Kanyakumari - A Goddess waiting!

Wishing all a good week where you are able to pursue the next step towards the growth of your soul purpose. Last three weeks we dealt with some issues that are affecting the current world today.This week let us come back to Mythology and tackle the last Goddess/lady, whom we were planning to tackle for a long time.

As mentioned before, in Vedic mythology, ladies were also very much important and part of the stories that were weaved together. In last week's post as well as the Ardhanariswara post, we tackled how the divine masculine, as well as the divine feminine, is much important to bring out the whole whether in the case of the individual or that of the world itself. So to show the importance of these concepts, many times stories of Shiva (divine masculine) and Parvathi (divine feminine) have been written, where one is longing for the other. In most of the stories Shiva and Parvathi, become together and the wholeness is restored.

But there is also a story where the divine feminine is still longing for the divine masculine and their joining was stopped by other higher principles at play. This is the story of the Goddess Kanyakumari who is still waiting for her Shiva, but according to the mythology, they are never going to be together.

Kanyakumari: The place Kanyakumari or Cape Comorin, is situated at the Southernmost tip of South India in the district of Kanyakumari, Tamilnadu state. This is where the three seas, Arabian sea, Indian ocean and the Bay of Bengal meet. Whoever has gone to that place can even see the color difference in the three seas. I remember, Arabian sea as slightly blue in color, while Indian ocean was grey in color, and the Bay of Bengal was a greenish, turquoise blue. The meeting place of the three seas are called 'Triveni Sangamam'.

Triveni,Sangamam, Kanyakumari
Triveni Sangamam, Kanyakumari
By Madhav Pai (Flickr: Indian ocean) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The temple here is called as the 'Bhagavathi Kumari Amman' temple. Here the Goddess is in the form of an adolescent girl child. She is depicted as wearing a 'pavadai' that is green in color, typical of girl children. She is also considered by the devotees as the terrible form of Mother Goddess, 'Bhadrakali'.
Now let us move to the mythology of the story. 

Mythology: The story starts like this. Eons ago there was a demon or Asura called 'Bana'. As we know in every story the Asura does penance to get some form of immortality. Here also Banasura started the penance to Brahma (the creator god). Brahma was pleased with Bana and asked him for a boon. Bana, thinking about immortality asked Brahma that he should only be killed by an adolescent virgin girl. Brahma gave him the boon.

Once he got the boon, he became arrogant and started to trouble the sages and the ordinary people, killing them, stopping the fire rituals of the sages and causing terror. Seeing all the terrible things being done by him, Gods along with Brahma and devas first wen to Vishnu asking for help.Vishnu guided them to go to the Mother Goddess divine (the magnificent form of the Goddess Parvathi).They extolled her and prayed to her and asked for her help.

Seeing their helplessness, the divine mother blessed them saying, she will take the form of a young girl, go to Earth and kill the demon.

Stoppage of the marriage: Later the Goddess takes birth as a young girl in a place at the southern tip or cape of India. She was called Kumari. Now all was set for her to kill Banasura. But in between, she met Shiva in the form of the God of Sucheendra ( 7 miles or 12 kilometers), called Thirumalayan. She became totally enchanted with him and wanted to marry him. Shiva also wanted to marry her.

The date was set for the marriage.The muhurta or the auspicious time for the wedding was in the midnight. All the preparations proceeded beautifully. Goddess looking forward to her wedding prepared awesome dishes with the help of her servants and friends and waited patiently for Shiva.

Shiva also was getting ready to go to the bride's place with his Ganas (army) with all fanfare, decorations, and chariots. The wedding procession to the bride's place started.

Now in the meantime, the Devas, other Gods, and sages became worried at what was happening. If the young goddess in the human form married Shiva, then Banasura can never be killed, as he had his boon that only an adolescent virgin girl could kill him. Now Narada, the sage who likes to start to fight among gods and Indra, the king of Devas started to think. How can this marriage be stopped?

For the greater good of the world, things that are not really moral can be done, because the greater good of the world is at stake. Now it was decided that Narada in the form of a male cock will go and cry at midnight. Hearing this the God Shiva will misinterpret the time as morning and the wedding will not happen.

So now the procession was moving forward with trumpets, noise, and joy. At this time Narada with the help of Indra disguised as the cock cried out loud near the procession.Thinking it is already early morning and the auspicious hour is over, Shiva went back to Sucheendram. (Don't ask me, isn't Shiva, God, shouldn't he know that it is not yet morning? I don't know, maybe Shiva already knew the marriage is not supposed to happen. He is God.).

Rage of the Goddess: Now the Goddess was still waiting for her sweetheart to come and marry her. She waited for long. Once she realized that her marriage to Shiva is not happening, she became enraged and angry. She threw all the dishes in the mud and destroyed all the decorations and flowers. The rice dish also she threw on the mud and the legend says it is the rice, that got transformed into the unique sand grains in Kanyakumari beach.

Anyway, the young Goddess was dejected, annoyed, frustrated and angry. She decided to go and do penance on the rocks at Kanyakumari. It also has been told, that the Goddess stood on one leg and did the penance. (Due to this fact, in yesteryears many grandmothers used to believe that the girl child, if tried to stand on her one leg, most probably her marriage will not happen, superstition may be).

Anyway, the Goddess started the penance. At this time also Banasura was raining terror on Earth. He heard the news about the stopped marriage. He wanted to see the Goddess. He came to the rock where she was doing penance and he got enchanted with the Goddess. He started bothering the Goddess, asking her to marry him. (Every scenario comes in Mythology, even Eve teasing.). She started fighting off his advances.

She was already angry, jilted and dejected. So all that emotions along with the botheration Banasura was doing made her extremely angry. She is indeed the Goddess. Taking her ferocious young adolescent Goddess form, she sliced Banasura with her discus (chakra) and killed him. Thus the peace and happiness of the world were restored.

Before dying Banasura asked the Goddess to forgive him and bless him so that he will be absolved of his sins. He also asked her that whoever comes to Kanyakumari, takes bath in the sea, where all the three seas meet, they should be absolved of their sins. The Goddess agreed to it. So now also people go to the 'Triveni Sangamam' (meeting of three seas) and take bath.

Goddess still waiting: But the tragedy of this story is that the Goddess is still waiting for her marriage to happen and she is fated to wait for eternity. What a fate, even being a Goddess? Even today in her temple, she is doing her penance to be united with her Shiva, in the form of Sucheendranatha. 

Because of the anger and rage exhibited by the Goddess, she is considered a very powerful Goddess who grants wishes of all her devotees.

Swami Vivekananda: It is said that Swami Vivekananda (the Hindu hermit), performed penance for a few days on a rock island just off the coast of the mainland. It seems this is the same spot where the Mother Goddess also performed her penance.This rock is now known as 'Vivekananda Rock'.

Vivekananda, rock, temple
Vivekananda Rock Temple, Kanyakumari
By Nikhil B [CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons
 Maybe due to the blessings of the Goddess, Swami Vivekananda got a strong inspiration and firm determination to go to America to participate in the conference called 'Parliament of the World Religions' and capture worldwide acclaim as a 'Hindu Sannyasi' (hermit.). Later he traveled all over the U.S.A popularizing the Indian Vedantic philosophy.

Analysis: Here also we can see in the story of Kanyakumari a lady, much rather an adolescent girl who had the strong will to pursue what she wanted.

1, Penance on Shiva: The Devi (Goddess), very much wanted to marry Shiva. So she started a focused penance dedicated on Shiva, with utmost concentration. Here what can we learn from her penance? We have discussed before, whatever we put our thoughts, attention and focus on, that becomes a reality in our life.

The way the Goddess put her focus on Shiva, if we put our determination, focus and will on the things we want in our life, it will start manifesting in our life. Here she met Shiva and the marriage was fixed to happen. By her penance, she is showing we have the capability of bringing what we want in our life.

2, Stoppage of the marriage: This shows that things that are above and beyond our control do happen and we have to deal with it. Here the marriage of the Goddess didn't happen, even being a divine being. So even Gods cannot sometimes stop what is supposed to happen. We can only manage how we take it and respond.

The Goddess became very angry and destroyed the dishes and the food she had prepared. It is natural to become angry when things don't go the way we want. So sometimes even gods come under the grips of the emotion. So what to say about us mere humans. But later she composed herself and started her penance again. So here she shows, even if things don't work out the first time, keep at it. Eventually, it may work. Frustrations are part of life. We should take it in our stride.

3, Killing of Banasura: Here Banasura was pestering the Goddess to marry him, while she was doing penance to marry Shiva. She killed him finally. 

When we are focused on a task (whether writing a blog, getting a degree or bringing up a startup), distractions such as vices, laziness, lethargy, and inertia in the form of Banasura come into our life. The distractions will  pester us to marry them and be always in the same status quo. At that time we should just kill those vices and continue with our focused effort towards what we want for our life.

4, Blessings of the Goddess: After killing Banasura, the Goddess went back to her penance and later started blessing all the people. Once we have accomplished something, even knowledge, it is not enough to hoard it for ourselves. We should share it with the world and try to help in the upliftment of the world.

Like this, every mythological story has a hidden meaning, which becomes clear when we do deep thinking and analysis. Every mythological relics and epics is actually a hidden guidance for us to lead a very purposeful life for ourselves and later help others to find theirs. But many times we just remain at the story level and don't try to go deeper. But only once we go deeper we can reap the wisdom that they are trying to impart.

Vivekananda,hermit, Kanyakumari
Vivekananda -The Hindu Hermit
Let us finish with a quote from Vivekananda:

"We are what our thoughts have made us; so take care about what you think. Words are secondary. Thoughts live; they travel far".

I wish you a good weekend and I'll see you next Friday! 😉

Next week: Life -A philosophical analysis!

Note: Images from Wikimedia Commons.

Ralph Waldo Emerson writes, "There is a time in every man's education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance ; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better for worse as his portion that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till. The power which resides in him is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried".  

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SwaroopaStargazer and Swaroopa, 2017- Eternity.


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