The tale of Devi Sati and Bhagawan Shiva embodies the eternal union of Shakti and Shiva, two fundamental cosmic forces. The story begins when Sati, the devoted wife of Bhagawan Shiva and the daughter of King Daksha, immolated herself during a grand yajna organized by her royal father. This act of self-sacrifice was prompted by Daksha’s grievous insult to Lord Shiva by not inviting him to the sacred ritual. Overwhelmed by grief and rage, Lord Shiva embarked on a destructive cosmic dance – the tandava. This dance threatened to unleash chaos and destruction upon the world. To avert this catastrophe, Bhagawan Vishnu intervened. He wielded his divine Sudarshan Chakra to cut Sati’s body into pieces while Lord Shiva continued the tandava. Vishnu’s action was a bid to pacify Shiva and restore cosmic balance.
As a consequence of this divine intervention, Sati’s body parts and ornaments fell across the vast expanse of the Akhand Bharat. These locations came to be known as Shakti Peethas, revered pilgrimage sites where the goddess’s divine energy is believed to be particularly potent and accessible. The legend of the Shakti Peethas underscores the profound connection between śrāddha of the bhakta and the divine mata. Each Shakti Peetha encapsulates a unique aspect of Goddess Shakti’s energy, drawing devotees seeking her blessings. These sacred sites serve as a testament to the enduring power of faith and eternal union of Shakti and Shiva in the Brahmand.
The Mahatmyam of the devi can be encapsulated in the following ashtadashshaktipeetha stotram:
लंकायां शांकरीदेवी कामाक्षी कांचिकापुरे ।
प्रद्युम्ने शृंखलादेवी चामुंडी क्रौंचपट्टणे ॥ 1 ॥
अलंपुरे जोगुलांबा श्रीशैले भ्रमरांबिका ।
कॊल्हापुरे महालक्ष्मी मुहुर्ये एकवीरा ॥ 2 ॥
उज्जयिन्यां महाकाली पीठिकायां पुरुहूतिका ।
ओढ्यायां गिरिजादेवी माणिक्या दक्षवाटिके ॥ 3 ॥
हरिक्षेत्रे कामरूपी प्रयागे माधवेश्वरी ।
ज्वालायां वैष्णवीदेवी गया मांगल्यगौरिका ॥ 4 ॥
वारणाश्यां विशालाक्षी काश्मीरेतु सरस्वती ।
अष्टादश सुपीठानि योगिनामपि दुर्लभम् ॥ 5 ॥
सायंकाले पठेन्नित्यं सर्वशत्रुविनाशनम् ।
सर्वरोगहरं दिव्यं सर्वसंपत्करं शुभम् ॥ 6 ॥
(Goddess Shankari in Sri Lanka, Kamakshi in Kanchipuram,
Goddess Shrinkhala in Pradyumna and Chamunda in Krauncha-Pattanam,
Goddess Jogulamba in Alampur, Goddess Bhramarambika in Sri Shailam,
Goddess Mahalakshmi in Kolhapur and Goddess Ekaveera in Mahur,
Goddess Mahakali in Ujjain, Purhuthika in Peethika,
Goddess Girija in Odhyana and Goddess Manikya in the house of Daksha,
Goddess Kamarupi in the temple of Vishnu, Goddess Madhveswari in Prayagraj,
The flame-emitting Goddess in Jwalamukhi and Mangala Gauri in Gaya,
Goddess Vishalakshi in Varanasi, Goddess Saraswati in Kashmir,
These eighteen holy Shakti Peethas are rare and dhyānam of the devi with śrāddha annihilates enemies, cures all ailments, and bestows wealth and blessings).
Sharadiya Navratrotsav is a few weeks away and IndicA Today calls for essays from all Indics for a special competition – “The Spiritual Significance of 18 Powerful Shakti Peethas of Akhand Bharat”. Some suggested essay topics, but not limited to, include the following:
- Stories of creation, nourishment and annihilation associated with the Shakti Peethas.
- Regional traditions surrounding a particular Shakti Peetha.
- What is the common thread that unites these Shakti Peethas despite their unique regional features?
Essays may be submitted in two categories:
- For the Quick Reads section: Word count can be between 1000 to 1500 words.
- For the Long Reads section: Word count can be between 2000 to 3500 words.
Essays may be submitted in English, Hindi, Kannada and Sanskrit languages.
Last date for submission is October 24, 2023
Please note that the last date for submission has been extended to October 31, 2023.
The top two essay winners, irrespective of language or category, will be offered an exclusive opportunity to embark on an esoteric journey to visit the Shakti Peetha of their choice. This trip will be funded by IndicA Today up to Rs. 25,000 for the first-place winner and Rs. 20,000 to the second-place winner.
Apart from that, the top 5 essays in each language will be published on our website.
Please send in your entries to email@example.com
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