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|The Hindu Triple Goddess|
The Tridevi (English: three goddesses; Sanskrit: त्रिदेवी tridevī) is a concept in Hinduism conjoining the three consorts of the Trimurti (Great Trinity), that are personified by the forms of Hindu Goddesses: Saraswati, Lakshmi and Parvati/ Durga. They are the manifestations of the Adi Parashakti, the Supreme Being and Divine Mother in Shaktism.
- Saraswati is the goddess of learning and arts, cultural fulfillment (consort of Brahmā the creator). She is the cosmic intelligence, cosmic consciousness, cosmic knowledge.
- Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth and fertility, material fulfillment (consort of Vishnu the maintainer or preserver). However, she does not signify mere material wealth like gold, cattle, etc. All kinds of prosperity, glory, magnificence, joy, exaltation, or greatness come under Lakshmi.
- Parvati/ Mahakali (or in her demon-fighting aspect Durga) the goddess of power and love, spiritual fulfillment (consort of Śhiva the destroyer or transformer). She also depicts the transformational power of divinity, the power that dissolves multiplicity in unity.
In the Navratri ("nine nights") festival, "the Goddess is worshiped in three forms. During the first three nights, Durga or Parvati is revered, then Lakshmi on the fourth, fifth and sixth nights, and finally Saraswati until the ninth night."
Shiva and Shakti
Typically, Shakti is associated with Shiva. Mother Shakti or Durga is the energy aspect of the Lord. Without Shakti, Shiva has no expression, and without Shiva, Shakti has no existence. Lord Shiva is only the Silent Witness. He is motionless and absolutely changeless, enjoying the cosmic play, as Shakti does everything.
Shiva is omnipotent, impersonal and inactive. He is pure consciousness. Shakti, as the power or active aspect of the immanent God, is dynamic. Shakti is the embodiment of power and the eternal consort of Lord Shiva.
There is no difference between Shiva and Shakti. Shakti, or Durga, is co-existent with Shiva and the two are inseparable concepts. Shiva is not the creator of Shakti but the generator. Shiva is a transcendent divinity and Shakti is the one who made him that. Worship of Durga, Parvati or Kali is equivalent to the worship of Lord Siva, and the worship of God Shiva is worship of Goddess Shakti.
Importance of Tridevi
Shakti or Vimarsh is the power that is latent in pure consciousness, required to reach pure consciousness and essential to create, sustain and destroy. Just as Energy can never be created nor be destroyed, but changes from one form to another; Adi Parashakti took many incarnations to do different tasks. God is both male and female. But all different forms of energy or powers of God are with the Trimurti in the form of Mahalakshmi, Mahasaraswati and Mahakali. That is to say, a non-dimensional God creates this world through Srishti-Shakti (Mahasaraswati or Sound or knowledge), preserves through Sthiti-Shakti (Mahalakshmi or Light or resources), and destroys through Samhara-Shakti (Mahakali or Heat or Strength). It is also seen that God cannot create, generate or destroy because God does not possess any attribute. So True Energy or Adi Shakti does everything on God's behalf. Parabrahman Adi Parashakti herself creates three bubbles that are the source and energy to be generated. From the first Bubble which is expansion of same seed complete, arose Pratham Purush and Pratham Prakriti i.e. Narayana and Narayani (not to confuse with Goddess Lakshmi, Narayani here is identified as Goddess Parvati, the sister of Lord Vishnu). Narayani is also known as Gowri Devi This time she was not evolved in Sakaar Swaroop. When Shiva worshiped Adi Shakti, then Gowri Devi arose from the left half of Shiva in Sakaar Swaroop. The second Bubble is the transformer and complete knowledge i.e. Shiva and Saraswati. Shiva is evolved from the seed as "Pradhan Purush" and Goddess Saraswati was evolved in Nirakaar Swaroop and gave birth to four Vedas. Her Sakaar Swaroop took birth on the day of Vasant Panchami, when Brahma required complete knowledge. The third and last Bubble evolved from Narayana comprises Manifested form and Adi Shakti created Shri Sevi by herself i.e. Brahma and Lakshmi. Brahma appeared as the Father to create the universe and Laxmi appeared to provide him with resources.
- Narayana (Pratham Purush or Unmanifested form of Brahman) and Gowri Devi/Durga (Shakti Swaroop of Adi Shakti).
- Shiva (Pradhan Purush or Transcendent form of Brahman) and Saraswati (Gyan Swaroop of Adishakti).
- Brahma (Param Pitamah or Manifested form of Brahman) and Laxmi (Shri Swaroop of Adi Shakti).
But Vishnu sustains the universe, thus requires complete resources to sustain it. Likewise Brahma needs Complete Knowledge to create and Shankar also requires a complete source of power to lead change in beings from life to death, so requires Parvati/Gowri/Durga.
- "Navaratri", in Hinduism Today Magazine, October/November/December 2008.
- Brahmand Purana, Srimad Devi Bhagwat Purana