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Saktas: Worshippers of the Goddess

Millions of Hindus worship some one of the goddesses. Although there are many different goddesses, some have concluded that they all represent a manifestation of the same feminine divine power (sakti). According to this theory, the feminine divine power may take the form of objects and forces of nature (for example, the Ganges river is a manifestation of the goddess Mother Ganga), local goddesses, or one of the great goddesses. In short, the feminine divine power can take on an infinite number of forms: some are fierce and warlike, others are beautiful and peaceful.

Support for this theory comes from the fact that in some cases, different goddesses seem to share the same history and have identical deeds attributed to them. On the other hand, however, goddesses are generally distinct in terms of personality, areas of responsibility and association with a male deity. Vishnu's wife is Lakshmi while both Parvati and Kali are the considered to be the consort of Shiva. In these cases, the feminine divine power that balances and completes the power of the god. In fact, the power of the goddess spurs the the passive god into action. Even when paired with a male deity, goddesses are also considered an independent power in her own right. Indeed, devotees consider their goddess to be the manifestation of the totality of the divine.

Two goddesses that are widely worshipped are Durga and Kali. Durga is usually represented as a beautiful woman whose ten arms hold weapons to destroy evil. Durga's great power is demonstrated by the fact that she alone was able to destroy the demon Mahisha when he invaded the realm of the gods. She is commonly portrayed riding a lion, with the vanquished demon underfoot. Kali is also depicted as a fearsome destroyer. She is typically wears a necklace of 50 skulls, each of which represents a specific evil. She is also known as the slayer of two demons, Chanda and Munda.


Online Video Clip: The Worship of Kali



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