168 – The Divine Forms of Devi

Swami Satya Dharma Saraswati was my first teacher at the Ashram. She was an American who came to the Ashram and never went back. She has written about the divine forms of Devi which were the subject of discussion between, the immortal Narada Muni and Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu spoke about the divine attributes of the Cosmic Mother, and the description is given in the Devi Bhagwatam (Book 1X).

Narayana said:
The great Devi, the highest Prakriti, is recognized as five-fold. When engaged in the work of creation, she manifests as: (1) Durga, (2) Lakshmi, (3) Saraswati, (4) Savitri or Gayatri, (5) Radhika.

Narada asked:
Who is this Prakriti? Why did she have five forms and what are her characteristics?

Narayana replied:
Who is there in this world that can describe fully the characteristics of Prakriti. However I will explain to you what I have heard from my father Dharma. The word Prakriti is comprised of two parts: the prefix pra denotes ‘intensity’ ‘excellence’, and the root kriti means ‘action’, and ‘creation’. So, the Goddess, the Devi, who is most excellent in the work of creation is known as the Devi Prakriti. The meaning of Prakriti in the context of the gunas are the qualities of nature of which Prakriti is comprised. Pra signifies sattoguna or balance, the syllable kri, rajoguna or activity and the syllable ti tamoguna or inactivity. The great Devi who exists before creation as the nature of Brahman, the unlimited, ever-expanding consciousness, is called Prakriti after creation. Before creation, this intelligence of the nature of Brahman remains beyond the three gunas but when influenced by the gunas she becomes the primal force of creation. Then by her will, the five forms of Devi emanate from her for the purpose of creation and to bestow blessings and grace upon the bhaktas or devotees. These five forms are (1) Durga Devi, (2) Lakshmi Devi, (3) Saraswati Devi, (4) Savitri or Gayatri Devi, (5) Radhika Devi.

Swami Satyadharma is no more. She was my inspiration as my first teacher.

Aim Hrim Klim


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