Framing Shakti: Mother Worship – Rita Bhandarkar Mathew

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November 17, 2019

Sadhana is worship that takes you from the state “Love is never having to say you’re sorry” to that love which is adoration of Shakti, God as Mother, the Great Goddess (Mahadevi), the Supreme Power behind this Universe.  In Tantra philosophy, Shakti worship is Shakti Sadhana or spiritual practice. 

Shakta texts, such as Devi Mahatmyam (Chandi), frame Shakti by use of various symbols, metaphors and allegories. Cognitive psychologists and linguists point out that metaphors are not just tools of descriptions in language, but are the foundation on which our conceptual framework is built. 

This foundation represents 98% of our unconscious selves and it lies embedded as a deep narrative in our psyche.  By studying the language of Chandi, we can infer how the framework is synthesized from parts into a network of concepts in the individual and collective unconscious.  For example, King Suratha (Su=good, Ratha=chariot) is an allegory for the body. Merchant Samadhi (Sam=integrated, Dha=to hold) is a focused mind in meditation. Sage Medha represents intellect or knowledge.  Tantric worship with yantra, mantra, tantra are really Spiritual Sadhana using our Body, Mind and Intellect. 

The three episodes of Chandi, praise of MahaKali, MahaLakshmi, and MahaSaraswati, offer a means for internal purification so that we can attain the feet of Mahadevi.  Worship of Divine Mother, according to Paramahansa Ramakrishna, is nothing other than worshiping the inherent Power of the Supreme Divine, Sat-Chit- Ananda, the unifying force of Existence-Consciousness-Bliss. 

Once considered a secret, Sri Ramakrishna has made this practice available to all, so that using the body as yantra, repetition of divine names in mantras, and remaining open to extending our deep narratives we can find the pathway to bliss in this very life time.  We will conclude by learning 9 Mudras, and 9 Mantras to extend our spiritual repertoire.

Rita has been leading Chandi worship in Sanskrit every month for over three years at the Vedanta Center.  She has a graduate degree in business and accounting, with an interest in Sanskrit, and Hindustani Classical Music.  Her academic interests include use of technology in microfinancing and sustainable development.  She has been invited twice to Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi: in 1971, to meet President V.V. Giri, and in 2006, to meet President Abdul Kalaam.