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Shakti (: शक्ति, : Śakti; lit. "power, ability, strength, effort, energy, capability") is the primordial cosmic energy and represents the dynamic forces that are thought to move through the entire Sacred Sanskrit words, p.111 in , and especially the major tradition of Hinduism, .

Shakti is the concept or personification of creative power, sometimes referred to as "The Great Divine Mother" in Hinduism. As a mother, she is known as "" or "". On the earthly plane, Shakti most actively manifests herself through female embodiment and creativity/fertility, though it is also present in males in its potential, unmanifest form.Tiwari, Path of Practice, p. 55 Hindus believe that Shakti is both responsible for creation and the agent of all change. Shakti is cosmic existence as well as liberation, its most significant form being the Shakti, a mysterious psychospiritual force.The Shambhala Encyclopedia of Yoga, p.162The Shambhala Encyclopedia of Yoga, p.270

In , Shakti is worshipped as the . Shakti embodies the active feminine energy of and is synonymously identified with or .

David Kinsley mentions the "shakti" of Lord Indra's as (Indrani), meaning power.Hindu Goddesses: Visions of the Divine Feminine in the Hindu Tradition by David Kinsley page 17, minor vedic Goddesses Indrani is part of a group of seven or eight mother goddesses called the (, Vaishnavi, , , Kumari, and or ), who are considered shaktis of major Hindu gods (, , , , , / and respectively).

The Shakti goddess is also known as Amma (meaning 'mother') in south India, especially in the states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Telangana, and Andhra Pradesh. There are many temples devoted to various incarnations of the Shakti goddess in most of the villages in . The rural people believe that Shakti is the protector of the village, the punisher of evil people, the cure of diseases, and the one who gives welfare to the village. They celebrate Shakti Jataras with great interest once a year. Some examples of Shakti incarnations are , , , Lalita, , Durga, , , , , and Perantalamma.

One of the oldest representations of the goddess in India is in a triangular form. The Baghor stone, found in a context in the valley and dating to 9,000–8,000 years BCE,

(2019). 9781134597987, Routledge. .
is considered an early example of a .
(2019). 9780791488904, SUNY Press. .
Kenoyer, part of the team that excavated the stone, considered that it was highly probable that the stone is associated with Shakti.

regards Devi (lit., "the Goddess") as the Supreme itself with all other forms of divinity considered to be merely Her diverse manifestations. In the details of its philosophy and practice, Shaktism resembles Shaivism. However, Shaktas (शक्त, , ), practitioners of Shaktism, focus most or all worship on Shakti, as the dynamic feminine aspect of the Supreme Divine. , the masculine aspect of divinity, is considered solely transcendent, and Shiva's worship is usually secondary.Subramuniyaswami, p. 1211.

From Devi-Mahatmya:

By you this universe is borne, By you this world is created, Oh Devi, by you it is protected.

From Shaktisangama Tantra:

Woman is the creator of the universe, the universe is her form; woman is the foundation of the world, she is the true form of the body.

In woman is the form of all things, of all that lives and moves in the world. There is no jewel rarer than woman, no condition superior to that of a woman.

(2019). 9780195352771, Oxford University Press.

Adi Parashakti
, whose material manifestation is and , is a Hindu concept of the Ultimate Shakti or Mahashakti, the ultimate power inherent in all Creation. This is especially prevalent in the denomination within Hinduism, which worships the Goddess in all her manifestations. Her human or Shakti Svarūpa ( powerful form), , was married to , while her Gyān Svarūpa ( knowledge form), , weds and her Dhan Svarūpa ( wealth form), , becomes the consort of .

Smarta Advaita
In the sect of Hinduism, Shakti is considered to be one of five equal personal forms of God in the system advocated by .

Shakti Peeths
According to some schools, there are four Adi Shakti Pitha and 51 Shakti centers of worship located in South Asia (four Adi Shakti Pitha are also part of 51 Shakti pithas but they are four major parts of Devi Sati's body. So, they are adi shakti pithas). They can be found in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Tibet and Pakistan. These are called . The list of locations varies. A commonly accepted list of Shakti Peethas and their temple complexes includes:

Other pithas in are:

Bhajans and mantras
There are many ancient Shakti devotional songs and vibrational chants in the Hindu and Sikh traditions (found in ). The recitation of the Sanskrit mantras is commonly used to call upon the Divine Mother.

Kundalini-Shakti-Bhakti Mantra

Adi Shakti, Adi Shakti, Adi Shakti, Namo Namo!
Sarab Shakti, Sarab Shakti, Sarab Shakti, Namo Namo!
Prithum Bhagvati, Prithum Bhagvati, Prithum Bhagvati, Namo Namo!
Kundalini Mata Shakti, Mata Shakti, Namo Namo!


Primal Shakti, I bow to Thee!
All-Encompassing Shakti, I bow to Thee!
That through which Divine Creates, I bow to Thee!
Creative Power of the Kundalini, Mother of all Mother Power, To Thee I Bow!Yogi Bhajan as quoted in the Conscious Pregnancy Yoga Teacher's Manual by Tarn Tarn Kaur, Espanola, New Mexico p. 79

"Merge in the Maha Shakti. This is enough to take away your misfortune. This will carve out of you a woman. Woman needs her own Shakti, not anybody else will do it... When a woman chants the Kundalini Bhakti mantra, God clears the way. This is not a religion, it is a reality. Woman is not born to suffer, and woman needs her own power."

~ Yogi Bhajan (Harbhajan Singh)Yogi Bhajan as quoted in the Conscious Pregnancy Yoga Teacher's Manual by Tarn Tarn Kaur, Espanola, New Mexico

See also


Further reading
  • Datta, Reema; Lowitz, Lisa. Sacred Sanskrit Words, Stonebridge Press, Berkeley, 2005.
  • . The Shambhala Encyclopedia of Yoga, Shambhala Publications, Boston, 2000.
  • Harish, Ranjana; Harishankar, V. Bharathi. Shakti: Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Women's Empowerment in India, New Delhi, Rawat, 2003, .
  • Shaw, Miranda. Passionate Enlightenment: Women in Tantric Buddhism, Princeton University Press, New Jersey, 1994
  • Tiwari, Bri. Maya. The Path of Practice: A Woman's Book of Ayurvedic Healing, Motilal Banarsidass Press, 2002
  • . Shakti and Shakta, Forgotten Books, 1910. .
  • , Woodroffe, Ellen (trans.). Hymns to the Goddess, Forgotten Books, 1952 (1913. .
  • . Hymn to Kali: Karpuradi Stotra, Forgotten Books, 1922. .

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