SHAKTA DHARMA AND THEIR ACHARYAS

Śhākta or Shakti or Devi pooja is not a new upasana. It is being carried out right from the time of Vedic period. Puran's tell us that Rishi Vashishth would worship Tara devi. Parshuram ji worshipped Tripura devi,

Agastya learned the secrets of Shri Vidya from Vishnu ji in Hayagriva avtaar. Bhagwan Ram, Laxman and Krishna too learned the tantrik vidya. Even Rig Ved 7.103.5 Sayan Bhasya also mentions about Śhākta/शाक्त(शाक्तस्येव शक्तिमतः).
Then we find that in the Harrappan excavations many figurines depicting Shakti were found. So in that age too, which was supposedly an urban city shakti was being worshipped. So naturally this tradition would be prevalent in rural areas too.
It is wrong to say that shakti puja originated from Bengal although it was popular there. Matsyendranath received this vidya from Maheshwari herself in Kamrup. We know that Shakti pooja is practised all over India.
Not much is known about the Śhākta saints in other parts of India in the middle ages.

Adi Shankaracharya wrote Pramanech saar named book on tantra and Anand lahri book on Devi strotras. Then there were Acharya Shankar, Bhaskar Rai, Laxman, Deshikendra, Raghav Bhatt, Krishnand,
Purnanand, Vijay Gupt, Mukundram, Bharat Chandra and Kamlakant. Laxman wrote Sharda tilak and Tara Pradip which is popular amongst tantriks. Raghav bhatt wrote the analysis of Sharda tilak. Bhaskar rai worshipped Shri Vidya and was a Sidhha purush.
Bengali purohits still refer to Tantra saar written by Krishna nand. Then there is Shankar Agamacharya who is known as Shankaracharya of Bengal. He wrote Tara Rahasya Vritikar.

Shakti was worshipped as Chandi, Mansa, and Kali.
Mukund ram, Bharat chandra and Vijay Gupt wrote Chandi mangal, Mansa mangal and Kalika mangal.

Music is also associated with shakti puja as most of the poetry could be sung. Popular to write songs amongst them is Ram Prasad.
The above mentioned names were all sidhha purush their dedication to mata total.

Then there is Sarvadanand from Tripura who was first thought to be lunatic but after a turn of events he became a shakti pujak and wrote Sarv Vidya.
Today also he is remembered by his bhakts every year on paush sankranti.

In the Śhākta tradition there is a woman saint named Jaydurga whose half body was fair and other half dark. Her followers, now mostly in Bangladesh believe her to be an avtar of Parmeshwari.
Then there is Gosai Bhattacharya who too had many siddhis. He had many magical powers. Then there was Vamacharan whom people thought him to be lunatic initially as he left his house and stayed in a samshaan. He was an avid bhakt of Taradevi.
But later people had to change their opinion after they discovered that he had many siddhis.

The most famous name is of Ramkrishna Paramhans. His teachings published through Ramkrishna mission are read world wide. He took diksha from Bhairavi.
He was a pujari of Dakshineshwar Kali mandir, but his tantra vidya supervised by his guru Bhairavi gave him world wide fame. Besides these there must be umpteen number of Śhākta or Shakti upasaks away from the limelight.
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Rig Ved 1.36.7

To do a Namaskaar or bow before someone means that you are humble or without pride and ego. This means that we politely bow before you since you are better than me. Pranipaat(प्राणीपात) also means the same that we respect you without any vanity.

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Surrendering False pride is Namaskaar. Even in devotion or bhakti we say the same thing. We want to convey to Ishwar that we have nothing to offer but we leave all our pride and offer you ourselves without any pride in our body. You destroy all our evil karma.

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We bow before you so that you assimilate us and make us that capable. Destruction of our evils and surrender is Namaskaar. Therefore we pray same thing before and after any big rituals.

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तं घे॑मि॒त्था न॑म॒स्विन॒ उप॑ स्व॒राज॑मासते ।
होत्रा॑भिर॒ग्निं मनु॑षः॒ समिं॑धते तिति॒र्वांसो॒ अति॒ स्रिधः॑॥

Translation :

नमस्विनः - To bow.

स्वराजम् - Self illuminating.

तम् - His.

घ ईम् - Yours.

इत्था - This way.

उप - Upaasana.

आसते - To do.

स्त्रिधः - For enemies.

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अति तितिर्वांसः - To defeat fast.

मनुषः - Yajman.

होत्राभिः - In seven numbers.

अग्निम् - Agnidev.

समिन्धते - Illuminated on all sides.

Explanation : Yajmans bow(do Namaskaar) before self illuminating Agnidev by making the offerings of Havi.

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Rig Ved 1.40.2

Here marudgans are requested to help the yajmans at the time of war. Our actual war is with ignorance. We will become truly powerful and able bodied only after defeating ignorance. The yajmans request marudgans to make them effective rather than

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make them lacking in something. Let their nature and effectiveness be divine. Let their Praan and Pragya { knowledge} become capable. Mind will be enriched only when it is satisfied. Unsatisfied and sad mind cannot carry out the work of Paramarth.

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Only quiet and reclusive mind can think of Paramarth. Those who are unattached can only experience constant mind(स्थिर बुद्धि). The one with determined insight only can know their true self. This is what we wish Parmatma to grant us.

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त्वामिद्धि स॑हसस्पुत्र॒ मर्त्य॑ उपब्रू॒ते धने॑ हि॒ते ।
सु॒वीर्यं॑ मरुत॒ आ स्वश्व्यं॒ दधी॑त॒ यो व॑ आच॒के ॥

Translation:

सहस्त्रपुत्र - Oh the protector of many Waters!

मर्त्य: - Human.

हिते - Formidable for enemies.

धने - For wealth.

त्वाम - Yours.

इत - This.

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उप ब्रूते - Near.

हि - Is there.

मरुतः - Marudgan.

यः - Which.

व: - Yours.

आचके - To praise.

स्वश्यव्यम - With beautiful horses.

सुवीर्यम - With best valour.

आ दधित - To wear on all sides.

Explanation: Oh the doers of all courageous works! The men call out to you

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