“Lord Shiva, only becomes ableSoundarya Lahari, 1.1
to do creation in this world along with Shakti.
Without her, even an inch he cannot move,
and so how can one who does not do good deeds,
or one who does not sing your praise,
become adequate to worship you
O Goddess of mine, who is worshipped by the Trinity”
(believed to have been composed, at least in part, by Adi
In Perfect Freedom, Life desires to express.
Shakti is the life that flows from Shiva (Absolute). In the human form, she manifests as kundalini energy that helps to purify and liberate from false conditioning.
Universal energy working in wholeness. Dharma expressing.
On the path of jnana/wisdom, we may sometimes forget that an active discrimination in the relative is what supports our path and also allows us to express from our true nature. We might dismiss the play as without meaning or where nothing really matters or impose a false equality on things- but it would not be the true way.
The 9-night festival of Navratri, starting today, revers Shakti in the forms of Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati.
As Kali or Durga, Shakti routs out disharmony, as Saraswati she imbues wisdom and inspiration into the expression and as Lakshmi she enhances and makes abundant. Expressions of the impersonal power that support the play of life. A discriminating force that allows life to keep reaching into greater depths of beauty and greater heights of wisdom.
In the lore, Durga destroys demons like Mahishasur (representing the base tendencies), Dhumralochan (deluded vision/thinking), Raktbeej (representing the multiplying nature of thoughts) and others like Shumbh, Nishumbha, Chanda and Munda representing arrogance and ego.
A liberated Shakti imparts to our bodies and minds, a freedom to express (a freedom of expression within a freedom of Being). Not looking to what we have been told anything looks like. That compassion means charity or love means sweet words and happy endings. What if your not helping is just what is needed for someone to find a strength and wisdom they never knew they had? A commitment to be true to the real Heart, even if reasoning or emotion says otherwise.
Shakti helps us be honest and authentic about our dynamics, makes things conscious in us, highlighting our patterns and tendencies. Shakti is after all Life and Life is the true Master that will break our arrogance and not let us get away with our deceptions of ourselves. In the apparent process of dissolving our false ideas, Shakti undoes these knots with Her power of Light, replacing delusion with understanding.
The depth and systemisation of the systems imparting self-knowledge in India since ancient times is so valuable to be able to orient ourselves in the right direction. The ancient stories and customs all provide an appropriate context for things to be heard in the right way (although admittedly much of the culture has become corrupted and needs to shine in the true light). Context and orientation is so important. Other systems (Buddhist, Zen) may similarly provide this necessary support. Especially these days when spiritual knowledge is so easily disseminated through the internet, the possibilities of misunderstandings abound.
Don’t miss the article Navdurga: the 9 Forms of Durga on the website which describes the 9 forms of Durga and what they represent during the period of Navratri.
Everything in the world has two aspects, one essential and the other phenomenal. In the former, everything is empty. It has no form, no colour, no weight, no height. From this aspect, therefore, everything is equal. In the latter, everything is the only thing in the whole universe having color, weight and height. From this aspect, all things are completely different. All this remains the same as far as living beings are concerned. We human beings have two aspects, one essential and one phenomenal. Absolute equality and absolute difference are two aspects of one being.
The most important point is that these two aspects are intrinsically one. For the sake of expediency, we explain them as two, but from the beginning they are one.
We may say, therefore, that everything has form and no form, everything has color and no color. In the same way, it is true that when we walk we do not take a step, and when we talk do not move our lips and tongue in the slightest!
– The Gateless Gate, The Classic Book of Zen Koans, Koun Yamada (201-202)
Exploring Shakti as Parvati, Sita and Radha
108 Names of Devi (Sri Devi Ashtottara Shata Namavalih)
A Most Touching Tribute to Devi (Krishna Das’ Argala Stotram)
Making the Most of Navratri
Saraswati, the Vedic Goddess and River
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