Ya Devi Sarva Bhuteshu

  • By N Sai Prashanthi
  • March 28, 2024
  • Examples of Suktas that narrate glory of the Mother. Which are Divine Forms of the Mother? What is Shakti and importance of the feminine Tridevis and Ma Kali?


Ya Devi sarvabhuteshu

shakti roopena samsthitha

namasthasyai namasthasyai

namasthasyai namo namaha

These are the verses from Devi Saptashati of Markandeya Purana which describes the divine mother Durga who is the mother of the entire world. Durga, the goddess who is present in every living being as energy, salutations to that mother who is the source of all energy, power and strength and who removes sorrows of human life.

Women are considered as Shakti and every woman is the embodiment of the Divine Mother.

First published in Journal of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.


Mother is worshipped in different forms in different ways all over the world.

“Women, the mother

Women, the intelligent

Women, the brave

Women, the strength of their family and

Women, the powerful, and courageous.”

Our scriptures present women as the most important part of their family as well as the nation.

Vedic mantras were narrated by our sages and among those sages were many women such as Gargi, Maitreyi, Lopamudra and so on.

There are many suktas which narrate the glory of Mother. One such sukta, the Devi suktam, says:

aham rudrebhirvasubhischaram

ahamaaditye rutha viswa devaihi

The Divine Mother says, “I am Rudra, I am Indra, I am the vasus and everything I am. Energy is mother (shakti) in the entire universe.

The Universe will have many forms of energy, according to science. Our scriptures described the feminine version of energy which means feminine names of energy as described before.

Shabdabrahmamayi—mechanical energy

Characharamayi—heat energy

Jyothirmayi—light energy

Vagmayi—sound energy

Nithyanandamayi—magnetic energy (attraction force)

Parathparamayi—chemical energy

Mayamayi—electric force, electrical energy

Srimayi—atomic energy

The Divine mother Durga is the source of all these energies.

Where Lord Shiva is considered as matter—the padartha, the mother is considered as SHAKTI.

According to science, matter and energy are interchangeable. Matter comes from energy and energy comes from matter, which means they are not different. Science has also accepted that nature will always contain dualities. Motion has inertia and inertia has motion inside it, which means if the depth of the materials is studied, many electrons are found which are in motion. So the sages put the form of Ardhanariswara which says matter and energy are combined in this entire universe. The Vedas and Upanishads tried to describe all these facts with many discussions and events.

Mythology and the divine forms of mother:

In our culture and tradition, mythology plays a very important role. It describes different forms of Devi Durga and the stories of the glory of the mother as well as different Gods.

Durga Saptashati is the main important stotra of mother in which 700 slokas described the glory of Durga.

It has three parts—purva charitra, madhyama charithra and uttara charithra. The first part deals with the glory of mother Mahakali and Madhu-Kaitabha vadha, the second part deals with the glory of mother Mahalakshmi and Mahishasura vadha and the third part deals with the glory of mother Saraswati, and Shumbh-Nishumbh vadha.

Saptashati is described in Savarni Manvanthara and narrated in Markandeya Purana, one of the 18 Puranas. These mantras are considered powerful and are chanted all over the world during the Dussehra festival.

Devi Bhagavatam

Devi Bhagavatam is an epic which describes the glory of mother Durga in the form of different stories, in which she slays demons such as Mahishasura, Shumbha Nishumbha and Madhu Kaitabha, Durgamasura, etc. and tales of Mother’s devotees who were protected from danger by her grace. 

Tridevis and their importance:

In our culture, the Tridev is (Saraswati, Lakshmi and Parvati) are worshipped for education, wealth and power. They are considered as wives of Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara.

1. Parvati

Parvati, the daughter of the mountain (Parvata Raja) Himavanta was married to Lord Shiva. She is an embodiment of motherhood and power. At one point of time, Himavanta did not want her to marry Lord Shiva because he had no palaces and luxury but Parvati decided to marry him and told her father. “I do not need the luxury of palaces and jewellery but I want a place in his heart.”

Thus, Parvati showed all women how to choose their husbands wisely. Not by external appearances, luxuries and money but by the character of the person. She sacrificed her luxuries at home and started living with Lord Shiva in the Himalayas. Parvati tells women not to worry about luxury—the loving bond between wife and husband is more important. She never let her love be determined by the external appearances of Lord Shiva and her sons. She considered their core value, their strengths and character. This is the attitude that mothers should develop towards their sons and daughters.

And a mother should teach their children as Parvati did many times, e.g. once when Kartikeya and Ganesha were trying to race each other, Kartikeya used his peacock. She identified arrogance in Kartikeya and so she supported Ganesha and taught Kartikeya a beautiful lesson. This is the attitude a mother should develop towards her sons and daughters.

Mother Parvati is a representative of nature, true womanhood, a pativratha and a true mother. Her father always felt proud of her and said, “O daughter Parvati, because of you the world knows me.”

2. Lakshmi

Mother Lakshmi, the daughter of the ocean (samudra thanaya) and wife of Lord Vishnu, is the goddess of wealth, money and soubhagya.

Many people worship her for the sake of money and aiswaryam. But she has taken the right forms of wealth which are the needs of human life—dhanam—money, dhanyam—foodgrains, dhairyam—courage, vidya— education, santhanam—children, vijayam—victory, Gaja Lakshmi— representative of nature and animals, and Adi Lakshmi –moola prakriti, the cause of universe.

Lakshmi appeared in the churning of the milky ocean by devas and asuras, married Lord Vishnu and started living in Vaikuntha. Whenever the demons started making trouble and Lord Vishnu had to go to bhuloka to protect dharma, she supported him every time. Sometimes she had to accompany him to earth to support him and faced many difficulties as a normal woman (as Sita).

Mother Lakshmi is mainly worshipped with different flowers and milk—this imparts that a person should be as pure as milk and light as flowers (without any negative qualities such as hatred, jealousy and selfishness)—such a person is blessed by Lakshmi. She is kind and loving towards her children.

Adi Shankaracharya praised her with Kanaka dhara stotram and asked wealth for the poor family which fed him and she bestowed her blessings on that poor family. Everybody wants Lakshmi and they worship her ardently, but if people earn money wrongfully, she leaves the place, giving importance to truthfulness and righteousness. While earning (money), people must follow dharma (righteousness).

3. Saraswati

Mother Saraswati is known as the goddess of children because she is the source of education, arts, Vedas, knowledge and wisdom. She is considered as the wife of Lord Brahma, the creator of the entire universe.

Children worship her during examinations to get good marks. There are very few temples dedicated to Mother Saraswati, maybe because the true temple of Mother Saraswati is the tongue of an educated man. So she is also known as Vagdevi who bestows clarity of speech.

She wears white attire and white jewels and sits on a swan—this shows that purity is the main essence to get education. Purity and character should be there in children to get proper education. The character of a disciple should be as clean as the white colour.

Saraswati’s appearance shows that a student must follow brahmacharya (purity in body, mind and thought) and Indriya nigraha (control over senses). She sits on white swan and sometimes a peacock.

Peacock is the symbol of brahmacharya and the swan is the symbol of discrimination. A student should have discriminative capacity between good and bad from childhood. This will make them successful in life.

Kalidasa was an ardent devotee who received the blessings of Mother Saraswati. He did not know a single word in poetry, but became an excellent poet by her grace and there itself he sang Shyamala dandakam, a beautiful stotra on mother. Later he wrote many books and stotras in the Sanskrit language.

Mookam karothi vachalam, which means a person who cannot speak becomes a great speaker by the grace of mother.

4. Mother Kali

Mother Kali is a fierce warrior and an embodiment of power, bahu balam (physical power), strength and courage.

Whenever destructive forces attack devotees and kill them, when there is a disturbance in the rhythm of nature because of demons, or whenever the sages are subjected to suffering, then Mother takes her ferocious form to terminate such forces. She took the Mahalakshmi form when Mahishasura disturbed the world and she took Kaushiki form to deal with Shumbh and Nishumbh.

Kali Maa is black in colour, symbolising that even the things which are not good and ugly, belong to her. We should accept pain and pleasure, good and bad, positivity and negativity, happiness and sorrow with equal mind and should concentrate on her. She will protect her devotees with compassion.

A woman can protect and nurture children everywhere in every possible way. But when the children miss the righteous path and disturb everything, she will also punish and stabilise everything, because she is the mother. Mother Kali also punishes whenever it is necessary to set everything right.

In whatever form she is worshipped, the main reason behind this is to respect womanhood and to respect women. There are many great women who will be an inspiration to young girls as well as others from different parts of mythology, history, politics, science and technology, and spirituality.

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This article was first published in the Bhavan’s Journal, 1 March 2024 issue. This article is courtesy and copyright Bhavan’s Journal, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Mumbai-400007. eSamskriti has obtained permission from Bhavan’s Journal to share. Do subscribe to the Bhavan’s Journal – it is very good.

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