Shakti/ Adi Para Shakti
Shakti is derived from the Sanskrit word Shak, which means ‘to be able to,’ meaning sacred force or empowerment, is the primordial cosmic energy and represents the dynamic forces that move through the entire universe.
Shakti is the concept, or personification, of divine feminine creative power, sometimes referred to as ‘The Great Divine Mother’ in Hinduism. On the earthly plane, Shakti most actively manifests through female embodiment and fertility – while also existing in males, in its potential, unmanifest form.
Many believe that it is the Shakti that gives gods like Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva the power to create, protect and destory. Without their respective Shaktis, these gods are said to be devoid of any force or energy.
This Shakti is said to take many forms, good, loving, terrible with the aim to protect her people and punish the wrong doers. The rural people believe that Shakti is the protector of the village, the punisher of evil people, the curer of diseases, and the one who gives welfare to the village.
In one of the ancient texts or Puranas of Indian philosophy, it is said that, ” if a man is unable to achieve victory in an endeavour, he is said to be without Shakti.” It is therefore, believed by many that war gods and goddesses are but a manifestation of this primodial force or Shakti. In southern India, she is also referred to as Adi Para Shakti, i.e. the creator of all forces and powers.
In her terrible form as Maha Kali she is depicted as one who blazes brightl, has dreadful teeth, wears a tiger skin, weilds many weapons… yet, she is considered as the protector of all. Durga, Parvati, Saraswati, Indrani, Brahmi, Narashimi, Maheshwari are all said to be forms of shakti.
They are also considered to be the shaktis of the presiding male deities like Indra, Brahma, Vishnu, Maheshwara… The terrible forms of the Shakti, often arise in the context of one of her most fundamental protective roles, guardian of the cosmos in the form of a formidable warrior.
The Lalitha Sahasranama calls her she who slays demons, she who grants boons to great warriors, ruler of armies, she who is worshipped by warriors, and the mother of warriors.