IN PRAISE OF THE GODDESS: The Devīmāhātmya and Its Meaning by Devadatta Kālī

In Praise of the Goddess: The Devīmāhātmya and Its Meaning by Devadatta Kālī (2003, Nicolas-Hays, Inc)


WeaponWeapon AttributeXX
1SwordKnowledge slices through ignoranceXX
2MaceDestroys the sinfulXXX
4ArrowMaster of SensesXXX
6SpearPenetration of KnowledgeXX
7Severed HeadHuman EgoXX
8Iron ClubSelf ControlXX
9Conch ShellSound Destroys IgnoranceXXX
10DiscusWheel of TimeXXX
11Prayer BeadsDevotionX
12AxWisdom Chops Through IgnoranceX
14LotusBeauty, ProsperityX
15Water ContainerFertility and PurirtyX
19Wine CupJoy, BlissX
20TridentCreation, Preservation, DestructionXX
21NooseWorldly AttachementX
Universal Energy
Inertia (Tamas)Knowledge (Rajas)Luminosity (Sattva)

The Devīmāhātmya is an epic of such complexity that it is difficult for anyone not raised in a Hindu culture to understand the meanings. I struggled for weeks to understand the text, finding the translations complicated and the Sanskrit terminology difficult to render into thoughts. However, I discovered this excellent commentary the othrer day which compares the Sanskrit original to the English transliteration and translation. I recommend this book for anyone who wants to understand the concept of Shakti and how she relates to the Brahman. The above chart is a comparison I put together on the three primal deities mentioned in the work. It is a work in progress and I will be adding to it as time goes by.

Here is what Wikipedia has to say about the Devīmāhātmya:

The Devi Mahatmyam describes a storied battle between good and evil, where the Devi manifesting as goddess Durga leads the forces of good against the demon Mahishasura—the goddess is very angry and ruthless, and the forces of good win.In peaceful prosperous times, states the text, the Devi manifests as Lakshmi, empowering wealth creation and happiness.The verses of this story also outline a philosophical foundation wherein the ultimate reality (Brahman in Hinduism) is female. The text is one of the earliest extant complete manuscripts from the Hindu traditions which describes reverence and worship of the feminine aspect of God. The Devi Mahatmya is often ranked in some Hindu traditions to be as important as the Bhagavad Gita.

This book can be used as as study guide or a just a quick reference to the epic. I have mine on Kindle and find it useful to read whenever I need to look at it. There are many published translations of the Devīmāhātmya and this is one of the best.

Here is a an example of the depth:

Each of the Devīmāhātmya’s three sections begins with a meditation on one of the supreme Devī’s three primary forms. These forms—Mahākālī, Mahālakṣmī and Mahāsarasvatī—are not to be confused with her aspects as Kālī, Lakṣmī and Sarasvatī, goddesses of popular devotion who belong to a more immediate level of human experience.1 Instead, each is an immensely more powerful, cosmic aspect (vyaṣṭi) of the Devī. The vyaṣṭis are the universal energies of inertia, dynamism, and luminosity—the three guṇas, known in Sanskrit as tamas, rajas, and sattva. In the phenomenal universe, they underlie all the subsequent activities of creation, sustenance, and dissolution.

Highly recommended!

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About Rummah

Rummah Kasai has written 27 post in this blog.

Rummah is a member of a secret order so clandestine that he can't even remember what it is.

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