the gift of bhava

Reflecting on the idea of the usual roles between sadhaka and Devi reversing themselves (see my earlier post), it brought to mind the manifestations of bhava that occur in devotees of the Goddess (often arising from bhakti). This is very much a type of possession, where the Devi experiences through the body and senses of the individual.

June McDaniels excellent study Offering Flowers, Feeding Skulls: Popular Goddess Worship in West Bengal is highly recommended in this regard. An excerpt:

One form of spontaneous possession is found more frequently in practitioners of tantra and bhakti yoga. This is colloquially called bhava, short for devabhava (a general term for divine state or state of unity with a deity) or bhavavesha (the state of being overwhelmed or possessed by bhava). Bhava combines possession and devotional love, allowing the possessed person to retain consciousness in the midst of the goddess’s power and presence. It shows intense love of a deity, and a person’s humility and willingness to submit to the goddess.

Bhava is a tangible gift of the goddess, for as She manifests in the devotee they experience the divine bliss of Her presence in their very body.  As the Shakta poet Ramprasad wrote, “Whoever gazes upon this radiant blackness falls eternally in love.”

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om mahakalyai ca vidmahe smasana vasinyai ca dhimahi tanno kali pracodayat
(“Om we contemplate on the Great Goddess who takes away Darkness, we contemplate She Who Resides in the Cremation Grounds, may that Goddess direct!”)

Jai Kali Maa!

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I am Her murti

Jai KaliGenerally speaking, the sadhaka will be placing life into the murti on the shrine with prana pratishta after a series of ritual acts of purifying and energizing your body. The elements are purified and activated with bhuta shuddhi. The energetic levels are equilibrated with pranayama. Mantras and accompanying mudras are given. Light, incense, water, flowers, the very Self is presented as offering. The divine aspect is projected out with the breath into the statue, often onto a flower either physical or visualized; the cold statue becomes divinized, the Goddess is present, and worshipped accordingly.

That is not what is happening.  Continue reading “I am Her murti”

Jai Kali, Jai Ma Bhavatarini!

Victory to Kali, Victory to the Mother, the Savior of souls!

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Salutations again and again

to the Devi who abides in all beings in the form of consciousness;

to the Devi who abides in all beings in the form of intelligence;

to the Devi who abides in all beings in the form of sleep;

to the Devi who abides in all beings in the form of hunger;

to the Devi who abides in all beings in the form of power;

to the Devi who abides in all beings in the form of modesty;

to the Devi who abides in all beings in the form of peace;

to the Devi who abides in all beings in the form of faith;

to the Devi who abides in all beings in the form of loveliness;

to the Devi who abides in all beings in the form of compassion;

to the Devi who abides in all beings in the form of contentment;

to the Devi who abides in all beings in the form of mother.

May that Devi, the Mother, who appears in the form of all things,

bring forth benefits for all who sing Her praises.

Invoking Shakti

Shri Shankara said – Liquor, which is under a curse, is the form of the Absolute. Freeing it from the curse it becomes the Absolute itself, the supreme ambrosia. O Devi, it becomes like this by offering to Mahadevi.

From the 14th chapter of Shri Matrika Bheda Tantra (translated by Mike Magee)

Tripurasundari

I invoke the devi Tripurasundari, mahavidya of Lalita

Goddess of Beauty and Play and Love and Joy!

Let us invoke the sweet smelling one!

Naked, with fiery green eyes and golden skin, hair aflame in crimson light

Her arms granting boons and dispelling all fear.

Her naked body marked with blood and ash,

Her heart aflame with passion and fire!

Aom!  I salute the beautiful one of three worlds!

Jai Devi! Jai Tripurasundari!

Obeiassance to the Lotus eyed one of sweet nectars, Jai Pankajakshi![1]

Aom!  With incense of sandal I salute Thee!  Jai Devi!

Aom!  With lights I salute Thee!  Jai Istadevi![2]

Aom!  With water I salute Thee!  Jai Sarvagata![3]

Be favourable to me, oh blossom honey of light!

Grant thine aid unto me, that I may come to rest

in your sweet smelling presence, Jai Shrimati![4]

With sandalpaste, ash, sindur and water I am marked

to your devotions, oh Vibhutidevi![5]

With the bijamantra HRIM I invoke Thee!

AOM HRIM HRIM HRIM!

Jai Tripurasundari!  Jai Lalita!  Jai Devi!

Oh, Mandayanti[6], grant me Thy grace!  Give me of Thy milk to drink!

Oh, Jayesvari[7], inform me with Thy blood kissess!

Let Thy brilliant light shine through me, fullfilling me of Thy divine embrace!

Jai Sadhya!  Jai Sadhwi!  Jai Sara!  Jai Savitri![8] Aom!

Aom nama Tripurasundari!

Aom HRIM HRIM HRIM!

Jai Istadevi!

Aom!


[1] (Pankaja “mud born, lotus” + akshi “eye”) The lotus eyed.

[2] One’s chosen goddess (“beloved goddess.”)

[3] (sarva “all” + gata “having gone”) Having pervaded all, having reached everywhere.

[4] (shri “beauty, light, wealth” + mati “having”) Having beauty and fortune, the beautiful.

[5] Glory, might, wealth.  Consecrated ash used by devotees of Shiva.  Also the 6th of Lalitas 108 names.

[6] Delighting, rejoicing.

[7] (jaya “victorious” + iswara “sovereign goddess”).  The victorious goddess.

[8] Sadhya, “the attainable,” a name of Lalita.  Sadhwi, “the virtuous.”  Sara, “the Essence.”  Savitri, the consort of the Sun.

[March 1998]