Shakti Worship

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SAPTA MATRIKAS INTODUCTION TO SHAKTA CULT: WORSHIP OF THE FEMALE PRINCIPLE. The worship of female deities can be traced back to ancient times of the Indus and Harappan civilisations in India. The worship of female principle can be easily demonstrated by the various ornamental stone rings and discs found from the Maurya and Sunga period and also the nude female figurines that were found from the Indus civilisations. Many scholars also believe that the pottery images of goddesses found were probably kept and worshipped in every household. Iconic worship of these goddesses does not appear to be prevalent. Many of these stone rings and discs show an upside down, nude female with her legs wide spread open and the emergence of a sapling from her…show more content…
We know that, as it very well captured the interest of the Chinese traveller, Hiuen Tsang. The idea of a Shakti pitha grew out of the story of Sati and Shiva which entails the tantric concept of a close and intimate relationship of a Shakti with Bhairavnath himself (the aggressive and terrific form of Shiva). Thus, Tantrism has close association with Shakti pithas. Shakti piths are temples or murtis of the Shakti that arose from the limbs of the body of Sati, Shiva’s first consort. It is believed that, Daksha’s daughter and Shiva’s consort- Sati- killed herself when her husband was insulted by her father during a yajna. Out of rage and devastation, Shiva killed Daksha, the Prajapati, and severely punished all the guests who were a part of the puja. He then aimlessly wandered around the forests, with Sati’s body on his shoulders for days together. In order to end Shiva’s mania and grief, Vishnu cut Sati’s body into several pieces with his chakra. The pieces of her limbs fell on several places on earth, which led to the formation of Shakti…show more content…
It is believed that the concept of Matrikas existed since the first century A.D. since the earliest noted reference to them has been made in inscriptions from that era. In the earlier inscriptions, the name and number of these Matrikas has not been mentioned. But what has been mentioned is that these set of goddesses or divinities are possessive of dangerous and inauspicious qualities. It was much later in the course of time that they were referred to as the ‘Sapta Matrikas’, indicating them to be seven in number (Although, some texts also mention the presence of an eighth Martika). Also, they were no longer representative of negative qualities, but in fact, were depicted to be protective in nature- protective of the entire world. They were also believed to be female counterparts of certain male

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