Shakti

Shakti, meaning sacred "force", "power", or "energy", is the Hindu concept or personification of the divine feminine aspect, sometimes referred to as 'The Divine Mother'. Shakti represents the active, dynamic principles of feminine power. In Shaktism, Shakti is worshiped as the Supreme Being. However, in other Hindu traditions of Shaivism and Vaishnavism, Shakti embodies the active feminine energy Prakriti of Purusha, who is Vishnu in Vaishnavism or Shiva in Shaivism. Vishnu's female counterpart is called Lakshmi, with Parvati being the female half of Shiva.

In traditional Shiva-associated Shaktism

Shaktism regards Devi (lit., "the Goddess") as the Supreme Brahman itself, the "one without a second", with all other forms of divinity, female or male, considered to be merely Her diverse manifestations. In the details of its philosophy and practice, Shaktism resembles Saivism. However, "Shaktas" ("Sanskrit: IAST|Śakta, _sa. शक्त"), practitioners of Shaktism, focus most or all worship on Shakti, as the dynamic feminine aspect of the Supreme Divine. Shiva, the masculine aspect of divinity, is considered solely transcendent, and Shiva's worship is generally relegated to an auxiliary role. [Subramuniyaswami, p. 1211.]

In Vaishnavism

Like Shiva-associated Shaktism, Shakti embodies the active feminine energy and power of male supreme deity Vishnu in Vaishnavism. Vishnu's female counterpart is called Lakshmi. However, in Srivaishnavism, a school of Vaishnavism, Lakshmi or Sri does not play any particular part in the creative function of the Lord, because Prakriti is the manifest aspect of the Lord. [ Swami Tapasyananda, Bhakti Schools of Vedanta, pg. 52, Ramakrishna Mission ] In Srivaishnavism, Vishnu alone is the great creator, although Sri is coeval with Him. [ Swami Tapasyananda, Bhakti Schools of Vedanta, pg. 53, Ramakrishna Mission] As Vishnu is the Father who stands for absolute justice, Sri is the Mother of the universe and is considered to be important element in the redemption of mankind, and is the interceder with Vishnu on behalf of spiritual seekers. [ Swami Tapasyananda, Bhakti Schools of Vedanta, pg. 53, Ramakrishna Mission ]

In Smarta Advaita tradition

In the Smarta Advaita sect of Hinduism, Shakti is considered to be one of five equal bonafide personal forms of God in the panchadeva system advocated by Adi Shankara. [http://www.himalayanacademy.com/resources/books/dws/dws_mandala-02.html]

Evolution

David Kinsley believes that the concept of "Shakti" may be derived from Lord Indra's consort Sachi (Indrani), meaning power. [Hindu Goddesses Visions of the Divine Feminine in the Hindu Tradition by David Kinsley page 17 minor vedic Goddesses] Indrani is part of a group of seven or eight mother goddesses called the Matrikas (Brahmani, Vaishnavi, Maheshvari, Indrani, Kumari, Varahi and Chamunda and/or Narasimhi), who are considered shaktis of major Hindu gods(Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, Indra, Skanda, Varaha/Yama and Devi and Narasimha respectively).

The Shakti goddess is also known as Amma (meaning 'mother') in south India, especially in the states of Tamil Nadu,Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. There are many temples devoted to various incarnations of the Shakti goddess in most of the villages in South India. The rural people believe that Shakti is the protector of the village, the punisher of evil people, the curer of diseases, and the one who gives welfare to the village. They celebrate Shakti Jataras with a lot of hue and great interest once a year. Some examples of incarnations are Gangamma, Aarti, Kamakshamma, Kanakadurga, Mahalakshmammma, Meeenakshamma, Poleramma and Perantalamma.

hakti Peethas

There are 51 important centres of Shakti worship located in the Indian sub-continent, which are located in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Tibet and Pakistan. These are called Shakti Peethas. Most Shakti peethas have since developed into famous temple complexes, including: Amarnatha (Jammu and Kashmir), Jwalaji (Himachal), Katyayani (Chattarpur, Delhi), Kamakhya (Assam), Naina Devi (Himachal), Manasa devi (Chandigarh).

Main pithas are Tuljapur(Jagdamba), Kolhapur(Mahlaxmi), vani-Nashik(sptashrungi), Mahurgad(Renukamata)

Adi Shakti

Adi-Shakti or Adi Shakti is a Hindu concept of the ultimate Shakti, the ultimate feminine power inherent in all Creation. This is especially prevalent in the Shakta denomination within Hinduism, which worships the Goddess Devi in all Her manifestations.

hakti force: Devi Prakriti

Devi Prakriti (a Shakti) in the context of Shaktis as forces unifies Kundalini, Kriya, Itcha, Para, Jnana, Mantrika Shaktis. Each is in a chakra.

tandard representation

The Adi Shakti has a Unicode representation of U+262C (Unicode|☬) on the Miscellaneous Symbols table. This symbol is also known as the Khanda.

ee also

*Ardhanari
*Kundalini
*Devi
*Mahadevi
*Mahakali
*Shaktipat

Further reading

*cite book|first=June|last=McDaniel|year=2004|title=Offering Flowers, Feeding Skulls: Popular Goddess Worship in West Bengal|publisher=New York: Oxford University Press

Notes

External links

* [http://www.webonautics.com/mythology/shakti.html Indian Mythology: Shakti]
* [http://www.om-guru.com A site containing short biographies of several Shakta devotees from the Indian state of Bengal]
* [http://www.vedabase.net/s/sakti Shakti: Listing of usage in Puranic literature]
* [http://www.celextel.org/adisankara/soundaryalahari.html Shakti temples of India] (Includes articles on Shaktism)


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