Shakti In Rigveda

Shakti in Rigveda

According to modern scholars, and also many Gurus and Swamis within Hinduism, who remain silent on the subject, the Goddess in Hinduism, commonly known as “Shakti” is of a later concept in Hindu thought, borrowed from aboriginal tribals, known as Dravidians, Munda and others.

Yet, it seems these people themselves are now connected to the language and the sounds in the Rig Veda through their speech, and also their culture reflects that of the “Old Aryan” or Rig Vedic culture, now known to have existed in the sites of the Indus-Valley in the Thar Desert in Western India, stemming as far as the Gulf of Cambay to the South.

Yet, as we should have guessed with our Sanskritic scholarship, coming from narrow-minded neo-Nazi Germans and Christian Brits, these facts are entirely not true, and the poor translations of the texts merely support these out-dated theories.

Many names for the Goddess as Power or “Shakti” in India are mentioned in the Rig Veda, especially along with the god who is the Master of the Sensory Organs (Indra), later known as Shiva.

In this regard, Indra’s powers or “indriyas” are mentioned in the Rig Veda (VI.31.3) as “vishva indriyas” or “cosmic senses / powers” of the God, from which his own sahas or “power / strength” is said to emerge.

Sahas means “force / power / strength”, and is hence synonymous with Shakti.

This verse hence connects these ideas with later Yogic thought, which understands that by controlling or having mastery over one’s indriyas (or senses), one gains “shaktis” (powers) of Yoga, known as siddhis (mystical powers).

These “mystical powers” include clairvoyance, levitation, spiritual healing, invisibility and so forth. They are often personified, or powers granted by forms of the goddess, as Shakti, or power in her many manifest forms.

In fact, one verse lauds Indra as “Shaktivan” (V.31.5), which means “Possessor of Shakti (or Power)”, which itself is a feminine term in the Rig Veda, implying the Goddess. This term Shaktivan itself is comparable to later “Shaktiman”, meaning the same, and is a term applied to powerful Yogis and also the god Shiva (Vedic name Indra) himself. It refers to them having these mystical powers of yoga, or “siddhis”.

On this note, the term “Shachi”, an old Sanskrit term meaning “Shakti” and denoting the same, is lauded in the Rig Veda (I.112.8) as being the power given to the twin Ashwin gods (who possess mystic powers) to allow them to heal the crippled and help the blind see again. Shakti here is hence invoked as a feminine and yet positive term, in relation to Yogic powers or siddhis again.

In fact, these Ashwin gods are also invoked in another passage, which reads:

"Bring into creation, my tireless meditations and thoughts that ask for wealth, Shining Ashwins. Grant us high spirits in battle, and with your Shaktis, Lords of Shakti, assist us." (Rig Veda.VII.67.5)

The terms used here are “shaktam” and “shachipati” which mean “Power / force” and “Lords of power and force”, similar again to Shaktiman of later times, as a term for a Yogi possessing yogic powers. Yet again here however, the term “Shachi” is used in a feminine tense.

It also asks these gods to grant us powers in warfare, with their “shaktis” or powers. We know in later texts as the Puranas, the Devayudhas or “weapons of the Gods”, were manifestations empowered by the force of the Divine Mother in the form of Shakti to power also.

These are powers of the Self (sva or atman) employed by the Gods, who derive their powers from the Goddess Shakti to do so. On this note, one verse to the Vedic gods of War, who are manifestations of the god Shiva or Indra, are lauded as possessing “svayudha” or “weapons of the Self or soul” (RV.V.57.2), showing their importance, even in Vedic times. The same verse calls them “Sons of Prishni”, who is a Goddess later associated with the Goddess Kali in India – herself commonly portrayed as the goddess Shakti, in her most supreme form!

Although dark, she destroys spiritual darkness, known as “tamas”, which she merges into her own dark formlessness. Kali (meaning black or time) is also called Ratri (Night), which also refers to her name Prishni (spotted; Meaning spotted with stars, which later become her garland of white skulls on her black body. The moon is the symbol of ego and the severed head Kali holds).

On This, the following verse from the Rig Veda states”

“The immortal Goddess, she fills the vast, high and low places:
She destroys tamas (spiritual darkness) with her Light. (X.127.2)

In regards to Indra or the god Shiva, he is invoked along with his wife, Shachi or Power in the Rig Veda (III.60.6), and worshipped along with her, again showing her importance.

In the tenth and last book of the Rig Veda, we also know of a famous hymn to Shachi or “Goddess Power”, which tells us of her Supreme Nature as in later times (X.59). The same hymn (verse 3), extols her as “Jaya” or Victory, and states that her lord (pati) is submissive unto her will-power.

This also asserts her power in the Vedas, and this hymn is at the end of the Rig Veda, perhaps to “remind the Rishi (Seer)” of her importance in the text, although she may be contained within the hymns. Her secret power however is well-known.

The Goddess and her powers as Shakti in the Rig Veda, hence have an important place, as the “power behind the Vedic Gods”.

In some instances, in her wrathful forms, she assumes such terrible forms like the goddess Kali (mentioned above) and Bhairavi (The terrifying) in the Rig Veda, where she is also portrayed as the killer of Vedic demons, along with the god Indra.

This shows two things; As Shakti, she is the killer, as the power of the gods or inherit in them or their weapons. Two – she was also worshipped in such wrathful forms as a demon-slayer in her own right.

The following verse to the Goddess Saraswati, hence proclaims:

“Indeed, this celestial Ghora (Frightening) Saraswati with her path of Gold, the destroyer of the Obstruction (Vritraghni), claims our praise! VI.68.7

Goddesses in the Rig Veda that are prominent include Saraswati (mentioned before) and also Ushas, the goddess of spiritual awakening and the dawn. She is often referred to as Bhadra (Auspicious) in the Rig Veda, a term commonly used for Shakti in later times, as also Bhagavati, meaning the same.

On this note, in order to understand Shakti in the Rig Veda, and her later forms, let us also explore some of her names used in the Rig Veda itself, in regards to the Goddess Ushas:

Bhagavati –She who is Auspicious (I.164.40).

Bhagavati is a common name for the Goddess throughout India in later times, and in fact, is used as commonly as Devi, Mahadevi, Shakti etc. It hence shows the continuity of such names. Bhagavati is a common name for Parvati in her many manifestations.

Chitramagha – She who grants wonderful gifts. (VII.75.5).

Later Lakshmi and also Siddheshwari, the Goddess who grants the gifts of Yogic Siddhis, which are also powerful gifts. This is also Siddha-Lakshmi.

Dhenu – She who is the Cow (V.1.1)
The Goddess as the Sacred-Cow or Gai is a common theme in later Hinduism. Usually it relates to the Goddess Earth (Prithvi), who also becomes Sita (consort of the Rama-avatar) and Radha (consort of the Krishna-avatar) in her avatars or human manifestations. It also shows the nourishing nature of the Goddess, and is also Surabhi, the Divine wish-fulfilling Cow of the Seer Vasishtha. This is shown in Ushas, with her many names as the granter of wealth and desires.

Hiranyavarna –She who is Golden-Coloured (VII.77.2)

Shows the Goddess as the Self and the Sun, the powerful Golden-hued Shakti who is also later Gauri or Parvati, the Golden or Fair Goddess of the Mountain.

Jayanti – She who is Victorious (I.123.2).
Goddess as Jaya or Durga of later times, who is victorious over the asuras or demons.

Jira – She who is active and speedy (VII.81.3).

Kriya Shakti of later times, which relates to Goddess Kali, the goddess of action and speed, who also speeds to the devotee’s rescue.

Krishna – She who is Dark or Black (IV.3.9)
Ratri (Night) also refers to this Goddess, and here is lauded as seemingly a form related to the Cow-Goddess, which we know as Ushas. It hence here shows her “older” (Purani) form as her sister, Ratri or Kali, the Night or Black Goddess. She also relates to this form as Vibhavari, the Night or Prishni. Both relate to the imagery of later goddess Kali.

Maya – She is who is Illusion (III.61.7)
Maya is a common term in the Rig Veda, and is also, like Shri, mentioned along with the Ashwins (VI.63.5). Here however, it is used as the power of Mitra-Varuna at the end of a hymn to Ushas, and is again feminine in nature. The important thing to note here, is that Maya, Shri and Shakti commonly occur as powers of the Vedic Gods, but remain feminine in tone, showing their importance in Vedic times, as in later times. That the Gods can do nothing without the Goddess. As Maya, she is creation, illusion and their magical power!

Purani - She who is the Oldest or Crone (III.67.1, IV.51.6)
Purani represents the Crown-Goddess as Jyestha, also known as Dhumavati or Chamunda, forms of Kali. The same verse calls her the youngest and the oldest, showing the two forms of the Goddess Ushas, as Tripurasundari and Dhumavati. This shows that Ushas represents the same tradition of the Mahavidyas in Tantras – a Goddess of Spiritual Awakening, that assumes many forms.

Ratnabhaj - Possessor of Wealth (VII.81.4).

Later Kamala or Lakshmi

Revati - She who is auspicious prosperity (IV.51.4, III.67.6)
This relates to Lakshmi and is also a common name for the Goddess in later times. It is synonymous with the term Shri.

Sadhu – She who is spiritual (V.80.4).

Representing the goddess as a Yogini, and also represents a female Saint and purity.

Satya – She who is Truth (VII.75.7).

The Goddess as Sattvas, which is also an important concept in later times, representing the Supreme Truth.

Shri She who is Auspicious (VI.63.5-6)
This occurs as the wealth of the Ashwin Gods here, and in a feminine tone, along with the Goddess Ushas. It hence refers to her as the Goddess Lakshmi.

Shubra – She who is white and shining (VII.75.6)
This shows the goddess as another form of Lakshmi, but also as Sattvas also. As the wife of Vishnu, Lakshmi also represents Sattvas, the nature of her Lord.

Subhaga – She who is auspicious (Lakshmi or Kamala)

Sunari – The Joyful One (VII.81.3).
This represents later Sundari or Lalita, known as Tripurasundari, the Goddess of Delight (Ananda) or Divine Bliss, related to the Soma.

Svabhana –She who has the appearance of Self or the Self-Perceived (VI.64.4)
The Goddess as the Self-Illuminating or Self-Being here shows her as the great Shakti of later times, who is the Self-Goddess, and hence takes us to the great abode of immortality herself. She is Self-perceived, showing her as the Self-realised Dakini or Yogini.

Ushas – She who is the Morning and Awakening. As the awakening force, Ushas is hence the Kundalini-Shakti of later times, that is the awakening force or Shakti of the Self or Atman. Her aspects here in the Rig Veda show her very almost Tantric nature.

Vibhati – She who is illuminating and Vibhavari – She who is the effulgent light are common terms used to describe Ushas in the Rig Veda. They show the Goddess as the powerful Jyothi or Light of later times, as the power of the Gods, that blinds the asuras or demons, creations of darkness, and also avidya (ignorance). Vibhavari also represents Kali, as it also means “Starry night” and hence refers to Dark Kali’s body, dotted with bright skulls or stars.

Yuvati – She who is Youthful or the Maiden (III.67.1)
This relates to the Goddess who is Kumari (The Virgin) of later times, and other forms, such as Bala (a form of Lalita), portrayed as a youth or a child-goddess. It hence shows all of these such forms were common in Vedic times ,and continued.

This cultivates images of the Goddess of later times, as also the central theme of her as the Shakti, as has been explained above. Her many forms are hence also present in Vedic times, as in later times, when we understand the terms.

Shakti is everywhere in the Vedic texts, and here we represent it in the older text of the Hindus – the Rig Veda. It is indeed, the oldest text of mankind!

Other terms such as “Shakra” for Indra also denote the Shakti or power, for Shakra means “Power” also. Shakra or Indra is hence the consort of Shakti or Power, we could say.

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