Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswathi
In the last Sunday story on 27th AUGUST in the ENVIUS THOUGHTS, woman Gods in the rest of the world were portrayed, stating that Part II will deal with the India related Goddesses. Accordingly we shall now see the woman Gods in Our holy MOTHERLAND-India that is Bharath.
Adi sankara is also known as “Shanmatha sthapaka”.
Shanmata meaning “Six Religions” in Sanskrit, has its origins in the hoary past. While these Six Religions of Vedic Culture initially had separate followers, theologian Adi Shankara, the 8th century CE Hindu philosopher, worked to join the adherents of the Six Religions into one through spreading his Advaita Vedanta philosophy. Adi Sankara’s followers worship one divine power, Brahman in all its six manifestations. It centers around the worship of the Six of the supreme Deities of the Vedic Religion, Shiva, Vishnu, Shakti, Ganesha, Surya and Skanda as One. This is based on the belief in the essential oneness of all deities, the unity of Godhead, the one divine power, Brahman.
AdiSankara-the exponent of Advaitha philosophy is also known as SHANMATHA STHAPAKA. Shan mathas are:Sivam, vashnavam, Saktham, Kaumaram, Ganapathyam and Sauram
SAKTHAM deals with Woman Gods of Hinduism –the main religion of
our HOLY MOTHERLAND-third biggest in the world next only to Christianity and Islam.
We have DHURGA, LAKSHNI, SARASWATHI- representing and gracing the people with VALOR, WEALTH and KNOWLEDGE.
Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of beauty, wealth and fertility has many iconic manifestations. Just as the Mother Goddess Durga has nine appellations, her daughter Lakshmi has eight different forms. This concept of Goddess Lakshmi in her eightfold form is referred to as the Ashta-Lakshmi.
Lakshmi is also considered a Mother Goddess when it comes to providing wealth in its 16 forms: knowledge, intelligence, strength, valor, beauty, victory, fame, ambition, morality, gold and other wealth, food grains, bliss, happiness, health and longevity, and virtuous offspring.
The eight forms of Ashta-Lakshmi, through their individual nature, are believed to fulfill these human necessities and desires.
The eight divine forms of Goddess Lakshmi or Ashta-Lakshmi include:
- Aadi-Lakshmi The Earliest Goddess or Maha Lakshmi -The Great Goddess-
Dhana-Lakshmi or Aishwarya Lakshmi-The Goddess of Prosperity and Wealth-
3. Dhaanya-Lakshmi-Goddess of Food Grains-
4. Gaja-Lakshmi -The Elephant Goddess-
5. Santhana-Lakshmi- The Goddess of Progeny-
6. Veera-Lakshmi or Dhairya Lakshmi -The Goddess of Valor and Courage-
7. Vidya-Lakshmi (The Goddess of Knowledge)
8. Vijaya-Lakshmi or Jaya Lakshmi-The Goddess of Victory-
While having a good number of Woman Gods in the Hindu pantheon, we respect women-especially MOTHER beyond God as we start training the children with the advice “MAATHRU DHEVO BHAVA” –“Treat Mother as God”- next in line coming PITHA-(Father), GURU (Teacher) and then DHEYVAM(God)!
We treat some of the women as WALKING GODS- to quote a few Mother Theresa whose birth day felon 26th August. She was born 117 years ago and adopted India as her home and literally SHE WAS A WOMAN GOD here!
Mother Teresa, known in the Catholic Church as Saint Teresa of Calcutta (born Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu; Albanian: [aˈɲɛzə ˈɡɔndʒɛ bɔjaˈdʒiu]; 26 August 1910 – 5 September 1997), was an Albanian–Indian[ Roman Catholic nun and missionary.[ She was born in Skopje (now the capital of the Republic of Macedonia), then part of the Kosovo Vilayet of the Ottoman Empire. After living in Macedonia for eighteen years she moved to Ireland and then to India, where she lived for most of her life.
In 1950 Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity, a Roman Catholic religious congregation which had over 4,500 sisters and was active in 133 countries in 2012. The congregation manages homes for people dying of HIV/AIDS, leprosy and tuberculosis; soup kitchens; dispensaries and mobile clinics; children’s- and family-counseling programs; orphanages, and schools. Members, who take vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience, also profess a fourth vow: to give “wholehearted free service to the poorest of the poor”.
Teresa received a number of honours, including the 1962 Ramon Magsaysay Peace Prize and 1979 Nobel Peace Prize. She was canonized (recognized by the church as a saint) on 4 September 2016, and the anniversary of her death (5 September) is her feast day.
A controversial figure during her life and after her death, Teresa was admired by many for her charitable work. She was praised and criticized for her opposition to abortion, and criticized for poor conditions in her houses for the dying. Her authorized biography was written by Navin Chawla and published in 1992, and she has been the subject of films and other books.
Teresa was first recognized by the Indian government more than a third of a century earlier, receiving the Padma Shri in 1962 and the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding in 1969. She later received other Indian awards, including the Bharat Ratna (India’s highest civilian award) in 1980. Teresa’s official biography, by Navin Chawla, was published in 1992. In Kolkata, she is worshipped as a goddess by some Hindus.
To commemorate the 100th anniversary of her birth, the government of India issued a special ₹5 coin (the amount of money Teresa had when she arrived in India) on 28 August 2010. President Pratibha Patil said, “Clad in a white sari with a blue border, she and the sisters of Missionaries of Charity became a symbol of hope to many – the aged, the destitute, the unemployed, the diseased, the terminally ill, and those abandoned by their families.”
Indian views of Teresa are not uniformly favorable. Aroup Chatterjee, a physician born and raised in Calcutta who was an activist in the city’s slums for years around 1980 before moving to the UK, said that he “never even saw any nuns in those slums”. His research, involving more than 100 interviews with volunteers, nuns and others familiar with the Missionaries of Charity, was described in a 2003 book critical of Teresa. Chatterjee criticized her for promoting a “cult of suffering” and a distorted, negative image of Calcutta, exaggerating work done by her mission and misusing funds and privileges at her disposal. According to him, some of the hygiene problems he had criticized (needle reuse, for example) improved after Teresa’s death in 1997.
Another was Mother from Arabindo Ashram, Pondicherry.
The Mother was born Mirra Alfassa in Paris on 21 February 1878. A pupil at the Academie Julian, she became an accomplished artist, and also excelled as a pianist and writer. Interested in occultism, she visited Tlemcen, Algeria, in 1905 and 1906 to study with the adept Max Theon and his wife. Her primary interest, however, was spiritual development. In Paris she founded a group of spiritual seekers and gave talks to various groups.
In 1914 the Mother voyaged to Pondicherry to meet Sri Aurobindo, whom she at once recognized as the one who for many years had inwardly guided her spiritual development. After a stay of eleven months she was obliged to return to France due to the outbreak of the First World War. A year later she went to Japan for a period of four years.
In April 1920 the Mother rejoined Sri Aurobindo in Pondicherry. When the Sri Aurobindo Ashram was formed in November 1926, Sri Aurobindo entrusted its full material and spiritual charge to the Mother. Under her guidance, which continued for nearly fifty years, the Ashram grew into a large, many-faceted spiritual community. In 1952 she established Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education, and in 1968 an international township, Auroville. The Mother left her body on 17 November 1973.
Yet another was known as JILLELAMUDI AMMA- from a village near Guntur in Andhra Pradesh.
Jillellamudi is a village in Guntur district of the State of Andhra Pradesh. It is located in Bapatla mandal in Tenali revenue division. Jillellamudi became popular because of spiritual leader Anasuya Devī also known as Jillellamudi Amma” / Viswajanani (meaning “mother of all”)
Quotes By AMMA
There are no “good situations” or “bad situations” as such. Nor are there “good days” or “bad days” as such for anyone.
Good days, good situations, are those where you can just experience, without getting perturbed, whatever comes to you. When the fullness of your experiencing is more important to you than your usual likes and dislikes— that is what I call a good day, a good time, a good situation.
I want to tell you that both “good fortune” and “misfortune” are imaginary. They are just subjective attitudes of the mind. There is nothing objectively real about such descriptions.
I have all the same qualities which you have. I am just like you. They worship me because, owing to their purity of heart, they see the divine in me. But I am in no way different from you. I experience pain and pleasure, attachment and bereavement just as you do. The only difference is that I don’t try to shun pain and sorrow. I abandon myself to them without the least inhibition.
In the book The Timeless Path, Swami Ramakrishnananda Puri, one of Amṛtānandamayī’s senior disciples, wrote: “The [spiritual] path inculcated by Amma is the same as the one presented in the Vedas and recapitulated in subsequent traditional scriptures such as the Bhagavad Gita. Amṛtānandamayī herself says, “karma [action], jñana [knowledge] and bhakti [devotion] are all essential. If the two wings of a bird are devotion and action, knowledge is its tail. Only with the help of all three can the bird soar into the heights. She accepts the various spiritual practices and prayers of all religions as but different methods toward the same goal of purifying the mind. Along these lines, she stresses the importance of meditation, performing actions as karma yoga, selfless service, and cultivating divine qualities such as compassion, patience, forgiveness, self-control, etc. Amṛtānandamayī has said that these practices refine the mind, preparing it to assimilate the ultimate truth: that one is not the physical body and mind, but the eternal, blissful consciousness that serves as the non-dual substratum of the universe. This understanding itself Amṛtānandamayī referred to as jivanmukti [liberation while alive]. Amṛtānandamayī said, “Jivanmukti is not something to be attained after death, nor is it to be experienced or bestowed upon you in another world. It is a state of perfect awareness and equanimity, which can be experienced here and now in this world, while living in the body. Having come to experience the highest truth of oneness with the Self, such blessed souls do not have to be born again. They merge with the infinite.”
Thus Indian culture and ethos revere woman as Gods as we have seen above but several walking Gods were recognized and due respects were offered and they remain in the hearts of their devotees far and wide.
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