Significance of Shakti Upasana
Followers of Hinduism are divided into several Sampradaya (sects) like Ganpatya, Vaishnav, Shaiva, Saurya, Shakta etc. because of the emphasis by the sects on chosen deities. However, this compartmentalisation is not rigid. People exhibit faith in all deities because they are regarded as manifestations of the One Paramatma, generally called Brahma. In the belief system we have, we refer to the concept of God as follows.
- Nirgun Brahma has remained in focus for all the Vedantins and the concept continues. Brahma is free from illusions, formless, attributeless and eternal.
- Then we also believe in the Sagun form of God with the same qualities as described above. This is regarded as the unmanifested Paramatma.
- Then we have the concept of Trimurti emanating from Paramatma known as Bramha, Vishnu and Shiva with responsibilities for creation sustenance and dissolution of the Universe. The Shakta tradition says that the Trimurti are the creation of Mahashakti who resides in Brahma in an inert state.
- Then we have the incarnated Gods like Sri Ram, Sri Krishna, Shri Durga, Kali, Mahakali etc. who are also manifestations of the Paramatma with powers of contemplative action.
- Our belief system also says that the same Paramatma resides in all the living entities found in the Universe.
- Our Vedas also inform that the Rta (order) which exists in the functioning of the Universe is due to the Shakti provided by Paramatma.
Shakti is variously defined as energy, power, force etc. without which nothing can be achieved. Bramha, Vishnu and Shiva have their Shakti counterparts known as Brahmani (Saraswati), Vaishnavi (Lakshmi) and Raudri (Mahakali) Shakti Tatva alone found in Bramha, Vishnu and Shiva are the cause of power enjoyed by them. In other words, the Trimurti devoid of their Shakti counterparts are powerless and are like dead entities. Therefore, Shakti is central to the powerfulness of Gods. Energy, power, and force are reflected all around us.
- All God’s will is executed through Gauri and Lakshmi.
- The Shakti Tatva differentiates between Deva and Devi.
- Shakti represents the Triguni Maya to which Vedantins refer. The abundance of Satvaguna is reflected in the white colour of Saraswati, Rajoguna in the golden colour of Lakshmi and Tamogun in the Blue/Black colour of Mahakali.
- Shakti can’t remain separate from its abode. They are inseparable. However, they are the cause of all contemplative action and knowledge.
- Their control is reflected in heat energy, electrical energy, magnetic energy, gravitational force, and kinetic energy which exists in the physical world.
- The energy/force is reflected in the wind energy, hydel energy, solar energy, thermal energy, and atomic energy without which nothing can function.
- We feel the consequences of economic power, industrial power, political power, military power, and knowledge power everywhere.
Ramayana, Mahabharat, Purana and other scriptures of our religion are full of stories about demons and Ogres and the roles of divine powers in saving humanity from their excesses and tyranny. In all such endeavours, the roles of the mother power have been clearly illustrated. What Ram accomplished was based on Sita Shakti and what Krishna did was based on Radha Shakti. Similarly what Shiva performs is based on Uma/Parvati Shakti performing under different names. In our times history is being repeated. It is the nature of history to repeat itself.
When we talk about the effects of Shakti (energy) enveloping us from all around, should we just say that it is the law of nature? There is nothing divine about it. Sun and its Shakti Sun-rays are inseparable. There is nothing new in it. The physical nature is called Prakriti. Prakriti is an alternative name for Shakti. So, what we feel all around us is just a manifestation of the qualities of Shakti. Purush and Prakriti are related. Purush is almost dysfunctional without Prakriti. So, Shakti is supreme and it is defining the events of modern times also.
We, therefore, revere Shakti as the Supreme force. We worship it as the Supreme power. In the names of Gods and Goddesses, the names of Shakti precede the name of Purush like – Laxminarayan, Gaurishankar, Sitaram, Radhakrishna. There are thousands of temples all around India where Shakti and Shakta are worshipped in combination. Worship of God without the related Goddess is not considered ideal.
Shakti Upasana is one of the most popular forms of worship in India. All the names of Shakti are alternatives to the primordial Maha Shakti. A mother can go to any extent to save her child. A mother Goddess can also go to any extent to save her children/devotees. Therefore, Shakti Upasana has been recommended extensively in our scriptures. Some confusions, however, have crept in from about medieval period of our history. Tantrism has also grown in this cult in a parallel way. There should, however, be no confusion that Shakti Upasana has been divided into two systems known as the Dakshin Margi (Rightist system) and Vaam Margi (Leftist system). The Dakshin Margi system has no relationship with the five M’s. It is a Sadhana based purely on Spirituality.
The sequence of Trimurti found in scriptures is defined by their functions of creation, sustenance and annihilation.
Brahma –> Vishnu –> Shiva
This sequence should stay for their consorts also which should be.
Saraswati –> Lakshmi –> Parvati
However, this sequence changes during Shakti Upasana as under.
Mahakali –> Mahalakshmi –> Maha Saraswati
This change of sequence is not without meaning. In normal understanding one proceeds from creation to sustenance to destruction. Shakti Upasana teaches to begin from destruction to sustenance to creation. Thus, the whole order reverses. This has been explained by those who know about Shakti Upasana.
- Mahakali is supposed to step in first. The aim of Mahakali is not destruction. She aims to destroy the demoniac qualities found in humans. Her second objective is to save those who possess divine qualities. So, Mahakali has to perform surgery to make this world livable for those who are worthy. After doing her job, she passes on the baton to her brother Vishnu for nourishment of people with divine qualities.
- Next comes Mahalakshmi who performs the works of Vishnu. She provides wealth and comfort to those who deserve it. They are nourished and taken care of. Then the baton is further passed on to Maha Saraswati.
- Maha Saraswati is required to provide knowledge of all types including the knowledge of fine arts, music, dance, drama and other types of learning. She has also to keep watch that the offspring of such people tread proper paths. If it is not happening the baton will again be passed on to Mahakali.
Thus, Shakti Upasana is extensively recommended by those who know the intricacies of the process of creation. After all a disciplined life is an absolute must.
I am a Vedic astrologer by profession. I have done Jyotish Acharya from Bhartiya Vidya Bhawan. I am devoted to my Sadguru Shri Sai Nath of Shirdi. I am also interested in spirituality. I love to guide people.