Whether we are in a male or a female body, celebrating the goddess, Devi, is awakening to the Divine feminine energy, the light within us, what we often call God by so many names in different traditions. It is not a philosophy, a cult or religion. We desperately need this creative Divine feminine energy manifesting in a grand way on our beloved planet today to harmonize and solve the grave challenges we are facing.
“Devi” is the Sanskrit word for goddess and synonymous with shakti, the female principle of the Divine by the Shakta tradition. In the Yogic spiritual tradition, shakti means sacred force, energy power, or Serpent Goddess.
Our precious blue and green planet is in grave need of a renaissance of celebrating the Divine feminine principle of energy. The great cosmic Divine Mother or often call “Devi” is that Divine feminine principle energy. An individual who is experiencing the whole of existence as oneself is in yoga, in union. The word for a female would be an yogini, and for the male counterpart, a yogi. This Divine feminine energy has been suppressed and oppressed throughout the centuries by manifestations of many patriarchal religions and societies. For instance, history tells of the Dark Ages where thousands of women, high priestesses who were extremely evolved spiritually, who worshipped the Divine feminine aspect and had many extraordinary siddhis (spiritual powers and paranormal abilities ascribed to the Tantric adepts and masters in tantra), were burned alive in public places as witches. They were wrongly perceived as a major threat because of their spiritual powers. For over four thousand years, the masculine mindset has been destroying, oppressing, and exploiting Mother Earth, its animals, and many women and elders.
The Divine feminine energy principle is characterized with many attributes— such as nurturing, nourishing, compassionate, loving, giving, healing, creative, intuitive, and benevolent—and can be very powerful and fierce in a host of positive ways. Many of these qualities have been lacking to some degree on our planet for thousands of years. During the Paleolithic and Neolithic times, many tribes venerated the feminine principle energy manifested in the physical form as a goddess or deity. Over the centuries, matriarchal societies (with a feminine principle mindset) flourished in peace, harmony, and reverence for Mother Earth and all living creatures.
Shakti is also a name given for the female consort of the male deity. Shakti as a Devi is also the Hindu personification of the Divine feminine aspect, sometimes referred to as The Divine Mother. Devi is quintessentially the core form of every Hindu goddess such as Bhairavi, Devi Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswati, Parvati, Kali and many more such as with the Maha Vidyas goddess. For instance, Shiva’s shakti is Parvati. Shiva is the masculine principle counterpart, “That which that is not,” pure consciousness. When these two principles manifest, it reminds us of the bipolar nature of all manifest reality, consciousness and energy. Together Shiva and Shakti weave an intricate tapestry of this relative world of time and space. According to Vedanta, Shakti represents the dynamic aspect of the universe as opposed to the masculine principle which personifies the un-manifest aspect of reality. It is crucial to understand that shakti also represents this dynamic principle of feminine power energy, the primordial creative force.
In the yoga tradition, Shakti is prominent in tantra where the kundalini energy, when manifested, is regarded as the Serpent Goddess. This kundalini energy is the most significant and natural psycho-spiritual force of our subtle body. On a metaphysical level, this intelligent energetic force is the microcosmic manifestation of the primordial creative energy of the supreme absolute within us that is either dormant, awakening or awaken. Our body is the mirror of the play of the expanding cosmos.
What is most fascinating is we can observe the same Divine feminine energy aspect in all spiritual and religious traditions, even in the ancient pagan spiritual traditions. It is a universal phenomenon. The full blossoming of the creative power is unleashed in the merging of the feminine and masculine principle within us, the true supreme lover. These two principles Shiva/Shakti can be observed at work everywhere in the universe and on all levels. Their union creates powerful and phenomenal forces. Merging in this true Divine marriage within us is realizing and experiencing our ultimate nature, our Divine presence, Divinity, and being and emanating the light. That is the true and ultimate spiritual awakening- from untruth to truth, darkness to light, and ignorance to enlightenment. That is the universal journey.
Kundalini, which means “coiled” in Sanskrit, is the most significant psycho-spiritual force of our subtle body. It is often associated with Devi, and goddess worshipping. Many traditions call kundalini by different names. In Japan it is “ki,” in China “chi,” and in Christianity “the Holy Spirit.” Whatever you wish to call it, kundalini is the secret pathway to the divinity within us. Over the centuries, kundalini—often called the “serpent power”— came to be regarded as Shakti, whom the great rishis of India worshipped as the Divine Mother (Kundalini Shakti). Shakti is accessible to all willing ones, anytime and anywhere. This dormant cosmic energy is often depicted as a snake coiled at the base of the spine in the sacrum bone of the pelvis in the muladhara chakra, the first of the seven most important and fundamental chakras. The Sanskrit word shakti means “empowerment,” or “to be able.”
In the Yoga tradition, shakti is regarded as a sacred, Divine, and primordial cosmic force, and is seen as representing the dynamic principle of the universe’s feminine power energy, as a Devi, a Goddess. The creation is often viewed as a play of Shiva (masculine) and Shakti (feminine), symbolizing the duality of existence. Shakti represents the dynamic and creative aspect of the universe; Shiva, the male principle, represents the un-manifest supreme consciousness. These two principles can be observed everywhere. Their union creates astonishing forces, and our physical body is the microscopic mirror of the macroscopic play of the cosmos reflecting these two principles. Regardless of our gender, both the masculine and feminine aspect is within our subtle body. The subtler our being is, the more expansive and freer we become. In this altered state of consciousness, the individual can transcend and go beyond boundaries. Yoga is all about enhancing our perceptions to experience and see things as they are. Ultimately the journey on the spiritual path is to move from the grossest to the subtlest, where boundaries are crossed— from bondage to freedom. Inner beauty is realizing and experiencing the oneness of existence. That is to be in YOGA.
There is an extremely urgent need to rebalance these male and female principles within ourselves. As I spoke, Shakti is the primordial energy of the Source of creation, and is regarded as the goddess Mother, (Adi Shakti) especially prominent in Tantra when kundalini is awakening and ascending. This dormant kundalini energy within is the most significant psycho-spiritual force of the subtle body. I discovered that this Divine feminine energy tends to be more associated with the female gender in general. Perhaps our nature is more receptive and open to it. The fact that we women are giving birth to life could make us more open to it, though any gender can deeply connect with this feminine energy principle. We all have within our beings the masculine and the feminine energy aspects.
The merging of Shiva/Shakti, the masculine and feminine principles within us, is the ultimate harmonious and necessary union within our being to experience our full human and divine potential. Their union creates phenomenal forces allowing us to realize and experience divinity from within. When they merge as one in the one-thousand-petal lotus chakra on top of our head, they are in perfect harmonic marriage. That is your full blossomed Divine garden! When I reflect on the rich and beautiful path of Tantric yoga, and how terribly misunderstood it is by most Western nations. Most have reduced and degraded it to an acrobatic sexual endeavor. Georg Feuerstein internationally known yoga scholar and researcher says in Tantra: The Path of Ecstasy, “The paucity of research and publications on the Tantric heritage of Hinduism has in recent years made room for a whole crop of ill-informed popular books on what I have called ‘Neo-Tantrism.’Their reductionism is so extreme that a true initiate would barely recognized the Tantric heritage in these writings. The most common distortion is to present Tantra yoga as a mere discipline of ritualized or sacred sex. In the popular mind, Tantra has become equivalent to sex. Nothing could be farther from the truth!”
“Terms like primitive polytheism that have been applied to Tantra and Hinduism in general are ready-made labels that fail to do justice to the actual situation. The masculine and feminine deities worshipped in the Tantric rituals are personifications of specific intelligent energies present in the subtle dimension. Beyond this, the Tantric practitioners also understand that the gods and goddesses are ciphers, symbols that point beyond their immediate forms of manifestation to the absolute Godhead, the singular being. The Tantrikas are well aware that a deity is a limited being and not the ultimate Reality itself. Gods and goddesses can, however, become portals to that Reality. Such personifications of the Divine are in the service of devotion (Bhatki yoga) which Tantric practitioners cultivate to varying degrees.”
Tantra is truly the path of ecstasy and the most misunderstood in Yoga. Its mysticism is a grand mystery. Ultimately the grace of the Devi can allow the treasures to be revealed and experienced by a genuine devotional sincere seeker.
In Divine love, Jai Maha Devi! Shree Devi Mayi Ma
*More on tantra in Becoming the Light mastery program and radiating the Light program
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