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I am a mystic madman, a wandering wildman, scholar of esoterica, dilettante sadhu, dready-headed hippie (only have a few jata on the back of my head right now, though more be forming of this third set of knotted hair), gentle yogi, fierce foe of falsity. I was a preacher, but I renounced that. I was married, but she renounced me. I was a grad student at one of the top universities in the world on my way to becoming a professor, but I realized they taught lies there too. I am protector of souls, lover of mountains, smoker of herb, fond of hot springs, oceans and lakes and rivers and rain and sunshine, devotee of Devi.

Hindu Gods and Goddesses

Sunday, September 20, 2009

MahaDevi is wonderous, Durga, mighty even beyond the Great Gods. She is pure, compassionate, and rage beyond the heat of the sun, Great beyond the expanse of the Universe. When the Three of the Trimurti, Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Maintainer and even Siva MahaDeva the Destroyer could not defeat the demon Mahishasura (who had obtained great powers by devotion to the Gods), the three Devas of the Trimurti united their powers to manifest DurgaDevi. The nine nights of Navaratri are designated to remember Her victory over this demon, and to do devotion to the Nine forms of Her who defeated a demon even the Great Destroyer could not defeat.

I noted in my post yesterday that Navaratri is divided into three sets of three nights to do devotion to the Three Devi (Goddesses) of the Trimurti. According to another (non-conflicting) tradition, this holiday is devoted to the devotion to the Nine forms of Sakti. An important thing to understand about the religions of sanatana dharma is that they are not meant to become dogmatic or strictly interpreted. These stories, though true, are meant to express the ongoing and dynamic relationships between humans and the Divine and other beings. These modes are an artistic rendering of the beauty and terror of life and death. Though the Vedas are to be understood as more scientific, utilizing metaphoric and symbolic language to discuss natural phenomena, devotional practices are not meant to be narrow or dogmatic, but empowering through the beauty of expression and sensation, sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing (plus however many other senses there might be).

Maa Shailaputri

Daughter of the mountains, also known as Parvati, reborn manifestation of Sakti.

Maa Brahmacharini

Goddess who constantly meditates on the Supreme Being, Brahman (not to be confused with Brahma, the Creator), and is exceedingly austere in Her tapas (extreme Yoga practices, "purifying fire").

Maa Chandraghanta

Goddess who wears the Crescent moon in Her hair, and is exceedingly wrathful if provoked.

Maa Kushmanda

This form of Sakti smiled the Universe into existence. She is the energy of the egg of the Big Bang.

Maa SkandaMata

Mother of the God of War, Skanda. This form of Her is exceedingly maternal and compassionate.

Maa Katyayani

Daughter of the Katya clan, and a devoted daughter and kind Devi, She is also not somebody to mess with--She'll kick some ass if need be!!

Maa Kalaratri

This form of Devi Durga is Kali, the most violent and dangerous form of Shakti. In Her dance with Siva, the Universe is destroyed--long time from now, by the way . . .

Maa Mahagauri
This form of Sakti did an extreme tapas by sitting still until she became covered in dirt. Siva washed her with the water of the Ganges, and She became bright and pure beyond measure.

Maa Siddhidatri

Goddess who offers knowledge of the Supreme Divine, Brahman. She is worshipped by many, both Gods and demons and humans and other beings to obtain the knowledge of the Beyond of the Beyond.

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