The Sri Kamakhya Mahavidya Mandir is a Northern California non-profit devi mandir (Goddess Temple) in the San Francisco Bay Area dedicated to the Mother Goddesses Sri Sri Kamakhya and the Dasa Mahavidyas, and firmly rooted through initiatory lineage in the Kulācāra Tantra Mārga of the Sri Sri Kamakhya temple complex of Assam. We were established by devotees of MAA Kamakhya in 2008, and received an official designation by the United States government as a 501(c)3 non-profit religious temple in 2011.
JaiMAA.org is our website, through which we provide a virtual temple space for devotees near and far to learn, connect, and worship, and thus serve our mission to educate the public and create opportunities for worship. We also receive modest donations, which contribute to the costs of running the website and temple, including performing formal pujas and homas, large and small.
Nothing within this website should be taken as a definitive statement on the philosophy or practice of our tradition. What is presented is simply one view, and our tradition honors many individual experiences and even differing opinions on these matters, while the practice remains the same. You will not find any information on any practices that require initiation to learn. What you will find here is not the depth of our specific tradition, which requires initiation and years of close learning and practice. You will, however, find our own personal engagements with and perspectives on a rich, deep, and multifaceted Tantric tradition. We have explored some thealogical (that is, explication of the worship and philosophy of goddess) and Tantric philosophical concepts and applied them to daily life, and have provided some scriptural references for devotional worship and philosophy. We have also provided some historical and mythological information on Kamakhya, her tradition, and her temples.
We operate on a very modest budget of only a few hundred dollars per year, and limit our public activities to what can be sustained with the donations we receive. We prefer to focus our energies on helping people cultivate the temple in their hearts and to perform pujas that benefit all instead of on fundraising, so we remain a very small organization.
Our tradition & beliefs
Tantra is a kind of spiritual technology, and like any technology or living tradition, the Tantric system at Kamakhya has developed and evolved over time, incorporating new ideas while preserving its essential knowledge through direct revelation, dikṣa (initiation), and sadhana (practice). We are true Śāktās, viewing MAA Kamakhya as the ultimate primordial mother, the absolute, Infinite Being (or you may prefer oneness, infinite oneness, the supreme reality, or any number of ways to describe something indescribable). Everything else is an emanation and representation of her, including Shiva, Shakti, the cosmos, and the earth and all its creatures, including ourselves. Mahamaya is not merely a great illusion or game, but rather the creative force, and all of creation is Her, simultaneously concealing and revealing Herself in each moment. Such a view moves beyond limited and limiting dualities of immanence/transcendence, deity/humanity, creator/creation, religion/science, and so on. It is a paradigm firmly rooted in Shakta Tantra, and fully compatible with ongoing discoveries of modern science as well as our personal experiences of spiritual phenomena.
We believe Tantra is technology – that is, it is a universal philosophy and method of shifting consciousness, and as such it has developed over the centuries. The system of ten Mahāvidyās at Kamakhya dates back to the medieval period, and is simply the latest framework given to a long succession of development of Tantric worship. According to oral tradition, this history stretches back through the ages beyond the Mahasiddha Matsyendranath (Macchendranath), the syncretic progenitor of our tradition, to the great, nameless female adepts (often deified and referred to simply as yoginīs) whose powerful knowledge was assimilated into Tantra, and who long were the masters of indigenous systems of worship in the Northeast, where attitudes toward women remain progressive when compared to the rest of India. Our temple represents a relatively new bud blossoming on the branch of that long and glorious tradition. The radical non-dual philosophy of the Tantras is especially well-suited to the Bay Area in California, but we face the challenge of re-educating many people on the actual nature and purpose of Tantra itself.
True to the essence of Tantric philosophy, we make no distinctions of gender, caste, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, purity, financial background, or any other factor in welcoming devotees to worship with us. We affirm the right of all beings to offer their sincere devotion to the Divine Mother, who is Mother of all. Our events typically draw devotees of the Hindu Goddess, who come from diverse backgrounds. We have also occasionally welcomed open-hearted and open-minded Buddhists, Muslims, Christians, Jews, Pagans, and atheists, who have joined with us in deep reverence for the divine, free from religious or political dogma and interested in promoting tolerance and pluralism.
We would like you to feel very welcome at our temple, whether you have been a Hindu your whole life, or have never offered or experienced worship of the Mother Goddess before, whether you are visiting our virtual temple here, or our sanctuary in California.
Our physical temple is a humble one, located in a dedicated room of a small Victorian home in Alameda, California, and is accompanied by an extensive library on Shaktism and Tantra, including rare and hard-to-find texts. Though it is small in size, those who offer worship at or through our temple have affirmed that through our powerful pujas they experience the full power of the Divine Mother in the moment as well as reverberating in positive ways in their lives. Devotees and ritual sponsors have experienced profound healing and positive results to various situations in their lives, and in addition to offering puja for others, we seek to empower individuals to offer simple, effective worship in their own homes through methods that require no initiation or specialized knowledge.
Blessing & Authority
Upon our founding in 2008, with the aid of our Spiritual Advisory Board, several respected senior members of the Kulacara Tantra Marga of the Sri Sri Kamakhya temple complex gave their blessing to our temple, including Sri Kamala Ranjan Bhattacharyya, Sri Sadhan Bhattacharyya, Sri Kamakhya Prasad Sarma, Sri Keshab Sarma, Sri Dharmeswar Sarma, and Sri Nabakanta Sarma. Kulasundari Devi (co-founder, president & acarya), a Purnabhishek adept of the Kulacara Tantra Marga of the Kamakhya temple complex, also received the blessings of her gurus Sri Kamala Ranjan Bhattacharyya and Sri Sadhan Bhattacharyya to perform all rituals in the temple and teach philosophy and devotional wisdom to devotees in the West to the best of her knowledge and ability.
We do not initiate sadhikas/sadhakas at our temple. Anyone who enters our tradition must be initiated fully by the recognized rajagurus of our kula.
Spiritual Advisory Board
Although we are an independent temple, we work closely with an honorary Spiritual Advisory Board, consisting of esteemed gurus and senior Purnabishek sadhaks/sadhikas of the Kulacara Tantra Marga of the Kamakhya temple complex. Those serving on the board are called Tantrikācāryyas (Teachers and Practitioners of Tantra), because they guide our temple in the proper procedures of Tantric ritual as well as in more philosophical areas.
Sri Kamala Ranjan Bhattacharyya and Sri Sadhan Bhattacharyya are highly respected, dedicated, and knowledgeable senior members of the esteemed rajaguru (traditional gurus of the kings, or the royal gurus) family that has carried and passed on the lineage of the Kulacara Tantra Marga at the Kamakhya temple complex for centuries.
Sri Kamala Ranjan
Sri Rajib Sarma and Srimati Bandana Sarma are founding co-chairs of the Spiritual Advisory Board. They are Purnabhishek adepts of the Kulacara Tantra Marga at the Kamakhya temple complex. Rajib Sarma is a hereditary Chandipathak priest who actively serves the temple and is considered by his gurus, seniors, and peers to be a qualified expert in the history, heritage, ecology, rituals, and culture of the Sri Sri Kamakhya temple complex. His wife, Bandana Sarma, is also active in the community, and continues to actively assist in projects to preserve and protect the ecological, ritual, and cultural heritage of the Nilachal Hills.
Our temple is overseen by volunteer trustees who are also long-time devotees of MAA Kamakhya:
Kulasundari Devi (Kasyap)
Acharyya and President
Thibaut Punyadeha Hourteillan
Chief Financial Officer
Sabrina Pushpa Shambhavi Payonk
Members of the Board of Trustees and the Spiritual Advisory Board receive no payment for their service to the temple. We are all volunteers and sincere devotees who wish to bring the awareness, knowledge, and radiant glory of MAA Kamakhya to the West.
Our temple co-founders are Kulasundari Devi, Uma Maura Hagerty, and Sabrina Pushpa Shambhavi Payonk, with the aid and guidance of Rajib Sarma and Bandana Sarma, all of whom continue to contribute to the success of the temple through their service.
Artwork & Photography
We have made a commitment to credit and link to artists and photographers as much as possible for their work. We do not receive any payment for this, nor do we sell the work or receive any profit or commission from the sale of it. In most cases we have obtained direct permission, or else are using creative work under a creative commons license, or working within our best knowledge of US, European, and Indian copyright law for educational, non-profit, and religious fair use according to the location of the original work. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.