Ambubachi: Celebrating the Menstruation of Mother Earth

It’s difficult to make your way through the bustling crowds at the normally serene Kamakhya temple in Assam during Ambubachi Mela. MAA’s energy is wild and potent, and She is alive in the palpable energy that pulses through the throngs of Her devotees gathered outside Her temple. Almost every square inch of the grounds is covered with crimson-clad devotees who sing, chant, meditate and shout their devotion to the Divine Mother, positioning themselves just outside Her most holy shrine during the time of Her annual menstruation.

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

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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Who is Kali?

Kali is often spoken of as the goddess of destruction, or of time, and there is truth to these descriptions, mythologically and linguistically speaking. While these simplified terms can be helpful when trying to apply the mythological stories and lessons of Kali psychologically to whatever we might be facing in life, ultimately these are just very simple ways of speaking and thinking about her, and don’t even begin to scratch the surface.

So I want to urge you for a moment to stop thinking about Kali as the sword-wielding, black-skinned goddess wearing a skirt of severed arms and a garland of heads. Just for a moment, let’s think about her differently.

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Sri Sri Kamakhya Temple: A Socio-Religious Perspective

Worship of the Mother Goddess and related Tantra-based rituals have their endless fount atop the Nilachal Hills: the sacred shrine of Sri Sri Kamakhya. Situated on the southern banks of the Louhitya, known as the mighty river Brahmaputra, these hills are part of the metropolis of Guwahati, the capital city of Assam. Situated within these hills are the temples of the Dasamahavidya, Anga Devata, and other temples dedicated to various deities. Mention of this Shakti temple of Kamakhya is found in Bhagavatas, Puranas, several of the Tantras, and many other ancient Scriptures.

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A Historical Note on Sri Sri Kamakhya Temple

This is sacred land of spiritual upliftment, a land yearning after what life is beyond. The rest of the world is agog with material pleasure, the life that is present seems to be the summumbonum of mankind, so there is a race for drinking the pleasure of life to the dregs.

The holy Nilachal Hills, where the famous temple of Mother Goddess Sri Sri Kamakhya has been shining with pride and glory, is now a part of the metropolis Guwahati, the gateway to Northeast India. The mighty Brahmaputra, mentioned as Louhitya in Sanskrit epics and Puranas, is flowing on the northern side of these sacred hills. Near the holy shrine of the Mother Goddess there are temples of the Dasamahavidya, Lord Shiva, other Deities and numerous Gupta Peethas scattered all around.

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