Shakti (Devanagari: शक्ति, IAST: Śakti; .lit “power,
ability, strength, might, effort, energy, capability”), is the
primordial cosmic energy and represents the dynamic forces that are
thought to move through the entire universe in
Shakti is the concept or personification of divine feminine creative
power, sometimes referred to as “The Great Divine Mother” in
Hinduism. As a mother, she is known as “Adi Shakti” or “Adi
Parashakti”. On the earthly plane,
Shakti most actively manifests
through female embodiment and creativity/fertility, though it is also
present in males in its potential, unmanifest form. Hindus believe
Shakti is both responsible for creation and the agent of all
Shakti is cosmic existence as well as liberation, its most
significant form being the
Kundalini Shakti, a mysterious
Shakti is worshipped as the Supreme Being. Shakti
embodies the active feminine energy of
Shiva and is synonymously
Tripura Sundari or Parvati.
2.1 Adi Parashakti
4 Bhajans and mantras
5 See also
7 Further reading
8 External links
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Scriptures and texts
Philosophy and practices
Festivals and temples
David Kinsley mentions the "shakti" of Lord Indra's as Sachi
(Indrani), meaning power.
Indrani is part of a group of seven or
eight mother goddesses called the
Matrikas (Brahmani, Vaishnavi,
Maheshvari, Indrani, Kumari,
Chamundi or Narasimhi, who are
considered shaktis of major
Hindu gods (Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, Indra,
Manasa in a dense jungle landscape with a cobra and a
Shakti goddess is also known as Amma (meaning 'mother') in south
India, especially in the states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala,
Telangana, 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 great interest once a year. Some examples of incarnations
Yamuna , Kamakshi, Kanakadurga, Mahalakshmi, Mahasaraswati
, Meenakshi, Manasa, Mariamman, Yellamma, Poleramma, Gangamma and
It is believed that the cosmic grand design is theoretically a
triangular structure of equal sides. The three points of the triangle
or the "trine structure of macrocosmic system" are occupied by three
ultimate manifestations of the trinity: Brahma,
Vishnu and Rudra. The
central point or the ultimate gravitational presence of the trine
structure is occupied by "Shakti" which is self-born, and is unable to
be created or destroyed by any other existence in the cosmos which
motivates the trinity from the ultimate center. This ultimate
indestructible gravity known as "Shakti" in its three transformative
forms (Tridevi) is connected to the trinity separately. She is
Brahma through her creative motherly form with Rajas
Rudra through her destructive elderly form with Tamas Guna
Vishnu through her neutral meditating form through her Sattva
Guna. Brahma, by the grace of her creative force creates. Rudra, by
the strength of her destructive force destroys. Vishnu, by the
unbiased intellectual force sustains.
One of the oldest representations of the goddess in India is in a
triangular form. The Baghor stone, found in a
Paleolithic context in
Son River valley and dating to 9,000-8,000 years BCE, is
considered an early example of a yantra. Kenoyer, part of the team
that excavated the stone, considered that it was highly probable that
the stone is associated with Shakti.
Sri Guru Amritananda Natha Saraswati, performing the Navavarana Puja,
an important ritual in Srividya Tantric Shaktism, at the Sahasrakshi
Meru Temple at Devipuram, Andhra Pradesh, India.
Devi (lit., "the Goddess") as the Supreme Brahman
itself with all other forms of divinity considered to be merely Her
diverse manifestations. In the details of its philosophy and practice,
Shaktism resembles Shaivism. However, Shaktas (Sanskrit: Śakta,
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 usually secondary.
By you this universe is borne, By you this world is created, Oh Devi,
by you it is protected.
From Shaktisangama Tantra:
Woman is the creator of the universe, the universe is her form; woman
is the foundation of the world, she is the true form of the body.
In woman is the form of all things, of all that lives and moves in the
world. There is no jewel rarer than woman, no condition superior to
that of a woman.
Main article: Adi Parashakti
Adi Parashakti, whose material manifestation is Tripura Sundari, is a
Hindu concept of the Ultimate
Shakti or Mahashakti, the ultimate power
inherent in all Creation. This is especially prevalent in the Shakta
denomination within Hinduism, which worships the Goddess
Devi in all
her manifestations. Her human or
married to Shiva, while her knowledge/gyan swaroop form, Saraswati
Brahma and wealth/Dhan swaroop form,
Lakshmi becomes the
consort of Lord Vishnu.
Advaita sect of Hinduism,
Shakti is considered to be one
of five equal bona fide personal forms of God in the panchadeva system
advocated by Adi Shankara.
According to some schools, there are four
Adi Shakti Pitha and 51
Shakti centers of worship located in South Asia (four
Adi Shakti Pitha
are also part of 51
Shakti pithas but they are four major parts of
Devi Sati's body. So, they are adi shakti pithas). They can be found
in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Tibet and Pakistan. These are
Shakti Peethas. The list of locations varies. A commonly
accepted list of
Shakti Peethas and their temple complexes includes:
Tara Tarini (Brahmapur, Odisha)
Katyayani (Chattarpur, Delhi)
Bhadrakali (Kodungallur, Kerala)
Kalighat (Kolkata, West Bengal)
Devi (Kathmandu, Nepal)
Vishalakshi Temple (Varanasi)
Chandranath Temple (Sitakunda, Bangladesh)
Other pithas in
Bhajans and mantras
There are many ancient
Shakti devotional songs and vibrational chants
Hindu and Sikh traditions (found in Sarbloh Granth). The
recitation of the Sanskrit mantras is commonly used to call upon the
Adi Shakti, Adi Shakti, Adi Shakti, Namo Namo!
Sarab Shakti, Sarab Shakti, Sarab Shakti, Namo Namo!
Prithum Bhagvati, Prithum Bhagvati, Prithum Bhagvati, Namo Namo!
Kundalini Mata Shakti, Mata Shakti, Namo Namo!
Primal Shakti, I bow to Thee!
All-Encompassing Shakti, I bow to Thee!
That through which Divine Creates, I bow to Thee!
Creative Power of the Kundalini, Mother of all Mother Power, To Thee I
"Merge in the Maha Shakti. This is enough to take away your
misfortune. This will carve out of you a woman. Woman needs her own
Shakti, not anybody else will do it... When a woman chants the
Bhakti mantra, God clears the way. This is not a religion,
it is a reality. Woman is not born to suffer, and woman needs her own
~ Yogi Bhajan (Harbhajan Singh)
^ Williams, Monier. "Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary".
faculty.washington.edu. śaktí f. power, ability, strength, might,
effort, energy, capability
^ Sacred Sanskrit words, p.111
^ Tiwari, Path of Practice, p. 55
^ The Shambhala Encyclopedia of Yoga, p.162
^ The Shambhala Encyclopedia of Yoga, p.270
Hindu Goddesses: Visions of the Divine Feminine in the Hindu
Tradition by David Kinsley page 17, minor vedic Goddesses
^ Insoll, Professor of African and Islamic Archaeology Timothy;
Insoll, Timothy (2002-09-11). Archaeology and World Religion.
Routledge. p. 36. ISBN 9781134597987.
^ Harper, Katherine Anne; Brown, Robert L. (2012-02-01). Roots of
Tantra, The. SUNY Press. p. 39. ISBN 9780791488904.
^ Kenoyer, J. M.; Clark, J. D.; Pal, J. N.; Sharma, G. R.
(1983-07-01). "An upper palaeolithic shrine in India?". Antiquity. 57
(220): 93. doi:10.1017/S0003598X00055253. ISSN 0003-598X.
^ Subramuniyaswami, p. 1211.
^ Klostermaier, Klaus K. (1989). A Survey of Hinduism. NY, NY: State
University of New York. pp. 261 (fn 1 p 473).
^ Yogi Bhajan as quoted in the Conscious Pregnancy
Manual by Tarn Tarn Kaur, Espanola, New Mexico p. 79
^ Yogi Bhajan as quoted in the Conscious Pregnancy
Manual by Tarn Tarn Kaur, Espanola, New Mexico
Shakti and Shakta, by John Woodroffe, Published by Forgotten Books,
1910. ISBN 1-60620-145-X.
Hymns to the Goddess, Translated by John George Woodroffe, Ellen
Elizabeth (Grimson) Woodroffe, Published by Forgotten Books, 1952 (org
1913). ISBN 1-60620-146-8.
Hymn to Kali: Karpuradi Stotra, by Sir John Woodroffe. Published by
Forgotten Books. 1922. ISBN 1-60620-147-6.
McDaniel, June (2004). Offering Flowers, Feeding Skulls: Popular
Goddess Worship in West Bengal. New York: Oxford University
Datta, Reema and Lowitz, Lisa. Sacred Sanskrit Words, Stonebridge
Press, Berkeley, 2005.
Feuerstein, Georg. The Shambhala Encyclopedia of Yoga, Shambhala
Publications, Boston, 2000
Shaw, Miranda. Passionate Enlightenment: Women in Tantric Buddhism,
Princeton University Press, New Jersey, 1994
Tiwari, Bri. Maya. The Path of Practice: A Woman's Book of Ayurvedic
Healing, Motilal Banarsidass Press, 2002
Shakti: Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Women’s Empowerment in
India/edited by Ranjana Harish and V. Bharathi Harishankar. New Delhi,
Rawat, 2003, ISBN 81-7033-793-3.
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