Shakumbhri Devi

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Shakti Peeth Shakumbhri, meaning the abode of Shakti Goddess Shakambhari or Shakumbhri, is situated in the Jasmour village area, at a distance of 40 km to the north of Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh state of Northern India. It has two important temples of Hindu deities: one of the Goddess (Devi) Shakumbhri herself and another one, Bhura-Dev temple, located one kilometer away from it to the east, of the deity Bhairava, considered to be her guard.

This temple is one of the 51 Shakti Peethas where parts of the Sati (goddess) fell. It is believed that "head" of Sati (goddess) fell here. The Devi temple situated in the Jasmour village area, 40 km north of Saharanpur on the Shivalik hills ranges, dates back to ancient times. The popularity of this temple has been increasing day by day and many devotees visit this temple for "Darshan".Twice a year, in the months of Ashwin and Chetra the famous Shakambari mela is organized during the days of Navratri. Another temple dedicated to this goddess and quite famous is near the Sambhar Lake, in Rajasthan.Another big temple of Shakumbari Devi is located in Badami, of Bagalkot District of Karnataka.

Mythology[edit]

It is said that, at this place, Mother Goddess Shakumbhri killed the mighty demon king (Maha Daitya) Mahishasura. It is also believed that, here She performed worship and meditation (Tapas) for 100 years, having a vegetarian meal (shaka-ahar) only once at the end of every month. During this time, the saints and seers(Rishis/Munis) who came for her worship (Darshan) were welcomed and honoured with vegetarian meals. Because of this the temple was named the Shakumbhri Devi temple and she also got very strongly connected with the cult of vegetarianism among Hindus.

In Hinduism, Shakambhari is an incarnation of Ishwari, consort to Shiva. She is the divine mother, 'The Bearer of the Greens'.

It is said that in times of famine, Goddess Durga comes down and gives vegan food, (Shaka comes from Sanskrit and means vegetables and vegan food. Ambari means one who wears or bears), to the hungry. That is why she is called "Shaka" + "Ambari" = 'Shakambhari'.

Glory of Maa Shakambhari[edit]

According to Vedas and Puranas only one single power called "Para Brahm" exist. ( Not the Brahma of guna rup of Brahm such as: Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh ). The "Para Brahm" or Parmatma as such has no conditions like birth or death. It has no attributes like form or qualities. Yet this seeming creation is nothing but "Leela" of "Para Brahm". This "Leela" is carried out with the help of "Prakriti" or Maya. This Maya is an inseparable ingredient of Parmatama. Therefore, there is no beginning or end of this Leela of creation (Brahm), maintenance (Vishnu) and destruction (Mahesh.) The concept of Maya as Mother of the universe i.e. Shakti serves the mortals to overcome the process of birth and death.

This Maya -Mula-Prakriti - Adi Parashakti has been conceived as the highest divine force. The Puranas refer to various forms and incarnation of Maya. Each incarnation has a purpose and in every case only to protect the pious and punish the wicked.

As the story goes once upon a time there was a Demon Durgam who worshiped Brahma for years together. As a result he had acquired all the four books of total knowledge, the Vedas from Brahma through penance. He also got a boon from Lord Brahma that made sure that all the pujas, yajnas and havanas being offered to the Devtas reached him instead of God ; making him invincible. Durgam became very arrogant and started tormenting the whole world.

As the consequence, devtas become weak and were not able to perform their duties properly. Therefore it did not rain for one hundred years and the whole world was hit by very severe drought. The rishis and munis took refuge in the caves of the Himalayas, and meditated upon the Supreme Shakti. The Shakti appeared in front of them bearing a wonderful form! She had countless number of eyes upon her that gave her the name SATAKSHI. She was so moved by their plights that tears rolled down from her eyes for nine continuous days and nights. The tears took the form of a river.

Than she saw that the rishis and munis has nothing to eat. So she appeared in a form bearing grains, cereals, vegetables, greens, fruits and other herbs and medicines - and was hence called Maa "SHAKAMBARI". The rishis, munis and the Devtas then requested that she recover the Vedas, which were in possession of Durgam and make sure that the share of Devtas of puja, yagna and havanas would go to the Devtas so that they become powerful and can perform their duties properly.

Durgam came to know that again people were living happily through his messengers and immediately attacked with a large army. Maa Shakambari protected the frail rishis, munis, Devtas and others by putting up a huge wall of fire around them, and then let her discuss hover around it. There ensued a tremendous battle between, Maa Shakambari and Durgam. At last Maa Shakambari, killed Durgam with her trident and recovered the Vedas from his possession. At that very moment all the mantras and japas that were performed by the rishis, munis and devtas, earlier but were absorbed by the demon Durgam due to his boon, transformed into a bright light of a 10000 Suns and entered the Devi. From Her body Maa Shakambari manifested the ten most powerful powers that had never been in this universe before and were called "DashaMahavidyas" as also 64000 other goddesses. She then handed over The Vedas to the deities.

Therefor Adi parashakti is known as Durga as she had killed the demon Durgam.

Appearance of Shakambari Devi[edit]

The splendid form of Shakambari Devi is described in detail in Devi Mahatmya in the last chapter named 'Murti Rahasya'. According to this, the goddess is of blue color. Her eyes are like lotus flower. Her navel is slightly below the normal place with three curves. She bears breasts of a virgin. A lotus is carried in her hand, which is thronged by bees. The other hand carries arrows. Other hands carry flowers, roots, and vegetables, fruits ; symbolizing the goddess of vegetation, who feeds us and keeps us away from disease. One hand is carrying a bow representing her fierce-ness. This is the appearance of Shakambari Devi, Shatakshi and Durga. This goddess removes the grief and calamities and terrorizes demons. The devotee of this goddess, worshiping mother by hymns, meditation, Japa and bhajans, attains the fruits of food, drink and infinite bliss.

Temples of Shakumbhri Devi[edit]

Sikar District Rajasthan[edit]

The temple is considered as one of the more anicent temples of maa sakumbhari and the idol considered swayambhu (appeared naturally). the temple is close to the town of udaipur shekhavati and in sikar district. the temple holds colourful navratras festival and there is an ancient mutt or shaktipeeth. Shakambhari

File:Shakambarimata big jpg

Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh[edit]

Shakumbhri Devi Temple

The temple is on the site of the ruins of a more ancient temple and was constructed by the Pundir Rajputs under Rana Bahadur Singh Pundir who was the representative of the Pundir chief Rana Pitambar Singh Pundir of Jasmour.[1] Though it is not an ancient temple, its devotees consider it to be a Shakti Peetha, a powerful seat of Shakti, the divine feminine.[2] The devotees have a strong faith in the Goddess and the temple attracts a large number of devotees from India as also from outside the country particularly during the Navratree days. The temple is well maintained and is well laid out to have full darshan of the idols in the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. It is found from the plaque displayed near the staircase that it was during the early 1950s that a properly covered corridor, connecting the main entrance gate and outer varandah of the temple, was got constructed for the convenience and comfort of the devotees.This work was got done, with the permission of the Ranas of Jasmour who own the temple, by one Shri Radha Kishan,then Treasurer of the erstwhile Kalsia State (Chhachhrauli)(presently in Yamunanagar District of Haryana) by collecting donations from several devotees.It is indeed an experience of life to visit the main temple as also the nearby Bhuradev Temple seeking their blessings and benedictions. The Temple is visited by lakhs of devotees every year and it is strongly believed that their requests are always fulfilled without much wait.

Sambhar Lake, Rajasthan[edit]

Another shrine dedicated to Shakumbari Devi is near the famous Sambhar Lake, 90 kilometers west of Jaipur, Rajasthan.[3] This temple is quite ancient and popular estimates put the age of this temple at 1300 years or more.

According to a Hindu tradition, Shakumbhari Devi - tutelary Goddess of Pundir, Audichya Brahmins, [Joshi], Chauhan and Rohilla Rajputs- converted forest to a plain of precious metals. So Shakumbhari Devi is KUL Devi of Pundir and Chauhan. When people worried and felt it as curse rather than blessing, and requested her to retract her favor, she converted the silver to salt, now found in the lake.

Maa Shakambari Temple – Kedar Hills, Uttrakhand[edit]

This is the oldest temple of Maa Shakambari. It is said that in this area is Maa Shakambari Kshetra. This is the place where rishis-munis did Tapsaya of Adi para Shakti, as explained in Shiv-Puranas (Uma- Samhita),and the goddess first appeared as Maa Shatakshi and then as Maa Shakambari and killed the demon Durgam.

This temple is located in Kedar hills, 6 km before Gauri-Kund. On the way to Kedar Nath temple; there is an uphill road on the left hand side for Triyugi Narayan temple. On this way 3 km before Triyugi Narayan temple, you will find a sign-board indicating a path-way towards this temple. On going down the slope you will find this temple. The surroundings of the temple are beautiful Himalayan peaks, covered with snow and dense forests.

Banashankari Temple - Bangalore[edit]

The Banashankari temple of Bangalore dates back to the year 1915. It was founded by Somanna Shetty, a devotee of Banashankari Amma. He brought a deity of Amma from Badami, in Bijapurdistrict, and installed it inside the temple. Situated on the Kanakapura Road, under National Highway 209 (India), the temple now comes under the management and control of the Endowment Department of the Government of Karnataka.The road is called Sathyamangalam road between Coimbatore and Sathyamangalam of Erode District and Kanakapura road between Bangalore and Kanakapura of Ramanagara district. Given below is more information on the Banashankari Temple of Bangalore, India.

Unique Time and Form of Offering Prayers[edit]

One of the unique features of this temple is that the deity is worshipped in Rahukala, considered to be an inauspicious time according to Hindus. It is believed that worshipping Banashankari Amma in Rahukala rids one of all the hardships and paucities in life. There is a large rush of devotees in the temple, especially on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays, considered to quite auspicious for doing puja. The prayers are offered by lighting multiple oil lamps in half cut lemon peels, whose pulp has been removed.

Banshankari Temple - Badami[edit]

As per Skanda Purana having moved out of Kashi, Rishi Agastya was sad and to pacify him Kashi Vishwanath directed the rishi to go to Kolhapur where Kashi Vishwanath dwells in the form of Mahalakshmi. Accordingly rishi Agastya reached and worshiped Maa Mahalakshmi. She was pleased with his devotion and appeared before him and directed him to go to Tilakaranya where she was in the form of "Banashankari". She assured rishi Agastya that by worshiping Maa Shakambari he will get the benefit of living in Kashi. The famous Banashankari Temple is located at Cholachagudda about 5 kilometers from Badami - the historic capital of Chalukyas. Here Banashankari or Shakambari is the form of Goddess Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva. Banashankari Devi is also said to be worshiped by the mighty Chalukyas as their Kuladevi. Idol of Goddess Banashankari here is of Blackstone. Here the Goddess can be seen seated on lion and trampling a demon by foot. The Goddess has eight arms holding trishul-damaruga, kapaalpatra, ghanta, Veda scripts and khadg-kheta etc.

Other associations[edit]

Another temple that finds its association with Shakumbhari Devi is Jeen-Maa temple, near Goriya, Sikar, Rajasthan.[4] JAI MATA SHAKUMBHRI DEVI KI JAI

Shakumbhri Devi Melas[edit]

Twice a year, in the Ashwin and Chaitra months of the Hindu calendar (during the days of Navratra),as also at the time of Holi festival, the famous Shakumbhri melas are organised.It is during these melas, in particular, that the roads from Saharanpur(U.P.) to the Temple are properly maintained so as to facilitate to and fro smooth journey for the devotees. The devotees to Shakumbhri first visit Bhura-Dev temple which is about one kilometer before the Temple and then proceed to the Temple of the Goddess.

The popularity of this temple has been increasing day by day and many devotees from far and near visit this temple for "Darshan" these days. During this famous melas lakhs of Hindu devotees visit this temple for darshan. It is indeed considered to be a rewarding experience to visit the Temple with devotion and faith in the munificence of the Goddess.

Films on Shakumbhri Devi[edit]

Jai Shakumbari Maa (2000) produced and directed by Shiv Kumar[5]

References[edit]

External links[edit]