de:shakti fr:Shakti_(hindouisme) it:shakti pt:shákti

This article is about the Hindu religious concept. For other meanings of the word see Shakti (disambiguation).

In most South Asian languages, Shakti translates literally as power.

In Hinduism, Shakti is an aspect of Devi, and a personification of God as the Divine Mother who represents the active, dynamic principles of feminine power. Alternatively, Shakti represents the power of God, who is in Hinduism is Vishnu or Shiva. For Vaishnavites, God's power or Shakti is Yogamaya. For Shaivites, God's power is Parvati.

Ramakrishna Paramhansa was a prominent worshipper of Shakti and was a Shakta.

In the Hindu scripture 'Devi Mahatmyam', Mahamaya (Great Maya) is said to cover Vishnu's eyes in Yoganidra (Divine Sleep) during cycles of existence when all is resolved into one. By exhorting Mahamaya to release Her illusory hold on Vishnu, Brahma is able to bring Vishnu to aid him in killing two demons, Madhu and Kaitabh, who have manifested from Vishnu's sleeping form. Shri Ramakrishna often spoke of Mother Maya and combined deep Hindu allegory with the idea that Maya is a lesser reality that must be overcome so that one is able to realize his or her true Self.

Shakti Peeths

There are 51 important centres, of Shakti worship located in the Indian sub-continent, most of which are located in India but some in neighbouring Bangladesh, Nepal, Tibet and even Pakistan. These are called Shakti Peeths.

Mythology tells us that the Devi died of trauma and shock when her husband, Shiva, was insulted by her father, and this provoked Shiva to pick up her body on his shoulder and start a catastrophic dance that nearly destroyed the world. Vishnu had to interfere by using his Sudarshan Chakra to cut the Devi's body up into small pieces and these fell at the 51 locations which have since become important centres of Devi's worship.

Realistically, these 51 locations represent the body parts of some legendary lady who achieved supreme Enlightenment and whose devotees preserved parts of her body after her demise ... very much in the way the Buddha's remains have been preserved in various Stupas spread across the world.

The modern geographic city or town that correspond to these 51 locations is a matter of some dispute. There are a few that are totally unambiguous .. for example Kalighat in Calcutta and Kamakshya in Assam. However there are few that have been disputed for example KanchiPeeth is associated with, both Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu as well as Kankalitala at Birbhum, West Bengal.

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