Nidhi Agrawal

The Goddess Incarnates
Awakening of the Mother Within


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.

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 become 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

Shakta Bhakti

Shakta bhakti or devotional love is the worship of a single great goddess, Mahadevi or Mahakali or Parama Shakti, a goddess with many names. In Shakta bhakti, the Mother’s name denotes heavenly energy and omnipotence; the devotee is a child yearning for his mother and believes its mother to be capable of doing anything. In her book, “Kali- The Black Goddess of Dakshineshwar”, Elizabeth U Harding writes, “Mother is the sum total of energy in the universe, every manifestation of power in the universe is Mother. She is life, she is intelligence, and she is love.”

In India, women are the replica of Divine Mother who is beheld in the highest esteem as the Shakti of Brahman. Mothers are regarded as the embodiment of a living and loving God. God is the Mother of all creation; self-effacing love, of which the human mother is the ideal symbol, is known by the Hindu as Divine love. Throughout the world, great writers have paid the highest tribute to their mother’s selfless love: “Women have more heart and imagination than men. Enthusiasm arises from imagination; self-sacrifice springs from the heart. They are, therefore, by nature more heroic than heroes.” This reflects their value of high ideals. In India, where every woman is regarded as “mother,” the national ideal of “Renunciation and Service” holds true for women as well as men. Looking upon woman as mother is the purest and noblest Hindu conception.

Maharaja Ajit Singh of Khetri, Instrument of Swamiji’s (Swami Vivekananda) Devotion.

Types of Shakta Bhakti

Shakti Bhakti can be categorised into four types. These are:

1. Folk bhakti
2. Emotional bhakti
3. Political Shakta bhakti or Shakta nationalism
4. Universalist bhakti or Shakta Vedanta

Emotional Bhakti

Emotional bhakti became dominant in the second half of the eighteenth century in India. In emotional bhakti, the bond between the Goddess and devotee is forceful, fanatical and sweet. The devotee’s emotion overflows beyond the barriers and crosses the boundaries of love and passion in its beautiful forms; his emotions resemble the emotions of a child – Sometimes he feels pride, sometimes he makes earnest requests, sometimes he feels anger or desire for her grace, sometimes humility and fear, sometimes dependence.

When you yearn to meet the goddess, your devotion reaches the pinnacle of unselfish reasons and causes. When there is no motive to attain worldly pleasures, the devotee fixes his mind on the goddess not to seek liberation but her.


At midnight, on a seat of five skulls
I worship the slayer of illusions,
The Maharaja (King) gifted me thirty – three
Acres of rent – free earth, (1)
I have planted seeds of your devotion (Bhakti)
In the soil of my bones to perform corpse rituals.
The world calls me mother – crazy and love – mad,
Your status comes alive in my skeleton,
Oh, Mother Kali! Tell me
If the Goddess incarnates.

(1) – Ram Prasad Sen


I dwell on the ferocious cremation grounds
Yearning for my Mother Kali!
She carries waxing gibbous on her forehead,
The Sun grows larger in her right pupil,
The Moon drips from the two corners of her left eye,
She burns the demons in the catacomb of her three eyes.
You cannot carry her consort in your palm,
He keeps her love and fury in the ocean of his heart.

I am restless, this longing to meet my
Mother will swallow me.
Oh, Mother! I have transposed to a ghoul
Your disciples are my friends now.
They claim,
Between the day and night –
When twilight rises to the throat of the sky,
The hours of Sun and darkness make love,
There is no period of half – light,
I will meet you at,
The time of Union.


My eyes brim with the weight of dusk,
Emotions conflagrate in my heart
Burning the corpse without fuel.
This dawn I am returning to my house
To constellate my belongings.

The entrance is clouded by the
Scattered scars of my childhood,
Every drawer is sealed with the secrets of
My disappointments.
Today, I let go of my failures and rise
From the floor,
As soot rises from the throat.
With every effort to clean the house
My spine travels to the nucleus of my brain
Showing me the way to the bedroom.

At the bedroom’s door,
I stand startled by the view.
The Mother Goddess is coming together
With the God of Mountains,
Consuming my form and liberating me
From prison.

Nidhi Agrawal grew up in India. Her work has appeared in various publications including, North Dakota Quarterly, Xavier Review Press, California State Poetry Society, Yale University, University of Tennessee, Chronogram Media, South Asian Today, etc. Nidhi’s work stems from the distinct theories illustrated in the religious texts such as Vedas and Purana. She has worked on the concept of Ardhanareeswara, psychological disorders and her pieces are coordinated amicably with different subjects such as natural disasters, agony, complex realism and profound affairs of day to day life. Subsequently, she writes as she talks to God! Nidhi is a distal pancreatectomy survivor and is in the pink with atrophic pancreas followed by diabetes & mild scoliosis.