Consciousness has' two attitudes, inner (Antarmukhi) and outward-turned (Bahirmukhi). In the first and in its fullest sense there is an experience in which there is no subject or object. In the second the object or " This " (Idam) is gradually experienced at first as part of and then outside itself. There is a polarisation in the (first) unitary consciousness of " I " (Aham) and " This " (idam), the experiencing subject and his world. The latter is as real as the former which perceives it, but since both are transient and change their reality is relative. Full, timeless, spaceless, endless, persistence is the Absolute Real which is the Supreme Experience. In the Sakta Sastras the evolution of consciousness in 36 Tattvas or stages into mind and matter has been explained in great detail and complication and in technical terms of their own. They show the origin of even Purusha and Prakriti. In fact Purusha and Prakriti Tattvas merely mark the stage of evolution or vibration, when the " This " (Idam) or object of the " I " (Aham) is thrown out of the Self and becomes an outer thing distinct from it. In other words, they (Purusha and Prakriti) are the immediate root of empirical reality, but that root is itself grounded in the soil of consciousness which is ultimately Samvit or the Supreme
(Chidrupini) Experience Itself. This is Maya-Sakti to the Sakta. She in one aspect is the ultimate changeless Reality. She in another aspect does evolve into and appear in the forms of the world.
There is thus a real yet transient diversity in a real and enduring unity. Doubtless this doctrine does not explain how logically Goddess (Sakti Devi) can be changeless and yet change. But in this respect the Maya of Sankaracharya which is" neither real nor unreal also runs counter to logic. The highest truth is alogical. The Sakta says, " better accept both the reality of the changing world which is imposed by Maya on us in our ordinary experience, as also the reality of the changeless which is experienced in Yoga." In spiritual experience the problem disappears. And,_ so Siva says in the Kularnava Tantra : " Some desire dualism (Dvaitavada), others monism (Advaitavada). Such, however, know not my truth which is beyond both monism and dualism, (Dvaitadvaitavivarjita)." The Sakta Tantras are a form of Advaita Vedanta. All worshippers are practical realists whatever their doctrine may be. A Sakta prays to the (Durga Devi) Mother knowing that the form ofthe One as Mother is that in which She appears to him. This feature of the Sakta doctrine is well illustrated in the Devi Bhaga-vatham. The narration runs thus :
When Siva refused his wife Satiji permission to attend the Yagna of her father Daksha, even though she repeatedly besought it, the Jagadamba Devi seeing that her husband's vanity had influenced him, assumed a very terrible form with the object of shattering that vanity. Pondering for a moment in her mind, Satiji opened her three fearful eyes and overpowered Shankerji (Siva) with illusion. Siva stood still looking at the Devi, with her Hps parted in anger and eyes shining like destructive fire. On being thus looked at the Devi suddenly displayed the terrible teeth in Her terrible-mouth and laughed aloud. On hearing that frightful sound of laughter Shanker Mahadeva was paralysed with fright. • Opening his three eyes with great effort, Siva saw (but once) the world-terrifying aspect of Jagadamba. When he looked upon her, her body immediately lost its golden colour and took on that of a dark mass of crushed eye-paint (Anjana).
SYMPOSIUM ON SAKTI
She appeared naked as space, with dishevelled hair, with a lolling tongue and four arms. She was terribly furious, bathed in sweat (caused by her anger) and of frightful countenance, garlanded with skulls, bearing on her head the brilliant crown and a crescent moon, shining like 10 million suns. Her voice thundered loudly. In such a fearful aspect Satiji stood dazzling by the mass of her own brilliant Tejas (energy) before Mahadeva and uttered loud peals of laughter. Seeing that wonderful appearance of the Devi, Shankerji lostall self-control and in panic sought to flee in all directions. Seeing Siva thus overcome with fear, the Devi again uttered peal after peal of dreadful laughter and with the object of reassuring him shouted " Fear not ! Fear not ! " Hearing this cry and fierce peal of laughter Mahadeva frantically rushed again in flight in every direction. But in whatever direction he ran he saw a fearful form before him. After having thus run towards each of the ten quarters ofthe Heaven, he saw none without danger for him ; so he sat down on earth and shut his three eyes and when he opened them he saw before him Shyama (black lady) with a smiling face, Her eyes wide and terrible and her hair dishevelled. Seeing her thus, Mahadeva, as if in great fear asked, vi Who art Thou, Shyama ? Where has my beloved wife Sati gone ? "
Devi said : " Mahadeva, I am thy Sati here standing before thee. Why is thy mind so confused today. Do I appear to thee different from thy Sati ? "
Siva said : " If thou really art my beloved Sati (daughter of Daksha) why has thou become black and fearful ? Who are these forms of terrible shape, standing in all directions around me. Amongst these which art thou ? Tell me everything for these wonderful forms have made me greatly afraid."
Sati said : " I am the subtle (beyond the reach of speech and mind) Mulaprakriti who creates and destroys. Owing to the promise I had aforetime given thee (to bless thee for thy Tapasya) I incarnated as a fair girl in Daksha's house merely to get and charm thee as my husband. I have today assumed this fearful aspect to terrify Daksha alone. The ten terrible forms which thou seest in each of the ten directions .are each of them my aspects. Seeing thee so greatly afraid
and turning in all directions I stood before thee blocking them by these, the forms of mine.
Siva said : " Thou art the subtle Mulaprikriti who creates, preserves and destroys. It is not possible that one should know thee who art beyond the reach of speech and mind. So, not knowing thee, through great illusion, I have said unpleasant words to thee. Pardon me, О Parameshwari, the offence I have thus committed. Tell me the names of each of these ten dreadful forms of thine, standing in each of the ten quarters.
Devi said : " The dark-coloured form with terrible eyes which thou does see before thee is Kali. She who is above thee of Shyama (dark blue) colour is Mahamaye Тага, the very image of Mahakale. The lean destitute and very frightful Devi whom thou seest on thy right side is, О high-soulcd Mahadeva, Mahavidya Chinnamasta. О Sham-bhu, the Devi on thy left side is Bhuvaneswari. She who is behind you is Devi Bagalamukhi, destroyer of foes. She who appears as a widow on the south-east is Devi Mahavidya Dhumavati, a great Ishvari. The Devi on the south-west is Tripurasundari (Kamala). In the north-west is Malangi and in the north-east Mahavidya Shodashi, a great Ishvari. She who is below you is Bhairavi. О Shambu! Be not afraid. Of my many forms (90 millions of manifestations) these ten are the best (the most perfect Vibhutis)." (Vibhuti is the thing which characterises the higher nature. Vibhu is one who is all-pervading and Vibhuti is both that which it displays and the power by which it displays.)
From the above Puranic story we thus gather that the ten Devis are the ten principal Divine Saktis meant to overcome and resist all Asuric elements in this world which pervade in all the ten dimensions of this globe.
All this is not a figure of speech or an imaginary symbol ; but sublime conscious bodies of power and energy that emanate and come down from the supreme abode to uplift the earth-eonsciousness and divinise it in the human beings. These deities are Names, Powers and Personalities of the Universal Godhead and they represent each some essential might and energy of the Supreme Divine Being. They manifest the
SYMPOSIUM ON SAKTI
cosmos and are manifest in it. They recognise in the soul of man their brother and ally and desire to help and increase him by themselves increasing in him, so as to possess his world with their Light, Strength and Beauty. These deities call man to a divine companionship and alliance ; they attract and uplift him to their fraternity, invite his aid and offer theirs against the sons of darkness and division—the Asufic element in man.
Man in return calls the deities to his sacrifice, offers to them his own mind, power and will, and receives them back re-enlightened, re-enforced and re-strengthened as their gifts into his being and into his life. Gods or their Sakties as Goddesses are not simply poetical personifications of abstract ideas or of psychological and physical functions of Nature. To the Vedic seers they were living realities ; the vicissitude of the human soul represents a cosmic struggle not merelv of principles and tendencies, but of the Cosmic Powers which support and embody them. These are the Devatas and demons or Asuras. On the world-stage and in the individual soul the same real drama and "play with the same personages is enacted.
_ What is the purpose of this Play ; what is the end to be achieved ? It is, of course, coming down of the Supreme Chit-Sakti or Power-Consciousness to the physical or material consciousness and establishing itself as the supremest all-ruling element in the human being. It is only then that it takes direct charge of the work to be done in and through the human system. But, before the arrival of the hour of that coming down, much work has to be done for preparing the human instrument by its own Yoga-force which is a special Power of the Supreme Being, a subtle instrument for the purification of the being and making it fit to receive and hold the infiltrations of the forces of strength and knowledge and peace into the system.
Now let us carefully study and make a brief note of some of these cardinal principles of this system of what is commonly expressed as "The Tantra" or "The Tantra Sastra." The use of this expression itself is due to a misconception and leads to others. The word " Tantra " has been derived
from the root " Tan " to spread. Tantra is that (Sastra or scripture) by which knowledge is spread. The suffix " Tra " is from the root " to save." That knowledge is spread which saves (Tanyate Vistaryate Jnanam anenaiti Tan tram). What is that but religious knowledge which saves ? So, Tantra Sastra is a treatise which deals with that Knowledge. Knowledge in the Sastric sense is actual immediate (Shakshatkara) experience or demonstration, not mere reading about it in books, however divine and however useful as a preliminary such study may be. Tantras were thus regarded rather as a scientific discovery than as a revelation ; that is something discovered by the self rather than from without. Tantras are thus claimed to be the revealed means by which the Tattvas and other matters and powers may be discovered. In short, the Tantra Sastras or Agamas form a practical philosophy, i.e., a philosophy which not merely argues but experiments. In fact, all must act who have not achieved. For this reason every ancient faith has its ritual.
A Western writer has expressed the opinion that the Tantra Sastra was at least in its origin alien and indeed hostile to the Vedas. He said that " We are strongly of the opinion that in their essence, the two principles are fundamentally opposed and that the Tantras only used Vedic forms to mask its essential opposition." This is not a correct view to take. Ignorant notions prevail on the subject of the relation of the Tantras to Vedas and the Vedas to Tantra. From an outside standpoint the historical speculation is that the worship of the Great Mother, the magna mater of the Near East, the Adya Sakti of the Sakta Tantra in its essentials is one ofthe oldest and most widespread religions in the world, and one which in India was possibly, in its origin independent of the Brahmanic religion as presented to us in the Vaidik Samhitas and Brahmanas. If this be so, it was later on mingled with the Vedanta tradition, so that the Sakta faith of today is a particular presentation of the general Vedantik teaching. Whatever be the origins of the Sakta doctrines, it would be a mistake to overlook the possibility ofthe so-called " Tantrik " tradition having been fed by ways of thought and practice which were not, in the strict sense of the term, part ofthe Vaidik cult cr in the line of its descent.
SYMPOSIUM ON SAKTI
The latest tendency in modern Western philosophy is to rest upon intuition or super-consciousness, as it was formerly the tendency to glorify dialectics. But intuition, however, has to be led into higher and higher possibilities by means of Sadhana, which is merely the gradual unfolding ofthe Spirit's vast latent magazine of power or Sakti which everybody possesses in himself. It will be found in the compilation called " Yati-Dharma-Nirnaya " that even Dandins of Sri Sankara's School follow a Tantrik ritual suited to their state.
Let us, after this digression, revert to our study and dwell on the first principles which form the sheet-anchor of this study of Sakta Sastra. It is a Vedantic dictum that con-ciousness—Chit—is fundamental to being, to all existence— Sat. It has been axiomatic truth with the mystics and sages of the Upanishads. It is necessary to bear in mind what is meant by consciousness. Obviously it is something aware of itself ; it is in man, a self-evident awareness which though subjective, yet is not limited to his subjective being. This is because, although it is infinite and one, still there is in it an inherent power which is immense and deployed in multiple forms of consciousness. WTe may call it manifestation ofthe many from the One. Diversity in Unity. In our own psychology we can perceive this twofold distinction in consciousness. One aspect of it is the apprehending consciousness which consists in the awareness "I am," the consciousness of I-ness ; and another is the comprehending consciousness that "all is." Thus, the essential one, the unity of all existence is the basic consciousness on which is founded the manifold development of itself.
The diverse forms it assumes are worked out by the power (Sakti) that is ever implicit in the comprehending movement of the Force in the infinitude of the Supreme Being.
This diversity of forms in the manifestation is released in degrees and kind, in quality and bulk, so much so that we find apparent absence of sentience in matter,—What we call inanimate objects. But everywhere consciousness is present ;
only its manifestation differs in range because the instruments of expression differ in form and quality and kind.
Another point of utmost importance to be noted is that once we accept that consciousness (Chit-Sakti) is omnipresent and infinite, we have also accepted that it is not confined to the boundaries of the three-dimensional space. Apart from its reserve as the (Avyakta) unmanifest, it comprehends in its infinitude an essential extension in which it pours out of its inherent force vast masses of energy that go to build the world. This extension is in its root an expansive mood and aspect of the Divine Spirit and should not be confounded with the physical space in which we perceive this stellar universe. We have to bear this fact in mind when we are instructed that creation proceeds from above. It is a statement of the mystics all the world over. In India we find it repeatedly mentioned in the Vedas. In die Vedic text,it is used in the sense of" The Residual above" (Utshista). Obviously it is so termed because any number of creations cannot diminish the infinitude of the Supreme Being that for ever remains above the creation which descends from it. When the Supreme Chit-Sakti of the Supreme Being above deploys certain energies for the creation of the worlds, He remains still inexhaustible and rests there forming the foundation above—Upari-Badhwa—for the creation in its downward course. For, while there is no question of direcdon in regard to the Infinite Consciousness in itself, as there is nothing inside or outside of it, every manifestation in it, thrown into creation out of it has a boundary, which means that it is endowed with the property of direction as related to similar objects of creadon as well as to the source and support of its own being in the All-Existence. But this source and foundation of created existence is constantly above the perceiving consciousness in the embodied being, whether the embodiment is individual or universal and cosmic in formation. Nor can we say that there is nothing permanently above the embodied being in spatial terms of the experiencing consciousness on the ground that the perception is purely object-tive- - For it must be noted that all perceptions are subjective and all knowledge of the objective is subjective, nay all the objective existence itself is a manifestation worked out by the
SYMPOSIUM ON SAKTI
Sakti force emanating from the Infinite Consciousness and abides in it ; and in this sense the objective existence itself rests in the subjective and apprehending aspect of the consciousness in the unalterable infinitude of the Supreme Being. In this context we must remember that creation starts initially from other dimensions of space (Chidaksha) in the higher altitude of Being, proceeds through various grades in the descending order before arriving at a state in which we perceive its material aspect in physical space. The cosmos of which our earth is a part occupying the lowest rung— lowest rung because there are many levels above and at the summit is the Godhead, the creative spirit who supports the cosmic system from above and there is the foundation of this created existence. These grades in cosmic existence are really various levels and states of consciousness with their corresponding fields for active participation in the cosmic scheme which we call the. planes of being. The cosmic system itself is an embodiment of the divine spirit, the creative Godhead or Ishwara presiding over it above and entering into it in a supporting erect column with the higher end at the summit and the lower end here on our earth-plane. This vertical column of support is termed :' Skamba." In the Atharva Veda (Book X) there are two long hymns in which the Godhead has been described as Skamba, the source, support and substance of all that exists. It is the Skamba that
upholds (Dadhara)......it is the Skamba that enters into and
possesses all this universe (Idam Vishwam) Bhuvanam A-vivesha), says the Veda. The Skamba is the cosmic pillar, the spinal column ofthe cosmic being, represented in the evolution of the human body, by the backbone, the axial pole or spinal cord, which gives to the human body, its erect posture. Next we have to remember that in the higher regions of consciousness we do not speak of vehicles, for their place is taken by radiances ; the consciousness which has localisation in the physical body, in higher stages of its development, gets concentrated in a centre as a Lighf>Power from which rays issue forth in all directions. In all crucial stages of evolution when a higher principle is to be evolved, however intense may be the evolutionary-urge in the Earth-Spirit, whatever intrinsic merit the evolutionary-force may have, the higher
principle that waits for manifestation has to await the coming down of a Power from the plenary home of that principle and to lift it up from its submerged wakefulness. This is how life or Chaitanya-Sakti has entered into matter and mind and changed them into living matter for the expression of Spirit through thinking—self-conscious life. This principle technically called Supermind is a Light, which connotes much more than what it literally denotes. It is not a figure of speech or an imaginary symbol, but a sublime conscious body of Light that emanates and comes down from the supreme plane of consciousness (Chit-Sakti) to uplift the earth-consciousness and divinise it in the human being by establishing itself as the supreme principle of all knowledge, life and action in man. It is a special divine power because it is not a Sakti or power generated by human effort in the course of the well-known lines of Sadhana. This Power or Sakti is active in its own right, though the human instrument can and in fact has to contribute to its effectiveness, by submitting to its work, by making an exclusive call upon it, by an all-round willing consent to its working. It is the Daivam (Providence) of the Gita. The wise, all-seeking will that is at work in the world. (Gita Ch. XVIII, 5, 14). The Divine Truth, Satyam, as the Vedic Rishis saw. is not a mere staiic Reality of the metaphysician, bul it is ever active by constantly radiating its Chit-Sakti (Will-Power) to feed and sustain the worlds. It has its own way and works in its own right—Rita. If Satyam is the Truth, the way of working that Truth is Rita, Right. Hence the triple formula of the Atharva Veda-—■ Satyam, Ritam, Brihat. It is the way of the working of the Truth, that is the Right, the Law which in a later language was denoted by Dharma. It is the way the Divine illumined will works, that is the Right, the true Law. The Rishis pray for a knowledge of the Law of Truth—Satya-Dharmaya. It was the Truth-Law which all sages and seers of the Vedic period sought to know and work upon. In fact the two concepts which have played a dominant part in the personal and social life of the people of Bharatavarsha, since the Vedic times are the Satyam and the Ritam. The early seers of Dharma saw that the Truth-Law is really the Truth-Will of the Divine and can operate in life as an inner and spiritual
SYMPOSIUM ON SAKTI
law, as well as a rule of personal conduct. They applied the principle of Dharma—the Sakshat-Krita-Dharmanah— as the way of the Divine Will to all life, personal and public and extended the same to the government of the group-life represented by the State, Rajya Dharma. Thus Dharma became a ruling principle of all life, whose nature is really hidden in the secret-heart, Hridaya. This was the idea of Dharma that the ancients had when they called upon man to look for it within and enjoined that the assent of the heart was necessary to a particular course of action. Even Manu, when he was codifying the laws of ethical conduct used the phrase " Hradaya-Abhyanujnana." The true Dharma is the Law of Truth—Satya-Dharma ; it is the way that the Divine Will works in each. Mahatma Gandhi applied that Satya-Dharma or Satyagraha to achieve freedom to this country and did it successfully. Therefore, if one wants to be a true doer of divine works, his first aim must be to get rid totally of all personal desires and self-regarding ego. He must grow in the divine consciousness of the Divine Sakti of Satya, till there is no difference between his own will and the will of the Divine Mother Sakti. He must regard his life as given to him only for the divine work and to help in the divine manifestation. No motive except the divine Mother's impulsion in you, no action that is not Her conscious Action in you and through you. There must be no demand for fruit and no seeking for reward ; the onlv fruit for you is the pleasure of the Divine Mother and the fulfilment of her work, your only reward a constant progression in Divine Consciousness. While this transformation is being done, it is more than ever necessary to keep oneself free from all taint of the perversion ofthe Ego. There must be no attachment to the work or the result, no claini to possess the Sakti that should possess you, no pride of the instrument, no vanity or arrogance. When one is completely identified with the Divine Mother Sakti and feels no longer another and separate being, instrument, servant or worker, but truly a'child and eternal portion of Her consciousness and force, then, perfection will come. He will then know and see and feel that he is a being and power formed by her out of herself, put out for her play, bet always safe in her. The mother is the consciousness-force
of the Supreme and far above all she creates. There are three ways of being of the Mother of which we can become aware when we enter into touch of oneness with the Conscious Force, that upholds us and the universe, viz-, (i) Transcendent (it) Universal (Hi) Individual. As the one transcendent original Sakti, the Mother stands above all the worlds and bears the Supreme Divine in her eternal consciousness. All is She, for all are parcel and portion of the Divine Consciousness-Force. Nothing can be here or elsewhere but what she decides and the Supreme sanctions ; nothing can take shape except what she moved by the Supreme perceives and forms after casting it into seed in her creating; Ananda. The Matra-Sakti, the Universal Mother, works out whatever is transmitted by her transcendent consciousness from the Supreme and enters into the worlds that she has made ; her presence fills and supports them with the divine spirit and the divine all-sustaining force and delight without which they could not exist. Each is something that she has seen in her vision, gathered into her heart of beauty and power, and created in her Anand. Nearer to us are the worlds of a perfect supramental creation in which the Mother is the supramental Maha-Sakti, a Power of Divine Omniscient Will and omnipotent Knowledge (Jnana) always apparent in its unfailing works and spontaneously perfect in every process. There all movements are the steps of Truth ; there all beings are souls and powers and bodies ofthe Divine Light ; there all experiences are seas, floods and waves of an absolute intense Ananda.
But, here, where we dwell are the worlds of ignorance, of mind and life and body separated in consciousness from their source, of which this earth is a significant centre and its evolution a crucial process. This, too, with all its obscurity and struggle and imperfection is upheld by the Universal Mother ; this, too, is impelled and guided to its secret aim by the Maha-Sakti. These powers and personalities are the many divine forms and personalities in which men have worshipped her under different names throughout the ages. All
SYMPOSIUM ON SAKTI
the scenes of the earth-play have been like a drama arranged, planned and staged by her with the cosmic Gods for her assistance and herself as a veiled actor. In her deep great love for her children, she has consented to put on herself the cloak of this obscurity, condescended to bear the attacks and torturing influences of the powers of the Darkness and the Falsehood, borne to pass through the portals ofthe birth that is death, taken upon herself the pangs and sorrows and sufferings of the creation, since it seemed that thus alone could it be lifted to the Light and Joy and Truth and Eternal Life. This is the great sacrifice called sometimes the sacrifice of the Purusha, but much more deeply the holocaust of Prakriti, the sacrifice of the Divine Mother.
Four great Aspects (Swaroop) ofthe Divine Mother, four of her leading Powers and Personalities have stood prominent, in Her guidance of this Universe and in her dealings with this terrestrial play or Lila. To those four great aspects of Saktis we give the four great names (1) Maheswari, (2) Mahalakshmi, (3) Mahasaraswati and (4) Mahakali.
Maheswari is her personality of calm witness and comprehending wisdom and tranquil benignity and inexhaustible compassion and sovereign and suprassing majesty and all ruling greatness. She is the mighty and wise One who opens us to the supramental infinities and the cosmic vastness, to the grandeur of the Supreme Light, to a treasure-house of all Divine Knowledge, to the measureless movement of the Divine Mother's movement. To the wise she. gives a greater and more luminous wisdom ; those that have vision she admits to her counsels. Though she is above all, bound by nothing, attached to nothing in the universe, yet she has more than any other the heart of the Universal Mother.
Mahalakshmi is vivid and sweet and wonderful with her deep secret of beauty and harmony and fine rhythm, her intricate and subtle opulence, her compelling attraction and captivating grace. Where there is affinity to the rhythm of the secret world-bliss (Ananda) and response to. the call of all-beautiful and concord and unity and the glad flow of many lives turned towards the Divine, in that atmosphere she consents to abide. But all that is ugly and mean and base, all that is poor, sordid
and squalid, all that is brutal and coarse repels her advent. Where she finds herself in man's heart surrounded with selfishness and hatred and jealousy and malignance and envy and strife, a divine disgust seizes upon her and she withdraws. Even ascetic bareness and harshness are not pleasing to her, nor the suppression of the heart's deeper emotions and the rigid repression ofthe soul's and life's part of beauty. For it is through love and beauty that she lays on men the yoke ofthe Divine. Admitted to the heart, she reveals to it the mystic secrets of the ecstasy that surpasses all knowledge, meets devotion with the passionate attraction of the Divine and lifts wisdom to the pinnacles of wonder and casts on perfection the charm that makes it endure for ever.
Mahasaraswati is the Mother's power of work and her spirit of perfection and order. She is the most skilful in executive faculty and the nearest to physical Nature while Maheswari lays down the large lines of the world-forces, Mahakali drives their energy and impetus, Mahalakshmi discovers their rhythms and measures ; but Mahasaraswati presides over their detail of organisation and execution, relation of parts and effective combination of forces and unfailing exactitude of result and fulfilment. The science and craft and technique of things are Mahasaraswati's province. Nothing short of a perfect perfection satisfied her and she is ready to face an eternity of toil if that is needed for the fulness of her creation. Therefore of all the Mother's power she is the most long-suffering with man and his thousand imperfections. A mother to our wants, a friend in our difficulties, a persistent and tranquil counsellor and mentor, chasing away with her radiant smile the clouds of gloom and fretfulness and depression ; she is firm, quiet and persevering in the deep and continuous urge that drives us towards the integrality of the higher nature. All the work of the other powers leans on her for its completeness.
Mahakali is of another nature. Not wideness but height, not wisdom but force and strength are her peculiar power. There is in her an overwhelming intensity, a mighty passion df force to achieve, a divine violence rushing to shatter every limit and obstacle. Terrible is her face to the Asura, dangerous and ruthless her mood against the haters of the Divine ;
SYMPOSIUM ON SAKTI
for she is the warrior ofthe worlds who never shrinks from the batde. Indifference, negligence and sloth in the divine work she cannot bear and she smites awake at once with sharp pain, if need be, the untimely slumberer and loiterer. She, too, is the Mother and her love is as intense as her wrath ; and she has a deep and passionate kindness. If her anger is dreadful to the hostile and the vehemence of her presence painful to the weak and timid, she is loved and worshipped by the great, the strong and the noble, for they feel that her blows beat what is rebellious in their material into strength and perfect truth, hammer straight what is wry and perverse and expel what is impure and defective. Nothing can satisfy her that falls short of the supreme ecstasies, the highest heights, the noblest aims, the largest vistas. Therefore, with her is the victorious force ofthe divine, and it is by grace of her fire and passion and speed if the great achievement of life can be done now rather than hereafter.
Maheswari or Mahamaya is the Supreme Power. In Tantric Shastra the power-holder and the power are as such one, though the transformations of power are many. We speak of transformation or evolution because power and its holder are held to be both efficient and material cause ofthe world. Strictly speaking creation (ex nihilo) is not taught by any system of Hinduism. But each system presupposes some " potential matter " out of which the world is evolved in recurring cycles from eternity to eternity. By " potential matter " in this statement is meant that which in itself is not matter prime or otherwise, but is the cause ofthe becoming, amongst other things ofthe material world. That cause is the power of consciousness which in Tantric is known as " Maya-Sakti." This Cosmic Power though itself unmeasured and undefined, measures out (the root meaning of the word Maya) or makes finite forms in the formless Infinite, which together (form and formless) constitute one alogical Whole (Purna). This Power was called the Magna Mater in the antique West and in India is named Mava when it finitizes ; and Maha-Maya when it liberates from the finite. The ground of man's being is the Supreme ' I ' (Purusha), which though in Itself beyond finite personality, is yet ever finitely personalizing as the beings of the Universe. " Sa-aham "
(She I am) : ;this is the Supreme Maya Sakti, known in Tantra Shastra as Maheswari.
Until there is in fact a change, Maya Sakti is merely the potency of becoming in Being and as such is wholly one with the Mother Sakti. But Potency or Power as the material cause contains its effect and the latter is the cause modified. That Cause is the Power of Consciousness, which as the individual centre divides itself into Self and not-Self, as the Consciousness-Whole.
Creation is movement, an uncoiling of Maya-Sakti. Hence the world is called " Jagat " in Sanskrit which means " what moves." As the nature of this movement is circular or spiral the world is said to have evolved in recurring cycles.
This Chit-Sakti when it manifests as energy, i.e., Maya-Sakti has a twin-aspect of potential and kinetic energy.
That power of Chit from which form is derivable, i.e., the power which produces form is called Prakriti-Sakti. This Prakriti-Sakti is the immediate source and the constituent of mind and matter. The corresponding conscious (Chit) aspect ofthe same Power is Purusha. Prakriti is the kinetic and Purusha, the static aspect of Maya-Sakti.
We thus get the scientific doctrine that to every form of activity there is a static background. Negation being a function of Sakti. For instance, just as an atom or electron consists of a static centre around which moving forces revolve, so in the human body Kundalini is the earth-centre—the static centre (or Kendra in Sanskrit) round which Prana-Sakti in kinetic aspect as the forces of the body, work. The whole body as vehicle of mind and matter (as Sakti of the Tattvas) is in ceaseless movement ; and the Kundalini (static) Sakti is the immobile support of all these movements.