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Shaktism is a sect of Hinduism whose followers believe in The Mother Goddess (also referred to as Devi) who is seen as an incarnation of the supreme God (or creator of the universe) Brahman.
The Mother Goddess is seen as personifying the energy of Brahman and any female deity in Hinduism can be seen as an incarnation of Devi.
The Mother Goddess is one of the three members of the Trimurti (the Holy Trinity of Hinduism) and she is considered to be the mother of everything in that was every created, holding the whole universe in her uterus. She is often seen in pictures with eight or ten arms, one of which is equipped with a sword for destroying evil.
Shaktis are characterized by their belief that feminine energy is the driving force behind everything that happens in the universe. Shaktis believe that everything masculine is dependant upon divine femininity and that the potential of everything masculine is actually brought to fruition by energetic feminine dynamism. This dynamism is represented by the many incarnations of The Mother Goddess.
Forms of The Mother Goddess:
Parvati – Parvati is considered the goddess of plenty. She is also said to be the wife of Shiva and mother of Ganesha and Kartikeya.
Lakshmi – Lakshmi is considered the goddess of wealth, fertility, beauty and luck. She is also said to be the wife of Vishnu.
Durga – Durga is seen as a ten-armed warrior goddess who embodies all that is feminine energy. Her many arms often hold weapons to destroy evil. She is one of the most popular forms of The Mother Goddess in Hinduism.
Kali – Kali is another one of the most popular forms of The Mother Goddess. She is often depicted as a hideous, ten-armed woman with her tongue hanging out and blood dripping from her mouth. She is also often clothed in bones, wearing a garland of skulls around her neck. Kali is considered the destroyer of hypocrisy and her worshippers consider her essential in the ongoing cycle of creation and destruction that exists in the universe.
Uma – Uma is considered to be the goddess of light and beauty.
Sarasvati – Sarasvati is considered the goddess of knowledge and the arts. She is often depicted as a woman with rays of light emanating from her head who is sitting down playing a sitar, holding a necklace in one hand and a book in the other.
The Shakti scripture is the Devi Mahatmya and it maintains that each and every female form or incarnation is just a part of the one ultimate presiding female force that gives the universe the energy it needs to remain in constant motion.