Adi Parashakti - The Most Powerful Energy of Universe

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This article by Mohit Sinha

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Introduction

In Hinduism, the goddess Parashakti—also known as “Adi-Parashakti” or “Mahadevi”—is revered as Para Brahman, the Supreme Being. She is the Great Goddess, from whom all other deities originate, and she is also the real one who creates, observes, and destroys the entire universe. 

Parashakti translates as “The Eternally Limitless Power,” and it is the active energy that both generates and destroys the universe. Parvati, the goddess of strength and bravery, is venerated as her purest material form, Sagun Swaroop. However, the goddess “Adi Parashakti” is also described as a true spirit devoid of form (Nirguna). 


What is the origin of the concept of Adi-Parashakti?

According to Shaktism, Adi-Parashakti appeared as Divine Pure Eternal Consciousness, i.e., Shoonya Bindu, the divine zero feminine energy, which expresses itself as Prakriti (Universal Nature). She is considered the source of all other deities and is referred to as “Parama Prakriti.”

However, it is believed that Adi-Parashakti emerged as a light from nothingness and took the form of Shakti. She is described as having three eyes, carrying various weapons, and taking different forms, such as “Kali,” “Durga,” and “Tripura Sundari.” Adi-Parashakti is considered the source of all matter and energy and exists in everything in nature. 


What is the importance of Adi Parashakti? 

According to the Devi Gita (a holy scripture of  “Shakta” followers written in the form of a dialogue between “Mahadevi” and “King Himavan/Himalaya”), before incarnating as “Parvati,” Parashakti appeared to King Himalaya and conveyed eternal wisdom to him. She described herself, in the words of the Vedas, as having no origin or end. She is the eternal truth. She created the whole universe. She is the embodiment of triumph itself. She is a manifested, unmanifested, transcending divinity. 

Parashakti/Madhadevi then revealed her rarely seen form to King Himavan – Satyaloka (the abode of Brahma, the creator god) was in her forehead; the created universe was in her hairs; the sun and moon were in her eyes; the four directions were in her ears; the Vedas were her words; death, affection, and emotion were in her teeth; and Maya was revealed by her smile. This appearance demonstrated that all gods and goddesses, including the “Trimurti” and “Tridevi,” are simply her different forms.


What is the role of Adi Parashakti in the creation of the universe?

In Shrimad Devi Bhagwat Purana’s first book and fourth chapter, Devi commanded and directed Trimurti. 

I am “Adi Parashakti,” the goddess Bhuvaneshvari. I am the owner of this universe. I am the absolute reality. I am energetic in feminine form yet immobile in masculine form. All three of you have been created by me. You are all my partial expansions. Under my jurisdiction, All three of you have appeared to govern the universe. You are the masculine form of Absolute Reality, and I am the feminine form of that reality. I am beyond form, beyond all things, and I possess all of God’s power. You will confess I am the Eternally Limitless Power. Now,  I shall give everyone of you a task.  

Parashakti then commanded, “Brahma”! You will be the universe’s creator; the Goddess Sharada is your Shakti, the form in which I shall be known as the goddess of wisdom and primordial sound. This goddess will be with you when you create the universe. 

Lord Brahma - The Creator of the Universe | Brass Statue

Parashakti continued: Lord of Lords, Narayana! You are the Supreme and Immortal Spirit. You are formless, yet you acquire form. I have assigned you the role of universe preserver. To rescue the inhabitants of the universe, you will take on several incarnations. 

Oh, Narayana! You are the Supreme of all deities with form. You created Lord Brahma, and Brahma will further create three hundred thirty million additional gods and goddesses. My Great Power, goddess “Mahakali,” has emerged from your mystical hibernation. You are the “Paramatman”. Your consort will be the goddess “Shri,” who is the personification of my light, because without light, one cannot see or be seen. When life develops, you will take the form of Vishnu, the one tasked with overseeing and safeguarding the cosmos.

Standing Lord Vishnu with Kirtimukha Throne Brass Statue

At last, Parashakti instructed Lord Shiva: “Oh Lord Rudra,” the Greatest God, you are the personification of time, which is above all. You will be tasked with destroying and restoring the universe. When you are formless, time stands still. My power has made you dynamic, capable of bringing the destruction and regeneration of this universe. Your consort is the goddess Mahakali, but with meditation, you will be able to transcend all of my forms. I shall then incarnate in my manifested form from your left half. This will be my most fully expressed form. She will perform the task of destroying evil.

Blessing Lord Shiva Brass Sculpture

How is Adi Parashakti related to Kundalini Shakti?

As we all know, God exists in every being in both dynamic and inactive aspects. The inactive aspect of God is the Supreme Soul, while the active aspect is Adi Parashakti. God’s activated and inactivated form lies in all living entities, indicating that God is Omnipresent. 

“Kundalini Shakti” is the primary source of energy in all living beings. It is the fundamental source of all the power we employ in our daily lives. Meditating on “Kundalini” not only brings good fortune, but also allows to regulate or control emotions and Maya.


How is Adi Parashakti related to the Nine Planets (Navgraha)?

Adi Shakti is considered to be the one capable of controlling all nine planets. She divides herself into Material Shakti, i.e., Durga, who splits herself to operate nine planets to preserve cosmic order; Vidya Shakti, i.e., Kali, as the source for ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu; and Maya Shakti, who deludes the beings to illusion while simultaneously promoting creatures to the Ultimate God. As Durga Shakti, she divides herself into Navadurga, who offers direction and energy to all planets.


  • The Sun is ruled by Kushmanda Devi.
  • Mahagauri controls Rahu. 
  • Kaalratri rules Shani (Saturn). 
  • Goddess Siddhidatri rules Ketu. 
  • Goddess Katyayani governs the Provider of Knowledge, Bhrasapati.
  • Goddess Brahmacharini governs Mangal (Mars), the Provider of All Fortunes.
  • The impact of the moon is countered by the goddess Shailputri.
  • Budh (Mercury) Planet is controlled by the goddess Skandmata. 
  • Shukra (Venus) Planet is governed by the goddess Chandraghanta.


In contrast, Goddess Adi Shakti has authority over the Navagraha (nine planets). Worshipping the nine goddesses during Navratri, or the Nine Nights of Mataji, protects you from the harmful influences of the planets.


How Adi Parashakti is associated with ten avatars of Lord Vishnu as Vidya Shakti?

Adi Shakti, has divided herself into Material Shakti (Durga or Parvati), Kali (Vidya Shakti), and Yog Maya (as Mayashakti). As Vidya Shakti, she divides herself into ten kinds of eternal knowledge, known as ten “Mahavidyas”. The ten goddesses are referred to as Wisdom Goddesses. According to tantras, these ten goddesses are the genesis of Lord Vishnu’s ten incarnations. 


  • Lord Mastsya was incarnated from Dhumavati.
  • Lord Kurma was incarnated from Baglamukhi.
  • Lord Varaha was incarnated from Bhairavi.
  • Lord Narsingh was incarnated from Chinnamasta.
  • Lord Vaamna was incarnated from Tripura Sundari.
  • Lord Parshurama was incarnated from Matangi.
  • Lord Rama was incarnated from Tara.
  • Lord Krishna was incarnated from Kali.
  • Lord Buddha was incarnated from Kamala.
  • Lord Kalki will be incarnated from Bhuvaneshvari.


What are the different forms or incarnations of Parashakti?

All Hindu deities are manifestations of the same supreme formless energy. As a result, Goddess Adi Parashakti appears in hundreds of different forms. They are all said to be different aspects of the one ultimate goddess.

YogMaya – YogMaya is the one who creates illusions (Maya) on the gods and teaches them what they should do and should not do in order to connect to the ultimate God. YogMaya assisted “Lord Vishnu” in slaying the demons “Madhu” and “Kaitabha” in order to preserve the world. Furthermore, she is the one who takes Lord Vishnu to mystic sleep (Yog-Nindra).

  • Also known as “Ekanamsha” (the single, portionless one), Yogmaya is Vishnu’s shakti. 
  • Yogmaya is associated with “Vindhyavasini”. She was born as the daughter of Yashoda, Krishna’s foster mother. Vindhyavasini is said to be a manifestation of Durga. Later, She was born as Krishna’s sister, Subhadra.


Mahamaya – As “Mahamaya,” She creates and destroys illusion. She is “Adi Parashakti” herself, manifesting as “Matrikas” in order to annihilate the army of “Shumbha” and “Nishumbha”. “Mahamaya” is worshipped to gain physical strength, health, and satvik attributes and to demote lust, wrath, greed, love, and arrogance. 

Maya – As Maya, she fools living creatures and transports them to the realm of illusion. She inspires greed, fury, and pride.

Tridevi – The Hindu trinity, “Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva,” known as Trimurti, governs the cosmic regime, and Parashakti gives them the power and instructions to carry out their duties. Her incarnation, Saraswati, is the consort of Brahma, the universe’s creator. She appears as Lakshmi, the consort of Vishnu, the universe’s preserver. Parvati, also known as Shakti, is the consort of Shiva, the destroyer. Together, these three goddesses are called “Tridevi.” The three goddesses are regarded as the ultimate manifestations of the divine in the feminine form, known as Shakti. They represent the various aspects of the divine feminine energy. Each goddess has distinct qualities and serves a crucial function in the cosmic order.  

  • “Mahasaraswati,” “Mahalakshmi,” and “Mahakali,” popularly known as the Tridevi, are warrior forms of Shakti. In the “Devi Mahatmyam,” Mahakali is depicted as Vishnu’s Yoganidra, while Mahalakshmi destroyed the buffalo monster ‘Mahishasura,’ and Mahasaraswati destroyed Shumbha-Nishumbha. All three are manifestations of Shakti, who represents the highest aspect of the universe. 


Lalita Tripura Sundari – Lalita Tripura Sundari, also known as “Rajarajeshvari,” “Shodashi,” “Kamakshi,” is a Hindu goddess revered primarily within Shaktism. She is recognized as one of the ten Mahavidyas. She embodies the essence of the supreme goddess, “Mahadevi.” In the “Lalitopakhyana” of the Brahmanda Purana, she is referred to as “Adi Parashakti.” 

The term “Tripura Sundari” means the most beautiful woman in the three realms, with associations to the yoni symbol and the powers of creation, preservation, and destruction.  Tripura Sundari is the foremost of the ten Mahavidyas. According to the Tripura Upanishad, she is the universe’s ultimate “Shakti” (energy or force). She is characterised as the  supreme consciousness, presiding over “Brahma,” “Vishnu,” and “Shiva.” She is the only one who existed before the creation of the universe. She created the Trimurti (Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh) and started the process of creating the universe.


Iconography

According to the “Devi Bhagavata Purana,” the goddess once invited the Trimurti to “Manidvipa” (the celestial imperishable abode of Mahadevi). The “Trimurti” saw the supreme goddess “Bhuvaneshvari” sitting on a jewelled seat on a throne. Her face was aglow with the light of millions of stars, and her heavenly beauty was so stunning that the Trimurti could not look at her. She bears the ‘Abhaya’ and ‘Varada Mudra,’ as well as carries the ‘Pasha’ and ‘Ankusha’.


Conclusion

Adi Parashakti is the primordial cosmic energy that both creates and dissolves the entire universe. She is not only worshipped by humans but also by the devas (celestial beings). Adi Parashakti is present in everything we see, including plants, animals, birds, the sea, the sky, and the holy river. Adi Parashakti is the power source that the Trimurtis draw their power from. 

Navratri celebrations are a time of worshipping Adi Parashakti and invigorating people with energy and positivity. Adi Parashakti is considered the Param Prakriti (the ultimate nature) and is the active energy that moves the universe.


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