hinduism is perhaps the only religion where shakti (the feminine energy) is worshiped as god. without shakti the world cannot function. if shiva is the consciousness then shakti (devi) is the energy behind the expression.
shiva and shakti balance each other. we need balance in male and female energy to bring harmony and peace in the world.
in india, navratri or durga pooja festival is celebrated in devotion to goddess or devi or shakti. people from bengal are specially known for their devotion for ma kali and durga (the ferocious forms of ma parvati). many people get scared of kali because she is very ferocious and is known for destroying evil forces. however in reality, she is the most loving form of mother. she protects her devotees and always keep them under her loving and protective gaze.
there are total 51 shaktipeeth (seat of goddess energy) temples in indian sub continent but the most famous shakti temples are in bengal or close to it. the 4 goddess temples which are popular in that region are dakshineswar temple, kalighat temple, tarapith temple and kamakhya temple.
in this post we are sharing list of saints or advanced sadhaks who were either devotees of shakti or had her vision and blessing in life.
10 great devotees of mother goddess:
1. sri ramakrishna paramhansa
he is the most well known devotee of ma kali. sri ramakrishna was an enlightened master from calcutta and also the guru of swami vivekananda. he was totally mad in his devotion to ma kali. once he requested ma to give him darshan otherwise he will cut his head. he prayed and danced madly in front of ma idol so that she gives him darshan but ma didn’t appear. so in the end, he picked up the sword to cut his head and in that moment ma appeared in front of him and he went into deep samadhi for days. sri ramakrishna life and teachings are mentioned in the book “gospel of sri ramakrishna“.
adi shankara is one of the most popular enlightened master of india who spoke on advaita vedanta. he is credited for reviving hinduism in 8th century. he along with sage pushpadanta wrote “soundarya lahari” in praise of ma parvati. it is said that once adi shankaracharya visited kailash (abode of lord shiva) and worshiped lord shiva and parvati ma.
bamakhepa was contemporary of sri ramakrishna and was also born in bengal. like sri ramakrishna he was also madly in love of ma kali. both of them never cared about rituals but were total in their devotion of mother goddess. since their devotion was pure and child like, goddess treated them like her own son and always protected them.
4. dhyanu bhagat
he was the great devotee of jwala ji (shakti peeth temple in himachal pradesh). king akbar first tested the dhyanu bhagat and then the power of goddess in jwala ji temple. at the end of his tests, akbar was so impressed and touched that he made a pilgrimage on foot to jwala ji and asked for forgiveness for testing her powers. two bollywood movies are also made on dhyanu bhagat.
he was enlightened mystic who followed the path of tantra and aghora. his teachings are written by his disciple robert svobodha in the trilogy series named ‘aghora’. this aghora trilogy has taken a cult like status among people interested in tantra. no known photo of vimalnanda is published. because as a true tantric adept vimalnanda preferred secrecy and does not wanted his photo to be out.
he was an enlightened mystic and a devotee of the goddess kali from west bengal. not much information is available about his life and teachings. but his shining eyes shows his intense love for mother and the saintly status.
7. swami vivekananda
although swami vivekananda was very rational and logical in his approach towards religion. he practiced meditation unlike the path of devotion practiced by his master sri ramakrishna. but despite that he was a devotee of ma kali. his poem on ma kali is very famous. this poem influenced and inspired indian freedom fighters subhash chandra bose and sri aurobindo (later on, he founded auroville ashram in pondicherry).
swami vivekananda once visited the famous kheer bhawani temple in kashmir. he was feeling very sad for the bad state of temple and about the country. he heard the goddess voice clearly saying that everything happens as per her will. so don’t worry. what can you do. do i protect you or do you protect me?
8. yogananda paramhansa
sri yogananda was an enlightened mystic who made the kriya yoga famous in last century. he prayed to ma kali in dakshineswar temple (same temple where sri ramakrishna used to worship ma kali) and got her darshan and blessings. (read the full story here).
9. sadhak ramprasad sen
he was a shakta poet and saint from bengal. he wrote many devotional poems in praise of goddess kali in 18th century. his poem are still very popular in bengal region. many of his poems were sung by sri ramakrishna also.
10. kamalakanta bhattacharya
he was a mystic poet from bengal. he followed the poetic style of ramprasad sen and wrote many devotional poems in praise of ma kali. his poems were also sung later on by sri ramakrishna paramhansa.