It is so good to be back! After kickstarting this series (which I started on my Facebook timeline, this is the first article to go live on the blog), I received a comment that stung the heart. It took me a while to recover, but I am back!
11 Goddesses of Yoga
There are 11 Goddesses of Yoga that I am going to share with you through this series, as presented by Sally Kempton in her book "Awakening Shakti:"
- Durga: Goddess of Protection and Inner Strength
- Lakshmi: Goddess of Abundance and Good Fortune
- Kali: Goddess of Revolution
- Parvati: Goddess of Sacred Marriage
- Saraswati: Goddess of Language, Insight and Sound
- Sita: Goddess of Devotion and Mystical Submission
- Dhumavati: Crone Goddess of Letting Go
- Radha: Goddess of Romantic Longing
- Chinnamasta: Goddess of Radical Self-Transcendence
- Lalita Tripura Sundari: Goddess of Erotic Spirituality
- Bhuvaneshwari: Goddess of Infinite Space
Where is the Goddess?
Modern Life has created great advancements, but with each advancement come with it a cost, a struggle, a challenge, or an obstacle that will have to be overcome. The particular cost to us at this time in our existence on Earth is the the weakening of the bond to the Divine or Infinite. May of us are born in sterile hospitals, blinded by bright lights, probed by cold medical equipment, and handed over to beings other than our parents. This is our first experience with the human world. The foundation that sets the rest of our human life in motion, disconnected from the most intimate experience we can have with the Divine Feminine on this realm. These series is an opportunity for to realign with her.
The Yogic Sages anticipated Quantum Physics by pointing out a subtle vibratory energy as the substratum of everything we know. These gurus, experienced this energy through deep, pro-longed states of meditation and named it Shakti, meaning power in Sanskrit one of the common languages of yoga. Per these sages Shakti has five manifestations:
- The power of consciousness.
- The power of ecstasy.
- The power of will.
- The power to know.
- The power to act.
In Yoga Philosophy we say that these powers come into play in the act of cosmic creativity, when the Divine spins a Universe out of itself, comparable to when the human mind creates a dream on its own in deep sleep. This cosmic play is referred to Lila, or Shakti Dance. The story goes to tell that cosmic creation explodes from a single atom, as in the big bang theory, to create two aspects of the Infinite: the Divine Feminine (Prakriti, potential energy) and the Divine Masculine (Purusha, creative kinetic energy that moves the potential into manifestation).
Mahashakti is the manifestation of the combined forces of Purusha and Prakriti, as in their first child. Mahad or Mahat is the great principle or the great one is the first reality to emerge from Prakriti. It's physical spect is Cosmic Intelligence known as Buddhi, when then discriminates awareness as individuality called Ahmkara (more on this in a later series: Yoga Philosophy). With Mahashakti manifest aspects of Nature, by transforming various causes into effects, evolving over millions of years into suns, moons, planets, animals, plants and of course human beings. This cycle of creation, sustainer, and dissolution, is repeated over and over again. It all starts as one atom, then divides and evolves into many different aspects of condensed thought termed matter, eventually dissolving itself back into itself.
Some people are able to read Yoga Philosophy and feel the nature of the theology almost immediately. The words they read travel through their fascia as consciousness and ignite the experience they previously had, reminding them of what they already are. Others, however, are challenged directly by the dogmas of Earth and have a harder time breaking through the veils. It doesn't matter which one you resonant with. That is insignificant, as we are all from the same atom and the true difference from one or the other is a judgement. The only thing that matters is that you are on the path toward transcendence, evolution, consciousness and transformation.
Because many do have a hard time coming into the story of Shakti, the Yoga Sages came up with various personifications of the Divine Feminine to give us something tangible to relate to. Therefore Mahashakti, symbolizes the first reality to emerge from Purusha and Prakriti to represent cosmic consciousness by taking up the various forms of gods and goddesses to personify the countless dimensions and energies that make up the existence of the Infinite. Purusha signifying the Divine Masculine and Prakriti signifying the Divine Feminine, with Ishvara Pranidhana, representing the formless form of everything as a single atom before the bing bang theory, and symbolizing the original unit.
The Hindu Pantheon
The Hindu Pantheon is very complex. There are over 640,000 villages in India, each with its own versions of Shakti, and with hundreds of names for each god and goddess apiece. However, the three deities seem to remain constant across all cosmic hierarchies. They are:
- Brahma (the creator)
- Vishnu (the sustainer)
- Shiva (the dissolver of all things and protector of yoga).
Their consorts are:
- Saraswati (the goddess of language)
- Lakshmi (the goddess of good fortune)
- Parvati (the goddess of creative will)
The duty of Brahma is to bring manifestation into the world. Vishnu's duty is to sustain and protect the world, and Shiva's duty is to dissolve that which is no longer necessary or that which has served its time. Shiva is also responsible for overseeing the practice of yoga and its practitioners, those who seek to yoke their physical self with the formless essence of Ishvara Pranidhana. The duties of the goddess, however, is to activate the power of their consort. Without the goddesses, the gods sit in meditation as potential energy. Therefore, the gods require the love of their goddesses in order to fulfill their mission.
The Divine Feminine
Modern Life has created great advancements. With them come huge struggles, challenges and obstacles. This time era comes with it the cost of the disconnection to the Divine Feminine. Many of us are born into sterile hospitals, blinded by bright lights, probed with cold medical equipment, and handed over to beings other than our parents. This is our first interaction with the human experience. The foundation that sets our humanity in motion, robbed of the most intimate experience we can have with the Divine Feminine on this realm of existence. This series is our chance to realign ourselves with her Shakti.
For more information on our 300-hour and 500-hour Yoga Teacher Training check out "What to Expect," browse or YTT PAGE or click on the contact us button below. For information on our affiliate 200-hour program check out Amana Yoga Boulder and Lemon Bay Yoga Studio.