Posted By

Tags

Diwali highlights the spirit of Motherhood

Devi, the Divine Female, revered as a mother, is better and universally known as the Mother Goddess.

Reverence for ‘mother’ is inherent in any one born, a beast or a man, and is the first pious impulse in a child, which shapes the flesh to a human face.

The first man, it seems, while contemplating the idea of the unseen Divine, looked at the face of the woman who bore him, the protective, caring and loving mother, and discovered in her the ultimate ‘divinity’ and the manifest form of the unseen Divine.

Devi, the Mother Goddess, is India’s supreme Divinity.

Myriad are her shrines and unending her boons.

Centuries-old tradition of worship has woven around her innumerable myths and the devotional mind has discovered in her oceans of mercy.

In fury or in frown, she is always the same protective, caring, loving Mother with a benign face and a blessing hand.

This impulse seeking to combine the Divine with mother seems to have been man’s earliest spiritual experience. At some point of time and perhaps for an effective performance of worship rites, which a believing or fearing mind necessitated, this perception of mind was transformed into a material medium.

A distant past

The Indus dweller further magnified it when, for realizing his idea of the Supreme Divinity, he elevated the Mother to the Mother Earth that blessed him with grain, water, air, fire and afforded for him a dwelling.

The terracotta figurines of the Mother Goddess, recovered in excavations at various Indus sites (now mostly in Pakistan), are not only the ever known earliest manifestations of the Divine Power in any medium but are also suggestive of a well evolved Mother Goddess worship cult.

As appears from the so far recovered figurines of the Goddess datable from 3000 B C to the 1st century BC, this primitive manifestation of the proto Mother in terracotta idols seems to have continued to prevail till almost the beginning of the Christian era.

In its contemplation, the Rig Veda, which seems to have conceded to the idea of the Divine Female, takes two different lines, one mystic and the other traditional. The traditional line was the same as prevailed amongst the primitive Indus community, which perceived the Divine Female as Mother Goddess.

The Rig Veda takes a mystic line, when it perceives the Proto Female as Vak or Vani, which, as the creative speech, manifests the cosmos and all existing things. In Vedic mysticism, the cosmos and all things pre-exist but are not manifest. The Vak, or Vani makes them manifest.

The Proto Female has been perceived also as Ushas, the glowing light of early morning. What the darkness of night makes unmanifest, Ushas makes manifest.

According to the Mahabharata, this metaphysical Being, the Mother Goddess is the eternal upholder of Dharma and truth, the promoter of happiness and the giver of salvation and prosperity but also of sorrows, grief and pain.

She is invoked not only as the Supreme Power reining the cosmos and reigning above all gods, but as the cosmic energy incarnate.

Metaphysical perception

In Puranic literature, religious conventions, anthropomorphic iconography and ritual practices, the Mother Goddess has been diversely conceived and variedly named. She is the Adi Shakti, the proto energy including in it all forms of vitality, Prakriti, which operates in and on all things, Dhatri, the holder of all things, and the Universal Mother.

As to Her origin, there prevail innumerable myths, although only two of them are more quoted and have greater relevance to the over-all Devi cult. One of them points out towards Her exploits against evil and restoring righteousness and in the other She is conceived as preceding all of the Gods-Trio (Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva).

As the tradition has it, a buffalo demon Mahishasura ruled the earth. Under a sanction from Brahma, he was invincible against any male, beast or human born. Thus, a female warrior was created.

Mahishasura Mardhini

Unique in might and unparalleled in beauty and charm, as she could be required to bewitch and beguile the demon as well. Accordingly, her head was formed by the powers of Shiva, her hair by those of Yama and her arms, breasts, waist, feet, toe-nails, fingernails, nose, teeth, eyes, brows and ears respectively with those of Vishnu, Moon, Indra, Brahma, Sun, Vasu, Kuber, Prajapati, Agni, Twilight and Vayu. Her glittering jewels and ornaments were Ocean’s gift and her necklace inlaid with celestial gems that of the great Serpent Shesh.

The Devi emerged with three eyes and eighteen hands carrying in them various celestial weapons, annihilated Mahishasura and killed him.

This Devi form, irrespective of Her origin-cult and evolution, has multiple manifestations, the prime ones being three.

The Markandeya Purana and almost all other Puranas perceive Devi, the Universal Mother, primarily in Her role as warrior or destroyer, sustainer and creator, three aspects of cosmic act which vest with Trinity.

As warrior, She is Mahakali, the Destroyer who eradicates evil, evil doers and wrongs and restores good and righteousness. As sustainer, She is Mahalakshmi, who bestows bliss, prosperity, wealth and material happiness and yields good crop and abundant grain.

And, finally, as supreme wisdom and all knowing intellect, She is Mahasaraswati, who nourishes all creative faculties, arts, music, dance and creativity. In anthropomorphic visualisation Mahakali, is the Shaktirupa, the energy incarnate and is hence multi-armed, their number varying from four to eighteen or even more, and carries in each of them an instrument of destruction.

She also grants abhaya and varada and thus, on one hand eradicates evil and on the other protects good ones.

The Bharat Mata

During India’s struggle for freedom, her sons resorted to Devi and perceived their land as Bharat-Mata. Reciting Vande Mataram, that is, salutation to Thee, Mother, they laid their lives for her freedom. She is now India’s most widely worshipped deity and has associated with her more festivals and events than has any other Divinity.

“Ya Devi sarvabhuteshu shaktirupen sansthita

Namastasye namastasye namastasye

namo namah.”

‘O yea, the Goddess who in the entire cosmos stands for energy form, we make our

salutations to Thee, over and over we salute Thee’

-Markandeya Purana

Reproduced with the permission of Exotic India. www.exoticindiaart.com

Share this story

Related Stories

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Indian Newslink

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement