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Appealing to the Mother Goddess to Destroy Ego States – Hindu References on Eliminating the Ego

The goddess Durga pictured here conquering the demon Mahisasura. Painting by Shilpi Siddhanti Siddalinga Swami (1885-1952) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Hinduism has a rich ancient tradition of goddess veneration, and stands out amongst today’s major world religions with its reverence for the feminine aspect of divinity. Such veneration was once much more prominent worldwide, and can be seen in various traditions descended from the ancient Religion of the Sun.

Hinduism’s many goddesses are generally understood to be forms or aspects of one great Spiritual Mother, whose primordial energy, called Prakriti (nature) or Shakti (energy), is said to underlie creation. This all-encompassing female deity is sometimes referred to as “Mahadevi,” which means “Great Goddess.” Hinduism’s many goddesses are often held to embody or represent her different roles and attributes.

Among her roles is that of a fierce warrior who destroys evil and rescues her children from the powers of darkness—her children being those who exist in creation. It is this aspect which the majestic and formidable goddess Durga and the ferocious goddess Kali portray. Both goddesses are also used to personify the great Mahadevi in Hindu iconography, as they exemplify her supreme power.

Durga and Kali are depicted as unassailable warriors, bearing weapons primed for battle and slaying hordes of demons. Kali, whose name means black or dark one, is in some accounts portrayed as Durga’s most fearsome form or manifestation1 with a ferocious appearance, wearing the severed heads and arms of the demons she has slayed. While formidable and powerful, both Durga and Kali are also portrayed as merciful and compassionate, aiding those oppressed by evil.

The battles they wage can be seen as more than mythical however, as a metaphor for the struggle between light and darkness within the human psyche. Hindu folklore presents the warrior Goddess as a higher power one can petition to ask for the destruction of “enemies,” “robbers,” and “deadly evils” within, and thereby be rescued from sin. The inner enemies slayed by the Goddess are described in traditional hymns as being evil desires and passions like lust, anger, and greed.

Traditional Sanskrit Songs (Stotras) to the Goddess

A statue/idol of the Goddess Durga at a Durga Puja festival in Kolkata, India in 2016. By Indrajit DasOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

This understanding can be found in traditional songs of veneration to the Goddess, such as Chalisas. These are Sanskrit stotras—odes or hymns of praise—consisting of forty-verse prayers written for song.2

An example is the “Durga Chalisa,” often sung at a festival in honor of Durga called Navratri (or Durga Puja),3 held over nine nights around the Autumn Equinox.4 The verses praise Durga as the mother of creation who pervades and nurtures the universe, destroys everything at the time of dissolution, terrifies and slaughters demons, and has the power to end miseries and sorrow, and bring redemption. It praises a number of Goddesses in the Hindu pantheon as various forms of the same great Spiritual Mother.

The following excerpt from “Durga Chalisa” conveys how a person afflicted and tormented by various desires like passion and lust, which are described as “enemies,” can meditate on or direct attention toward the Mother Goddess, and pray to her to ask her to kill these enemies arising within. (Note that “Bhavani” is another name or form of Durga):

O Mother! Severe afflictions distress me
and no one except Your Honoured Self can provide relief,
please end my afflictions.

Hopes and longings ever torture me.
All sorts of passions and lust ever torment my heart.

O Goddess Bhavani! I meditate only upon you
Please kill my enemies O Queen!

~ “Durga Chalisa”5

The Hindu Goddess Kali in her warrior form. Painting By Artist unknown, Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

“Sri Kali Chalisa” is another forty-verse traditional song, in this case eulogizing the Goddess Kali. This hymn describes the Goddess as primordial energy, the mother of the world, the source and mother of all beings, and describes in detail her formidable appearance and ability to battle and slaughter demons.

Like the previous hymn, it also describes how a person oppressed by evil states within can pray to the Mother Goddess to destroy them. The verses call out for Kali to overthrow the “prime enemies” of “lust, anger, infatuation, and avarice” within—states in the human psyche described as “robbers” and “deadly evils.” Deliverance from these evil states is said to bring one closer to Rama and Krishna. These are divine heroes and savior figures in Hindu mythology, believed to have been born on earth as manifestations of the God Vishnu in human form to restore spiritual principles and turn back the tide of evil.

I am in a perilous predicament, O Mother, and know not whom [else] to call for help.

I am being pursued on the rough roads of life by four robbers who are bent upon turning me against the lord of the house of Raghu, Rama.6

These are my prime enemies, the sovereign lords of all the deadly evils; lust, anger, infatuation and avarice.

If you overthrow them (and abandon me not to my troubles), I would be blessed with devotion to the enemy of [the demon] Mura, namely, Lord Krsna [Krishna].

~ “Sri Kali Chalisa”7

The Hindu Goddess Kali, also known by the name or form Bhavatarini. Image by UnknownOnline Collection of Brooklyn Museum; No restrictions, via Wikimedia Commons.

An alternative translation of the above verse renders the four prime enemies as “lust, anger, attachments, and greed.”8

Another traditional forty-verse Sanskrit song to Kali is the “Shri Mahakāli Chalisa.” (Although both this and the previous song are also simply called “Kali Chalisa.”) It describes Kali as primordial energy, an everlasting flame, as both a personal mother and mother of the earth, and as a fierce warrior with the power to kill and diminish demons, terrify negative beings, and dissolve the troubles of her devotees.

The following passage speaks of her ability to remove pain, “negative thoughts,” and sorrow from those who pray to her and seek refuge in her. The Goddess is described as having power to free a person from the trappings of an illusory materialistic perception of life (Maya), to bestow knowledge, and to grant spiritual liberation (Moksha). Note that “Maa” is the short version of “matar” which means mother in Sanskrit, while “Kali-yuga world” refers not to the goddess Kali, but to the present age of darkness and degeneration (Kali Yuga) the world is said to be in.

You eliminate deep sorrow of whoever takes refuge in you
Please have mercy, Maa Kali

[…]

We are ignorant, foolish and caught up in the illusion of Maya
Please break us free from this
Please have mercy, Maa Kali

[…]

Mother Bhavatarni9 grant us Moksha [spiritual liberation] Destroyer of pain, remove my sorrows
O Maternal mother
Please have mercy, Maa Kali

No one can distract anyone who prays to you
You remove your devotees negative thoughts
Please have mercy, Maa Kali

I am trying to reach your path in this Kali-yuga world
Please attract me closer to you
Give me knowledge to overcome and be close to you
Please have mercy, Maa Kali

Praise to the form of Mahakali
You are the energy, you are the light, the everlasting flame
The Mother… you are adorned and loved
Be merciful Maa Kali

~ “Shri Mahakāli Chalisa”10

Musical renditions of this and “Durga Chalisa” with English subtitles can be found in the Indian/Hindu section of the traditional music resources page.

Asking for Forgiveness and to Be Rescued from Sin

A depiction of the Goddess Durga. Image by Damian N. Boodram – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons, Cropped.

Another traditional Sanskrit song is the “Devi Aparadha Kshamapana Stotram,” which is a prayer seeking forgiveness from the Goddess Durga. The verses touch on the theme that sincerity, humility, and self-honesty are more important than ritual procedures when praying to the Mother Goddess. They convey how a person can pray to the Spiritual Mother in repentance, and how, despite having committed wrong or failed in their duties due to “ignorance” or “sloth,” if they are sincere and admit their mistakes, they can still find forgiveness and refuge from the Mother—who is said to have the power to destroy sorrow.

I don’t know how to recite Your mantra, how to worship You with yantra,
Nor do I know how to welcome you or meditate upon you.
I don’t know how to pray to you or how to do Your mudra.
Nor do I know how to open my heart to you and tell you of my suffering.
But this I know, Oh MA!
That to take refuge in you will destroy all my sorrow.

Because of my ignorance, poverty and sloth,
I have not been able to worship Your feet.
But Oh Mother! gracious Deliverer of all,
All this should be forgiven,
For a bad son may sometimes be born,
But a bad mother, never…

Oh MA! You have so many worthy sons on earth
But I am a worthless,
Yet it isn’t right that You should abandon me
For a bad son may sometimes be born in this world
But a bad mother, never…

~ “Devi Aparadha Kshamapana Stotram”11

A priest performing an Aarti ritual, an offering made to Hindu Deities, (in this case to the Goddess Durga,) using a lit oil lamp during a Durga Puja festival in India. By MukerjeeOwn work, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

The following verses describe the Spiritual Mother as an “ocean of compassion” whose great love never fades, even if one has committed “mistakes after mistakes.” It conveys how the Mother bestows her love on those who remember and turn to her to repent of their mistakes; she is said to hold the power to uplift and save the fallen that turn to her, by removing their sins.

(O Mother) I have not worshipped You as prescribed by tradition with various rituals,
(On the other hand) What rough thoughts did my mind not think and my speech utter?

[…]

O Mother) I have sunk in Misfortunes and therefore [I am] remembering You now (which I never did before),
O Mother Durga, (You Who are) an Ocean of Compassion, …
(Therefore) do not think of me as false (and my invocation as pretence),
(Because) When children are afflicted with Hunger and Thirst, they naturally remember their Mother (only),

O Jagadamba (Mother of the Universe), What is surprising in this!
The graceful Compassion of the (Blissful) Mother always remains fully filled,
(Because) in-spite of the son committing Mistakes after Mistakes,
The Mother never abandons the son.

(O Mother) There is no one as Fallen like me, and there is no one as Uplifting ( by removing Sins ) like You
Considering thus, O Mahadevi, Please do whatever is proper (to save me).

~ “Devi Aparadha Kshamapana Stotram”12

In Hindu Scripture

The theme of Durga saving people from sins is also found in the Mahabharata, an ancient Hindu epic. The following passage occurs when the wise King Yudhishthira, exiled in the wilderness with his brothers, decides to pray to Durga for assistance. The verse describes the nature of the Goddess, illustrating how one can call out to the Goddess for help in times of distress and sin, and be relieved of their burdens:

“[The goddess Durga is] always decked in celestial garlands and attired in celestial robes, — who is armed with sword and shield, and always rescues the worshipper sunk in sin, like a cow in the mire, who in the hours of distress calls upon that eternal giver of blessings for relieving him of their burdens.”

~ The Mahabharata 13

A carved relief depicting the Hindu Goddess Durga in her battle against the demons. Photo by Richard MortelMahishasuramardini Mandapam, Pallave period, 7th century, Mahabalipuram (25), CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Devi Mahatmyam is perhaps the most well-known Hindu sacred text about the Goddess vanquishing evil. It narrates the awesome feats of the “Warrior Goddess” in her battles with demonic forces. The text tells the story of a great battle between forces of light and darkness, where the Goddess Durga plays a central role as the Divine feminine force of supreme power, appearing to the devas (angels) when they are in need of help and protection from the asuras (demons), which threaten to take over the universe. With various weapons and an incredible power she destroys the demonic forces, ultimately leading them to victory.

The passage below describes the goddess Durga going into battle, conveying her fierce and incredible power and capacity to destroy evil.

Honoured with ornaments and weapons by the remaining gods too, the Goddess roared with loud laughter again and again. The entire sky was filled with her immeasurable stupendous roar and great was the echo that reverberated. All the worlds were frenzied and the oceans raged.

The earth quaked and the mountains rocked in the wake of the Warrior Goddess, the great unity of the innate powers (saktis) of all the gods. “Victory to you,” exclaimed the gods in joy to her, the lion-rider. The sages extolled her bowing their bodies in salutation. Seeing the three worlds agitated the foes of the gods, marshalled all their armies and rose up together with uplifted weapons.

Exclaiming in wrath, [the demon] Mahishasura rushed towards that sound, accompanied by innumerable asuras. Then he saw the Goddess pervading the three worlds with her effulgence. Making the earth bend with her footstep, scraping the sky with her diadem, shaking the nether worlds with the twang of the bow-string, she stood there covering all the quarters with her thousand arms.

Then began the battle between that Devi and the enemies of the devas, in which the quarters of the sky were illumined by various arrows and missiles hurled at each other. She, the Goddess Durga, the embodiment of the lethal energy of divine anger turned against evil, set herself to destroy the armies of [the demon] Mahishasura.

~ Devi Mahatmyam14

This story of the Warrior Goddess fighting and defeating demonic forces in the Devi Mahatmyam is celebrated at Durga festivals, in art and religious iconography and in classical dance and songs, like the “Mahishasura Mardini Stotra,” which eulogizes her victory over the demons.15

A live performance of the “Mahishasura Mardini Stotra” with a dance.

These battles have been understood in the Hindu tradition to have an inner symbolic meaning beyond a purely mythical one. The battles of the Goddess have been described as representing “the inner battle between the divine and the demonic forces within the human psyche.” In this struggle, human consciousness is said to be the battleground, with the demons “symbolic of the psychic forces within the shadow,” which is the subconscious of the human psyche, filled with ego states that oppress consciousness.16

Durga

The Goddess Durga slaying demons (asuras), symbolic of the Warrior Goddess destroying the egos within.17 By Dswaroop100Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Devi Mahatmyam thus has been interpreted as showing how the “Warrior Goddess” works to rescue human consciousness from this inner darkness. In this respect, she has been described as a “Divine Mother [who] is our own true being.” Thus, this story is held to convey how “The Devi, personified simultaneously as the one supreme Goddess and also the many goddesses, confronts the demons of ahamkara or ego” in the human psyche. These demons/egos are said to be formed of “tamas” (darkness) and “rajas” (passion)—attributes that “in turn give birth to other [inner] demons of excessive craving, greed, anger and pride, and of incessant… compulsive inner thought processes.”18

Thus the myth has thus been called an “allegory” for “the transformation of human consciousness.”19

And, as the story conveys, it is only through the help and intervention of the Goddess—sought and requested by those oppressed by evil—that the demonic forces are overcome.

The Bhagavad Gita

Krishna advises Arjuna before the battle of the Mahabharata. By Raja Ravi Varma – Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Bhagavad Gita is a section within the Mahabharata containing the timeless teachings of Krishna imparted to the warrior prince Arjuna, before they are to wage a great battle against forces of evil. The great battle can be seen as signifying the importance of confronting evil both within oneself and in the world—indeed Krishna emphasizes both aspects in his teachings to Arjuna.

Shortly before the great battle commences in the Mahabharata—and before the dialogue between Arjuna and Krishna begins that forms the Bhagavad Gita—Krishna tells Arjuna to pray to Durga for help to overcome his enemies—another example of the warrior goddess associated with overcoming evil forces in Hindu mythology:

…”Beholding the Dhartarashtra army approach for fight, Krishna said these words for Arjuna’s benefit.”

“The holy one said,–‘Cleansing thyself, O mighty-armed one, utter on the eve of the battle thy hymn to Durga for (compassing) the defeat of the foe.”

Thus addressed on the eve of battle by Vasudeva [Krishna] endued with great intelligence, Pritha’s son Arjuna, alighting from his car, said… [a] hymn [to Durga] with joined hands.

~ The Mahabharata20

Arjuna getting guidance from Krishna. Image by Mahavir Prasad Mishra, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons.

The following excerpt comes from the Bhagavad Gita itself. Krishna tells Arjuna that the greatest enemies on earth exist within. They are desire and anger, which derive from passion (called rajas in Hindu cosmology).

Krishna explains that desire dwells in the mind and senses and from there covers over wisdom, destroys discernment and “confounds the soul,” which in this context refers to human consciousness, the spiritual part within the human body. He tells Arjuna to “control the senses” and then “slay” desire.

Arjuna asked:

My Lord! Tell me, what is it that drives a man to sin, even against his will and as if by compulsion?

Lord Shri Krishna:

It is desire, it is aversion, born of passion. Desire consumes and corrupts everything. It is man’s greatest enemy.

As fire is shrouded in smoke, a mirror by dust and a child by the womb, so is the universe enveloped in desire.

It is the wise man’s constant enemy; it tarnishes the face of wisdom. It is as insatiable as a flame of fire.

It works through the senses, the mind and the reason; and with their help destroys wisdom and confounds the soul.

Therefore, O Arjuna, first control thy senses and then slay desire, for it is full of sin, and is the destroyer of knowledge and of wisdom.

~ The Bhagavad Gita translated by Shri Purohit Swami21

However, Krishna conveys that overcoming desire requires a power higher than the mind and intellect. He states that by knowing a power beyond the mind and with it’s help, one can “kill thine enemy, Desire, extremely difficult though it be.” Note that the Sanskrit word translated as Him/His below is often literally rendered as “Self,” and is used to refer to both human consciousness as well as higher consciousness depending on the context. Thus this verse illustrates how human consciousness can overcome egoic desire if it knows and calls upon the help of higher consciousness—the higher divine power of the Being.

It is said that the senses are powerful. But beyond the senses is the mind, beyond the mind is the intellect, and beyond and greater than intellect is He.

Thus, O Mighty-in-Arms, knowing Him to be beyond the intellect and, by His help, subduing thy personal egotism, kill thine enemy, Desire, extremely difficult though it be.
~ The Bhagavad Gita translated by Shri Purohit Swami22

In the Religion of the Sun, the Spiritual Mother is held to be a primary aspect of one’s higher Being, with the role and power to eliminate ego states within a person and thereby liberate consciousness—a role vividly depicted in a number of excerpts featured on this page.

An example of a personal shrine dedicated to the Hindu Goddess Durga.


Please note, more practice excerpts will be added as and when we find them. While we recommend the practices in these excerpts, featuring a passage from a text does not mean we can vouch for the entire contents of a text.
Jenny Resnick and Vida Norris contributed research to this article.


  1. In the Devi Mahatmyam, Kali is described as emerging from Durga’s forehead after her face turned as “dark as ink” when she became enraged during a battle with the demons. Dr. Satya Prakash Choudhary (translator), The Glory of the Goddess – Devi Mahatmyam, p 19. 

  2. A Stotra is written to be sung with melody, unlike a Shastra which is written to be recited. A Chalisa is a subset of Stotra composed of forty verses—the word Chalisa refers to the number forty. 

  3. http://www.durga-puja.org/durga-chalisa.html#eng

  4. There are four Durga festivals per year in India, but the one held around the Autumn Equinox, called the Sharada Navaratri, is the most celebrated and important. It generally celebrates the triumph of Durga over demonic forces. There are regional differences, and the timing can vary each year as the date is set by the lunisolar calendar. It is always held in Autumn, but may precede or come after the Fall Equinox in some years and regions. 

  5. “Durga Chalisa” (lyrics traditional). English translation found here: http://www.indif.com/nri/chalisas/durgachalisa/durgachalisa_meaning.asp

  6. The house of Raghu was a royal family in the lineage of the legendary ancient “Sun Dynasty” of India. It is said to have originated with the wisdom bringer Manu, who re-initiated civilization after a great flood. Legend has it he founded the ancient city of Ayodhya and gave it to his son Ikshvaku to rule over as King. Rama was a prince born much later into the Raghu family which traced its lineage back to Ikshvaku. Rama succeeded his Father as King of the ancient Kingdom of Kosala whose capital was Ayodhya. His story is the subject of the ancient epic the Ramayana, which portrays him as an avatar of Vishnu. 

  7. “Kali Chalisa” (lyrics traditional) English translation found here: http://www.mantraonnet.com/kali-chaalisa.html

  8. Munindra Misra (translator), Chants of Hindu Gods and Goddesses in English Rhyme, Partridge India (March 7, 2014), p 240 . View on Google Books here

  9. Bhavatarini is a name or form of Kali. The name is said to mean “She who liberates her devotees from the ocean of existence i.e. Saṃsāra.” 

  10. “Shri Mahakāli Chalisa” (lyrics traditional) English translation found here: http://redzambala.com/hinduism-scriptures/mantra/shri-mahakali-chalisa.html

  11. “Devi Aparadha Kshamapana Stotram” (lyrics traditional) Translation by Krishna Das: http://krishnadas.com/lyrics/prayer-to-the-goddess-for-forgiveness/

  12. “Devyaparadha Kshamapana Stotram” (traditional) Translation found on the website Green Message: http://greenmesg.org/stotras/durga/devi_aparadha_kshamapana_stotram.php

  13. Kisari Mohan Ganguli (translator), The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Book 4: Virata Parva: Pandava-Pravesa Parva, Section VI, (published between 1883 and 1896), available at sacred-texts.com: http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/maha/

  14. Dr. Satya Prakash Choudhary (translator) The Glory of the Goddess – Devi Mahatmyam, p. 13. accessed here: http://www.vedicastrologer.org/mantras/chandi/chandi_inner_meaning.pdf

  15. Vocal and dance versions can be found in the collection of Indian/Hindu traditional songs on the resources page. 

  16. Dr. Satya Prakash, written introduction to The Glory of the Goddess – Devi Mahatmyam, p 4-5. 

  17. Ibid.  

  18. Ibid. 

  19. Dr. Satya Prakash, “The inner metaphorical significance of the Devi Mahatmyam” The Glory of the Goddess – Devi Mahatmyam, p 30. 

  20. Kisari Mohan Ganguli (translator), The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Book 6: Bhishma Parva: Bhagavat-Gita Parva, Section XXIII, (published between 1883 and 1896), available at sacred-texts.com: http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/maha/

  21. Shri Purohit Swami (translator) The Bhagavad Gita (first published 1935) p. 11 of online edition available at www.holybooks.com: http://holybooks.lichtenbergpress.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/The-Bhagavad-Gita-Translation-by-Shri-PurohitSwami.pdf

  22. Ibid. 

About the author

Matthew Butler

Matthew Butler is Chief Editor of SpiritualSun.com, a website exploring the history and practice of the ancient Religion of the Sun. A keen writer since his youth, he holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and has a natural interest in probing hidden truths and higher knowledge. He felt called to study spirituality in 2004 and has pursued it ever since. On The Spiritual Sun, he directs his skills and inquisitive nature towards shedding light on the ancient Religion of the Sun, which he investigates both as a writer/researcher and practitioner.

34 Comments

  • It is incredible to read through multiple excerpts related to the mother goddess, you can really see how the sacred texts try to highlight her invincibility. How inspiring to have our own inner spiritual warrior willing to fiercely fight for us and guide us through. All we need is to have a willingness to learn and accept our mistakes, the rest we give to her.

    Thank you Matthew for putting this article together.

  • Thanks very much for sharing this detailed article Matthew. The personal connection with our own divine mother is a very important one to develop and a source of strength during difficult times.

    The quote from Krishna stood out to me: “Desire consumes and corrupts everything. It is man’s greatest enemy.” I’ve found it can be challenging to let go of ideas of how I would like things to be, rather than how they actually are. But at the same time, I realise that unless I accept whatever circumstances life brings to me, there will always be an inherent unhappiness, due to the dissatisfaction caused by unfulfilled desires.

    It is very fortunate that by doing this spiritual work, there is a hope of gaining an inner peace that can remain regardless of outside circumstances.

  • Thank you Matthew; reading this helped me to remember the immense power of the divine mother, something that can become easy to forget. When the sheer strength of the divine mother is glimpsed through seeing how she is portrayed as an indefatigable warrior in these ancient hymns and texts like the Bhagavad Gita, it encourages me to explore my own connection with her. It’s hard to comprehend that such a power exists, that there is a simple line of communication and an endless compassion response available, that simply relies on my own ability to remember, find sincere longing to be separated from the darkness, and ask.

    I was touched again by a great sense of wonder of how it’s the feminine aspect of the Being that has this fierce warrior-like and protector role, something usually attributed to male forces. I think it can be understood when you imagine the courage of an earthly mother who is faced with protecting her child, and how it’s common knowledge that the most dangerous animals in the wild to stumble across are mothers with young.

    I hope that this article inspires a greater contact between us who are in darkness and our generous, loving, protective Divine Mother.

  • I enjoyed reading through these excerpts and what stood out to me the most was how much compassion our Spiritual Mother has. I often feel her presence and although I forget her at times she seems to be always there – loving and full of compassion.

    Thank you, Matthew, for this uplifting reminder of this beautiful force within us!

    • Hi Karim, hard to say if there is a definite favorite, but I have been deeply moved by listening the Devi Aparadha Kshamapana Stotram which is a prayer of forgiveness. I have had similar experiences listening to other hymns too, but that one stays on the theme of repentance throughout the song more so than the others, and I find that aspect of these hymns in particular can really strike a chord in me.

      I don’t so much recite it as a prayer but listen to it (although I imagine it would be nice to sing it if one could learn and remember all the Sanskrit words). I’ve found listening to a song like that can lift me out myself so to speak, and bring me into that feeling of sincerity and longing to speak with my Spiritual Mother honestly. It can spark the feeling of repentance within me, because I can relate so much to the words. It also helps me to feel her there with me, galvanizing the longing and impulse reach out to her for help, mercy and deliverance, reminding that she is there it to save one from the darkness within.

      So while I prefer to pray in a direct and personal way, as a dialogue with her, I have found that listening to hymns of prayer — the combination of the words and the music — can uplift me and help me to connect with her, put me in a better state to pray, and communicate from the heart so to speak. I imagine the effect could be even more powerful if the hymn was learned and sung fully with the meaning understood.

      • ŘThanks Matthew. I enjoyed listening to the two song renditions of that prayer that I’m familiair with, recently and again just now while watching the evening sun set.
        It’s great how a song like that can help to cause a part within ourselves to be brought to the surface.

        (On a slightly off topic note: it feels pretty privileged to be able to listen to such specific artistic expressions at one’s leisure with the means of modern technology.)

        The prayer itself I also find to strike a cord. It feels to me to be about that true sincerity felt upon realising our situation. An expression of that.

        Some lines of thought I also had were that it seems that underneath, deep down inside, we know how things are.
        As young children we might naturally feel a stronger connection to her, also at that time we have the benefit of actually being in that situation of being a dependant child of our physical parents. But then after childhood we get lost…, distraction after distraction as the rollercoaster program of the subconscious kicks in, with us trapped in it. (To try to keep things concise) There seems to be something very special about that moment where, in not wanting all of that mess anymore, we remember and turn to her. My thought was that it must be something incredibly moving as well for the divine mother, to finally be  able to pour her overflowing forgiveness onto the person who’s finally reached the state where they’re ready to receive it.

        • I think that’s quite a good summary Karim – how the innocence of childhood gives way to the chaos of adulthood, until we no longer want to live in that mess of mind and the emotions and actively seek the solace of spiritual forces outside of us.

          And yes, that moment must also be wonderful for the divine mother – to have her child returning to her. It reminds me of the parable of the Prodigal Son, which Jesus spoke about in The Bible.

  • It was nice to take the time to read this, making me more attentive to her and the excerpts helped me feel that warmth of her presence with me.

    Good to see them put together like this. It paints a clear picture of her role. Each of those songs and texts has something which can hit a snare and teach something. Don’t want to comment on each as this message would become very long, but they’re lovely.

    Many cultures in the modern day do not have her, or significantly recognise her, as part of their ways. More serious still I can see is that people are missing the personal connection to her within themselves. How lonely many must feel at times, faced with the difficulties of life and their own low states. Not knowing that she exists and that anyone can turn to her to make the difference. This is a sad thought. I remember I felt ‘choked’ and cornered like this during difficult times in my life before finding out about her.

    During the many years it now feels like a natural thing for me to turn to her. But it’s good to be reminded so as not to take what she does for us for granted. In very dire circumstances, like the ‘cow in the mire’, her help is probably felt strongest. (along with the learning) A good thing about difficult circumstances like that is that it can make one become so close to her.

    But also in situations that seem more everyday she is so important. To share a little experience I had this morning. I went out to meet sunrise and go for a walk at dawn in the park. At every turn the beauty was just incredible. Surrounded by spring’s lush green tints all around, blue sky and golden sun reflections in silent water, fresh morning aroma’s, blossoming, Etc.
    To boil things down to the fundamentals. Perceiving like that felt very clearly and distinctly as one way of being. Where the real me, consciousness, just ‘is’. One with reality and the divine flow streaming through you.
    But this state was not something I could keep as, again very distinctly, there was the ‘self’ trying to come in and occupy my psyche. Busy with how it could use my life for itself. (That’s not such a bad intention one might say.) But the way of conscious being is outside of it completely, ‘of a different nature’, and it can’t be put in words.

    The way I was able to end the ongoing upcoming occupations was by appealing to my divine mother each time. So even in the real time effort she’s so important. But even more so in realising where her help will hopefully one day lead. Where we are completely freed from that ‘self’, and can be alive.

    • Karim, I’ve also thought how lonely and weak people must feel when they have no concept of their divine mother’s existence. It’s hard to know that she’s there but to feel separate from her, but to not even have a sense that she exists is a really sad reflection on the way people live in these times. Saying that, I’ve also met people who, without putting it into words, can sense the strength of her, as a well-spring of strength that they can draw upon, like a will power that can help then to overcome their lower forces. I think that I had a sense of her power and role before I came across the teachings that helped me to develop the relationship with her, and that’s why I resonated with it and accepted it as true. I’m sure it’s the same for many people, which means it’s extra sad that this knowledge is not more wide spread.

      • Hey Ella,

        It also makes me happy to see the ways her influence and energy is still experienced by people, even without the knowledge of her. Sometimes perhaps even through a film someone might for a moment feel those realities of the existence of a spiritual mother, only to switch back into a paradigm cut off from her when it’s over.
        Also she’s part of life and I guess in some ways she’s present in many of our experiences in creation.
        It was for me a fundamental difference to learn of her compared to not being aware of my divine mother, this was because it allowed me to be open to her help. Also in general it gave a purpose and direction to what I should do in my day, like a team working towards a greater goal within daily life. Rather than it being pretty aimless and in a way isolating to oneself.

        • Yes, I agree, it’s a big shift when you become more aware of her presence and start to really believe and feel she is real, rather than feeling her incipiently but not being sure. The first time I explored the practices to connect to my divine mother were totally amazing, like joyful reunions between us: “I knew you were real!”/”Hurrah you found me!” 🙂
          It makes me think of how the inner work is this gradual unpeeling of the ignorance that keeps us separate from our Being, and how conscious action is always more rewarding and powerful than unconscious.

      • Yes, I agree Ella and Karim – it’s a very sad existence to not have that beautiful personal bond with the divine mother, whereas developing it can provide a great source of comfort and strength throughout our lives.

    • That sounds like a beautiful walk Karim. It’s wonderful that with the help of our divine mother, we have the chance of holding onto that beauty in every moment, regardless of the environment we find ourselves in.

  • Thank you Matthew I really enjoyed reading it and was inspired too.

    I loved the video you included the singing and dancing was beautiful and shows how much art plays an important role in a culture that uplifts and teaches people.

    Lucia, I also really enjoyed the video you included in your comment – I thought it was a wonderful depiction of how they portray the Divine Mother defeating the evil within a person, even how they portray the battle and even the scene. That video very much reminded me of the spiritual meaning of the Autumn equinox I read in the Path of the Spiritual Sun.

  • That’s a quite educational article for me who I don’t know much about Hinduism. Thanks, Matthew and team!

    Those references are covering nicely and in-depth the warrior aspect of the divine’s mother role and with a lyric way which really inspires to go closer to Her.

    The “hopes and longings ever torture me” also stood out
    Thanks again

  • It’s great to have all these passages collected and explained so well – it gives such a deep picture of how the mother goddess in this aspect was seen across the Hindu tradition.

    The songs in particular are very relatable and touching. It seems to me they provide insight into how to nurture a relationship with the divine mother and into the type of repentance and sincere desire to change that is needed to really get rid of the darkness within.

  • Thanks for the excellent article Matthew. You’ve clearly put a lot of work into comprehensively researching this topic. It’s inspiring to see quotes from a variety of ancient documents synthesised like this.

    All the best.

  • It’s amazing just how clearly it comes across in the songs and sacred texts here to pray to the Spiritual Mother to rid oneself of ego states within. What a timeless and very important teaching that we are very lucky has been preserved so well in these songs and texts in this tradition. Thanks for tying it all together Matthew!

  • I’m so very grateful to have learned about the Goddess. She wasn’t a part of my life growing up. But I remember being drawn to her when I came across writings about her as a teenager. It’s made a huge difference in my life to know about her and to be able to pray and go to her for help. To be guided by her. Reading these excerpts I’m amazed at just how powerful and merciful she really is. That we can repent and she will help us, even after we’ve made many mistakes. I’ve heard it said that our Divine Mother never leaves us.

    Thank you for this wonderful article.

    • I agree Anne Linn – the magnificence of her love and compassion is beyond comprehension, how come doesn’t she get tired of our repeating mistakes, I often wonder. And sometimes I wonder, will today be the day when she’s had enough! Sometimes I feel stronger repentance for something I’ve done wrong, and I think, I should have known better, how can it be forgiven… but then I sometimes feel her lovingly soothing my intense feelings and uplifting me, giving me strength to try again. Knowing about her mercy makes me want to try better, as she is trying so very hard for us. I love how in one of the songs it says, ‘For a bad son may sometimes be born, But a bad mother, never…’ Anyway, thank you for sharing.

      • I know what you mean. It’s a wonder she doesn’t get tired of helping us 🙂 It’s a love I’d like to be more open to receiving.

        • Yes, I agree Anne Linn and Laura – the connection with the divine mother is really a beautiful mother-child relationship.

  • As I have just found the English translation of the lyrics of the captivating Kali dance from an Indian movie called Jai Dakshineshware Kali Maa, I thought of posting the link to it here, since the article deals with this aspect of the goddess. For those who don’t know, the movie is about a girl dedicated to the goddess Kali who helps her to deal with difficult and unfair situations in her life.

    The lyrics and their translations are in the description of the video. It looks like they are from the so-called Kali Tandav Stuti, but I was not able to trace the origins of the text, the video just says “traditional”.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbTKX6eRByo

    And here is another link to the same dance that has a short excerpt from the movie on the beginning, which I thought was nice, as there the uncle explains the girl that Kali is in fact a very kind goddess, but had to take on such a terrible from in order to kill demons:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnD4WZRn7aE

  • Wow, Matthew. What a great article on the warrior aspect of the Divine Mother. There is so much in this article, I will need to read through it again and again; so much to read and fully comprehend. I really like the lyrics of the songs and the prayers. I can relate to so much of what is said -to being lazy, foolish, and in particular being pursued by four robbers. It is notable that these afflictions are as old as the world is old. There have always been wonderful teachings and texts helping humanity to overcome the inner darkness that plagues us.

    Thank you so much for sharing these wonderful texts and teachings from the great ancient Hindu works. I look forward to studying these in depth and also to incorporating them into daily prayers.

    So inspiring!

  • Matthew thank you a lot for your provided information about the Mother Goddess and a very good approach of that subject.
    Lots of things to read, to realize and
    understand from your article, thanks a lot

  • Thank you Matthew for this great article on the power and significance of the goddess Durga/Kali that conquers evil within men. It seems quite unbelievable to me how this sacred tradition of the warrior goddess had survived in India up untill today. As you mentioned, it is really unique among today’s world religions. Even though Christian Mary is also sometimes depicted as crushing a serpent and people often pray to her, it has never reached such magnitude as Indian worship of the goddess/Mahadevi.

    I found it particularly amazing what you wrote about how Durga Puja is held over 9 nights around the Autumn Equinox, which seems like still retaining some of the ancient symbology. As The Path of the Spiritual Sun book mentions, the Autumn Equinox is specifically related to this warrior aspect of the goddess, and the number 9 also has its special significance in this sense. I also find it interesting that having Durga as a warrior goddess seemingly was not enough, so the Kali aspect had to emerge, for even more fierce dealing with the egos (and maybe more pronounced connection to the fiery energy).

    Also what an apt painting illustrating that passage from Mahabharata where Krishna advises Arjuna to pray to the Devi before the battle. I have seen some of Raja Ravi Varma’s paintings before and really liked them; how great that he illustrated this particular scene.

    And finally, the passage from Bhagavad-Gita about appealing to our higher self/consciousness is intriguing too. I have a version translated by Juan Mascaro, and there the higher aspect is called “He – the Spirit in man and in all” and instead of intellect is reason. It goes like this:

    “They say that the power of the senses is great. But greater than the senses is the mind. Greater than the mind is Buddha, reason; and greater than reason is He – the Spirit in man and in all.”

    Put this way, It kind of reminds me of astral, mental and causal realms, and then the realm of the Spirit.

    • Hey Lucia, I actually got involved in this celebration when I was in India years ago. I was invited to join a pilgrimage (“for Durga”) where people walked through the night to a temple dedicated to her. It was impressive to me that something like this was so commonplace – it wasn’t a massive deal in a way, it wasn’t like the grand finale of the event, it was a relatively small temple, there weren’t support teams handing out bottles of water or anything – people just walked in the darkness and in the silence of the night. There was a special atmosphere though, throughout the walk and at the temple complex in the morning. It was very interesting to me how people in India (in general) are able to create this sense of reverence in a much more natural state. There was little sense of affectation to me, I suppose because people are so accustomed to religious practice and ceremony.

      • Hey Ella, it must have been a great energy there. I really like how spirituality seems to be a part of everyday lives of many people in India, and “not a big deal” as you mentioned.

        I have a feeling a big part of it must be coming from the direct spiritual experiences many of the people there have had over the ages and kept alive, so they know the Divine realms and beings are real and they just take it as it is. Sometimes even reading the comments of Indian people on Youtube makes me realise how naturally they take spirituality, and how much they know about the hidden realities, considering it normal.

      • That sounds like a lovely experience Ella. It’s great that there are still parts of the world where spirituality is so openly accepted and integrated into everyday society.

  • Great article Matthew! I really enjoyed reading it as it was a wonderful reminder of the Goddess.

    I’m astonished at how personal and relevant the excerpts you’ve included from the Hindu songs feel to me. They really speak to me and awaken a feeling of longing for connecting with the Mother and liberation from inner darkness. Thanks very much for sharing them.

    Interesting to read that “Maa” means mother in Sanskrit; in Finnish it’s the word for “earth” or “land” while the word for mother is very different (“äiti”). Perhaps it’s some kind of a very ancient relic in the language reminding us that the earth and nature are from the Mother and are the Mother. The concept has disappeared from our mythology it seems but other related peoples’ mythologies still speak of Father Sky and Mother Earth.

    It’s pretty amazing that the most important Durga Puja is held at the autumn equinox where the Goddess is celebrated as vanquishing evil and demons, as that really reflects what the autumn equinox is said to symbolize in The Spiritual Sun book, and how other cultures have pretty much lost its meaning and its being the most misunderstood solar event. I wonder what made it so that it survived with them.

    I was also wondering how it would affect a person who grew up surrounded by the veneration of the Goddess like this, and how it would be to spend many days celebrating her and singing these songs to her. Her presence must be strongly felt there. How incredible it would be if this acknowledgement and veneration of the divine feminine was so strong in other cultures around the world too.

    • That’s interesting Laura – how the Sanskrit word for mother means earth in Finnish. I think you’re right about there being a common connection, particularly as “mother earth” is still used as an English phrase.

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