true eve SHAKTHI"
All about The Great Hindu Goddess Devi.
Smithshonian exhibit on the Hindu Goddess/goddesses Devi.
the great goddess of india
Dancing Bhadrakali Adored by the Gods
The Great Goddess, known in India as Devi (literally "goddess"), has many guises. She is "Ma" the gentle and approachable mother. As Jaganmata, or Mother of the universe, she assumes cosmic proportions, destroying evil and addressing herself to the creation and dissolution of the worlds. She is worshiped by thousands of names that often reflect local customs and legends. She is one and she is many. She is celebrated in songs and poems
Seven female figures representing the seven sisters (sat-bahini) here stand in a row, their arms wrapped around one another's backs in folk-dance formation. Since prehistoric times the number seven has had mystical significance in India. It denotes multiplicity and plurality and is widely associated with cyclic renewal. In western India groups of seven water nymphs are propitiated to protect women from infertility and miscarriages. In southern India, the sapta kannagis (seven maidens) are considered the tutelary deities of water tanks. In tribal Bastar, where young people often live in dormitories called ghotul, the seven sisters are looked upon as protectors of adolescent girls. The divine maidens have individual names, which are often conferred as titles of honor upon the resident girls. These bronze figurines depicting the seven divine maidens may also refer to the girls engaged in ritual dances in their honor.
As local protector of villages and towns and individual tribal peoples, Devi encompasses local goddesses as well as local variations on the Great Goddess whose aspect as cosmic force have already been noted. The Indian countryside is dotted with numerous wayside shrines that are often located at the threshold of villages. Except for those dedicated to local heroes these shrines are invariably "mata" or mother goddess shrines. Sometimes a "mata" shrine encloses nothing more than an earthen water pot with molded clay protrusions that symbolize the nourishing breasts of the goddess.
At other times, a rock smeared with saffron and vermillion speaks of her presence. On occasion, a simply modeled stone image serves to invoke the deity. These goddesses, who are concerned only with local affairs, are all-important in the villages and tribal areas. They give an immediacy to worship that cannot be provided by the great male gods, Vishnu and Shiva, who are usually enshrined in temples in the major towns.
An interesting site, very informative for non-Hindus.