Shakambhari


Shakambhari

In Hinduism, Shaakambhari is an incarnation of Ishwari, consort to Shiva. She is the divine mother, 'The Bearer of the Greens'.

Etymology

Shaakambhari - It is said that in times of famine, Goddess Durga comes down and gives vegan food, (shaaka comes from Sanskrit. means vegetables and vegan food. Ambari means one who wears or bears) , to the hungry. That is why she is called "Shaka" + "Ambari" = 'Shaakambhari'.Actually Shakambhari comes from Shakam joined with the root Bhri(Shaka = vegetables or food and root bhri = to nourish)

Story

The Demon Durgam had acquired all the four books of total knowledge (The Veda) from Lord Brahma through penance. He also gets a boon from Lord Brahma that makes sure that all the pujas, yajnas and havis being offered to the Gods reach him instead making him invincible.

Durgam became very arrogant and started tormenting the whole world. As the consequence, it did not rain for one hundred years and the whole world was hit by very severe drought.

The rishis and munis take refuge in the caves of the Himalayas, and meditate upon the Supreme Devi. The Goddess appeared in front of them bearing a wonderful form!

She had countless number of eyes upon Her that gave Her the name SATAKSHI. She was carrying grains, cereals, vegetables, greens, fruits and other herbs - and was hence called SHAKAMBARI.

She was so moved by their plights that tears rolled down from her eyes for nine continuous days and nights. The tears took the form of a river, as the result of which the drought came to an end.

The rishis, munis and the Gods then requested that she recover the Vedas, which were in possession of Durgam. Durgam came to know that people were living happily through his messengers and immediately attacked with a large army.

The Goddess protected the frail rishis, munis, Gods and others by putting up a huge wall of fire around them, and then let Her discuss hover around it. There ensued a tremendous battle between the Devi and Durgam.

From Her body manifested the ten most powerful powers who never been in universe before Dashamahaavidya and 64,000 other goddesses. At last the Goddess called Satakshi/Shakambari, killed Durgam with her trident and recovered the Veda from his possession. At that very moment all the mantras and japas that were performed by the rishis, munis and Gods had performed earlier but were absorbed by the demon Durgam due to his boon, transformed into a bright light of a 10,000 Suns and entered the Devi. She then handed over The Veda to the deities. Ishwari also knowns as Durga as she had killed the demon Durgam.

Worship practices

Ancient Temple of Goddess Shakambhari is situated at Sakarai about 15 km from Udaipur Wati which is about 29 km from Sikar(Rajasthan). Also there is three temples of Mata Shakambhari in Kolkata. Since tears rolled out from goddess eye for 9 days and night continuously the biggest worship practice is celebration of Navratra Mahotasav being held in the month of Chaitra and Aasoj for nine days each. Two more Navratras are also celebrated but they are known as 'Gupt Navratras'

Major Temples of Shakambhari are located in Badami and in Bangalore - both in Karnataka state. There are many more Shakambhari temples in other parts of India - such as in Nagewadi, Maharashtra; Kumbhoj near Satara; Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh, and in Rajasthan. For the photo of deities and her history you can visit the website www.shakambari.com This temple is more than 200 years old.

Shaakambhari as protector of life is thanked for helping devotees tide over long periods of disease and drought. As she is also Bhuumi, Mother Earth, the goddess of vegetation. She is also Goddess Shakambhari, the goddess of agriculture. The soil is prepared for the cultivation of the new crop. In some homes the ritual of sowing and sprouting of barley in small pots is observed.

Upcoming Temple for Shakambari

SHAKAMBARIPURAM - a temple proposed to be built for Shakambari in Chennai, Tamilnadu, where a beautiful murthi of the Goddess Shakambari is conecrated. Shakambari Navaratri and other navaratris are being celebrated since 2001 at Shakambaripuram. Please contact murthy_pr@yahoo.co.in for further details, help and contributions.

Further reading

* "Hindu Goddesses: Vision of the Divine Feminine in the Hindu Religious Traditions" ISBN-10|81-208-0379-5 by David Kinsley
* Shakambhari Temple in Badami.

References


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