Siva and Sakti

Hinduism is the only religion in the world which has emphasised much the motherhood of God. The Devi-Sukta appears in the tenth Mandala of the Rig-Veda. It was revealed by Bak, the daughter of Maharshi Ambrin. In this Rigvedic hymn addressed to the Divine Mother, Bak speaks of her realisation of God as Mother who pervades the whole universe.

Siva and Sakti are essentially one. It is said in the very first verse of Kalidasa´s Raghuvamsa that Sakti and Siva stand to each other in the same relationship as the word and its meaning. Just as heat and fire are inseparable, so Sakti and Siva are inseparable. Lord Siva cannot do anything without Sakti. This is emphasised by Sri Sankaracharya in the first verse of Saundarya Lahari.

Sakti is spoken of as Mother, because that is the aspect of the Supreme in which She is regarded as the genetrix and nourisher of the universe. But God is neither male nor female. He is named according to the body in which He is manifested.

Sakti is like the snake with motion. Siva is like the motionless snake. Waveless ocean is Siva. Ocean with waves is Sakti. The transcendental Supreme Being is Siva. The manifested, immanent aspect of the Supreme is Sakti. Siva is attributeless. He is Nishkriya. Sakti is with attributes. She creates. Sakti is compared to a rope made up of tricoloured threads.

Mother Kali dances on the breast of Siva. She has terrible form but She is not really terrible. She is all-merciful and gentle. She wears a garland made up of the skulls. What does this mean? She wears the heads of Her devotees. How loving and affectionate She is to Her devotees!

Kali is the Divine Mother. She is the Sakti or power of Lord Siva. She is the dynamic aspect of Siva. Siva is the static aspect. Lord Siva is like a dead corpse. What does this signify? He is absolutely calm, motionless, breathless, with His eyes closed in Samadhi. He is actionless, changeless. He is untouched by the cosmic play or Lila that is eternally going on, on His breast.

He is absolutely dead to the world. He is beyond the three Gunas. There is no duality, no plurality, no relativity, no differentiation between subject and object, no distinction, no difference, no Triputi, no Dvandvas, no Raga-Dvesha, no good and evil in Him. He is ever pure, Nirlipta (unattached). And yet He is the source, substratum, support, first cause for this universe. He simply gazes. Sakti is vitalised. She works and creates. In His mere presence Sakti keeps up the play of this universe or Lila. The whole world is a mere vibration or Spandana in Him. He is superconscious and yet He has cosmic consciousness. He constitutes all the names and forms and yet He is above all names and forms. This is a great marvel and a supreme mystery which cannot be comprehended by the finite intellect.

Without Siva, Sakti has no existence and without Sakti, Siva has no expression. It is through Sakti that the Impersonal Supreme Being Siva or Nirguna Brahman becomes the Personal Being or Saguna Brahman. Siva or Nirguna Brahman becomes the Personal Being or Saguna Brahman. Siva is the Soul of Durga or Kali. Durga or Kali is identical with Siva. Siva is Satchidananda. Durga or Kali is Satchidananda Mayi. Siva and Sakti are one and neither is higher than the other. Sakti is Chit, Chidrupini, Chinmatra Rupini.

The Divine Mother

Siva and Sakti are inseparable. This is shown in Ardhanarisvara—Siva and Parvati (with one body, half-male and half-female). Lord Siva has Parvati as the left half of His body.

Siva-Jnana leads us on to the realisation of Self and bestows on us eternal bliss and frees us from births and deaths. It shows us the light of life. It is the eye of intuition. It is the third eye of Siva. This third eye destroys all illusions and passions.

Sakti is thought of in various forms. Sarasvati is the Goddess of learning. Lakshmi is the Goddess of wealth. Parvati or Uma is the bliss-bestowing Goddess.

The Markandeya Purana contains seven hundred verses which are known as the Sapta-sati or the Chandi or the Devi-Mahatmya. It is one of the most famous religious texts of the Hindus. It ranks almost equal with the Gita. It describes in an allegorical form, that in the path of salvation the chief obstacles are our own desire, anger, greed and ignorance and we can overcome them through the grace of Divine Mother if we sincerely worship Her.

The book gives a beautiful description of the three aspects of the Mother as Mahakali, Mahalakshmi and Maha Sarasvati—the Tamasic, the Rajasic and the Sattvic aspects of the Divine Mother.

The Devas were oppressed by the Asuras. The gods invoked the blessings of Divine Mother. She appeared as the above three forms and destroyed the Asuras and protected the gods. The Divine Mother has given men as well as gods, Her definite and infallible promise that whenever they would remember Her in danger or difficulties She would save them.

Sakti Energises the Trimurtis

Sakti is the energy or the vital power that makes any activity possible. When a man does any work he does it only by virtue of his Sakti. If he is unable to do the work he says that he has no Sakti to do that work. Hence Sakti is that which enables one to work. Sakti is Devi. Sakti is the Divine Mother. Mind is Sakti. Prana is Sakti. Will is Sakti.

Devi Bhagavata deals with the forms of Prakriti. Devi took the Trimurtis to Her abode in Manidvipa, gave them their consorts Sarasvati, Lakshmi and Parvati and sent out for the life of universe in the new Kalpa.

Lord Narayana created Brahma from His navel. Brahma did not know what to do. Vishnu and Siva also did not know how to set going the life of a new universe in a new Kalpa after the dissolution. They were lifted in a Vimana or celestial car and they soon reached a strange region where they were transformed into women. They were in a land of women headed by Devi. It was Manidvipa in the Sudha Samudra, the ocean of nectar. The newly made women stayed there, for a hundred years. They did not know who they were, why they were there and what they were to do.

Then they were put in the company of men and they themselves became men. They were coupled, Brahma with Sarasvati, Vishnu with Lakshmi and Siva with Parvati. They found themselves at once in their original place and they knew what to do. They understood their functions. The Trimurtis attain Sakti through association with the Devi.

Parvati is the Sakti of Lord Siva who bestows Jnana and Mukti on men. Lakshmi is the Sakti of Vishnu who gives prosperity to the people. Sarasvati is the Sakti of Brahma who creates the world. Radha is the Sakti of Lord Krishna who leads humanity to Mukti through Bhakti.

May Sakti bless you all with Sakti!