Ambubachi at Sri Sri Kamakhya Temple: Religious and Socio-Cultural Aspects

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In the month of Ashara (Sanskrit: Ashadha, Hindi: Ashadh), when the Sun is in the house of Mithuna Rasi and steps into the first pada of the constellation Adra, after Mrigasira, the period of Ambubachi commences and continues until the fourth day. Mother Earth is said to enter the period of menstruation in this time.

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Ten Mahavidya Mantras

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The Ten Mahavidyas (Daśa Mahāvidyāḥ) are central to the practices of Shakta Tantric tradition. Kamakhya is primarily and equally identified with Durga (especially as Mahiṣāsuramardinī), Kālī, and Ṣoḍaśī (also known as Mahā Tripurāsundarī, Lalitā, or Rājā Rājeśvarī), but she is also closely identified with all of the Mahavidyas, as is revealed in these mantras. Thus her traditions are diverse, expansive, mysterious, and unique in the world of Tantra.

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Sarasvati: Celebrating She Who Continuously Flows

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Sarasvati Puja is the day that celebrates the Mother of knowledge, learning, music, the arts, and language. Sarasvati (or Saraswati) is literally “she who continuously flows,” and as Vak is the the divine voice that created the universe in the Rg Veda, the ultimate power of divine speech itself. Sarasvati was also a divine river of the Vedas that provided food, water, and sustenance. Her esoteric form is Matangi, the Mahavidya of inner knowledge and hidden wisdom. As the Mother of speech and language, she is the mother of all mantras, as she created language as a vehicle for divine power.

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What’s in a name? The ancient origins of Maa Kamakhya

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Kamakhya is one of the most important goddesses in the history and development of Tantra and Shaktism, but she remains obscure today, somewhat fitting for a goddess presiding over esoteric rites and rituals. Many people have never heard her name, nor do they understand what her name means. But even those who do understand the Sanskrit meaning of her name, and its explanations in various Tantras and Puranas, often do not know the pre-Vedic, hidden history of this truly ancient Mother Goddess.

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Devisukta, Hymn to the Goddess (Rig Veda)

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The Devisukta, or Hymn to the Goddess, is found in the Rg Veda (RV 10.125)the earliest of the four Vedas or sacred wisdom texts that form the scriptural foundation for modern Hinduism. It is traditionally recited with the Devi Mahatmyam, one of the most important texts of the vast Shakta canon, and is a companion to the beautiful Ratrisukta.

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Mahiṣamārdinī Stotra

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The Mahishamardini Stotra, from the Kulachudamani Tantra, is a beautiful hymn meant to be recited by the sadhaka (Tantric practitioner) to glorify Devi. In this hymn, the violent struggle represents the struggle within, the necessary battle with ahamkara, literally the “I-maker,” and often referred to simply as the ego. It is that function of the mind which creates the illusion of separateness. The ego is a wily creature, constantly taking on different forms, as the buffalo demon Mahishasura does in the mythology. But step for step, Chandi (Durga, Mahamaya, Mahadevi) transforms along with him, chasing right behind him and outwitting the demon at every turn, until she finally defeats him with a stroke of Her sword.

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