She is the Goddess who flows as language, insight, and sound.
The Goddess of Flow:
As water the sustainer of life. Water through rivers, taps, the water of the womb. All life needs water all water needs to flow. The moon governs the tides of the oceans, the cycle of women. The flow of music from one note to another. creative movement, she is the creative inspiration, the inner impulse.
At her subtlest Saraswati loves in that pulsing space at the root of sound, where silence gives birth to creative possibilities.
In the beginning there was chaos. Everything existed in a formless, fluid state. "How do I bring order to this disorder?" wondered Brahma, the creator. "With Knowledge", said Devi.
Dressed in white Devi emerged from Brahma's mouth riding a swan as the goddess Saraswati. "Knowledge helps man find possibilities where once he saw problems." Said the goddess. Under her tutelage Brahma acquired the ability to sense, think, comprehend and communicate. He began looking upon chaos with eyes of wisdom and thus saw the beautiful potential that lay therein.
Brahma discovered the melody of mantras in the cacophony of chaos. In his joy he named Saraswati, Vagdevi, goddess of speech and sound.The sound of mantras filled the universe with vital energy, or prana. Things began to take shape and the cosmos acquired a structure: the sky dotted with stars rose to form the heavens; the sea sank into the abyss below, the earth stood in between.
Gods became lords of the celestial spheres; demons ruled the nether regions, humans walked on earth. The sun rose and set, the moon waxed and waned, the tide flowed and ebbed. Seasons changed, seeds germinated, plants bloomed and withered, animals migrated and reproduced as randomness gave way to the rhythm of life.
Brahma thus became the creator of the world with Saraswati as his wisdom.
When to invoke Saraswati:
She is the deity you invoke when you just need some help with communication.
A Saraswati woman is unconventional not because they are trying to break the rules but because they don’t see the rules as being there in the first place.
How to invoke Saraswati:
You can’t control her. Anyone who sits in silence trying to shut off the mind will tell you that her creative flow is often endless...a tap that won’t shut off.
You can only flow with her. Using a mantra or your own awareness as a boat you can steer along those channels that lead to expansion and joy rather than suffering and constriction
Too much communication there is overload, too little as we lack communication
For details on how to invoke Saraswati's energy and to work with contemplations visit Sally Kempton's book "Awakening Shakti"
Goddess of Devotion and Mystical Submission:
Sita exists only for love. She personifies loyalty. She incarnates devotion. She stands for the principle of loving submission-submission to the masculine, submission to the divine, submission to life itself.
Story of Sita:
Sits was born from the earth. She was found as a baby in a furrow her body aglow by her father King Janaka. King Janaka was a seeker of wisdom and by being his daughter she was bestowed with his qualities of devotion. As she grew she became a beautiful young girl whose love would radiate from her and fill all those she encountered and was famous for her virtue. Many princes had asked for her hand in marriage but she turned them away.
Far away in the Kingdom lived the Rama. Rama’s father was a righteous King loved by all and whose lessons on love and leadership were being bestowed on his son Rama to train him for the day he took over the Kindgom. By the time he meets Sita his training is so far along that he is beyond passion and attachment. Rama came to Sita and although he found her most beautiful and loving and kind his reasons for marriage were more to do with Dharma or duty rather than love. The duty of Cosmic form of love(Rama) marries the embodied form of love (Sita). She on the other hand fell instantly in love with Rama and soon the two were married.
Back at home things were unravelling.Years ago one of Rama’s father’s wives had saved his life. Indebted to his wife he granted her one unconditional boon. In Ramas absence she asked that her son be ruler for 15 years and that Rama be exiled to the forest. Rama’s father had no choice but to grant this boon and send his son off to the forest. The decision would later kill him from grief. When Rama was told he had to leave he asked Sita to stay in the Kingdom but she refused saying “deprived on her consort a woman cannot live.”
Sita and Rama were happy living in the forest until one day a demoness woman disguised as a maiden tried to temp Rama through seduction. Rama looked at the woman and said “how can you ask me to be with you? Can you not see that my wife Sita is right here and she is my love?” The demoness undismayed takes her demon brother and disguises him as a golden deer. Sita’s love for all creatures begs Rama to catch the deer so she could have him as a pet. Rama chases after the deer and in his absence the deer transformes into the demon Ravana and steals Sita away to his island. Ravana was in love with Sita and thought that once she was with him she would give herself over to him. Sita’s love was unwavering. She was seduced, her life was threatened, Ravana tried to trick her by showing her the head of dead husband as an illusion. She remained faithful.
Rama returned to his Kingdom took back his throne and sent his servant the monkey God Hanuman off to rescue his wife. Finally Hanuman rescued Sita and returned her to her Kingdom. Upon Sita’s return Rama refuses his wife. He claims that she could not have lived with another man for so long and not been unfaithful. He claims he fought the demon Ravana for the honor of the family not to have his wife returned. He makes what he declares a generous offer of protection “you may marry one of my brothers but I will not have you.”
Sita swears that she was taken against her will and that she remained faithful and to prove herself true she sets a ring of fire around the throne of Rama. She prays to the God of fire Agni “Since my heart has always been true to Rama, give me your protection.” With that she steps into the fire, it blazes up around her but not a hair on her head is singed. The necklace of flowers she wears around her neck still has the dew of the water. Upon seeing this Rama dissolves into remorse and begs Sita to forgive him and they come together in triumph.
It would seem as though the story ends here and all is happily ever after. However the people of the kingdom begin to whisper. They say she is dirty, that Ravana had his way with Sita and has poisoned the mind of her husband. Rama begins to falter. He needs to save face. He decides to banish Sita even though he has just learned she is pregnant with his twins.
Off Sita goes back into the forest she raises her sons. Years go by and one day Rama is hunting in the forest and he meets his two sons. They have become strong archers and he is proud of his boys. He finds Sita and agrees to take her back on one condition. She must perform a second public ordeal declaring that she is the faithful and loving wife. Sita seems to agree, she comes back to the palace and there standing in front of his throne Sita petitions her mother the earth.
“If I have always been pure and faithful to Rama in thought, word, and deed may the sweet earth receive me.” At her words a throne rises from the earth, Sita sits on the throne, which then sinks into the ground. The Goddess returns to her origins. Rama is said to mourn her forever. He never remarries, he always keeps a golden figure of Sita by his side.
When we hear the story of Sita it is hard not to feel the anger of the feminine collective towards the centuries of oppression by men. The story of Sita feels outdated. We live in a culture of women who have fought so hard for the rights and freedoms of women that we have almost tipped the scales too far and adopted the energies of the yang. Yet she still exists in many cultures including our own. She is the generation of women who believed that by being good wives, good daughters, and good mothers they would be protected, that their connection to others defined them. Contemplating Sit’s story can bring up all the grief of the collective feminine and a deep rage at the masculine, with its rigid notions of honor and it’s assumptions that women are property.
But to see Sita as either a victim or as the embodiment of wifely virtue is to miss who she is at her core.
Goddess of love:
Sita is the holding quality of love. She is the essentially feminine power of unconditional embrace, embodied in the energy that holds a child in the womb. Sita is that quality in the feminine whose unconditional love draws out the innate goodness in someone who the patriarchal mind considers irredeemable. Sita is that quality in the divine that can hold us in all our confusion and that has the power to transmute our darkness in it’s holding light. She is the feminine in most need of protection because it is most open to violence and betrayal.
When to invoke Sita:
Sita is that energy that we invoke when we ourselves or someone we know requires that unconditional love. We all want to fall in love with someone who loves us unconditionally. This is why if we have a good relationship with out mother it lasts forever. She is the one person in the whole world who will always see our side, she will always listen and love us no matter what the circumstances. Yet to turn this around how challenging is it for us to love our spouses/partners/friends in much the same manner. We place conditions and expectations on people so that they measure up to our worthiness of love.
For contemplations and meditations on the Goddess Sita visit Sally Kempton's book "Awakening Shakti".
Warrior Goddess of Protection and inner Strength:
Durga was the deity invoked by Kings for victory in battle and although she is a battle Goddess she is also the inner force that unleashes the power behind spiritual awakening. She is the Shakti that decend into us and ignites the subtle body, beginning a process that can eventually change the way we think, feel, and see ourselves in the world.
The story of Durga is a story about how we are supported and protected when we admit we are powerless over the forces of darkness and take refuge in the higher power. It’s a commentary on the danger of underestimating the feminine.
The Story of Durga:
There once was a dark force of evil who amassed an army of warriors who practiced many austerities to be granted a boon by the God Brahman. After thousands of years of practice they finally petitioned the God for a boon and the God had no choice but to grant it to them. He declared that in battle no man or God would be able to defeat them. So began the reign of evil spreading throughout the earth and cosmos. No God or man could defeat these evil warriors and as a result they were forced into slavery or exiled from their homes.
One day a wise sage pointed out a loop hole in the God Brahman’s gift to the evil warriors. There was no mention of a woman being able to defeat the evil forces. So the God’s climbed to the highest peak of a mountain where the Goddess Durga was waiting for them.
She stood behind a curtain and they begged her to step in and stop the atrocities that were taking place. After a century of singing her praises and worshipping her she finally agrees.
When she emerges from behind her curtain she is a woman whose skin is dark and whose hair is lustrous. Her body is seductive, curvaceous and when you look into her eyes you instantly fall in love with her. Her perfume is erotic but there is an air of untouchability that brings all men to their knees when in her presence. She is riding a the back of a lion.
Down from the mountain she descends. Instantly she is in the Kingdom of evil. as she rides into the palace the soldiers and warriors come out to watch, transfixed by her beauty and think that she has come as a gift to them from the exiled Gods. She is beautiful and seductive in appearance, but her beauty does not serve its normal function, which is to attract a husband. It serves to entice her victims into fatal battle.
She explains to the soldiers that she is a warrior race, and must marry an equal. "In my girlhood I took a silly vow that I would only marry a man strong enough to defeat me in battle". The soldiers fear for her safety and try to persuade her into reason. She holds her ground and they eventually relent but send their weakest man out.
Out of the gates comes a man and instantly she kills him with her light. Still blocked by their egos the soldiers send more warriors who are no match for her. Finally after several rounds of battles and defeat their eyes begin to see more clearly and they realize the loophole in their boon from Brahman but it is too late the army is defeated by her many arms and weapons and Goddesses that emerge from her form.
Finally the evil King her equal emerges. He rides on a buffalo. They exchange words and and over a fierce battle she defeats him. When he lies on the ground breathing his last breath the Goddess Durga fills his being with light. A smile of ecstasy comes over his face and he dissolves into Durga’s body, dying into the mystery. When the ego dissolves, even the most demonic soul comes home, back to the heart of the mother.
As a world protector Durga’s fierceness arises out of her uniquely potent compassion. She is the deity to call upon when you are in deep trouble.
Visualize your own image of Durga. See her strong body, her weapons and her intense gaze. Ask her what are your major obstacles and what it is that you need to let go of or pay attention to? Turn to your heart ask the same questions in your heart. Turn your answers over to the radical power of grace (the love and mercy of the Divine)
The Shadow side of Durga:
The path of the Goddess is all about learning to ride the expansion and contraction until you can recognize her different faces in the ups and downs of your inner journey. You become aware of her subtle hints, the signs that the path is opening up for you, the warning to back off, back down, go deeper or turn to parts of yourself that need more development. Little by little Shakti energy partners with your own efforts and practices to subtly reshape your character and nature. The more you understand the process as the natural expression of the Goddesses acts of revelation and concealment, the more easily you can partner with her unfolding inside you.
For meditations and contemplations on Durga visit Sally Kempton's book "Awakening Shakti"
The dynamic aspect of the divine
Vishnu is responsible for playing out the divine plan. Calling on Vishnu is calling for balance, responsibility and manifesting vision into action. Balance of the world always includes this struggle between the light and the dark whether it is inside us or in the world.
Love is Krishna’s vision:
In the celestial world the Gods and Goddesses can see that playing out on earth the evil or dark forces are beginning to take over and ruin the world. They decide to intervene by sending Krishna an avatar of Vishnu down to earth to right the wrongs.
The Story of Krishna:
There is a Demon King (Kumsha) has been told that one of his sisters sons will rise up and kill him. He insists that all his sisters sons be killed when born. 9 sons are killed. When another sister is pregnant and about to give birth the Goddess Maya (Goddess of illusion) comes into his sisters womb and when she gives birth the Goddess Maya comes out first. The guards kill the Maya Goddess and she rises up laughing at the guards and in this moment of distraction Krishna is born and spirited away to the land of farms.
In his childhood and youth Krishna embodies the playful beauty of the divine as love. Not because it is his duty or his necessity but because this is who he is. The simple sport of love. It is Completely unmotivated love to the divine.
The demon King finds out the town that he is in and sends demons to get rid of him. The first is a demoness disguised as a beautiful woman who comes to his home as a nurse maid. She picks him up and offers her breast to suckle which is filled with poison. Krishna suckles and as he feeds she is looking into his eyes. This demoness becomes so transformed by Krishna that her poison dissolves and in it’s place he begins to suck the life force from in her. She dies in a beautiful state of ecstasy, filled with divine love.
His uncle keeps sending assassins. Krishna destroys all of them. There are no wars, no blood, no weapons of any kind. They each die in bliss. No warrior at all.
Loving is the highest form of practice. The more you love him the more you are freed from convention or normality. Everyone in the town that Krishna grows up in is in love with him. It is said that when Krishna wanders down to the banks of the river to play his flute the conventional norms are replaced by love. Women who are married drop their domestic duties and run to the banks to dance to his flute. maidens are in love with him. Wise men forget their wisdom, laws of the world are overturned, rules have no place.
He says anyone who thinks they are embodying love I am going to show them that I can intoxicate him so completely that they will realize that they are just a drop of love and I am the whole ocean.
The essential nature of the divine is BLISS.
Spirituality doesn’t emphasize this enough. We focus on awareness but Bliss is not trusted. Bliss is the essence. When you experience bliss and love in its pure form with other people or spontaneous in the heart then you are experiencing the divine.
BLISS IS GOD. GOD IS BLISS. BLISS IS LOVE In other words divine love is eternal and endless.
The dynamic divine masc. as a lover, absolutely present and in the world for the sense of play is not how we think of the masculine. He draws us away from our fears, work, stress and into the pure sweetness of his presence.
The demons here represent the forms of the negative ego qualities. Krishna demonstrates that if you turn any emotion towards him the Divine will dissolve the negative qualities. In the path of Bahkti (devotional love a form of yogic practice) whatever emotion you direct to God will be transformed to love. Krishna is totally outside of the rules. he is post conventional.
There are 5 types of power that are involved in the play of cosmic/individual creativity.
individual:The power of being absolutely present. We are able to experience both ourself and the world around us.
Cosmic:The experience of being sentient
Individual:The simple feelings of being relaxed or content to the joy of falling or being in love, to deep states of meditation.
Cosmic: The feeling of bliss or ecstasy at all times
Individual: Will is the precursor of action. We have to have the will power and determination to make things happen. It is our source of creativity.
Cosmic: It is the feeling of being a part of the universal whole.
Individual: It is the capacity to know to discern, to plan, and make judgements. It is the flash of intuition that reveals new information, makes connections and gives insight. Always seeking knowledge and wanting to learn more.
Cosmic: It is the capacity that gives natural order to the universe and allows life-forms to self organize. Every cell has a has the power of knowledge.
Individual: The deliberate acts that we perform. Having an idea and seeing it into fruition.
Cosmic: The power to do anything!
So when we look upon ourselves and see the different area of powers how often do these powers come through? Is there different powers that we wish we could have more of or less
Shakti Goddesses show sacred powers within us that connect us to the forces of the cosmos that we can rely on for help. In other words they are a tool in our human form that help us feel a deeper connection to the spiritual form. When we work with Goddess energy we have the ability to allow energy to flow through rather than pushing against a resistance or behaving in a destructive manner.
Types of Goddess energies:
The manifestation of Shakti can open you up to your own heart.
Because she is hidden, in order to act in the world, the great goddess needs us to ask for help. The grace of the Goddess is a two-way stream. There’s the movement from the subtle-the movement of grace descending into the human world. But it can’t land unless there is a calling from below. That calling can take different forms: prayer, meditation, song-but the calling has to be there.
It’s as if the protective, transformative power of the divine waits, just out of reach, unable to intervene until we summon the courage or the desperation to throw ourselves at her feet and ask for help. In asking for Shakti's grace we bring her forth.