The oldest concepts of yoga are sometimes difficult to translate into modern languages. In the tantric texts we read how God Shiva dialogues with his consort, Goddess Parvati, and then we can interpret such a plot in very different ways. Symbolically, God Shiva is consciousness and Goddess Parvati is the manifested universe. The dialogue of Shiva and Parvati is the relationship between the masculine and feminine principles of the universe or the communication between the soul and God. Behind beautiful legends always hides deep symbolism, many levels of understanding of nature and meaning.
The masculine and feminine principles of the universe are two sides of the same entity which we call the Absolute (Brahman). It is human nature to artificially divide into opposites what is essentially originally one. What does classical science know about consciousness, the soul, and God? These questions elude scientific research, at least for the time being.
Vedic science has used poetic images and symbols since time immemorial to describe cosmic processes, the evolution of consciousness and matter. All gods are different aspects of consciousness and all goddesses are aspects of cosmic energy. God Shiva dances mystical dances (tandava) and the manifested nature as the image of numerous goddesses creates an amazing diversity of the universe, different types of energy, numerous worlds, space and time.
When considering the many images and symbols, one should not forget that we are talking about the same deity, which can take any form. The Mother Goddess manifests in many forms and aspects carrying all kinds of vibrations and qualities. We will talk about worshiping the ten images of the Mother Goddess, the so-called Mahavidyas, in this article.
Mahavidya - Maha means great and Vidya means knowledge.
And so, Mahavidya is the ten great knowledge, manifesting in the ten archetypes of the goddesses.
MAHAVIDYAS AS THE FORMS OF PARVATI. According to one legend, one day God Shiva wanted to leave the house. Goddess Parvati did not want to let him out and blocked ten exits from the house with terrible entities that she created from herself. These were the ten Mahavidyas, which symbolize the ten directions of space.
Symbolically, this story signifies the opening (or blocking) of one's spiritual space. It should not be forgotten that God Shiva is the symbol of each person's consciousness. Goddess Parvati is a symbol of energy, which ultimately signifies the energy of each person. Behind the beautiful legends, one must always understand the signs of spiritual processes within a person's inner space.
MAHAVIDYAS AS THE FORMS OF KALI. When God Shiva was living in Kali Yuga (Dark Age) with Goddess Kali, he suddenly remembered the Golden Age. Intrigued by such thoughts, God Shiva decided to leave Goddess Kali. In whatever direction Shiva tried to direct his feet, one of the forms of Goddess Kali appeared. Shiva realized that the entire universe was made up of many forms of the great Goddess Kali. It must be remembered that Goddess Kali and the main deity of Kali Yuga (the age of material decay) are not the same but two different archetypes. In this legend, God Shiva was able to pave the way to the fused space with the help of the power of ten Mahavidya, he was able to successfully perform these practices with the help of the power of his third eye.
It goes without saying that the ten goddesses that comprise the number of Mahavidyas are necessarily aspects of Goddess Parvati or Goddess Kali. There are fields of yoga, among the ten goddesses there are aspects of Goddess Saraswati and Goddess Lakshmi. In different systems of yoga and tantra, there are methods of working with the energies of the ten goddesses, and various bija mantras are also used to perform this practice. Such diversity should not create confusion. Practices related to Dasha Mahavidya can be found in many Tantras of Shaktism, Shaivism, Kriya Yoga, Siddhanta.
In some Mahavidya traditions these are Kali, Tara, Tripura Sundari, Bhuvaneshwari, Bhairavi, Chinnamasta, Dhumavati, Bagalamukhi, Matangi and Kamala. According to other canons, these are Saraswati, Shakti-Durga, Dakshina-Kali, Uma-Parvati, Ashta-Lakshmi, Tripura-Bhairavi, Tara, Chinnamasta, Lalitta, Maheshvari.
We see Kali as an angry goddess, she has dark skin, she is amazing with three eyes, and a garland of skulls around her neck. She is belted with a belt made of human hands, her mouth wide open with a blood-red tongue, depicted dancing over the body of the sleeping God Shiva. She has four arms, her left hand holding a bloody sword and the severed head of the demon Raktabija, and her right hands clasped in a gesture of blessing and protection. As to say: "Don't be afraid of me, I am your protector." Goddess Kali is the protector and destroyer of illusions.