(Last Updated on : 15/01/2011)
Devi stands for the female version of deity worship and is the Divine Mother of the Hindu culture .In English it stands for goddess and is synonymous with Shakti as conceptualized by the Shakta (cult devoted to the worship of Shakti) tradition of Hinduism. She is the female counterpart without whom the male divine which represents consciousness or discrimination, remains impotent and void.As the female manifestation of supreme lord ,she is also called Prakriti or Maya
,as she balances out the male aspect of the divine .
The rise in the importance of Shakti was made as early as the fourth century with the cult of Durga
's consort. Brahma
's consort Goddess Saraswati
and Vishnu's consort Goddess Lakshmi are the other manifestations of Devi. Lakshmi the goddness of spiritual and material wealth is worshipped on Diwali.Saraswati, the Goddess of knowledge and wisdom is worshipped on the first day of the spring according to Hindu calendar, called the Basant Panchami As Shiva's wife, Parvati
or Uma, she is the creative power of Siva. Durga holds joy and pain in her right hand and life and death in her left hand. When she is the mother of life she is mild and loving. When she is fighting against evil she is the mother of death (Devi as the warrior Durga) and is mounted on a lion or a tiger. She destroys demonic forces that threaten world equilibrium. Goddess Durga was created with the joint energies of the Holy Trinity, Brahma- the Creator, Vishnu- the Sustainer, and Shiva- the Destroyer, to fight the demon Mahishasura.During the Navaratri in autumn her various aspects are worshipped.They are as follows Shailputri, rahampuri,Chandraghanta ,Kushmanda ,Skandamaata ,Kaatyayani ,Kaalratri ,Mahagauri ,Siddhidaatri.
Another important aspect of the female divine are the various Shakti Peethas(the seat of Shakti or female power ) spread all across the nation where 51 body parts of Devi Sati (Durga )fell after being broken apart by Sudarshan Chakra of Lord Vishnu. These Peethas form a major part of Hindu pilgrimage. Other prominent Devis are: Chamunda ,Dakshayani ,Jagaddhatri ,Kali(the Dark One or the dispeller of Darkness),Maya ,Mahavidyas (ten) ,Nirrith ,Prithivi- Earth Goddess ,Radha - the consort of Shri Krishna ,Tara ,Ambika ,Bhavani ,Bhutamata ,Brahmani .
Devi is important not only in Hinduism but the female divinity is worshipped in Buddhism
.Hindu devotees all over the world worship one or more than manifestation of the Devi or Divine Goddess.