Friday, April 5, 2019

Kalighat Kali Temple Is A Hindu Temple in West Bengal, India Dedicated to The Hindu Goddess Kali.

Kalighat Kali Temple is a Hindu temple in West Bengal, India dedicated to the Hindu goddess Kali,It is one of the 51 Shakti Peethas.

Kalighat was a Ghat sacred to Kali on the old course of the Hooghly river (Bhāgirathi) in the city of Calcutta. The name Calcutta is said to have been derived from the word Kalighat. The river over a period of time has moved away from the temple. The temple is now on the banks of a small canal called Adi Ganga which connects to the Hoogly. The Adi Ganga was the original course of the river Hoogly. Hence the name Adi (original) Ganga.

Kalighat is regarded as one of the 51 Shakti Peethas of India, where the various parts of Sati's body are said to have fallen, in the course of Shiva's Rudra Tandava. Kalighat represents the site where the toes of the right foot of Dakshayani or Sati fell.
Kalighat is also associated with the worship offered to Kali by a Dasanami Monk by name Chowranga Giri, and the Chowringee area of Calcutta is said to have been named after him.

The Kalighat temple in its present form is only about 200 years old, although it has been referred to in Mansar Bhasan composed in the 15th century, and in Kavi Kankan Chandi of the 17th century.The present structure of the temple was completed under the Sabarna Roy Chowdhury family's patronage in 1809. Mention of the Kali temple is also found in Lalmohon Bidyanidhis's 'Sambanda Nirnoy".[2] Only two types of coins of Chandragupta II, who incorporated Vanga in the Gupta Empire, are known from Bengal. His Archer type coins, which became the most popular type of coinage with the Gupta rulers after Kumaragupta I, have been found in Kalighat. This is evidence of the antiquity of the place.

The image of Kali in this temple is unique. It does not follow the pattern of other Kali images in Bengal. The present idol of touchstone was created by two saints - Atmaram Brahmachari and Brahmananda Giri. Presently, the three huge eyes, long protruding tongue made of gold and four hands, which all are made of gold too. Two of these hands holding a scimitar and a severed head of the asura king 'Shumbha'. The scimitar signifies Divine Knowledge and the asura (or, human) head signifies human Ego which must be slain by Divine Knowledge in order to attain Moksha. The other two hands are in the abhaya and varada mudras or blessings, which means her initiated devotees (or anyone worshiping her with a true heart) will be saved as she will guide them here and hereafter

The Kalighat Temple as a Shakti Peeth

The Temple at Kalighat is revered as an important Shakti Peetha, by the Shaktism sect of Hinduism. The mythology of Daksha yajna and Sati's self immolation is the story behind the origin of Shakti Peethas.

Daksha, the son of Brahma was an ancient entity called Prajapati or the keeper of the beings in Hinduism. He had a lot of daughters, one of whom was Sati, an incarnation of the Primordial Mother Goddess or Shakti. She was married to Shiva, the ascetic, whose abode was in the cold and snowy recesses of the Kailasa Parvat. Daksha had frowned upon the marriage, as Shiva was a penniless man, quite unlike the King that Daksha was. In time, Daksha decided that he would arrange a yajna or a ritual where he would invite all the gods, except for Shiva. Sati, his daughter came to her father's place, uninvited and faced a flurry of insults from her father about her husband. Unable to bear the insults, she immolated herself. The news of the death of his beloved wife set Shiva on a delirious rage, as he started the Tandav or the Dance of Destruction with the body of Sati, calming down, only when Vishnu managed to chop her body down into fifty one pieces, which would fall all over the length and breadth of India. (A lot of these places are in modern day Pakistan and Bangladesh as well.)
Shakti Peethas or divine seats of Shakti or the Primordial Mother Goddess, thus came into being wherever these severed parts of Sati's body had fallen.

Each of the 51 Peethas have a temple dedicated to the Shakti or the Primordial Mother, and a temple dedicated to the Bhairava or Shiva, the All-Father, essentially forming important historical centres to mark the marriage of Shaivism and Shaktism, and also the philosophical fact that a man is nothing without his Shakti or Woman and vice versa.
The Shakti here is thus Dakshina Kali (the benevolent Mother of the World) while the Bhairav being Nakulish or Nakuleshwar.
It is believed that the right big toe of Sati fell here at Kalighat. However, some Puranas also mention that the Mukha Khanda (face) of the Goddess fell here, got fossilized, and is stored and worshipped here.
The 51 Shakti Peethas are linked to the 51 alphabets in Sanskrit, each carrying the power to invoke one of the goddesses associated with them. These Alphabets are called Beeja Mantras or the seeds of the primordial sounds of creation. The Beeja Mantra for Dakshina Kali is Krīm.

The mythological texts which include the Kalika Purana (Ashtashakti,) recognize the four major Shakti Peethas—Bimala where resides the Pada Khanda (feet) (the temple is inside the Jagannath Temple, Puri, Odisha), Tara Tarini housing the Stana Khanda (Breasts), (near Brahmapur, Odisha), Kamakshya, Yoni khanda (vagina) (near Guwahati, Assam) and Dakshina Kalika, Mukha khanda (in Kolkata, West Bengal) originated from the lifeless body of the goddess Sati.

This is illustrated in a hymn from the Kalika Purana (Ashtashakti):

“Vimala Pada khandancha,
Stana khandancha Tarini (Tara Tarini),
Kamakhya Yoni khandancha,
Mukha khandancha Kalika (Kali)
Anga pratyanga sangena
Vishnu Chakra Kshate nacha……”

Further explaining the importance of these four Peethas the Brihat Samhita gives the geographical location of these Peethas. For example:

“Rushikulya Tate Devi,
Tarakashya Mahagiri,
Tashya Srunge Stitha Tara,
Vasishta Rajitapara"

Thus, there is no dispute regarding these four Adi Shakti Peethas and their locations. These four Peethas are also believed as the most powerful Shakti Peethas in Bharata Varsha. However, all these Four Adi Shakti Peethas are also part of 51 Shakti Peethas but there are four major parts of Devi Sati's body So, they are important, powerful and believed as Adi Shakti Peethas.

The Kamakhya Temple Also Known As Kamrup-Kamakhya Temple

Located on the Nilachal hill in the capital city of Guwahati, the deity of the temple, Kamakhya Devi is revered as the ‘Bleeding Goddess’.
It is believed that the ‘Garvagriha‘ or the sanctum sanctorum of the temple houses the mythical womb and vagina of the Hindu goddess Shakti.
Curiously enough, every year during the month of Ashaad (June), the Brahmaputra river near Kamakhya turns red. It is believed that the goddess ‘menstruates’ during this period.
Considering this to be a woman’s power to give birth, the deity and temple of Kamakhya is a celebration of this ‘shakti’ within every woman.

The story of origin is behind the temple quite interesting. It revolves around the Hindu gods Shiva and Sati. Legend has it that Sati fought with her husband to be part of the grand yajna that her father was offering to appease the gods—of which both were purposefully not invited to. Paying no heed to her husband’s advice, Sati headed to the yajna nevertheless, only to be insulted by her father.

The last straw was when he spoke ill of Shiva as well. Unable to bear the insult, Sati leapt into the very sacrificial fire of the yajna.
When Shiva came to know of what had happened, his anger knew no limits. Carrying his wife’s burnt corpse, he went on a rampage with his ‘Tandav‘ or the dance of destruction.

While all other gods cowered in fear under Shiva’s rage, it was Vishnu who sent his chakra and cut the body, in order to calm the aggrieved deity.
It is believed that Sati’s body parts fell in 108 locations across the country, which are today known as Shakti peeths.

Kamakhya finds its name from the Hindu God of love, Kamadeva. As the story goes, the god had sought out Shakti’s womb and genitals after having lost virility to a curse.
As a tribute to Shakti and her ability to lend back Kamadeva his potency, the deity of Kamakhya Devi was installed and continues to be worshipped until today.

Kamakhya finds its name from the Hindu God of love, Kamadeva. As the story goes, the god had sought out Shakti’s womb and genitals after having lost virility to a curse.
As a tribute to Shakti and her ability to lend back Kamadeva his potency, the deity of Kamakhya Devi was installed and continues to be worshipped until today.

Tara Tarini Temple is One Among The 4 Adi Shakti Peethas

Out of the 51 shakti peethas, the Tara Tarini Temple is one among the 4 Adi Shakti Peethas. The temple is located around 25km from Berhampur of Odisha, the temple is one of the major religious centres of the state.
The Legend Behind Tara Tarini Temple Legend has it that Lord Shiva started performing Rudra Tandava, the dance of destruction, holding the half burnt corpse of his beloved wife, Goddess Sati after her self immolation. To stop this fierce dance, Lord Vishnu threw his Sudarshana chakra on the body of Sati, which then got dismembered and fell at different places.

These sites where her limbs have fallen are worshipped as Shakti Peethas. Tara Tarini Temple is where her breasts fell, and the shire here is also known as the Breast shrine. The twin goddesses Tara and Tarini are worshipped here. This shakti peeth is also known as Kalyani Dham. A puranic reference to this temple is connected to a learned Brahmin Vasu Praharaja, who was a devotee of the Goddess. The two sisters Tara and Tarini who stayed with him for a few years, go missing one day. It is believed that the two sisters went up the Taratarini hill and disappeared from there. Praharaja couldn't find them anywhere and was left in despair. That night he dreamed the sisters, who informed him that they are incarnations of Adi Shakti Tara and Tarini, and they aslo asked him to renovate the temple and worship the dieties.

This ancient temple was built in the 17th century, and you have to take 999 steps to reach the temple, which is atop Taratarini hill or Purnagiri hill. The holy river Rushikalyani, which is believed to be the elder sister of river Ganga, flows at the foothills of the temple. The temple is built using Rekha style of architecture, and Goddess Taratarini was the principle deity of the rulers of Kalinga kingdom.

The Temple Deities The deities Tara and Tarini have human faces. These idols are made of stone and are adorned with gold and silver jewels and precious stones. Goddess Taratarini is the presiging deity of most of the households of Southern Odisha.

Festivals at Tara Tarini Temple Chaitra Parba, also known as Chaitra mela or Chaitra Yatra, is the major festival celebrated here. It is held on each Tuesday in the month of Chaitra, which falls in April-May as per the English calendar.

Shakti Pitha of Jagannath Tample Goddess Vimala

Puri holds a prominent place as a Hindu Pilgrimage site. With Lord Jagannath residing here, Puri attracts a lot of ardent devotees from all over the world to seek the blessings of Lord Jagannath. However, Puri is not just one among the Char Dhams, but it is also regarded as an abode of Hindu Goddess Vimala, and therefore is highly regarded as Shakti Pitha.
Who is Goddess Vimala?
Goddess Vimala is regarded as tantric consort of Lord Jagannath and is therefore believed to be another form of Goddess Laxmi. It is believed that she guards the temple complex and devotees should pay visit to Goddess Vimala before seeking blessings of Lord Jagannath.
The importance of Goddess Vimala becomes instantly visible by the tradition of temple, which is based on an age-old legend- Food offered to Jagannath does not get sanctified as Mahaprasad until it is also offered to Vimala.

The temple of Goddess Vimala is located in the south-west corner of the inner enclosure of the Jagannath temple complex and on the western corner of the tower of Jagannath, next to the sacred pond Rohini kunda. Facing towards east, the temple is constructed of sandstone and laterite in typical Deua style of architecture.

Significance as Shakti Pitha
The Vimala Temple is considered to be one of  the most Shakti Pithas. The Shakti Pithas are the most sacred temples dedicated to Hindu Goddesses, and are ainly identified with Goddess Durga and Goddess Parvati.

“In Goddess-oriented worship, Vimala (Bimala) is regarded as the presiding goddess of the Purushottama (Puri) Shakti Pitha. Jagannath, a form of the god Vishnu/Krishna (Krishna is generally regarded as an avatar of Vishnu), is worshipped as the Pitha’s Bhairava. This is a departure from the usual tradition of Bhairava as a form of Shiva. So, in this temple complex, Vishnu–one of the Hindu trinity – is equated with Shiva, another of the trinity; this is interpreted to convey the oneness of God. In this regard, Vimala – generally associated with Shiva’s consort – is also considered as Lakshmi, the consort of Vishnu. Conversely, Tantrics consider Jagannath as Shiva-Bhairava, rather than a form of Vishnu.”

History of The Temple Complex
The present structure is believed to date back to 9th century, with the central icon dating back to 6th Century CE. Based on the architecture of the temple it seems to build under Eastern Ganga Dynasty. However, there are indications that a shrine would have been situated before the present structure, which somehow got destroyed and it’s the renovated version of the shrine. At some places, like the sculptures, especially the parshvadevatas (attendant deities), as well as the background slab of the central icon, reflect the Somavashi style and may be part of the original temple, on whose ruins the new temple was constructed.

Those were the key features and interesting facts of Vimala Temple, situated in Jagannath Temple. Make sure to seek Goddess’s blessings while in holy town of Puri and stay tuned with Hotel Holiday Resort for more such updates of abode of Lord Jagannath.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Kalaratri is the Seventh of The Nine Forms of The Goddess Durga, Known As The Navadurga.

Goddess Kalratri, also known as Maa Kaali, is the seventh avatar of Goddess Durga. Devotees worship her on the seventh day of Navratri. They seek her blessings to eliminate all troubles from their lives. This form of Maa Durga is believed to destroy all demons, ghosts and negative energies. She is also believed to be the destroyer of time and death. Although, intimidating in appearance, this Devi is benevolent towards all worshipers.
Origin and History
There are many mythological stories that tell us about the transformation of Goddess Durga into Maa Kalratri. According to the most common legend, two demons Shumbha and Nishumbha invaded and defeated devlok (the realm of demigods). These demigods prayed to Goddess Parvati for help who readily transformed herself into Goddess Chandika, to battle with demons on behalf of all devtas. Goddess Chandika, also known as Chamunda, transformed herself into Goddess Kalratri and killed both these demons. Maa Kalratri fought another demon called Raktveej and kept drinking his blood till he was completely dead, causing her tongue to appear blood-red.

Appearance and FormKalratri Devi, also known as Maa Kaali, is the most ferocious form of Goddess Durga. This Krishna (black) colored Goddess has long tousled hair and three round protruding eyes. She exhales flames through her nostrils while breathing and has four arms that depict her immense strength. Also, she holds a cleaver and a deadly sabre in each of her hands, while her other hands are in Abhay and Varada mudras to grant blessings and protection to her sadhakas. Sometimes, she is also seen standing on a demon’s corpse and holding it’s freshly cut head while in her other hand she’s holding a trident. This Goddess wears a necklace of skulls and is usually depicted mounting a donkey.

Customs and Rituals
Saptami Pujan of Goddess Kalratri on the seventh day of Navratri is considered to be auspicious. When it comes to other festivals, Ganesh Chaturthi precedes Durga Saptami of Navratris. After Saptami, comes Ashtami, which is then followed by Maha Navmi, Vijaya Dashmi and Diwali. On this day devotees observe fast as well as perform rituals to seek the Goddess’ blessings.

                                 The Mantra

                              Ekveni Japakarnapura Nagna Kharastitha |
                              Lamboshthi Karnikakarni Tailabhyakta Sharirani ||

    Kalash Pujan and Worship of Lord Shiva and Brahma

Kalash Puja is also performed on this day to invite all the planets, deities and family members of the Goddess. All the chapters of the religious book ‘Durga Saptashi’, are recited on this day. Apart from this, several rituals are performed to worship Brahma and Lord Shiva on this day. Madira (alcohol), being a part of these rituals, is offered to this Devi. This night is considered to be highly auspicious by Siddha Yogis and sadhakas to practice penance for Shashastra.

What to Wear on the Seventh Day of Navratri
Mahasaptami is the beginning of Utsav Puja. Since white is considered as the auspicious color for this day, the devotees wear traditional or contemporary dresses, embellished in white color.

Mata Kushmanda Avatar of Goddess Durga

Maa Kushmanda, the fourth Avatar of Goddess Durga, is worhipped on the 4th day of Navratri. Her name signals her main role: Ku means "a little", Ushma means "warmth" or "energy" and Anda means "cosmic egg" and she is considered the creator of the universe. As per the Hindu mythology, Lord Vishnu was able to start creating the universe when Maa Kushmanda smiled like a flower which blossomed with a bud. She created the world from nothing, at the time when there was eternal darkness all around. This Swarup of Maa Durga is the source of all.

It is stated that She created the whole universe, which is called Brahmanda  in Sanskrit, by just flashing little bit of her smile.

It is also said that in Sanskrit “KUSHMANDA” means pumpkin – MAA KUSHMANDA likes the sacrifice of pumpkin. The Goddess Durga is very happy in this manifestation. Legends says that LORD VISHNU was able to start the creation of universe when Goddess Kushmandu created the whole universe in the shape of an egg called “Anda “ with her smile like a flower which bloomed with a bud. It is believed that when the universe did not exist there was complete darkness everywhere. So she is the one who eliminated the darkness with her divine smile.

She has eights hands in which she holds Kamandul,bow, arrow, a jar of nectar (Amrit), discus, mace and a lotus, and in one hand she holds a rosary which blesses her devotees with the Ashtasiddhis and Navniddhis. She is also known as Ashtabhuja. She has a radiant face and golden body complexion. Maa resides in the core of the Sun and thus controls the Surya Lok. Goddess Kushmanda has eight hands and because of that She is also known as Ashtabhuja Devi.

According to DURGA SAPTSHALE ,Goddess Kushmanda created the universe. She is the only one who controls the functioning of the Solar System ( Suryamandal). She is the one who existed when there was nothing but darkness. Then she smiled & universe was created illuminated with light. The core of the Sun( SURYALOK) is believed to be her residence. She is the one who provide the energy to the sun to shine & emit light to the universe. All direction gets illuminated by her divine smile including sun itself. Since, she created the universe she is also called Adiswroop . Her beauty is boundless. She has radiant face & golden body complexion. Grace & dignity of Maa Kushmanda is truly incredible. She bestows brightness, clarity, profound peace to her adorers. Her gleam is eternal.

Maa Kushmanda represents Anahata Chakra in spiritual practice. The divine blessings of Maa Kushmanda helps you improve your health and wealth. She removes all the hurdles and troubles from your life and enables you to get rid of all sorts sorrows in life. Maa brings light into darkness and establishes harmony in your life. She is a form of “Adi Shakti “worshipping Maa Kushmanda the worshipper enters in Anhat Chakra. It is advised that one should perform pooja of this alimighty only after absolute purification of heart & soul. Impure heart can make this goddess infuriate. Grace of this Goddess finishes all type of physical and mental disorder. By spiritually worshipping her, the worshipper can become free from afflictions. Her grace endows divine spark to adorer. Worshipping her in a simple process the worshipper can feel the existence of this great almighty. Maa Kushmanda is true symbolism of divine spark. With blessings of Maa Kushmanda devotee can achieve name, fame & other comfort of life.

The prayer begins by chanting Mantra of Devi –

Surāsampūrṇakalaśaṁ rudhirāplutamēva cha |

Dadhānā hastapadmābhyāṁ kūṣmāṇḍā śubhadāstu mē ||

May Maa Kushmanda bless us all.
Since she created the universe, she is called Adiswarup and Adishakti.After taking form of Siddhidatri, Goddess Parvati started living inside the center of the Sun so that He can liberate energy to the universe. Since then Goddess is known as Kushmanda. Kushmanda is the Goddess who has the power and capability to live inside the Sun. The glow and radiance of her body is as luminous as that of the Sun.

Navadurga and the 9 Forms of the Hindu Goddess Durga

For Hindus, the mother goddess Durga is a very special deity, able to appear in nine different forms, each of which is endowed with unique powers and traits. Together, these nine manifestations are called Navadurga (translated as "nine Durgas").

Devout Hindus celebrate Durga and her many appellations during a nine-night festival called Navaratri, which is held in late September or early October, depending on when it falls on the Hindu lunisolar calendar. Each night of Navaratri honors one of the mother goddess' manifestations. Hindus believe ​that worshiping Durga with sufficient religious fervor will lift the divine spirit and fill them with renewed happiness.

Navaratri begins with a night of worship and celebration in honor of Durga's avatar Shailaputri, whose name means "daughter of the mountains." Also known as Sati Bhavani, Parvati, or Hemavati, she is the daughter of Hemavana, the king of the Himalayas. Shailaputri is considered to e the purest embodiment of Durga and the mother of nature. In iconography, she is depicted riding a bull and holding a trident and a lotus blossom. The lotus represents purity and devotion, while the prongs on the trident represent the past, present, and future.

On the second day of Navaratri, Hindus worship Brahmacharini, whose name means "one who practices devout austerity." She enlightens us in the magnificent embodiment of Durga with great powers and divine grace. Brahmacharini holds a rosary in her right hand, representing the special Hindu prayers recited in her honor, and a water utensil in her left hand, symbolizing marital bliss. Hindus believe she endows happiness, peace, prosperity, and grace upon all devotees who worship her. She is the way to emancipation, called Moksha.

Chandraghanta is the third manifestation of Durga, representing peace, tranquility, and prosperity in life. Her name is derived from the chandra (half moon) in her forehead in the shape of a ghanta (bell). Chandraghanta is charming, has a golden bright complexion, and rides a lion. Like Durga, Chandraghanta has multiple limbs, usually 10, each holding a weapon, and three eyes. She is all-seeing and ever-vigilant, ready to battle evil from whatever direction.

4. Kushmanda
Kushmanda is the fourth form of the mother goddess, and her name means "creator of the universe," for she is the one who brought light to the dark cosmos. Like other manifestations of Durga, Kushmanda has multiple limbs (usually eight or 10), in which she holds weapons, glitter, a rosary, and other holy objects. The glitter is particularly significant because it represents the sparkling light that she brings to the world. Kushmanda rides a lion, symbolizing ​strength and courage in the face of adversity.

Skandamata is the mother of Skanda or Lord Kartikeya, who was chosen by gods as their commander-in-chief in the war against the demons. She is worshipped on the fifth day of Navaratri. Emphasizing her pure and divine nature, Skanda Mata is seated on a lotus, and she has four arms and three eyes. She holds the infant Skanda in her right upper arm and a lotus in her right hand, which is slightly raised upward. With her left arm, she grants blessings to the Hindu faithful, and she holds a second lotus in her left hand.

6. Katyayani
Katyayani is worshipped on the sixth day of Navaratri. Like Kalaratri, who is worshipped on the following night, Katyayani is a fearsome sight, with wild hair and 18 arms, each clutching a weapon. Born in a fit of divine rage and anger, she emits a radiant light from her body from which darkness and evil cannot hide. Despite her appearance, Hindus believe that she can bestow a sense of calm and inner peace upon all who worship her. Like Kushmanda, Katyayani rides a lion, ready at all times to confront evil.

Kalaratri is also known as Shubhamkari; her name means "one who does good." She is a fearsome-looking deity, with a dark complexion, disheveled hair, four arms, and three eyes. Lightning issues from the necklace she wears and flames shoot from her mouth. Like Kali, the goddess who destroys evil, Kaal Ratri has black skin and is worshipped as a protector of Hindu faithful, one to be both honored and feared. In her left hand, she holds a vajra, or spiked club, and a dagger, both of which she uses to fight the forces of evil. Her right hands, meanwhile, beckon to the faithful, offering them protection from darkness and allaying all fears.

8. Mahagauri
Mahagauri is worshipped on the eighth day of Navaratri. Her name, which means "extremely white," refers to her luminous beauty, which radiates from her body. Hindus believe that by paying homage to Maha Gauri, all past, present, and future sins will be washed away, imparting a deep sense of inner peace. She wears white clothes, has four arms, and rides on a bull, one of the most sacred animals in Hinduism. Her right hand is in the pose of allaying fear, and her right lower hand holds a trident. The left upper hand holds a damaru (a small tamborine or drum) while the lower one is thought to grant blessings to her devotees.

Siddhidatri is the final form of Durga, celebrated on the final night of Navaratri. Her name means "giver of supernatural power," and Hindus believe she bestows blessings upon all deities and devotees of the faith. Siddhidatri grants wisdom and insight to those who appeal to her, and Hindus believe that she can do the same for deities who worship her as well. Like some of Durga's other manifestations, Siddhidatri rides a lion. She has four limbs and carries a trident, a spinning disc called a Sudarshana Chakra, a conch shell, and a lotus. The conch, called a shankha, represents longevity, while the spinning disc symbolizes the soul or timelessness.

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