanda.
Kali is Mother Divine in Her fiercest form. This vicious form of Shakti has the absolute supremacy over evil - that is, over attachment of matter (ego) to matter. Goddess Durga created Her as a form of Supreme Goddess. Kali has also Her ghost sister - Coatlicue - the Azetc Goddess also called Teteo Inan (Mother of Gods) pictured with a garland of dismembered human hands, hearts and skulls.
Kali is depicted wearing
garlands of human skulls and dismembered parts
of bodies, which may often give a wrong impression that She
is an evil form of God. Ideas, beliefs and history, too, may be easily
deformed - does it imply that Christians are racists only because
Ku Klux Klan members bow to their cross? Any god can be strangled
with the same burning cloak within the fumes of which superstitions
and misconceptions can only prevail.
Kali is destruction
(death) of time and matter, She does not bring death to innocent persons.
The crucifix represents the Christ's victory over death (matter). Kali with skulls gives us the same message. The dismembered parts of human bodies in Her hands only symbolize the transience of the material world. It is our ego which gets always attached to the material world and Kali's fierce depictions simply show importance of destruction of ego's attachment to the body (matter to matter dependence), not really physical death.
Perception of Kali was also deformed in India by several cults; one of them was the so-called "thugee" cult, which traced its origin to seven Muslim tribes. No one knows when the cult had started, but the first authenticated record originated in about 1356 AD. Some historians say that - even though thugees did really exist - British colonists blew up this story with purpose to justify executions of their adversaries. Kali in the thugee cult had allegedly a robust resemblance to Muslim Fatimah, the youngest daughter of the Prophet. This information comes from British officers (who unveiled this during their interrogations and executions).
Deformation of Kali also comes from superstitions and the way the Western media present them - a man in Nepal, for example, cut off his hand and dedicated it to Kali. Something similar, too, happens every year in the Philippines when "followers of Christ" get publicly crucified before the eyes of thousands of followers and visitors. The effects of crucifixion, when a fake "Christ" is flogged until his skin and flesh hang down in shreds, may easily result in severe health problems or even death, but the Western media present such "Christs" and Christianity in two separate sleeves only. On the other hand, if there is any link to anything bad in relation to Kali or any other Hindu God, the media almost always associate Hinduism with it. Islam, too, is not an exception.
Hollywood "horrors" depict DEVILS always regrettably more powerful than God, and they, too, always like to depict Kali as devil only. Is it because of this brainwashing most people, when they look at Kali, think they see a demon instead of a God? The medieval European Inquisition (under the supreme power of Christians) used practices of the most unthinkable forms of torture - for example, pouring red-hot lead into the vagina with other sadistic "exercises". It appears that white civilization does the same thing even today, but with "psychological forms of torture" (like giving us false values, false views, etc.).
A very important aspect of Kali worship
is Kali Puja - the Night of Kali.
It occurs on the night (in the lunar calendar) when the veil between
the light and darkness is the thinnest - the dark
moon. Every night when the
dark moon or Amavasya occurs may
be considered as the Night of Kali, but
Kali Puja (or Pooja) is a
special day that coincides with the first day of Diwali (the
Festival of Lights in India) in Bengal, where Kali is the presiding
deity; in other parts of India it is Lakshmi (a consort of
Lord Vishnu). Diwali comes in the month of October or November (Kartik)
and its date is based upon the lunar calendar (dark moon). In 2007,
it was on 8th/9th November (some calendars differ in this respect).
The purpose of Kali Puja is to diminish our ego and everything
that hinders our spiritual growth. Kali's most famous temples
are in Kalighat
(Bengal, India) and Dakshineshwara (Bengal, about four miles
Kali, clad in tiger's
skin, is black, sometimes dark-blue.
Her possessions are veneered with skulls; temples and personal things
too. Accepting Her blackness and skull-like omnipresence means
that we - the terrestrials living in duality, must unconditionally
subordinate to the Oneness of God.
A famous Bengali mystic and poet - Ramprasad Sen (1720-1781), wrote superb poems showing zealous devotion to Kali. Another famous follower of Kali was Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa.
Kali has many names like Maha Kali (or Kaali), Nitya Kali, Smashana Kali, Raksha Kali, Kalikamata, Kalaratri, Vyaghracharmavrita (wearing tiger skin), Elamma or Kottavei (Tamil). She is depicted with eight arms, but also with two or four arms, of which the latter is most commonly seen. Occasionally, you can also see Her with ten or eleven hands. Of the Puranas, the Kalika Purana (Upa Purana) is the most important work for the Kalika (Kali) worship. However, Shaktas do not consider Kalika Purana or Devi Bhagavatam to be "Upa Puranas" - they say that the mainstream vaishnavism and shaivism made this division.
Kali was also observable in Caledonia, which is a Latin word the Roman Empire used for the northern part of the present Great Britain - an ancient Caledonia tribe lived here and worshiped their black Mother Goddess - Caillech. A Finnish goddess of death, Kalma, lives allegedly in the underworld. In the Slavic mythology we have Nav - the fearsome goddess of death, but also Chernobog - a black god (goddess).
Kali, if approached with love and open arms,
promises unconditional love to
Her devotees regardless of race or sexual orientation. She does not
care about social status either. Her blackness is the power
that absorbs everything - that is, all dualities will cease. She is
beyond time. Kali is therefore ONE and She wants to
keep it that way.
The ultimate truth is that if you want to
come nearer the things you cannot usually see, the sunniest
daylight in a hypocritically happy and smiling world is
not always the correct passageway to secret
castles that hide the most opulent treasures.
AUM KRING KALIKAYE NAMAH AUM
Mahavidyas (Great Wisdoms) are
aspects of Mother
Devi. The Ten Mahavidyas
are known as Wisdom Goddesses
(Cosmic Personalities) and the following names may differ according
to local customs and traditions: Kali, Tara,
Tripura Sundari, Bhuvaneshvari,
Bhairavi, Chhinnamasta, Dhumavati, Bagalamukhi,
There are also nine forms of Shakti/Durga worshipped during Navaratri, which is a Hindu festival. The word Navaratri literally means nine nights in Sanskrit and this festival takes place in memory of the Durga's victory over the demon Mahishasur.
Nine aspects of Mother Divine (Shakti):
* Durga, the inaccessible
The names (aspects) of Nine-Form Durga (Nav Durga) differ and here is another list:
Durga Shailputri (Daughter
The above aspects, including Durga alone, have a significance for particular days of Navratri.
Followers of Shakti are allowed to eat meat (not beef) and drink wine. They have the so-called Panchatattva Ritual - one niche of Shaktism, which is still nowadays practiced in Bengal. "Panchatattva" is a term derived from two words: "Pancha", meaning "five", and "Tattva", meaning "elements". Panchatattva is a ritual during the magic of which its practitioners absorb the energy of the following five elements of nature ("five M's"): mamsa (meat), matsya (fish), madya (alcohol), mudra (parched grain), and maithuna (sexual union). Tantric sects can be classified as either left-handed (vamachara), or right-handed (dakshinachara, also known as samayachara). Tantrism is a secret path and if Shakta followers participate in the "five M's" ritual (also called the "cakrasadhana" ritual), many Hindus may identify this as a left-handed worship even without being initiated into it. Partakers of the left-handed path often do things which may appear obscene. However, pure making of love is not obscenity. The doctrines and rituals of Shaktism can be found in a special branch of Indian Scriptures - Tantra Shastra. A viable esoteric path can only be based upon guidance of wiser beings who know that Tantra is not for masses; if it gets into the general public, it then degenerates.
Thus, a typical aspect of genuine Tantrism is that it must be kept secret. It has never gone public and it must be preserved this way. New adepts of Tantrism in the regions where it has always had a big tradition (India, Indonesia...) had to take an oath that they would keep the Tantric knowledge secret. Western Tantrism is aimed at running a flourishing business and at gaining money. If anybody wants to spiritually advance this way, he or she has already wandered into the tracks of blind alleys.
108 Names of Goddess Durga
1) Durga - The Inaccessible