The three poems are located below the introductory paragraphs, but we recommend reading the introduction to fully appreciate these works.
In India Lord Shiva is known as the Father God and Goddess Durga is referred to as the Mother Goddess from the age of the Indus Valley Civilization of Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa (The civilization is dated between 2600 BCE -1900 BCE). The earliest religious text, the Rigveda mentions a god named Rudra which is a name used for Shiva in later Puranic traditions. In Indian culture, the Father God is represented by the ‘Lingam’ (the male symbol) and the Mother Goddess by the ‘Yoni’ (the female symbol). This representation of Shiva-Shakti by the Lingam-Yoni is worshipped in their symbolic representations throughout India.
Shiva – The Destroyer of illusions and imperfections of the world
In contemporary meditation and healing codes, yoga has secured its place and it is evident that it is here to stay. Over 15,000 years ago, predating all religion, Adiyogi, the first Yogi, transmitted the science of Yoga to his seven disciples, the Saptarishis (Seven Disciples).
Shiva/Sadashiv/Adiyogi is the third God of the Hindu triumvirate and his role is to destroy the universe to recreate it. He is the destroyer of illusions and imperfections of the world, paving the way for beneficial change. To call someone a yogi means he has experienced existence as himself. If you have to contain the existence within you even for a moment as an experience, you have to be that nothingness. Only nothingness can hold everything.
GOD and AUM
Lord Vishnu and Brahma heard a sound OM and they became curious to know the origin of that sound. Vishnu saw a letter ‘A’ towards the south of that Shivalinga. He also saw the letters ‘U’ and ‘M’ centre towards the north of the Shivalinga and in its centre respectively. Subsequently, he saw the mantra ‘OM’, which was dazzling like a Sun.
There was no beginning and end to this mantra OM. As they were making efforts to know about its origin, suddenly Shiva appeared in the form of a sage. He gave them knowledge regarding OM. He also revealed to them that Lord Brahma originated from the letter ‘A’, Vishnu originated from the letter ‘U’ and Shiva himself originated from letter M. The letter A signifies creation, U Signifies nurturement and M signifies salvation.
“The three letters A, U & M also symbolize the basic causes of creation. A or Brahma also symbolizes the semen, U or Vishnu symbolizes the Vagina and the sound of OM is Maheshwar- the combined sound of A, U and M. All the three united from which manifested a golden egg. This golden egg remained submerged in the water for one thousand years. The almighty then cut that egg into two halves, from which appeared heaven and Earth.”
Maha Shiv Puran
The Mother Goddess
The beauty of the world is manifested as a twofold essence – man and a woman, soul and body expanding the horizons of human life. On the plane of symbolism, the soul of things becomes associated with the manly form, and the manifested energy (Nature, as we call it) with that of woman and motherhood. This conception procreates a powerful and cosmic methodology that God and Nature are necessary to each other as the complementary manifestations of one, just as we find in the male and the female together, Humanity. Under this aspect, the One Existence is known as Purush and Prakriti, Soul and Energy.
Tantric literature and the bleeding Mother
According to Google Arts and Culture, “Tantra is considered to be a system comprising incredible, primitive, unscientific beliefs, which promotes blind faith and exploits undeveloped or under-developed minds.” In Tantric literature, the Father God is symbolically represented by a white dot signifying the likeness with semen, while the Mother Goddess is represented by a red dot to suggest the correspondence with the menstrual blood contained in the ovum.
The Kamakhya Temple, which is situated high aloft a hill called Neelachal Parbat or Kamagiri in the city of Guwahati is one of its several religious landmarks, which speaks volumes about the rich historical treasure over which the state of Assam is seated. The temple holds an exceptional place in Tantra and culture since it is one of the most famous temples dedicated to Mother worship in India. The temple is the abode of the Mother’s figure in the form of a tonic shaped rock that shrouds a natural spring, keeping the cleft moist. Although there is no scientific proof of the belief that around July/August, earth’s menstruation takes place and the river Brahmaputra runs red, a great ceremony takes place to celebrate the power of the Goddess.
Poetry by Nidhi Agrawal
THE BLEEDING MOTHER
For her, the world is an airheaded canvas
Struggling with the dimensions of infinity.
You draw haloes only to be trapped by the
Colors; red and white.
She is the slayer of Maya (illusions)
Around the confined spaces
To soak up the visible hues,
The canvas is her battleground.
Vermillion gushes out of the river
When she cuts the channels of
The mighty Brahmaputra,
The valley is the abode of
At the mouth of nothingness (Bay of Bengal),
The mother bleeds and encapsulates
The cremation grounds in her ovum.
The Goddess of one region is not the same as the next region’s Goddess
If one manifestation of Shakti drives away all the pain,
Another brings bliss, riding on the lion.
On one hand, the Goddess confides
In a stone, in an ocean, a primordial tree,
Or a pile of freshly baked harvest from
The village streets.
On the other hand,
She is crafted in gold statues
And silver engrossed images.
Which incarnation of the Goddess should I worship?
My body and spirit are culled by
Maya (illusion) created by Mother’s consort.
Without birth or death
The Goddess of Kamakhya is on the far side
She is the blooming bride of Shiva
Granting salvation, yielding mercy, and liberation.
Dwelling in the fertile shrine of Prakriti
She retires to the love of Shiva.
Day and night, I slope downwards
From the anguish of rejection
To find a safe, sweet spot meeting with
The hollow depression hydrated by
The underground fountainhead showering
Love, mercy, forgiveness, peace, and prosperity.
This stone studded vulva
Surrounded by female blood and membrane is my hideaway;
My Mother’s abode.
Nidhi Agrawal has a background in communication design in media and entertainment spaces. She strongly feels that poetry is a deal of joy and pain and wonder. She is the author of her poetry collection Confluence. Her work has been published in Chronogram Media, Yale University, South Asian Today, Indian Periodical, Spill Words Press, Rising Phoenix Review, and Setu Journal, and elsewhere. She lives in India. linktr.ee/Nidhiagrawal