Vaishnavism is one of the major traditions within Hinduism along with Shaivism and Smarthism. It is called Vishnuism, its followers are called Vaishnavas, it considers Vishnu as the Supreme Lord; the tradition is notable for its avatar doctrine, wherein Krishna is revered in one of many distinct incarnations. Of these, ten avatars of Vishnu are the most studied. Rama, Narayana, Hari, Kesava, Govinda, Sri Nathji and Jagannath are among the popular names used for the same supreme being; the tradition has traceable roots to the 1st millennium BCE, as Bhagavatism called Krishnaism. Developments led by Ramananda created a Rama-oriented movement, now the largest monastic group in Asia; the Vaishnava tradition has many sampradayas ranging from the medieval era Dvaita school of Madhvacharya to Vishishtadvaita school of Ramanuja. The tradition is known for the loving devotion to an avatar of Vishnu, it has been key to the spread of the Bhakti movement in South Asia in the 2nd millennium CE. Key texts in Vaishnavism include the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, the Pancaratra texts and the Bhagavata Purana.
Vaishnavism originates in the latest centuries BCE and the early centuries CE, as an amalgam of the heroic Krishna Vasudeva, the "divine child" Bala Krishna of the Gopala traditions, syncretism of these non-Vedic traditions with the Mahabharata canon, thus affiliating itself with Vedism in order to become acceptable to the orthodox establishment. Krishnaism becomes associated with bhakti yoga in the medieval period. Although Vishnu was a Vedic solar deity, he is mentioned more compared to Agni and other Vedic deities, thereby suggesting that he had a major position in the Vedic religion. Other scholars state that there are other Vedic deities, such as water deity Nara, who together form the historical roots of Vaishnavism. In the late-Vedic texts, the concept of a metaphysical Brahman grows in prominence, the Vaishnavism tradition considered Vishnu to be identical to Brahman, just like Shaivism and Shaktism consider Shiva and Devi to be Brahman respectively; the ancient emergence of Vaishnavism is unclear, the evidence inconsistent and scanty.
According to Dalal, the origins may be in Vedic deity Bhaga. According to Preciado-Solís, the Vedic deities Nara and Narayana form one of the Vedic roots of Vaishnavism. According to Dandekar, Vaishnavism may have emerged from merger of several ancient theistic traditions, where the various deities were integrated as different avatars of the same god. In Dandekar theory, Vaishnavism emerged at the end of the Vedic period before the second urbanisation of northern India, in the 7th to 4th century BCE. Vasudeva and Krishna, "the deified tribal hero and religious leader of the Yadavas," gained prominence, merged into Bhagavan Vasudeva-Krishna, due to the close relation between the Vrsnis and the Yadavas; this was followed by a merger with the cult of Gopala-Krishna of the cowherd community of the Abhıras at the 4th century CE. The character of Gopala Krishna is considered to be non-Vedic. According to Dandekar, such mergers consolidated the position of Krishnaism between the heterodox sramana movement and the orthodox Vedic religion.
The "Greater Krsnaism", states Dandekar merged with the Rigvedic Vishnu. Syncretism of various traditions and Vedism resulted in Vaishnavism. At this stage that Vishnu of the Rig Veda was assimilated into non-Vedic Krishnaism and became the equivalent of the Supreme God; the appearance of Krishna as one of the Avatars of Vishnu dates to the period of the Sanskrit epics in the early centuries CE. The Bhagavad Gita was incorporated into the Mahabharata as a key text for Krishnaism; the Narayana-cult was included, which further brahmanized Vaishnavism. The Nara-Narayana cult may have originated in Badari, a northern ridge of the Hindu Kush, absorbed into the Vedic orthodoxy as Purusa Narayana. Purusa Narayana may have been turned into Arjuna and Krsna; this complex history is reflected in the two main historical denominations of Vishnavism. The Bhagavats, worship Vasudeva-Krsna, are followers of brahmanic Vaishnavism, while the Pacaratrins regard Narayana as their founder, are followers of Tantric Vaishnavism.
According to Hardy, there is evidence of early "southern Krishnaism," despite the tendency to allocate the Krishna-traditions to the Northern traditions. South Indian texts show close parallel with the Sanskrit traditions of Krishna and his gopi companions, so ubiquitous in North Indian text and imagery. Early writings in Dravidian culture such as Manimekalai and the Cilappatikaram present Krishna, his brother, favourite female companions in the similar terms. Hardy argues that the Sanskrit Bhagavata Purana is a Sanskrit "translation" of the bhakti of the Tamil alvars. Devotion to southern Indian Mal may be an early form of Krishnaism, since Mal appears as a divine figure like Krishna with some elements of Vishnu; the Alvars, whose name can be translated "sages" or "saints", were devotees of Mal. Their poems show a pronounced orientation to the Vaishnava, Krishna, side of Mal, but they do not make the distinction between Krishna and Vishnu on the basis of the concept of the Avatars. Yet, according to Hardy the term "Mayonism" should be used instead of "Krishnaism" when referring to Mal or Mayon.
Most of the Gupta kings, beginning with Chandragupta II were known as Parama Bhagavatas or Bhagavata Vaishnavas. After the Gupta age, Krishnaism rose to a major current of Vaishnavism, Vaishnavism developed into various sects and subsects
Shaivism is one of the major traditions within Hinduism that reveres Shiva as the Supreme Being. The followers of Shaivism are called "Shaivites" or "Saivites", it is one of the largest sects that believe Shiva — worshipped as a creator and destroyer of worlds — is the supreme god over all. The Shaiva have many sub-traditions, ranging from devotional dualistic theism such as Shaiva Siddhanta to yoga-oriented monistic non-theism such as Kashmiri Shaivism, it considers the Agama texts as important sources of theology. The origin of Shaivism may be traced to the conception of Rudra in the Rig Veda. Shaivism has ancient roots, traceable in the Vedic literature of 2nd millennium BCE, but this is in the form of the Vedic deity Rudra; the ancient text Shvetashvatara Upanishad dated to late 1st millennium BCE mentions terms such as Rudra and Maheshwaram, but its interpretation as a theistic or monistic text of Shaivism is disputed. In the early centuries of the common era is the first clear evidence of Pāśupata Shaivism.
Both devotional and monistic Shaivism became popular in the 1st millennium CE becoming the dominant religious tradition of many Hindu kingdoms. It arrived in Southeast Asia shortly thereafter, leading to thousands of Shaiva temples on the islands of Indonesia as well as Cambodia and Vietnam, co-evolving with Buddhism in these regions. In the contemporary era, Shaivism is one of the major aspects of Hinduism. Shaivism theology ranges from Shiva being the creator, destroyer to being the same as the Atman within oneself and every living being, it is related to Shaktism, some Shaiva worship in Shiva and Shakti temples. It is the Hindu tradition that most accepts ascetic life and emphasizes yoga, like other Hindu traditions encourages an individual to discover and be one with Shiva within. Shaivism is one of the largest traditions within Hinduism. Shiva means kind, gracious, or auspicious; as a proper name, it means "The Auspicious One". The word Shiva is used as an adjective in the Rig Veda, as an epithet for several Rigvedic deities, including Rudra.
The term Shiva connotes "liberation, final emancipation" and "the auspicious one", this adjective sense of usage is addressed to many deities in Vedic layers of literature. The term evolved from the Vedic Rudra-Shiva to the noun Shiva in the Epics and the Puranas, as an auspicious deity, the "creator and dissolver"; the Sanskrit word śaiva or Shaiva means "relating to the god Shiva", while the related beliefs, history and sub-traditions constitute Shaivism. The reverence for Shiva is one of the pan-Hindu traditions, found across India, Sri Lanka and Nepal. While Shiva is revered broadly, Hinduism itself is a complex religion and a way of life, with a diversity of ideas on spirituality and traditions, it has no ecclesiastical order, no unquestionable religious authorities, no governing body, no prophet nor any binding holy book. Shaivism is a major tradition within Hinduism, with a theology, predominantly related to the Hindu god Shiva. Shaivism has many different sub-traditions with regional differences in philosophy.
Shaivism has a vast literature with different philosophical schools, ranging from nondualism and mixed schools. The origins of Shaivism a matter of debate among scholars; some trace the origins to the Indus Valley civilization, which reached its peak around 2500–2000 BCE. Archeological discoveries show seals. Of these is the Pashupati seal, which early scholars interpreted as someone seated in a meditating yoga pose surrounded by animals, with horns; this "Pashupati" seal has been interpreted by these scholars as a prototype of Shiva. Gavin Flood characterizes these views as "speculative", saying that it is not clear from the seal if the figure has three faces, or is seated in a yoga posture, or that the shape is intended to represent a human figure. Other scholars state that the Indus Valley script remains undeciphered, the interpretation of the Pashupati seal is uncertain. According to Srinivasan, the proposal that it is proto-Shiva may be a case of projecting "later practices into archeological findings".
Asko Parpola states that other archaeological finds such as the early Elamite seals dated to 3000–2750 BCE show similar figures and these have been interpreted as "seated bull" and not a yogi, the bull interpretation is more accurate. The Rigveda has the earliest clear mention of Rudra in its hymns such as 2.33, 1.43 and 1.114. The text includes a Satarudriya, an influential hymn with embedded hundred epithets for Rudra, cited in many medieval era Shaiva texts as well as recited in major Shiva temples of Hindus in contemporary times. Yet, the Vedic literature only present scriptural theology, but does not attest to the existence of Shaivism; the Shvetashvatara Upanishad composed before the Bhagavad Gita about 4th century BCE contains the theistic foundations of Shaivism wrapped in a monistic structure. It contains the key terms and ideas of Shaivism, such as Shiva, Maheswara, Bhakti, Atman and self-knowledge. According to Gavin Flood, "the formation of Śaiva traditions as we understand them begins to occur during the period from 200 BC to 100 AD."
According to Chakravarti, Shiva rose to prominence as he was identified to be the
Kartikeya known as Murugan, Skanda and Subrahmanya, is the Hindu god of war. He is the son of Parvati and Shiva, brother of Ganesha, a god whose life story has many versions in Hinduism. An important deity around South Asia since ancient times, Kartikeya is popular and predominantly worshipped in South India, Sri Lanka and Malaysia as Murugan. Kartikeya is an ancient god, traceable to the Vedic era. Archaeological evidence from 1st-century CE and earlier, where he is found with Hindu god Agni, suggest that he was a significant deity in early Hinduism, he is found in many medieval temples all over India, such as at the Ellora Caves and Elephanta Caves. The iconography of Kartikeya varies significantly. Most icons show him with one head, but some show him with six heads reflecting the legend surrounding his birth where six mothers symbolizing the six stars of Pleiades cluster who took care of newly born baby Kartikeya, he grows up into a philosopher-warrior, destroys evil in the form of demon Taraka, teaches the pursuit of ethical life and the theology of Shaiva Siddhanta.
He has inspired many poet-saints, such as Arunagirinathar. Kartikeya is found as a primary deity in temples wherever communities of the Tamil people live worldwide in Tamil Nadu state of India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Singapore, South Africa and Réunion. Three of the six richest and busiest temples in Tamil Nadu are dedicated to him; the Kataragama temple dedicated to him in Sri Lanka attracts Tamils, Sinhalese people and the Vedda people. He is found in other parts of India, sometimes as Skanda, but in a secondary role along with Ganesha and Shiva. Kartikeya is known by numerous names in medieval texts of the Indian culture. Most common among these are Murugan, Kumara and Subrahmanya. Others include Aaiyyan, Senthil, Vēlaṇ, Swaminatha, śaravaṇabhava, Arumugam or ṣaṇmukha, Guha or Guruguha, Kandhan and Mahasena. In ancient coins where the inscription has survived along with his images, his names appear as Kumara, Brahmanya or Brahmanyadeva. On some ancient Indo-Scythian coins, his names appear in Greek script as Skanda and Vishaka.
In ancient statues, he appears as Mahasena and Vishakha. Skanda is derived from skanḍr-, which means to "spill, leap, attack"; this root is derived from the legend of his unusual birth. The legend, translates Lochtefeld, states "Shiva and Parvati are disturbed while making love, Shiva inadvertently spills his semen on the ground"; this semen incubates in River Ganges, preserved by the heat of god Agni, this fetus is born as baby Kartikeya on the banks of Ganges. The "spill" epithet leads to the name Skanda. Additionally N. Gopala Pillai postulated. Kartikeya means "of the Krittikas"; this epithet is linked to his birth. After he appears on the banks of the River Ganges, he is seen by the six of the seven brightest stars cluster in the night sky called Krittikas in Hindu texts; these six mothers all want to take care of nurse baby Kartikeya. Kartikeya ends the argument by growing five more heads to have a total of six heads so he can look at all six mothers, let them each nurse one. There are ancient references which can be interpreted to be Kartikeya in the Vedic texts, in the works of Pāṇini, in the Mahabhasya of Patanjali and in Kautilya's Arthashastra.
For example, the term Kumara appears in hymn 5,2 of the Rig Veda. The Kumara of verse 5.2.1 can be interpreted as Skanda, or just any "boy". However, the rest of the verses depict the "boy" as bright-colored, hurling weapons and other motifs that have been associated with Skanda; the difficulty with interpreting these to be Skanda is that Indra and Rudra are depicted in similar terms and as warriors. The Skanda-like motifs found in Rig Veda are found in other Vedic texts, such as section 6.1-3 of the Shatapatha Brahmana. In these, the mythology is different for Kumara, as Agni is described to be the Kumara whose mother is Ushas and whose father is Purusha; the section 10.1 of the Taittiriya Aranyaka mentions Sanmukha, while the Baudhayana Dharmasutra mentions a householder's rite of passage that involves prayers to Skanda with his brother Ganapati together. The chapter 7 of the Chandogya Upanishad equates Sanat-Kumara and Skanda, as he teaches sage Narada to discover his own Atman as a means to the ultimate knowledge, true peace and liberation.
According to Fred Clothey, the evidence suggests that Kartikeya mythology had become widespread sometime around 200 BCE or after in north India. The first clear evidence of Kartikeya's importance emerges in the Hindu Epics such as the Ramayana and the Mahabharata where his story is recited. In addition to textual evidence, his importance is affirmed by the archeological, the epigraphical and the numismatic evidence of this period. For example, he is found in numismatic evidence linked to the Yaudheyas, a confederation of warriors in north India who are mentioned by ancient Pāṇini, they ruled an area consisting of modern era Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh. They struck coins bearing the image of Skanda, these coins are dated to be from before Kushan Empire era started. During the Kushan dynasty era, that included much of northwest
In Hinduism, Hanuman is an ardent devotee of Lord Rama. Lord Hanuman, known as the Lord of Celibacy was an ideal "Brahmachari" or called Naistika Brahmachari in Sanskrit and is one of the central characters of the Indian Epic ￼￼Ramayana￼￼. ￼￼As one of the Chiranjivi, he is mentioned in several other texts, such as the Mahabharata and the various Puranas. Hanuman is the son of Anjani and Kesari and is son of the wind-god Vayu, who according to several stories, played a role in his birth. If yoga is the ability to control one's mind Hanuman is the quintessential yogi having a perfect mastery over his senses, achieved through a disciplined lifestyle tempered by the twin streams of celibacy and selfless devotion. In fact, Hanuman is the ideal Brahmachari, if there was one, he is a perfect karma yogi since he performs his actions with detachment, acting as an instrument of destiny rather than being impelled by any selfish motive. While Hanuman is one of the central characters in the ancient Hindu epic Ramayana, the evidence of devotional worship to him is missing in the texts and archeological sites of ancient and most of the medieval period.
According to Philip Lutgendorf, an American Indologist known for his studies on Hanuman, the theological significance and devotional dedication to Hanuman emerged about 1,000 years after the composition of the Ramayana, in the 2nd millennium CE, after the arrival of Islamic rule in the Indian subcontinent. Bhakti movement saints such as Samarth Ramdas expressed Hanuman as a symbol of nationalism and resistance to persecution. In the modern era, his iconography and temples have been common, he is viewed as the ideal combination of "strength, heroic initiative and assertive excellence" and "loving, emotional devotion to his personal god Rama", as Shakti and Bhakti. In literature, he has been the patron god of martial arts such as wrestling, acrobatics, as well as meditation and diligent scholarship, he symbolizes the human excellences of inner self-control and service to a cause, hidden behind the first impressions of a being who looks like an Ape-Man Vanara. Hanuman is stated by scholars to be the inspiration for the allegory-filled adventures of a monkey hero in the Xiyouji – the great Chinese poetic novel influenced by the travels of Buddhist monk Xuanzang to India.
The meaning or the origin of word "Hanuman" is unclear. In the Hindu pantheon, deities have many synonymous names, each based on the noble characteristic or attribute or reminder of that deity's mythical deed. Hanuman has many names like Maruti, Bajrangbali, Mangalmurti but these names are used. Hanuman is the common name of the vaanar god. One interpretation of the term is that it means "one having a jaw, prominent"; this version is supported by a Puranic legend wherein baby Hanuman mistakes the sun for a fruit, attempts to heroically reach it, is wounded and gets a disfigured jaw."Hanuman": the name derives from the Sanskrit words Han and maana. This epithet resonates with the story in the Ramayana about his emotional devotion to Sita, he combines two of the most cherished traits in the Hindu bhakti-shakti worship traditions: "heroic, assertive excellence" and "loving, emotional devotion to personal god". Linguistic variations of "Hanuman" include Hanumat, Hanumantha, Hanumanthudu. Other names of Hanuman include: Anjaneya, Anjaneyar, Anjanisuta all meaning "the son of Hanuman's mother Anjana".
Kesari Nandan, based on his father, which means "son of Kesari" Maruti, or the son of the wind god. Sankata Mochana, the remover of dangers The earliest mention of a divine monkey, interpreted by some scholars as the proto-Hanuman, is in hymn 10.86 of the Rigveda, dated to between 1500 and 1200 BCE. The twenty-three verses of the hymn are a riddle-filled legend, it is presented as a dialogue between multiple characters: the god Indra, his wife Indrani and an energetic monkey it refers to as Vrisakapi and his wife Kapi. The hymn opens with Indrani complaining to Indra that some of the soma offerings for Indra have been allocated to the energetic and strong monkey, the people are forgetting Indra; the king of the gods Indra responds by telling his wife that the living being that bothers her is to be seen as a friend, that they should make an effort to coexist peacefully. The hymn closes with all agreeing that they should come together in Indra's house and share the wealth of the offerings; the orientalist F. E. Pargiter theorized.
According to this theory, the name "Hanuman" derives from the Tamil word for male monkey, first transformed to "Anumant" – a name which remains in use. "Anumant", according to this hypothesis, was Sanskritized to "Hanuman" because the ancient Aryans confronted with a popular monkey deity of ancient Dravidians coopted the concept and Sanskritized it. According to Murray Emeneau, known for his Tamil linguistic studies, this theory does not make sense because the Old Tamil word mandi in Caṅkam literature can only mean "female monkey", Hanuman is male. Further, adds Emeneau, the compound ana-mandi makes no semantic sense in Tamil, which has well developed and sophisticated grammar and semantic rules; the "prominent jaw" etymology, according to Emeneau, is therefore plausible. Hanuman is mentioned in both the
Radha called Radhika and Radhe, is a Hindu goddess popular in Hinduism in the Vaishnavism tradition. She was said to be the head of the milkmaids, she is the lover of the Supreme personality of Godhead Lord Krishna in the medieval era texts. She is a supreme goddess in her own right, she is called Jagat Janani. She appeared as queen of milkmaids and queen of Vrindavan-Barsana, she taught selfless surrender to the Godhead Shri Krishna. She is considered the supreme goddess in Vaishnavism. Rasik Saints have mentioned Her as a descension of Supreme Goddess, Source of Infinite Lakshmi, original form of Yogmaya and Allhadini Shakti, main Power of Godhead Shri Krishna, she and her consort Krishna are collectively known as Radha Krishna, the combined form of feminine as well as the masculine realities of God. Lord Krishna underwent various kinds of "leelas" with Her. Radha is worshipped in some regions of India by Gaudiya Vaishnavas, Vaishnavas in West Bengal, Bangladesh Manipur, Odisha. Elsewhere, she is revered in the Nimbarka Sampradaya and movements linked to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
Srimati Radharani ji is considered a metaphor for soul, her longing for Lord Krishna theologically seen as a symbolism for the longing for spirituality and the divine. She has inspired numerous literary works, her Rasa lila dance with Krishna has inspired many types of performance arts till this day, her festival is Radhastami. The Sanskrit term Rādhā means "prosperity, success", it is a common name founded in various contexts in the ancient and medieval texts of India. Of these the most celebrated is the name of the gopi, the beloved of Krishna. Both Radha and Krishna are the main characters of Gita Govinda of Jayadeva. Radha in this context is considered the avatar of Lakshmi, just like Krishna is considered an avatar of Vishnu. In Hit Harivansh and Swami Haridas Literature, Radha is considered as the main form of deity. Here, Radha is not another form of supreme god Shri Krishn Himself. In Devi Bhagvat and Brahma Vaibtra Purana, Radha is mentioned as the source of infinite Laxmi and mother of infinite souls.
Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj elaborately described the virtue of Radha and has given a brief description of Shri Radha in his lectures and Kirtans. He has said, "She is the Supreme Goddess and is worshipped by everyone including Godhead Shri Krishna himself and that's why she is called Radha; the term is related to Rādha, which means "kindness, any gift but the gift of affection, wealth". The word appears in the Vedic literature as well as the Epics, but is elusive and not as a major deity. In some Vedic contexts, states Sukumar Sen, it could mean "beloved, desired woman" based on an Avestan cognate. However, Barbara Stoller and other scholars disagree with the Avestan interpretation, they state that the better interpretation of Radha in these ancient texts is "someone or something that fulfills a need". Starting with the Bhakti movement and with Jayadeva's composition, her profile as a goddess and constant companion of Krishna became dominant in Krishna-related Vaishnavism. Rādhikā refers to an endearing form of Gopi Radha.
Radha is an important goddess in the Vaishnavism tradition of Hinduism. She is a goddess whose traits, manifestations and roles vary with region. Since the earliest times, she has been associated with one of the most popular Hindu gods, the cowherd Krishna. In the early Indian literature, her mentions are illusive and not as common as other major goddesses of Hinduism, but during the Bhakti movement era she became popular among Krishna devotees whose strength is her love. According to Jaya Chemburkar, there are at least two significant and different aspects of Radha in the literature associated with her, such as Sriradhika namasahasram. One aspect is she is a milkmaid, another as a female deity similar to those found in the Hindu goddess traditions, she appears in Hindu arts as ardhanari with Krishna, an iconography where half of the image is Radha and the other half is Krishna. This is found in sculpture such as those discovered in Maharashtra, in texts such as Shiva Purana and Brahmavaivarta Purana.
In these texts, this ardhanari is sometimes referred to as Ardharadhavenudhara murti, it symbolizes the complete union and inseparability of Radha and Krishna. Radha's depictions vary from being an married woman who becomes an adulterous lover of Krishna in a secondary role, to being dual divinity equal to Krishna in Jayadeva's Gita Govinda, to being supreme object of devotional love for both Krishna and devotees in Rupa Gosvami's tradition. In some Hindu sub-traditions, Radha is conceptualized as a goddess who breaks social norms by leaving her marriage, entering into a relationship with Krishna to pursue her love. According to Heidi Pauwels, it is a "hotly debated issue" whether Radha was married or had an affair with Krishna while she remained married. Several Hindu texts allude to these circumstances. According to David Kinsley, a professor of Religious Studies known for his studies on Hindu goddesses, the Radha-Krishna love story is a metaphor for divine-human relationship, where Radha is the human devotee or soul, frustrated with the past, obligations to social expectations and the ideas she inherited, who longs for real meaning, the true love, the divine.
This metaphoric Radha finds new liberation in learning more about Krishna, bonding in devotion and with passion. The po
Devī is the Sanskrit word for "goddess". Devi – the feminine form, Deva – the masculine form, mean "heavenly, anything of excellence", are gender specific terms for a deity in Hinduism; the concept and reverence for goddesses appears in the Vedas, which were composed in the 2nd millennium BCE. Goddesses such as Parvati and Durga have continued to be revered into the modern era; the medieval era Puranas witnessed a major expansion in mythology and literature associated with Devi, with texts such as the Devi Mahatmya, wherein she manifests as the ultimate truth and supreme power. She has inspired the Shaktism tradition of Hinduism; the divine feminine has the strongest presence as Devi in Hinduism, among major world religions, from the ancient times to the present. The goddess is viewed as central in Saiva Hindu traditions. Devi and Deva are Sanskrit terms found in Vedic literature of the 2nd millennium BCE. Deva is masculine, the related feminine equivalent is devi. Monier-Williams translates it as "heavenly, terrestrial things of high excellence, shining ones".
Etymologically, the cognates of Devi are Greek thea. When capitalized, Devi or Mata refers to goddess as divine mother in Hinduism. Deva is referred to as Devatā, Devi as Devika. According to Douglas Harper, the etymological root Dev- means "a shining one," from *div- "to shine," and it is a cognate with Greek dios "divine" and Zeus, Latin deus; the Devīsūkta of the Rigveda 10.125.1 through 10.125.8, is among the most studied hymns declaring that the ultimate reality is a goddess: The Vedas includes numerous goddesses including Parvati, Prithvi, Saraswati, Vāc, Nirṛti, Ratri and bounty goddesses such as Dinsana, Puramdhi, Bharati, Mahi among others are mentioned in the Rigveda. However, the goddesses are not discussed as as gods. Parvati, appears in late Vedic texts dated to be pre-Buddhist, but verses dedicated to her do not suggest that her characteristics were developed in the Vedic era. All gods and goddesses are distinguished in the Vedic times, but in the post-Vedic texts in the early medieval era literature, they are seen as aspects or manifestations of one Devi, the Supreme power.
Devi is the supreme being in the Shakta tradition of Hinduism, while in the Smarta Tradition, she is one of the five primary forms of Brahman, revered. In other Hindu traditions, Devi embodies the active energy and power of Deva, they always appear together complementing each other, such as Parvati with Shiva in Shaivism, Saraswati with Brahma in Brahmanism, Lakshmi with Vishnu in Vaishnavism; the Devi-inspired philosophy is propounded in many Hindu texts, such as the Devi Upanishad, which states that Shakti is Brahman, from her arise Prakṛti and Purusha, she is bliss and non-bliss, the Vedas and what is different from it, the born and the unborn, all of the universe. Shakthi is Shiva's wife, she is mentioned as the creative power of Shiva in Tripura Upanishad, Bahvricha Upanishad, Guhyakali Upanishad. Devi identifies herself in the Devi Upanishad as brahman in her reply to the gods stating that she rules the world, blesses devotees with riches, she is the supreme deity to whom all worship is to be offered, that she infuses Ātman in every soul.
Devi asserts that she resides there. Her creation of sky as father, seas as mother is reflected as the "Inner Supreme Self", her creations are not prompted by any Higher being and she resides in all her creations. She is, states Devi, the eternal and infinite consciousness engulfing earth and heaven, "all forms of bliss and non-bliss and ignorance, Brahman and Non-Brahman"; the tantric aspect in Devi Upanishad, states June McDaniel is the usage of the terms yantra, bija, mantra and chakra. Among the major world religions, the concept of goddess in Hinduism as the divine feminine, has had the strongest presence since the ancient times. Parvati is the Hindu goddess of love, purity and devotion, she is considered to be one of the greatest forms of Adi Parashakti. She is the nurturing aspect of Adi Parashakti, she has many attributes and aspects. Each of her aspects is expressed with a different name, giving her over 100 names in regional Hindu mythologies of India, including the popular name Gauri.
Along with Lakshmi and Saraswati, she forms the trinity of Hindu goddesses. Parvati is the wife of Shiva - the destroyer and regenerator of universe and all life, she is the mother of Hindu gods Kartikeya. Rita Gross states, that the view of Parvati only as ideal wife and mother is incomplete symbolism of the power of the feminine in mythology of India. Parvati, along with other goddesses, are involved with the broad range of culturally valued goals and activities, her connection with motherhood and female sexuality does not confine the feminine or exhaust their significance and activities in Hindu literature. She is balanced by Durga, strong and capable without compromising her femaleness, she manifests in every activity, from water to mountains, from arts to inspiring warriors, from agriculture to dance. Parvati's numerous aspects, states Gross, reflects the Hindu belief that the feminine has universal range of activities, her gender is not a limiting condition. In Hindu belief, Parvati is th
Shaktism is a major tradition of Hinduism, wherein the metaphysical reality is considered metaphorically feminine and Adi Parashakti is supreme. It includes a variety of Goddesses, all considered aspects of the same supreme Goddess. Shaktism has different sub-traditions, ranging from those focused on gracious Gauri to fierce Kali, some Shakti sub-traditions associate their Goddess with Shiva or Brahma or Vishnu; the Sruti and Smriti texts of Hinduism are an important historical framework of the Shaktism tradition. In addition, it reveres the texts Devi Mahatmya, the Devi-Bhagavata Purana, Mahabhagwata Purana and Shakta Upanishads such as the Devi Upanishad; the Devi Mahatmya in particular, is considered in Shaktism to be as important as the Bhagavad Gita. Shaktism is known for its various sub-traditions of Tantra, as well as a galaxy of Goddesses with respective systems, it consists of the Kulamārga. The pantheon of Goddesses in Shaktism grew after the decline of Buddhism in India, wherein Hindu and Buddhist Goddesses were combined to form the Mahavidya, a list of ten Goddesses.
The most common aspects of Devi found in Shaktism include Durga, Amba, Lakshmi and Tripurasundari. The Goddess-focused tradition is popular in West Bengal, Assam, Kumaon and Nepal and the neighboring regions, which it celebrates through festivals such as the Durga puja. Shaktism's ideas have influenced Vaishnavism and Shaivism traditions, with the Goddess considered the Shakti of Vishnu and Shiva and revered prominently in numerous Hindu temples and festivals. One of the earliest evidence of reverence for the feminine aspect of God in Hinduism appears in chapter 10.125 of the Rig Veda called the Devi Suktam hymn: –Devi Sukta, Rigveda 10.125.3 – 10.125.8, The Vedic literature reveres various Goddesses, but far less than Gods Indra and Soma. Yet, they are declared equivalent aspects of gender neutral Brahman, of Purusha; the Goddesses mentioned in the Vedic layers of text include the Ushas, Sarasvati, Nirriti, Shraddha. Goddesses such as Uma appear in the Upanishads as another aspect of Brahman and the knower of ultimate knowledge, such as in section 3 and 4 of the ancient Kena Upanishad.
Hymns to Goddesses are in the ancient Hindu epic Mahabharata in the added Harivamsa section of it. The archaeological and textual evidence implies, states Thomas Coburn, that the Goddess had become as much a part of the Hindu tradition, as God, by about the third or fourth century; the literature on Shakti theology grew in ancient India, climaxing in one of the most important texts of Shaktism called the Devi Mahatmya. This text, states C. Mackenzie Brown – a professor of Religion, is both a culmination of centuries of Indian ideas about the divine feminine, as well as a foundation for the literature and spirituality focussed on the feminine transcendence in centuries that followed; the Devi-Mahatmya is not the earliest literary fragment attesting to the existence of devotion to a Goddess figure, states Thomas B. Coburn – a professor of Religious Studies, but "it is the earliest in which the object of worship is conceptualized as Goddess, with a capital G". Other important texts of Shaktism include the Shakta Upanishads, as well as Shakta-oriented Upa Puranic literature such as the Devi Purana and Kalika Purana, the Lalita Sahasranama.
The Tripura Upanishad is the most complete introduction to Shakta Tantrism, distilling into its 16 verses every important topic in Shakta Tantra tradition. Along with the Tripura Upanishad, the Tripuratapini Upanishad has attracted scholarly bhasya in the second half of 2nd-millennium, such as by Bhaskararaya, by Ramanand; these texts link the Shakti Tantra tradition as a Vedic attribute, however this link has been contested by scholars. Shaktas conceive the Goddess as the supreme, eternal reality of all existence, or same as the Brahman concept of Hinduism, she is considered to be the source of all creation, its embodiment and the energy that animates and governs it, that into which everything will dissolve. According to V. R. Ramachandra Dikshitar – a professor of Indian history, in Shaktism theology "Brahman is static Shakti and Shakti is dynamic Brahman."Shaktism views the Devi as the source and substance of everything in creation. Its texts such as the Devi-Bhagavata Purana states: I am Manifest Divinity, Unmanifest Divinity, Transcendent Divinity.
I am Brahma and Shiva, as well as Saraswati and Parvati. I am the Sun and I am the Stars, I am the Moon. I am all animals and birds, I am the outcaste as well, the thief. I am the low person of dreadful deeds, the great person of excellent deeds. I am Female, I am Male in the form of Shiva. Shaktism's focus on the Divine Feminine does not imply a rejection of masculine, it rejects soul-body, transcendent-immanent dualism, considering nature as divine. Devi is considered to be the cosmos itself – she is the embodiment of energy and soul, the motivating force behind all action and existence in the material universe, yet in Shaktism, states C. MacKenzie Brown, the masculine and the feminine are aspects of the transcendent reality. In Hindu iconography, the cosmic dynamic of masculine-feminine interdependence and equivalence, is expressed in the half-Shakti, half-Shiva deity known as Ardhanari; the philosophical premises in many Shakta texts, states June McDaniel – a professor of Religious Studies, is syncretism of Sam