At the very beginning of time, Lord Brahma, in charge of all creation in the cosmos, created three groups of progeny to take His creation forward- Prajapatis, Manus and Rishis.
Among them, Lord Brahma made the Prajapatis responsible for the propagation of Uttam Vansh(superior lineages) in the Universe. One of the Prajapatis was Daksha Prajapati. Realising the immense importance of the work ahead of him, he set out to first invoke Shiva-Shakti, the primordial energies to assist his role in creation. Pleased with his penance, Divine Mother, the Adya Shakti, blessed Daksha with a boon to become Her father, while also carrying out his responsibilities of creating and propagating the finest lineages in creation.
However, She laid down a few conditions for Daksha.
- Daksha would have to unite Her with Lord Shiva in marriage.
- She would instantly leave if She or Mahadev were insulted at any point.
Overcome with gratitude at Adi Shakti’s immense karunya(compassion) for him, Daksha readily agreed to Her conditions.
With Jaganmata’s blessings, Daksha became the father of many sons and daughters, all of whom married illustrious Devis, Devatas and Rishis to create powerful progeny. Adya Shakti also fulfilled Her promise to Daksha by incarnating as his youngest daughter, Sati. As the daughter of Daksha, She also gained the name, ‘Dakshayani’.
Sati grew up in Daksha’s palace as his beloved daughter, the apple of Daksha’s eye. As time passed by, the veil of Maya crept in slowly over Daksha. Forgetting the boon he had received from the great Mother Herself, Daksha began to view Sati as merely his daughter. He also developed pride and ego for his role in creation. Viewing Mahadev as only the great destroyer, Daksha, in his ignorance and hubris, began to treat Mahadev as his arch enemy. In time, he also forgot his promise to Shakti.
As the time approached for Sati to choose a husband, Daksha arranged a grand Swayamvar (the event where the bride chooses her husband among many willing suitors) for his favourite daughter. He invited all the Gods, except the greatest of them all – Lord Shiva. Sati walked into the bedecked hall, wedding garland in hand, her face blushing with anticipation and longing. Her doe-like eyes roved all around, searching for Her beloved. Not finding him among the invitees, Sati cast one glance at Her father. Then, without saying a word to him, She closed Her eyes. Uttering the sacred name of Shiva, Sati simply threw the garland in the air. At that moment, Mahadev manifested there in the hall, in front of everyone, accepting the wedding garland around his neck.
Daksha was now in a fix. As Sati’s father, he could not accept Shiva as his son-in-law. Yet, he was a Prajapati. His daughter had just garlanded the mere Bhasma Dhari, Shiva, in an assembly full of his guests and followers. He could not refute that. With great reluctance, he performed the marriage ceremony of Shiva and Sati, who then proceeded to live in Kailasha.
One day, Sati, in Kailasha happened to see a great procession going toward Daksha’s palace. Curious and excited at once, Sati insisted that they attend the grand yagya organized by Her father. However, Mahadev, the Trikaal Darshi and Trilok Gyani, desisted from going to the Yagya, since they would be uninvited guests. He also knew that the absence of an invite was no oversight by Daksha. Yet, it pained him to see that Sati’s exuberance and untainted love for Her father would not be reciprocated. At Sati’s relentless insistence, He finally allowed Her to go alone.
With a heart laden with both excitement (at the thought of seeing her beloved parents and all her siblings) and foreboding (after all, the ever-auspicious Shiva was not with Her), Sati left for her father’s palace. As She arrived at the grand yagyashala, no words of welcome greeted her, no pair of eyes met hers in warmth. Among the scores of Devas, Rishis and Prajapatis seated in the grand hall, Sati’s eyes scanned the hall for a seat reserved for Mahadev, the greatest of them all.
Not finding one, it finally dawned upon Sati that Her father had indeed fully intended to insult Her beloved Shankara. Grief and anger at once overwhelmed Her. Grief at her father’s ignorance. Anger at his impudence to dare insult Parameshwara Himself.
Her eyes flashing with anger, her lips quivering in grief, Sati said to her father Daksha, “How your ego has blinded you, Daksha! You have dared insult Parameshwara, on whose mere thought the cosmos comes alive! I am ashamed to be called your daughter anymore! With this, I give up the body I gained from you!”
So saying, Sati ignited a Yogagni from her Chit Shakti, and surrendered Her life at that very moment. As the news of Sati’s immolation reached Lord Shiva, He set forth the fierce Veera Bhadra to destroy Daksha’s Yagya. Veerabhadra not only annihilated the Yagya, He also beheaded Daksha for his impudence.
After Sati immolated Herself, Daksha’s wife and children implored Bholenath for forgiveness. Even through His own crippling grief, the great Karunamoortii Shiva, the one with a heart like butter, forgave Daksha and restored him to life with a goat’s head.
Thereafter, Lord Shiva immersed Himself in deep meditation. With the Vama Bhaga (left side) of His form now gone, he became deeply entrenched in asceticism and meditation, coming to be known as Dakshinamurti(the form that only has the Dakshina Bhaga or right side of Him). Dakshinamurtii is the intensely detached, ascetic form of Lord Shiva. In many traditions, Dakshinamurthi is considered the swaroopam of Adi Guru, the first Guru.
As Lord Shiva was thus immersed in austerities, a demon named Tarakasur had begun tormenting the Devas. Seeing that Shakti had left Shiva, Tarakasur asked for a boon from Lord Brahma to be slayed by the son of Lord Shiva. Now, the Devas were faced with a challenge. It was impossible to even get Lord Shiva to move a hair on his body, let alone agree to find a suitable consort!
And so, they turned to Adi Parashakti, the primordial Shakti that can infuse Chaitanya (movement) in every atom of the cosmos, including the immovable Shiva. Pleased by their devotion, and moved by their plight, Shakti once again agreed to manifest as the daughter of Himavan and Mena, the king and queen of the Himalayas.
Born nestled in the pristine snow-white peaks of the Himalayas, this incarnation of Devi is called Shailaputri: the putri (daughter) of the King of Shaila (mountains). She is also Parvati, the daughter of Parvatraj (another word for King of the mountains). Born among the golden peaks of the Himalayas, She is also called Hemavati (The golden One) and Bhavani (consort of Bhava, another name for Shiva).
In the potent Nav Durga Sadhana, Devi Shailaputri is invoked as the first of the Navadurgas.
The word ‘Durg’ in Sanskrit means ‘fort’.
One who seeks Her out, is ever-protected by the strongest of forts – Her grace and protection. She becomes the Sadhak’s Durg, a fort that would never fail Him. As the daughter of the peaks, Her worship has the power to bring a Sadhak to the peaks of consciousness.
Devi Shailaputri’s Roop Dhyana (visualisation of Her beautiful form) is a powerful spiritual practice in itself.
Devi Shailputri is depicted as a luminous Goddess seated on the majestic bull, Nandi. Draped in a pristine white saree with a pinkish hue of Her love, She holds a fearsome trident in her right hand and a lotus in Her left. She is both the Shikshak, and the Rakshak Herself. A crescent moon adorns her luminous forehead and Her loving and reassuring smile makes her devotee’s hearts overflow with delight and reverence.
Devi Shailaputri is born among the mountains, in proximity to life-giving rivers and the earth itself. She is an absolute manifestation of the Earth element, the densest physical form. Ruling over the root chakra or the muladhara, the first energy vortex among the seven main Yogic chakras, She represents the Bhumi Tattva. Her energy can only travel upwards from here, hence Devi Shailaputri’s worship is considered the start point of a Sadhak’s spiritual journey.
The aspiration of a devotee is to reach the highest realm of spiritual evolution, and to attain the state of Sat Chit Ananda (Truth, consciousness, bliss). Verily, Shailaputri is the dormant Primordial energy seated at the base of your spine to be awakened within the SELF.
All nine forms of Nav Durga are incredibly powerful, and are capable of bestowing immense blessings upon the worshipper. Since Devi Shailaputri’s form is so closely connected to the Earth element, Her worship activates and heightens the awareness and emotional fitness needed for ease of living in the world.
🌸Devi Shailaputri instils in us the courage to know right from wrong, and then to speak up for ourselves as well.
🌸Chanting Her mantras blesses the aspirant with extraordinary stability of mind and immense strength to face the challenges of life.
🌸She bestows upon us the ability to make quick and appropriate decisions to move forward in life with childlike faith, innocence and simplicity.
🌸She blesses us with the conviction to remain grounded and feel safe in our environment.
🌸She heightens in us the awareness to choose the right actions needed for success in life.
Her Tantric invocation is done with the names of Mahavidya, Jaya, Chandika.
One of the nine Tantric forms of Devi is invoked as Chandi as per the Durga Tantra and Vamkeshvara tantra. The name “Chandi” is derived from the Sanskrit word, ‘Chand’, which means, to tear apart. She tears apart our thoughts that feed the ego, and thoughts that deviate us from the path of Dharma. Offer your heartfelt obeisances to Devi Chandika, who manifests in the lives of her devotees and ushers them into the inner sanctuary of true peace and happiness.
May the grace of Devi Shailaputri descend upon you!
⛰️Om Devi Shailaputryai Namah⛰️
🌸Jaganmatruke Pahimam! 🌸
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