Shakti Sadhana: An Obligation to the World


Devi Bhakta

I've been asked before why I occasionally post on "societal issues" in this Group, when it is supposed to be dedicated to "spiritual" issues. And today, again, I was asked about my earlier post on attempts to clean up the Ganga River -- I received an e-mail to the effect that this is all very interesting, but that if people wanted to hear about environmental issues, they'd join an environmentalism group, not a Hinduism group.

So let me answer that publicly. In my opinion (and I invite disagreement, if anyone thinks I'm incorrect on this) -- Shakti Sadhana, as a school of Hinduism, is distinguished by its *engagement* of the world rather than its *denial* of the world. To put it simply (perhaps over-simply), Shaktas understand Devi, the Goddess, as all that there is in the three worlds. She not only grounds and transcends the material Universe, She not only creates and destroys that Universe; in Her form as Maya, She also *is* that Universe.

The Shakta, however, does not see Maya as an entirely negative or false phenomenon, as many Hindu sects tend to. Maya -- the tangible world and its attachments and desires -- is not simply a force to be avoided, denied, ignored and eventually overcome. It is the legitimate and true body of the Goddess, and as such Maya too (i.e., the Universe and its contents) is a legitimate object of worship and devotion.

The most sensational applications of this rule -- i.e., the ritualized worship of a human woman as a manifestation of Devi; the 5M's of Tantra, the more extreme Aghora practices -- get most of the attention; but in fact, to care for the earth and the people in it; to give of your time and labor and money -- in addition to your prayers -- is, in effect, to take your sadhana out of the pooja room and into the street. That's not to discount the importance of prayer, japa, meditation; all the traditional. "strictly spiritual" components of sadhana. And certainly, many religions advocate and sponsor work for the good of society in this world. Shaktism, however, is the only religion that asserts that this world too is your deity -- and it must be treated with the same veneration, respect and reverence as more "traditional" representations of the Goddess or God of your choice.

It's a tough requirement to live up to; but if you can do it -- or even if you sincerely *try* to do it, you will soon find that the rewards are greater, and the spiritual dividends more profound, than you might ever have imagined.

Aum Maatangyai Namahe

Nora

Well said Devi_Bhakta, Thank you.

I have been my believe that Sadhana does not confine in the pooja/puja room. The real sadhana is out there in the real world. Our interaction with others especially with the environment itself is Sadhana. Once you have seen and feel DEVI, you see DEVI all around you.

Sankara Menon

In sadhana it is said where there is bhukti(enjoying worldly pleasures) there is no mukti(salvation; realisation); and where there is Mukti there is no bhukti. But in shakthi saadhana there is both Bhukti and mukti. That is the difference between other sadhanas and shakthi saadhana.

Sandeep Chatterjee

Hi DB,

An excellent post...Some two bits...

I've been asked before why I occasionally post on "societal issues" in this Group, when it is supposed to be dedicated to "spiritual" issues.

That spirituality which is divorced from society, is not worth a fig.

And today, again, I was asked about my earlier post on attempts to clean up the Ganga River -- I received an e-mail to the effect that this is all very interesting, but that if people wanted to hear about environmental issues, they'd join an environmentalism group, not a Hinduism group. So let me answer that publicly. In my opinion (and I invite disagreement, if anyone thinks I'm incorrect on this) -- Shakti Sadhana, as a school of Hinduism, is distinguished by its *engagement* of the world rather than its *denial* of the world.

You have used very interesting terms.

"Engagement" & "Denial"

Both suggest, an entity which believes it is engaged (in whatever manner and for whatever objective)......... or is in denial (in whatever manner and whatever denied)

In that belief, is the issue, ...........not in the activity of engagement or denial, per se.

So long you believe it is you who is doing the particular engagement or the particular denial, there is a "you". Which will have issues And which is stuck.

To put it simply (perhaps over-simply), Shaktas understand Devi, the Goddess, as all that there is in the three worlds. She not only grounds and transcends the material Universe, She not only creates and destroys that Universe; in Her form as Maya, She also *is* that Universe.

Absolutely.

The immanence and the transcendence. Simultaneously.

The dance and the dancer.
A dance comes to be a dance, because a dancer is dancing the dance.
A dancer becomes a dancer, because a dance has come into existence.
They are not two.

The Shakta, however, does not see Maya as an entirely negative or false phenomenon, as many Hindu sects tend to. Maya -- the tangible world and its attachments and desires -- is not simply a force to be avoided, denied, ignored and eventually overcome. It is the legitimate and true body of the Goddess, and as such Maya too (i.e., the Universe and its contents) is a legitimate object of worship and devotion.

The term maya, arises from the root term "matr", from which the word "measure" arises.

It is through the power of Maya, that the illusion appears whereby the "immeasurable" appears to have "measure".

When subjectivity-Noumenon, ..........appears ...............as cognizable phenomenon.

The most sensational applications of this rule -- i.e., the ritualized worship of a human woman as a manifestation of Devi; the 5M's of Tantra, the more extreme Aghora practices -- get most of the attention; but in fact, to care for the earth and the people in it; to give of your time and labor and money -- in addition to your prayers -- is, in effect, to take your sadhana out of the pooja room and into the street. That's not to discount the importance of prayer, japa, meditation; all the traditional. "strictly spiritual" components of sadhana. And certainly, many religions advocate and sponsor work for the good of society in this world. Shaktism, however, is the only religion that asserts that this world too is your deity -- and it must be treated with the same veneration, respect and reverence as more "traditional" representations of the Goddess or God of your choice.

The "wave" in the Ocean, has no independent existential reality.

Yet pick up a "wave" in your hand and all that you will have in the palm of your hand,......... is the Ocean.

Phenomenon IS Noumenon.

As the Zen koan goes.......

First there was the rivers and the mountains.
Then they were seen as an illusion.

Then there were the rivers and the mountains.

It's a tough requirement to live up to; but if you can do it -- or even if you sincerely *try* to do it, you will soon find that the rewards are greater, and the spiritual dividends more profound, than you might ever have imagined. Then that's a calculated bargain that you are pursuing.




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