Five aspects of Shakti Tattva

Devi Bhagavatam is considered a very important text for shakti worshipers and is one of the upapuran .  For knowledge of the readers we are presenting the most important sections about the Devi Tattva as depicted in Canto 9 Chapter 1-3.  It is important and worth mentioning as majority of the sakti sadhakas who are actually aware of the tattva refer to this section as a reference.

Devi Bhagavatam canto 9 Chapter 1

Narayana Said:

O Child Nârada! The state just preceding that of creation is denoted by “Pra”; and “Kri” signifies creation. So the Great Devî that exists before creation is called Prakriti after creation. The Paramatma by His Yoga (i.e., Maya Shakti) divided Himself into two parts; the right side of which was male and the left side was the female Prakriti.

[Note: Right part is his own original manifestation as Lord Krishna. It is not that He divided Himself into another Krishna. Impersonalists uses this statement to justify impersonal brahman divided itself into two parts.]

So the Prakriti is of the nature of Brahmâ. She is eternal. As the fire and its burning power are not different, so there is no separate distinction between Âtman and His Sakti, between Purusa and Prakriti. Therefore those that are foremost and the highest of the Yogis do not recognise any difference between a male and a female. All is Brahman. He is everywhere as male and female forever. There is nothing in this world that can exist for a moment even without this Brahman consisting of male and female. (i.e. they are Brâhman with Mâyâ manifested).

Out of the will of Sri Krishna, to create the world whose will is all in all, came out at once the Mula Prakriti, the Great Devi  Isvari, (the Lady Controller of the Universe) . By Her command appeared  five Forms of Her, either for the purpose of creation or for bestowing favour and grace to the Bhaktas (devotees).

[Note : The above statement proves that the Parmatma referred at the beginning is Krishna Himself not impersonal Brahman who manifested the female power . Srimati Radharani is the first and original manifestation of the mula prakriti(adya shakti) as will be discussed in the next article based on chapter 2.It is not to be confused with the 5 forms which includes Radharani Herself.One of the 5 forms is Her original manifestation which is mentioned in second chapter and rest 4 are incarnations.]

Durga:  the Mother of Ganesha, comes as  the most auspicious and loved by Siva. She is Narayani, Vishnu Maya, and of the nature of Purna Brahman (the Supreme Brahman). This eternal, all auspicious Devî is the Presiding Deity of all the Devas and is, therefore, worshipped and praised by Brahma and the other Devas, Munis, and Manus. This Bhagavati Durga Devi, (when She gets pleased) destroys all the sorrows, pains and troubles of the Bhaktas that have taken Her refuge, and gives them Dharma, everlasting name and fame, all auspicious things and bliss and all the happiness, nay, the Final Liberation! She is the Greatest Refuge of these Bhaktas that come to Her wholly for protection and are in great distress, whom She saves from all their dangers and calamities. In fact, know this Durga Devi as, verily, the Presiding Deity of the heart of Krishna and as His Highest Sakti, of the nature of the Holy Fire and the Holy Light. She is Omnipotent and resides always with Krishna, the Great God. She is worshipped by all the Siddha Purusas (those that have attained success); the (eighteen) Siddhis all go to Her and when pleased She gives whatever Siddhis (success) that Her Bhaktas want.

This Great Devi is the intelligence, sleep, hunger, thirst, shadow, drowsiness, fatigue, kindness, memory, caste, forbearance, errors, peace, beauty, and consciousness, contentment, nourishment, prosperity, and fortitude. She is sung in the Vedas and in other Sastras as the Maha Maya, of the nature of the Universe. In reality, She is the All-Sakti of the Universe and She is the Sakti of Krishna. All these qualities are also mentioned in the Vedas. What is mentioned here is a tithe merely, in comparison to that of the Vedas. She has infinite qualities. Now hear of other Saktis.

Padma (Lakshmi): The second Sakti of the Paramatman is named Padma (Lakshmi). She is of the nature of Suddha Sattva (Higher than Sattva Guna) and is Krisna’s Presiding Deity of all wealth and prosperity. This very beautiful Laksmi Devî is the complete master of the senses; She is of a very peaceful temper, of good mood and all-auspicious. She is free from greed, delusion, lust, anger, vanity and egoism. She is devoted to Her husband and to Her Bhaktas; Her words are very sweet and She is very dear to Her husband, indeed, the Life and Soul of Him. This Devî is residing in all the grains and vegetables and so She is the Source of Life of all the beings. She is residing in Vaikuntha as Mahâ Laksmî, chaste and always in the service of Her husband. She is the Heavenly Laksmî, residing in the Heavens and the royal Laksmî in palaces and the Griha Laksmî in the several families of several householders. O Nârada! All the lovely beauty that you see in all the living beings and all the things, it is She; She is the glory and fame of those that have done good and pious works and it is She that is the prowess of the powerful kings. She is the trade of merchants, the mercy of the saints, engaged in doing good to others and the seed of dissensions in those sinful and vicious persons as approved of in the Vedas. She is worshipped by all, reverenced by all.

Sarasvati: Now I will describe to you about the third Sakti of the Great God who is the Presiding Deity of knowledge, speech, intelligence, and learning. This third Sakti is named Sarasvati. She is all the learning of this endless Universe and She resides as medhâ (intelligence) in the hearts of all the human beings; She is the power in composing poetry; She is the memory and She is the great wit, light, splendour and inventive genius. She gives the power to understand the real meaning of the various difficult Siddhânta works; She explains and makes us understand the difficult passages and She is the remover of all doubts and difficulties. She acts when we write books, when we argue and judge, when we sing songs of music; She is the time or measure in music; She holds balance and union in vocal and instrumental music. She is the Goddess of speech; She is the Presiding Deity in the knowledge of various subjects; in argumentations and disputations. In fact all the beings earn their livelihood by taking recourse to Her. She is peaceful and holds in Her hands Vînâ (lute) and books. Her nature is purely Sattvic , modest and very loving to Sri Hari. Her colour is white like ice-clad mountains, like that of the white sandal, like that of the Kunda flower, like that of the Moon, or white lotus. She always repeats the name of Paramatma  Sri Krisna while She turns Her bead composed of jewels. Her nature is ascetic; She is the bestower of the fruits of the ascetism of the ascetics; She is the Siddhi and Vidyâ of all; She grants always success to all. Were She not here, the whole host of Brâhmins would always remain speechless like the dead cluster of persons. What is recited in the Vedas as the Third Devî is the Holy Word, The Third S’akti, Sarasvatî. Thus I have described Her.

Savitri(Gayatri): Now hear the glories of the other Devî in accordance with the Vedas. She is the mother of the four colours (castes), the origin of the (six) Vedâmgas (the limbs of the Vedas and all the Chhandas, the Seed of all the mantrams of Sandhyâ vandanam and the Root, the Seed of the Tantras; She Herself is versed in all the subjects. Herself an ascetic, She is the Tapas of the Brâhmins; She is the Tejas (Fire) and the caste of the Brâhmin caste and embodies in Herself all sorts of Samskâras (tendencies; inclinations); She is the Japam. Pure, known by the names of Sâvitrî and Gâyatrî, She resides always in the Brahmâ Loka (the Sphere of Brahmâ) and is such as all the sacred places of pilgrimages want Her touch for their purification.  Her colour is perfectly white like the pure crystal. She is purely Suddha Sattva, of the nature of the Highest Bliss; She is eternal and superior to all. She is of the nature of Para Brahma and is the bestower of Moksa. She is the Fiery Sakti and the Presiding Deity of the Brahma Teja (the fiery spirit of Brahma, and the Brahmanas). The whole world is purified by the touch of Whose Feet, this Sâvitrî Devî is the Fourth Sakti.

Radharani: O Child Nârada! Now I will describe to you about the Fifth Sakti, the Devî Râdhikâ. Hear. She is the Presiding Deity of the five Prânas; She Herself is the Life of all; dearer than life even to Srî Krisna; and She is highly more beautiful and superior to all the other Prakriti Devîs. She dwells in everything; She is very proud of Her good fortune (Saubhâgyam); Her glory is infinite; and She is the wife, the left body, as it were, of Srî Krisna and She is not in any way inferior to Him, either in quality or in the Tejas (Fiery Spirit) or in any other thing. She is higher than the Highest; the Essence of all, infinitely superior, the First of all, Eternal, of the nature of the Highest Bliss, fortunate, highly respected, and worshipped by all. She is, the Presiding Devî of the Râsa Lîlâ of Srî Krisna. From Her has sprung the Râsa mandalam and She is the Grace and the Ornament of the Râsa mandalam (the dance in a circle in Râsa).

She is the Lady of the Râsa Lîlâ, the Foremost of the Jovial, humourous (witty) persons and dwells always in Râsa. Her abode is in Goloka and from Her have come out all the Gopîkâs. Râsa – the circular dance of Krisna and the cow-herdesses of Vrindâvana. Her nature is the Highest Bliss, the Highest Contentment, and Excessive Joy; She transcends the three Sattva, Rajo and Tamo Gunas ; She is also nirakaar and  She dwells everywhere but unconnected with any. She is the soul of all. She is without any effort to do anything and void of Ahamkâra. She  appears in Her form to shows Her favour to Her Bhaktas. The intelligent learned men (Pundits) read Her Mahimâ (glories) in meditating on Her according to the Vedas. The chief of the Devas and the Munis could never see Her; Her clothings are fire-proof and She is decorated with many ornaments all over Her body. Her body looks as if the crores of moons have risen all at once; She is the Giver of Bhakti (devotion) towards Krisna, services towards Krisna; and She bestows all wealth and prosperity. In Varâha Kalpa,  She incarnated Herself as the daughter of one Gopa (cow-herd), named Vrisabhânu. And Earth was blessed by the touch of Her feet. She is such as Brahmâ and the other Devas could never perceive Her by any of their senses, yet everyone at Vrindâvan saw Her very easily. She is the Gem amongst women. And when She is seen on the breast of Krishna, it seems that lightnings flash in the blue mass of clouds in the sky. In days gone by, Brahmâ practised several austerities for sixty thousand years to purify Himself by seeing the nails of Her toe; but far from seeing that, He could not have that even in his dreams. At last He succeeded in seeing Her at Vrindâvana and became blessed. O Child Nârada! This is the fifth Prakriti and She is denominated as Râdhâ.

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