The three goddesses : Kali, Tara and Siddharatri
1. The goddess Kali, or transcendental Consciousness :
In primitive Hindu mythology, Kali was one aspect of the goddess DEVI, who was sent to earth to destroy a race of demons.
Kala (time) is the power which makes use of and destroys worlds. Kali is the energy, represented as a goddess associated with Shiva, when he decides that one era is over and plunges the worlds into darkness, where they sleep in complete bliss.
Eternal night is a measure of absolute time, as Shiva (the root "shin" means sleep) is the one who makes all the world sleep. In the microcosm of our individual lives absolute night is the ultimate light which comforts us when we are plunged into distress.
Only Kali, the power of time, (unaware of the fear that she inspires in those who defy her) has also the power to protect those who appeal to her for help and put their trust in her.
Kali, the black one, (who is the incarnation of darkness) thus has 2 aspects :
- First, terrible dread for the wicked, who will see their destruction get closer each day.
- Second, freeing the oppressed, who see their detachment rewarded by great spiritual communion with their Creator, and the just assemble together after death." The all powerful Kali: the transcendental power of our conscience who gives us her loving protection; just as a mother watches her children at sleep and the mother hen protects her young from danger with her wings.
Those who lose their way during the day go to rest in her bosom at night, to find inner peace and the strength to do better the next day . Thus silent meditation and rest become a powerful source of energy and strength for the weak to enable them to fight and endure their trials.
Even those who have never heard the name of the goddess of the spheres will sleep in her arms like trusting children. O merciful One!
The power of the Conscience! Of enveloping darkness! O divine night! Do not judge our actions, and please keep us from those who want to do us harm. Protect us from the wolves of sin and insatiable desire.
Be a vessel of pure joy, which will carry us to the other bank and lead us to the happiness of the chosen ones... " (Karapatri, Shri Bhagavati-tattva)
When all is destroyed and time comes to an end, the true nature of eternal night will be revealed to us as great happiness and infinite peace.
2. The two faces of the goddess
The star in the Night of Anger
OR the BEAUTIFUL WOMAN called the STAR WHO SAVES
Tara is regarded as the second object of Hindu transcendental consciousness. Also she is the great goddess of Tibetan Buddhism. Like Kali, she can be viewed as the devouring Star who consumes wicked unbelievers, or as the LIGHT, which leads the good when they are threatened by evil forces.
Like Kali, born of the Great Goddess Devi, she can devour and regenerate the worlds, or show herself as the goddess who consoles and appeases those who hunger.
Like Kali the warrior, she controls the power of the weather, she blesses the physical deprivations of the ascetic, who tries to deny the body in order to become more in touch with the spirit. The power of Tara is so great that she can destroy a whole solar system." She is the great void, the STAR from which everything was born and who leads towards the unending cycle of liberation " (Mahasundari Tantra).
" It is she who deserves to be served by the Great Being (Brahma), the Immanent (Vishnu) and the Transcendent (Maheshvara). It is she who creates, nurtures and destroys the world, maintains the Universe, who removes the fear which is inherent in all existence; she is the supreme energy which can prevent us from being reborn indefinitely. She is the vessel which allows us to cross the Ocean of the world. " (Tantra from the Tararahasya, Kalyana, Shaktianka).
Like Vishnu and Shiva, Tara can appear as a creature of GREAT BEAUTY, who can command the King of kings, who reigns over the vast universe
Or like a shrew with 4 hands standing on a cadaver, she holds a severed head in one hand, a sword in the second, a blue lotus in the third and in the fourth a begging bowl. Her disheveled red hair has blue venomous snakes twisting around in it. Her red flashing eyes remind us of the flames of hell and Her forehead is decorated with a crown of blanched bones.
She is a terrible vision, which changes fom great beauty to a nightmare full of horror
Already considered to be the Star Mother in the Brahmanda Purana in a less frightening form, she is especially revered by the Jains and the Buddhist monks, who practice fasting and have totally renounced the world.
For the White Robed sect (Shevtambara), She is like a fairy who protects the prophet Suvidhinatra.
Seeing the worthlessness of earthly life as the end of the universe, sages leave behind this life of illusion and lose themselves in the void of the Immense Unchanging form. (Tara-Rahasya).
3. The girl 16 years old, the
"Goddess of the Spheres"
The 3 worlds having appeared, Shiva's power awakens and from his look gushed forth the sunlight, which created a young goddess of 16 years: the image of perfection, of amazing beauty.
Quickly, Siddharatri bloomed and became the resplendent "Goddess of the Spheres", wife of Shiva-with-the-three eyes. She became the power of knowledge, of the Night and of realization. Sovereign of the universe, she is honored as the Queen of queens (Raharajeshvari).
The "All-powerful goddess of the Spheres" has a crescent moon on her forehead and her smile which gives a feeling of confidence and hope to all who call on Her.
She wears on her head 3 attributes which show her Complete Power :
- The lingum, which is the masculine principle of the cosmic being.
- The yoni, which represents the feminine nature.
- The snake, the symbol of time.
Her face is as radiant as molten gold. These 3 attributes are also ancient symbols from the Vedic period.
Two of her hands dispel fear and seem to be giving and the two other hands hold a noose and a hook for guiding elephants. The fact that she holds a large club in one hand proves that the cult to this great goddess probably started before the Iron Age.
4. The personality of other ancient goddesses
Other ancient goddesses had several aspects, bad and good :
- Uma (the goddess of light or of the knowledge of the infinite).
- Chinna-masta (the goddess symbolizing sacrifice by beheading).
- Bairavi (the terrible goddess).
- Dhumavati (the widow queen of the destitute or the "smoking one" who reigns over the rainy season because of the condensation she produces).
- The cruel Bagala, with the face of a crane, who delights in affliction and encourages men to torture each other.
- Kamala, the lotus-girl, wife of the great god Shiva. She is often seen as Lakshmi, the queen of Prosperity.
- Camunda, the old goddess who is horrible to see with her necklace of skulls, her eyes full of blood and her heavy club.
- AMBIKA, who represents nature, "the Mother of the World", always welcoming and generous, with a mother's heart. She forgives all, even the sins of her ingrate sons.
It is difficult to give an exact date for these ancient pre-Vedic goddesses, as their origins are lost in the darkness of prehistory.
The Brahmins and Buddhist monks did not want to destroy these ancient cults but instead showed them in different forms to inspire the people, (who were often illiterate), to follow the example of the gods along the long, difficult road towards self-realization and nirmala.
The Kundalini : spiritual energy
In Vedic times, the goddess Shakti (energy) gave Brahma the strength to give life to the Cosmic Embryo which in turn gave birth to the Universe. Since the fifth century BC, Shakti, (omnipresent energy) was believed to have the power to unite Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma.
Besides this energy of cohesion, also called the "whorl", (or KUNDALINI), there are 2 more functions :
- the sphere of influence (or attraction) around the central nucleus and
- the dispersal or power of destruction by purifying fire.
In the Shri Lalita Saharasnama, a Sanskrit book which enumerates more than a thousand qualities of the Great Goddess or the internal Mother :
"The word Kundalini is one of the names of the Great Mother".
Kundalini is the path to the divine Nirvana.
The word spirit comes from the Latin "spiritus" which means breath, the wind, (as with the word Yahweh, YHWY " the Wind" in Hebrew scriptures.) In India this breath is called Brahma Chaitanya, the breath of God.
The word "religion" comes from the Latin religare, meaning to unite or bind.
The word Union is ultimately the search for ones self, consciousness in each individual to help him or her to find their true identity. To achieve this, one must call on "spiritual energy" which is called in Hindu India "the Kundalini".
When the mother goddess Kundalini is awakened, she shows the path in our memories towards union with SHIVA, the reflection of the Father God in the sky. This is why searching for equilibrium in one's self is a decisive step which raises our thoughts above the vanity of the materialistic world. It is a kind of second birth, a contact with another world: the SPIRITUAL world, which leads to eternal life.
" I turn towards the Goddess and now I am ONE with God.
I have risen above the cycle of reincarnations " (Adi Shakti)
Man must lay aside his intellectual nature (which symbolizes the serpent) in order to awaken his second nature: the bird who flies into the sky.
At Dahomey, Marwu-Lisa, the creator of the gods is represented as a creeping serpent, being both masculine and feminine.
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