The Indian Magna Mater
Shiva and Shakti as the Causal Head (Shiva-Shakti Tattvas) of the
world-evolution are called Kameshvara and Kameshvari. Kama is
Desire. Here it is Divine Desire, or (to use a Western term) the
Libido, which in the Veda is expressed as the wish of the One, "May
I be many". So also the Veda says: "Desire first arose in it the
primal germ." The form of this wish tells us what Libido, in its
Indian sense, means. In its primary sense, it does not mean sensuous
desire, but the will to, and affirmance of, "otherness" and
differentiation, of which sensuous desire is a later and gross form
in the evolutionary series. Procreation is the individual
counterpart of Cosmic Creation.
Why were the worlds (for there are many) evolved? The answer given is because it is the nature (Svabhava) of almighty formless Being- Power, whilst remaining what it is, to become Form -- that is, to exist. The Svabhava, or nature of Being-Power, is Lila, or Play, a term which means free spontaneous activity. Hence Lalita, or "Player," is a name of the Mother as She who Plays and whose Play is World-Play. She is both Joy (Ananda-mayi) and Play (Lila-mayi). The action of man and of other selves is, in so far as they are the psycho-physical, determined by their Karma. The Mother's play is not idle or meaningless so far as man is concerned, for the world is the field on and means by which he attains all his worths, the greatest of which is Union with the Mother as She is in Herself as Highest Being. The Player is Power. How does it work?
The Whole (Purna), which means here, the Absolute Spiritual Whole, and not the relative Whole or psychophysical universe, cannot as the Whole change. It is Immutable. Change can then take place only in It. This is the work of Power which becomes limited centers in the Whole, which centers, in relation to, and compared with, the Whole, are a contraction of it.
Power works by negation, contraction, and finitization. This subtle doctrine is explained profoundly and in detail in the scheme of the thirty-six Tattvas accepted by both non-dualists, Shaivas and Shaktas, and is also dealt with in the Mantra portion of their Scriptures. A Tattva is a Posture (Mudra) of Power -- that is, Reality-Power defined in a particular way, and, therefore the alogical aspect is that which is beyond all Tattvas (Tattvatita). A Tattva is then a stage in the evolutionary process. Mantra is a most important subject in the Tantra Scriptures which treat of Sound and Movement, for the one implies the other. Sound as lettered speech is the vehicle of thought, and Mind is a vehicle of Consciousness for world-experience. The picture of Shiva riding a bull is a popular presentation of that fact. Bull in Sanskrit is "Go", and that word also means "sound". Nada as inchoate stressing sound is shown in the form of a crescent-moon on His head. The cult of the Bull is an ancient one, and it may be that originally the animal had no significance as Sound, but subsequently, owing to the sameness of the Sanskrit term for Bull and Sound, the animal became a symbol for sound. Sometimes, however, a more lofty conception is degraded to a lower one. It is here noteworthy that the crescent-moon worn by Diana and used in the worship of other Goddesses is said to be the Ark or vessel of boat-like shape, symbol of fertility or the Container of the Germ of all life.
I can only in the most summary manner deal with the subject of the Evolution of Power, illustrating it by Yantric symbolism.
The Shiva and Shakti triangles are ever united. To represent the alogical state, we may place one triangle without reversal upon the other, thus making one triangular figure. This will give some idea of the state in which the two triangles as "I" and "This" are fused in one as Being-Consciousness-Bliss.
Here, however, we are concerned with the causal state which is the Supreme Self in Whose experience there is an "I" and a "This", though the latter is experienced as the Self. There is, therefore, a double triangular figure; Shiva and Shakti are in union, but now not as the alogical Whole, but as the Supreme Self experiencing His object or Shakti as one with Himself. The marriage of the Divine couple, Kameshvara and Kameshvari -- that is, Being and Power to Become -- is the archetype of all generative embraces.
To represent this aspect, the triangles are placed across one another, so as to produce a Hexagon, in which one triangle represents the "I", or Shiva and the other the "This," or object, as Power and its transformations -- that is, Shakti.
As the result of this union, Power assumes certain Postures (Mudra) in its stressing to manifest as Universe. The first of such produced stresses is, from the Tattva aspect, Sadashiva, and, from the Mantra aspect, inchoate sound or movement called Nada. The state is shown by the Hexagon with a crescent-moon, the symbol of Nada, in its center. This Nada is not manifested sound or movement, but an inchoate state of both.
In the next Mantric stage (corresponding to the Tattvas, Ishvara and Shuddhavidya) the crescent-moon enlarges into the full moonlike Bindu. This also is stressing Power as inchoate sound and movement, but is now such Power ready to evolve into manifested sound and movement. The word Bindu also means seed, for it is the seed of the universe as the result of the union of its ultimate principles as Shiva and Shakti. The Point, or Bindu, is shown as a circle, so as to display its content and a line divides the Point, one half representing the "I", and the other, the "This" aspect of experience. They are shown in one circle to denote that the "This," or object, is not yet outside the self as non-self. The Bindu is compared in the Tantras to a grain of gram (Canaka), which contains two seeds (Aham and Idam) so close to one another within their common sheath as to seem to be one seed.
At the stage when Consciousness lays equal emphasis on the "I" and "This" of experience, Maya-Shakti and its derivative powers called sheaths (Kańcuka) and contractions (Samkoca) operate to disrupt the Bindu, which comes apart in two. Now the "I" and "This" are separated, the latter being experienced as outside the self or as non-self. The former becomes limited as "Little Knower" and "Little Doer". This is the work of Maya-Shakti. Power again (as Prakriti-Shakti) evolves the psycho-physical organs of this limited Self, as Mind, Senses, and Body.
I have spoken of two Bindus standing for Shiva and Shakti. Their inter-relation and its product is another form of Nada. These then make three Bindus, which are a grosser form of the Kamakala. The Divinity of the three Bindus is the Mother as Mahatripurasundari, "the Beauteous One in whom are the three Puras," or Bindus.
The Mantra equivalent of the state in which the Bindu divides and becomes threefold is the first manifested sound, which is the Great Mantra Om. As the Supreme Bindu bursts there is a massive, homogeneous, vibratory movement, as it were a cosmic thrill (samanya spandana) in psychophysical Substance the sound of which to man's gross ears is Om. The original sound of Om is that which was heard by the Absolute Ears of Him and Her who caused that movement. Om is the ground-sound and ground movement of Nature. The Mundakopanishad says that the Sun travels the universe chanting the mantra Om. From Om are derived all special (vishesha spandana) movements, sounds, and Mantras. It is itself threefold, since it is constituted by the union of the letters A, U, M. The Divinities of these three letters are Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra, and their Shaktis. These, together with Sadashiva and Isha, are the Five Shivas to whom reference is made in the ritual, and who are pictured in the Shakta symbolism as the Five who are Dead (Preta).
Power, after involving itself in solid matter, technically called "Earth," then rests in this last-named element.
The evolution of the Tattvas is not a temporal process. Time only comes in with sun and moon, on the completion of the evolution of the Tattvas as constituent elements of the universe. The Tattvas are given as the results of an analysis of experience, in which the Prius is logical not temporal. For these reasons a Causal Tattva does not cease to be what it is as Cause when it is transformed into its effect, which is not the case in the manifested world wherein, as the Lakshmi-Tantra says, "Milk when it becomes curd ceases to be milk". Reality does not cease to be the Alogical Whole because it is from the Causal aspect a Supreme Self. It does not cease to be the Cosmic Cause because it evolves as the Universe its effect. Nor in such evolution does any Tattva cease to be what it is as cause because it is transformed into its effect.
I am now in the position to explain the great Yantra or diagram which is used in the worship of the Mother and which is called the Shri Yantra, a symbol of both the Universe and its Cause.
I have not the time to describe it at length, but its meaning may be generally stated.
It is composed of two sets of Triangles. One set is composed of four male or Shiva triangles called Shrikanthas denoting four aspects (Tattva) of evolved or limited Consciousness-Power, and the five female or Shakti triangles (Shivayuvatis) denote the five vital functions, the five senses of knowledge, the five senses of action, and the five subtle and the five gross forms of matter. The place of the psychic element as Mind and the Psycho-physical Substance of both Mind and Matter, I will indicate later.
These two sets of triangles are superimposed to show the union of Shiva and Shakti. As so united they make the figure within the eight lotus petals in the full Yantra. Outside these eight lotuses there are sixteen other lotuses. There are then some lines, and a surround with four gates or doors, which surround is found in all Yantras, and is called Bhupura. It serves the purpose of what in Magic is called a Fence.
This Yantra has nine Cakras, or compartments, formed by the intersection of the Triangles.
There is first a red central point or Bindu, the Cakra of Bliss. The central point or Bindu is Supreme Divinity -- the Mother as the Grand Potential whence all the rest which this diagram signifies proceed. It is red, for that is the active color, and thus the color of Vimarsha Shakti, or Evolving Power.
The second Cakra is the white inverted Triangle, or "Cakra of All Accomplishment". In the corners of this white Triangle are the Divinities of the General Psychophysical Substance and its first two evolutes as Cosmic Mind. Outside the Cakra is Kama, the Divinity of Desire, with His Bow of Sugar-Cane, which is the Mind as director of the senses; with its Five Arrows, which are the five forms of subtle matter, which in their gross form are perceived by these senses; with his Noose, which is Attraction, and his Goad, which is Repulsion. Another version (taking the Bow and Arrow as one symbol) makes the three implements, the Powers of Will, Knowledge and Action.
The third Cakra is eight red Triangles, and is called "Destroyer of all Disease", a term which means lack of that Wholeness (Apurnam- manyata) which is Spiritual Health.
The fourth Cakra is ten blue Triangles. The fifth is ten red Triangles. The sixth is fourteen blue Triangles. The seventh is eight red petals. The eighth is sixteen blue petals, and the ninth is the yellow surround. Each of these Cakras has its own name. In them there are a number of lesser Divinities presiding over forms of Mind, Life and Body, and their special functions.
Those who hear the Devas spoken of as "Gods" are puzzled by their multitude. This is due to the ill-rendering of the terms Devas and Devis as Gods and Goddesses. God is the Supreme Mother and Father, the "Two in One," who are alone the Supreme Self, and as such receive supreme worship. All forms -- whether of Devas, or men, or other creatures -- in so far as they are the psycho-physical forms, subtle or gross, are manifestations of the Power of their Immanent Essence, which is Spirit or Infinite Consciousness. That Essence is in itself one and changeless, but as related to a particular psycho- physical form as its cause and Director of its functions it is its Presiding Consciousness. Mind and Matter are not, as such, self- guiding. They are evolved and directed by Consciousness. The presiding consciousness of the Form and its functions is its presiding Devata. A Deva is thus the consciousness aspect of the psycho-physical form. So the Deva Agni is the one Consciousness in its aspect as the Lord of Fire. A Devata may also mean an aspect as the Causal Consciousness itself. And so Mahatripurasundari is the name given to the creative aspect of such Consciousness-Power, as Mahakali is that aspect of the same Consciousness-Power which dissolves all worlds.
The object of the worship of the Yantra is to attain unity with the Mother of the Universe in Her forms as Mind, Life, and Matter and their Devatas, as preparatory to Yoga union with Her as She is in herself as Pure Consciousness. The world is divinized in the consciousness of the Worshipper, or Sadhaka. The Yantra is thus transformed in his consciousness from a material object of lines and curves into a mental state of union with the Universe, its Divinities and Supreme Deity. This leads to auto-realization as Mindless Consciousness. The Shri Yantra is thus the Universe and its one Causal Power of various aspects. The worshipper, too, is a Shri Yantra, and realizes himself as such.
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The Shakti Principle
Maha Shakti: The Universal Mother
The Indian Magna Mater - I The Divine Mother
The Indian Magna Mater - II Evolution
The Indian Magna Mater - III Dissolution
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Islam And The Divine Feminine
NOTE: If this page was accessed during a web search you may wish to browse the sites listed below where this topic or related issues are discussed in detail to promote global peace, religious harmony, and spiritual development of humanity:www.adishakti.org/
www.adi-shakti.org/ — Divine Feminine (Hinduism)
www.holyspirit-shekinah.org/ — Divine Feminine (Christianity)
www.ruach-elohim.org/ — Divine Feminine (Judaism)
www.ruh-allah.org/ — Divine Feminine (Islam)
www.tao-mother.org/ — Divine Feminine (Taoism)
www.prajnaaparamita.org/ — Divine Feminine (Buddhism)
www.aykaa-mayee.org/ — Divine Feminine (Sikhism)
www.great-spirit-mother.org/ — Divine Feminine (Native Traditions)