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SRI VIDYA PARAMPARA
LESSON 2 SRI VIDYA ORIGIN
Written By Guruji Sakthi Priyananda Chairman / Founder Sri Sakthi Ashram Malaysia
000 years ago • Mesolithic age . In the study of origin of sakthi worship.500-5.000 – 120.000 years ago • Neolithic age – approx 5.500 BC • Jain & Buddism Period – approx 450-600BC • Roman Period – 100 BC • Modern Christianity Period – now 2 . due to overlapping of prehistorical period of different region in the world.000 BC • Vedic Period – approx 2. No study would ver be able to deany that Mother goddess worshipping was practiced along all ages and famous civilizations in the world.000 – 48. we shall generalize the human history into : 1) Pre historical period • Paleolithic age – approx 50.approx 32.000 years ago 2) Ancient historical period • Indus Civilization – approx 3.Sri Sakthi Ashram Origin of Sri Vidya Parampara One has to understand the origin and history of mother goddess religion ( Sakthism) in global perspective before attempting to practice the dharma stipulated.000 – 30.
drawn by lions. She may also have been associated the brightest stars in the heavens. a source of inspiration. As Queen of heaven. she was associated with the Evening Star (the planet Venus). as she is sometimes symbolized by an eight-pointed star. passion. the City of Gilgamesh.000BC) In Sumerian civilization . At a time when food had to be hunted. She was a powerful warrior. who drove a war chariot. The Venus of Willendorf and Goddess of Europe ( 10.This goddess represent powerful. 3 . or a four pointed star. uncompromising femininity highly fertile but lotus headed. Surprisingly this image has strong resemblance to Aditi Devi also known as Lajja Gauri in Rig Veda also lotus headed.Sri Sakthi Ashram 1) Pre Historical Goddess The Venus of Willendorf . sensuous lover in The Courtship of Inanna and Damuzi. and sometimes with the Moon. ( a concept of Siva Sakthi perhaps )Indeed. and it is in this aspect that she embodies creativity. we find the goddess Inanna or Ishtar was the patron and special god/goddess of the ancient Sumerian city of Erech (Uruk).or Great Goddess of Willendorf. We see the resemblance of Inanna and Durga here with the sacred vehicle to be lion. She is the most ancient Goddess form in the religious complex that is today referred to as Hinduism. was found in Austria. raw sexual energy and power. gathered or grown by great physical effort. In the duality of our reality she is portrayed as gentle and loving. Inanna could be wily and cunning. abundance and fertility. which established the principle of Sacred Marriage. one aspect of Inanna is as the Goddess of Love. a voluptuous body would have been considered a sign of luxury. She is also depicted as a passionate. procreativity.. She endowed the people of Sumer with gifts that inspired and insured their growth as a people and a culture. a seven-pointed star. a source of beauty and grace.
or as a woman.Sri Sakthi Ashram In Sumerian Civilization ( 3500BC) Goddess Inanna / Ishtar ( Lion as sacred animal) We find the worship of a great mother goddess independent of any association with a male counterpart flourishing in the oldest period of Babylonian history as old as 3000 BC. Inanna or Ishtar is the one goddess in the pantheon who retains her independent position in whole Sumerian history. we find the goddess of Isis takes a important role in the goddess mythology in 3500 BC . In art. was portrayed as either a lion or a woman with the head of a lion. This goes to indicate a close connection between Gomatha ( Mother Cow ) in Hinduism and Isis. or also a cow's head or horns . Also another goddess called Sekhmet. She is a life-death-rebirth deity. Egyptian mythology hold the worshipping of Isis an important element of beliefs held by the people of Egypt until Islam . She was considered the goddess of the second hour of the night of the fourteenth moon. known as "The Powerful". The same goddess also seem to be powerful with a sacred animal which is in form of lion. The Goddess Isis and Goddess Tefnut 4 . often holding an ankh or sistrum. She was one of the "great nine" who sat in judgment of the dead. Isis is often symbolised by a cow. or as a lion. Another goddess of Egypt . Isis or Aset is the goddess of motherhood and fertility in ancient Egypt. As for Egyptian civilization . Tefnut helped support the sky. Tefnut usually appeared as a lion-headed goddess with a solar disk on her head. and each morning received the sun on the eastern horizon.
Sri Sakthi Ashram 2) Ancient Historical Period Goddess a) Indus Goddess Archeological evidence from related cultures suggests that Indus Valley mythology was centered in the idea of female power and Goddess. They ruled from Madurai as late as the 14-th Century AD. 5 . Pandyan kings established their kingdom in southern India with Madurai as their capital. and such symbols of male power and virility as horned bulls and rams and mythical animals such as unicorns. Tamil word for fish is "meen". sacred snakes. There is direct evidence of Goddess dominance on Indus seals. Some may try to connect these goddess figures to the worship of Shiva-Sakthi as some seal were found to have pictures of male god in meditative posture where they link these seal to the worship of Pasupathi.Thus fish is an important symbol in Sakthi worship and the fish symbols in Harappan seals shall be closely connected to Sakthi worship in this oldest civilization of India. Their deity is Meenakshi . bring together goddesses. Pandyan king is sometimes referred to as "meenavan". The royal emblem of the Padya dynasty is fish. According to legend and some literary references. These evidences goes to prove that Sakthi worship started way back 2500 BC . dating back to as early as 6000 BCE. There is also ample indication on the seals of rituals involving sacrifice to what appears to be a horned goddess. However one may later understand the redundancy of such arguments as seal and figures of Goddess found are in single form and does not resemble the concept of dual worship (Siva-Sakthi) in Indus Valley. Harappa seals belonging to the Indus Valley civilization have large numbers of pictures of fish. goddess figurines have been discovered that would seem to confirm the importance of the female power during the 600–2500 BCE period The predominance of female figurines and seals depicting a horned goddess in association with the sacred pipal tree are generally regarded as evidence of the worship of a mother goddess who presided over fertility and birth and who may have acted as guardian and protector of the residents. which. like the seals of ancient Sumerians. At the ruins at the ancient settlement of Mehrgarh.
spiritual healing. meaning the same. b) Vedic Goddess Since this primordial power of the ultimate is the base of all creation. and is a term applied to powerful Yogis and also the god Shiva (Vedic name Indra) himself. known as siddhis (mystical powers). 1. from which his own sahas or “power or strength” is said to emerge. The traditional line was the same as prevailed amongst the primitive Indus community. The Rigveda takes a mystic line.3) as “vishva indriyas” or “cosmic senses or powers” of the God. implying the Goddess. when it perceives the Proto Female as Vak or Vani. the universal mother. These “mystical powers” include clairvoyance. At places.31. or “siddhis”. or power in her many manifest forms. manifests the cosmos and all existing things. This verse hence connects these ideas with later Yogic thought. She is worshipped as Mother from time immemorial. The Vak. Mahalakshmi & Durga in some places and in Upanishads as Uma and Haimavati. the mother of gods.5).164. Sri Gaayatri (Yajur Veda). or powers granted by forms of the goddess. and as Ambhrini. In Vedic mysticism the cosmos and all things pre-exist but are unmanifest. Sahas means “force or power or strength”. and is hence synonymous with Shakti. It refers to them having these mystical powers of yoga. as the creative speech. a term which literally means Mother Earth. one gains “shaktis” (powers) of Yoga. which. which seems to have conceded to the idea of the Divine Female. invisibility and so forth. one mystic and the other traditional. This term Shaktivan itself is comparable to later “Shaktiman”. which means “Possessor of Shakti ”. which understands that by controlling or having mastery over one’s indriyas (or senses). as Shakti. takes two different lines.V. one verse lauds Indra as “Shaktivan” (V. the Vedic literature alludes to Her as Viraj. In fact. which perceived the Divine Female as Mother Goddess. One of the most powerful gods in Rigveda shall be Indra and Varuna. In Vedas she is worshipped as Sarasvati. The Rigveda calls the Female power Mahimata (R.Sri Sakthi Ashram In its contemplation. levitation. or Vani makes them manifest.33). In this regard. the Rigveda. They are often personified. as Aditi. Ushas & Aryamaa (Rig Veda). the one born of Primeval Ocean. 6 .31. which itself is a feminine term in the Rig Veda. Indra’s powers or “indriyas” are mentioned in the Rig Veda (VI.
which reads: "Bring into creation. These are powers of the Self (sva or atman) employed by the Gods. Shakti here is hence invoked as a feminine and yet positive term. Shachi or Power in the Rig Veda (III. he is invoked along with his wife. in relation to Yogic powers or siddhis again. which she merges into her own dark formlessness. we also know of a famous hymn to Shachi or “Goddess Power”. similar again to Shaktiman of later times. even in Vedic times. an old Sanskrit term meaning “Shakti” and denoting the same. The same verse calls them “Sons of Prishni”. are lauded as possessing “svayudha” or “weapons of the Self or soul” (RV. Meaning spotted with stars. The same hymn (verse 3). Lords of Shakti. Grant us high spirits in battle. The moon is the symbol of ego and the severed head Kali holds). as a term for a Yogi possessing yogic powers. (Rig Veda : X. the Devayudhas or “weapons of the Gods”.60. she fills the vast. and worshipped along with her. in her most supreme form! Although dark. who derive their powers from the Goddess Shakti to do so.VII. my tireless meditations and thoughts that ask for wealth. the term “Shachi” is used in a feminine tense.112.6). who are manifestations of the god Shiva or Indra.57. Yet again here however.8) as being the power given to the twin Ashwin gods (who possess mystic powers) to allow them to heal the crippled and help the blind see again. 7 .2) In regards to Indra or the god Shiva. she destroys spiritual darkness. In the tenth and last book of the Rig Veda.Sri Sakthi Ashram On this note. We know in later texts as the Puranas.59). In fact. known as “tamas”. which later become her garland of white skulls on her black body. which tells us of her Supreme Nature as in later times (X. showing their importance. one verse to the Vedic gods of War. which also refers to her name Prishni (spotted.127. It also asks these gods to grant us powers in warfare. On this note. assist us. is lauded in the Rig Veda (I.67.2). and with your Shaktis. The immortal Goddess. Shining Ashwins. the term “Shachi”. were manifestations empowered by the force of the Divine Mother in the form of Shakti to power also. Kali (meaning black or time) is also called Ratri ( ight). with their “shaktis” or powers." (Rig Veda.5) The terms used here are “shaktam” and “shachipati” which mean “Power or force” and “Lords of power and force”. and states that her lord (pati) is submissive unto her will-power. extols her as “Jaya” or Victory. again showing her importance. who is a Goddess later associated with the Goddess Kali in India – herself commonly portrayed as the goddess Shakti. high and low places: She destroys tamas (spiritual darkness) with her Light. these Ashwin gods are also invoked in another passage.V.
Her secret power however is well-known. Parts of it have worked their way into popular Hinduism. Raajaraajeshwari. Based upon textual evidence. This narrative provides the mythological backdrop for the annual ritual called Durga Puja and Navarathri which is celebrated widely in Bengal. but its specific origins and authorship are lost to history. 50.000 verses and it is ascribed to the mythical sage Krishna Dvaipayana Veda Vyasa. Within the Hindu genre of Sahasranamas (literally. ashtanga-yoga. "thousand-name" hymns. Chapters 2-18). meditations on the major texts of Upanishads. 24 and 14 chapters respectively." The Lalita Sahasranama is part of the Brahmanda Purana. It deals with the universal form of the Devi. The most famous purana of Sakthism shall be Devi Bhagavata Purana . perhaps to “remind the Rishi (Seer)” of her importance in the text. or "Hymn to the Thousand Names of the Auspicious Goddess Lalita". Maha Kali and other forms. The last nine chapters (31-40) of the seventh skandha is known as the Devi Gita. especially in Puranas she is worshipped as Lalitha. Devi Bhagavata Purana consists of 12 skandhas (books). the yogas of jnana. tenth. sections praising the Devi as supreme.Sri Sakthi Ashram This also asserts her power in the Vedas. 13. locations of the temples dedicated to the Devi and the rituals pertaining to her worship. which is also described in the Devi Mahatmya. and this hymn is at the end of the Rig Veda. is "a veritable classic.who is also regarded as the author of the Mahabharata and who is credited with dividing the Vedas into four parts. and instructions in various types of sadhana. In later text . it is believed to have been composed in South India not earlier than the 9th or later than the 11th century CE. It is a dialogue between Parvati and her father Himavat. karma and bhakti. Like other Puranas. clarity and poetic excellence. The eighth. the Sri Lalita Sahasranama Stotra. The text is closely associated with another section of the Brahmanda Purana. deeds and associations of a given deity). although she may be contained within the hymns. Kali and in Agamas as Tripura Sundari. 8 . eleventh. ninth. widely acknowledged for its lucidity. and twelfth skandhas have 24. the Devi-Bhagavata Purana contains narratives. such as the narrative of the goddess Durga in her fight against the buffalo-demon Mahishasura (Book 5. 318 adhyayas (chapters) and 18. extolling the names.
9 . parched rice (mudraa). we need to understand that there appear two forms of rituals mentioned in Tantras. milk and honey. Mahakaali is their deities. She is worshipped with the object of realizing higher and higher reaches of consciousness and knowledge with offerings of flowers. Her form is imagined with many heads and hands. She is imagined as seated on a lotus and resides in beautiful surroundings with a book. There is an impression that Tantra is some sort of black magic or immoral practice associated with mystic practices that are condemned by orthodox Hinduism. Here the saadhakaa through great knowledge largely sheds the fear of the deity and loves her as his mother. Before identifying the Tantras as black magic . Pancha Makaaras are offered to the deity in the ritual. enemies.Sri Sakthi Ashram The text operates on a number of levels. The Vaamaachara is probably an echo of the primitive ritual with which the terrible aspect of the mother goddess was worshipped in pre historic times. fear of natural calamities. There were different clans of people who practiced this method. fish (matsya) and sexual intercourse (Maithuna). parrot. wine (madya). which are claimed to be older than even Vedas. death and even ignorance. poverty. two aspects of Shakthi can be clearly distinguished. japamaala. The first one is more primitive and is a ‘Tamasic’ or ‘Rajasic’ personification of Sakthi. In Vaamaachara. containing references not just to the Devi's physical qualities and exploits but also an encoded guide to philosophy and esoteric practices of kundalini yoga and Srividya Shaktism. We come across such a Kaapaalika in Shankara's biography. Fear is the predominant emotion of the saadhakaa in worshipping this aspect. In all above text . The second is the satvic form. Some Tantras and Agamas as sacred texts are held in the same high esteem as the Veda and Upanishads. A later modification of this clan who shed human sacrifice but lived in graveyards and dressed with animal skin known as “Kaalaamukhas” lived during mid Chola rain in south. sugarcane or veena in hand. known as the “Vaamaachara” (also known as “Kaulachaara” ) or the left hand ritual and the “Dakshinachaara” ( also known as “Samayachaara”) or the right hand ritual . every name and group of names within the Sahasranama is considered to have high mantric value independent of its content. Sacrifice of humans that too most revered ones is the effective way of pleasing the deity according to them. A more sublime concept which is the product of Upanishadic thoughts. ill health. each carrying deadly weapons like sword and mace riding on wild animals. Some of those worshippers were Digambaras and Kaapaalikas. They are meat (maamsa). There are some Tantras like the Yamala tantra. In addition. one the fierce form of the deity which is dreaded and propitiated and the second the benign aspect of her love and kindness. These two modes of rituals have again some relation to the dual aspect of Sakthi discussed earlier. and are often prescribed in sadhanas or prayogas to accomplish particular purposes.
" The mantra of Tara is the second most common mantra heard in Tibet. The most prominient goddess of Buddism is Tara who is a Buddhist savior-goddess especially popular in Tibet. where Tara is the most important deity. She has four arms. This divine energy is the source of spiritual light. Goddess Saraswati. There are many images of Saraswati created for a temple of the Jains. Bakthi and Jyana. In Tibet. the goddess of learning. and guards her followers on their spiritual journey to enlightenment. is considered to be the source of all the learning. There are also historical figures such as lineage founders. Nepal and Mongolia. the goddess of knowledge.Sri Sakthi Ashram It is an important matter to note that Jagat Guru Sri Shankara did not acknowledge any part of Vaamaachara. Sanaka Sanaadana. It is also said that once Acharya Umasvami (Umasvati) made a stone-image of saraswati. the other a rosary and two hands holding a musical instrument Veenä. worldly persons and saints. Shankara calls the discipline of Samayachara as “swatantra tantra”. 10 . one holding a book. This Samayachara is the ritual adopted in the monastic institutions established by Shankara and prescribed to Hindus since his time. Satkuraara. and they all can function as goddess. There are buddhas in female form and goddesses who are bodhisattvas. remover of all ignorance and promoter of all knowledge. to speak. protects earthly travel. after the mantra of Chenrezi (om mani padme hum). in some places it is mentioned that the swan is her vehicle. a faith that originated in the fifth century B. The great jain saint Yashovijayji sought the blessing of Goddess of knowledge. The goddess of universal compassion. Tara represents virtuous and enlightened action. which he mentioned in the second stanza of Jambuswami Raas. She also brings about longevity. Her seat is a lotus and the peacock is her vehicle representing equanimity in prosperity. Per Hindu belief . Laya. She is respected and adored by all the faiths. c) Jain and Buddism Goddess In Jainism . This like all other systems is a system integrated within itself the Yogas of Mantra. The female deities of Buddhism are of many types. It is said that her compassion for living beings is stronger than a mother's love for her children. Samayachara is carried out through the five sacred text Shubaagama Panchakam. meaning "she who saves. her name is Sgrol-ma.C. Sri Shankara rescued various schools of hindu religious worship more especially the Sakthi worship from these odious practices and establishing it in its pristine vedic purity as “Dakshinaachara” or also known as Samayachara. Saraswati to formulate and construct Jain scriptures. Shuka and Vasihta Samhitas.
Sri Sakthi Ashram Before she was adopted by Buddhism. The Romans also had numerous festivals dedicated to their different gods and goddesses. the goddess Tara was revealed. However it was the rule of Rome by the Etrusian kings that was first to influence Roman worship. family histories or myths about their lives. The feminine principle was not venerated in Buddhism until the fourth century CE. d) Roman Goddess Unlike the Greek deities the original Roman goddesses did not have distinctive personalities. human form. This belief in numina helps explain why there were so many early Roman deities. the divine essence that could be found in all living things and places. They began by 11 . as each represented different aspects of the natural world. Remaining accounts of early worship of these beings suggests it was highly ritualized to reflect the complex relationships between different groups of gods. Tara was worshipped in Hinduism as a manifestation of the goddess Parvati. Tara was born out of the tears of compassion of the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. When the lotus opened. An example of the Numina is Pomona the Goddess of Fruit trees. Instead these deities were manifestations of what the Romans termed "numina". According to Buddhist tradition. and Tara probably entered Buddhism around the sixth century CE. The nature of these early Roman deities was also closely linked to the physical needs of people. It is said that he wept as he looked upon the world of suffering beings. Instead they were presented as the history of Rome's creation and concerntrated on the rituals and religious practices. orchards and gardens. Later the Romans borrowed heavily from other traditions especially the Greeks. and his tears formed a lake in which a lotus sprung up. Early Roman mythology did not contain tales of the lives of magical gods. concentrating on areas like the agriculture and motherhood.
She was born in the sea and first came to shore at Cyprus. They decided to let a man. The Romans believed that every man had a spirit that looked after him all his life. Goddess Juno is said to be the queen of the gods. Venus offered him beauty . Some people believed each man had both a good genius and a bad genius. Juno and Minerva all wanted it. There was a Golden Apple with "For the Fairest" written on the side. She was the goddess of women and marriage. bowing or kneeling before such images and making prayers Catholics and the Orthodox maintain Mary is the most important being in God's plan. After all. just as all good Christians try to lead their friends to the Lord. Jesus. Venus. They were all so beautiful that he couldn't make his mind up. So Juno said she would make him powerful. judge between them.Sri Sakthi Ashram adapting three of the Etruscan gods and making them the focus of their religion. The other goddess which is quite important in roman goddess devotion is Venus. However. Catholics and the Orthodox say Mary will lead a person to Jesus. Her sacred animal was the peacock. they had a juno instead. This veneration takes a number of forms. One of the goddess which is similar to parvathi is Juno who was the wife of the King God – Jupiter. Women didn't have a genius. Paris. Minerva said she would make him wise. floating on a scallop shell. Goddess Venus e) Christianity Goddess Both Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians venerate Mary. except for her Son. including composing poems and songs in Mary's honor. This was called his genius. the God-Man. painting icons or carving statues representing her. Mary's last recorded words in the Bible were: "Do whatever He (Jesus) tells you" 12 . Others think that by honoring Mary we take away from the worship of Jesus.
We may realize that the worship of goddess is however. geographic and political diversity. where visions of Jesus and Mary and conversations with both have been reported. she is God's mother. India and beyond is an indication of the high regard that all ancient peoples had for Goddess culture in general . The spread of Her cult through the lands of Middle east .and Saktha spirituality and philosophy in particular. By the time Her worship spread to the the rest of the world. If we understand God's holiness and the intimacy of the Holy Spirit with Mary in conceiving Jesus. we see that Jesus' incarnation presupposes that Mary was immaculate from the beginning of her life. her worshippers comprised the entire known world in their linguistic. Not only did She comprise all god within Herself. death . This does not take away from the glory of her Son or imply she did not need to be redeemed In the Bible. Mary is called "full of grace" and "blessed among women" We have begun to appreciate how blessed and graced she was and why "all ages to come" shall call her blessed.Sri Sakthi Ashram Mary is not just the average person. The pictures and name of “mother” in native language seem to appears over two dozen times in the "Pyramid Texts" which date from before 2. clearly Hindu in origin. from all above evidences . The Virgin Mary is also venerated at major religious sites around the world where it is believed that apparitions or appearances of the Virgin have occurred. Our Lady of Fatima and Our Lady of Guadalupe.000 BC and writings found at Indus valley. the worship of goddess was a truly universal Religion. Popular devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary associated with Marian apparitions include the Immaculate Heart of Mary. There have also been visions. China . Because Mary was free from sin. Our Lady of Lourdes. having conceived Jesus by the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit. There were even temples and idols found in various parts of the world dated back to 20. ethnic. Thus . In many part of Christian world .000 years ago. In many places the witnesses to these appearances have said that important messages for humanity were delivered by the Virgin. Thus her immaculate conception implies her assumption into heaven. that is. The term Marian apparition is normally used in cases where visions of just the Virgin Mary herself are claimed. such as those of Padre Pio and Sister Maria Pierina De Micheli. she is named goddess mary. Her cult was 13 . she was free from the wages of sin.000 to 30.
000 to 30. one of the most recognizable symbols of her in goddess worship discussed above was the form of Venus of Willendorf.000 BCE further proofs that mother goddess in form of “Booma Devi” was worshipped by the earliest known man on earth. the longest surviving religion amazingly is none other than saktha religion ( sakthism) which focuses and propagates the importance of female god worship. As a result of her association with earth fertility and agriculture. Thus within Hinduism .Sri Sakthi Ashram already a very "old religion" indeed. 14 . Their worship has been revived as the image of the Great Mother or Earth Mother deep within the collective unconscious and the importance is reemerging. Myths of these goddesses have changed over centuries and sometimes blended with those of other male deities. This statue which was found 22.