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Kamakshi and Parvati


[Query] Why is kaamakshi amman equated with parvathi in mooka panchasati?


After our previous conversation, I assumed this was somewhat clearer but never mind, here I go again. The easier answer is to say: Gauri and Kamakshi are same, or Ekamreshwara and Kameshwara are same and as all forms represent the same divine Brahman, what difference does it make? But that answer would not technically answer your question at all levels.

From mythology, sthala purANa, tradition etc., there are two Kamakshis. The Adi Kamakshi is Srividya Parameshwari or Rajarajeshwari Parabhattarika, who is described as Shiva-Shaktyaikya rupini. She is not Shiva or Shakti but both. When we say Adi Kamakshi, we should not refer to a deity by the same name in Kanchipuram, who was supposedly the original fierce form of Parameshwari that Adi Shankara calmed. In reality, that deity is Kalasamkarshini Kali, one of the Amanya Nayikas or Samayas, residing in Kanchi along with various other Avarana and Rashmi Mandala devatas. It is possible that Acharya pacified this deity but even in that case, the Yantra found in the Sannidhi of this deity is not Srichakra. Tradition does not permit discussing the details of this Yantra. Coming back to our discussion, the second character here is umA or pArvati, who performed a penance in Mangadu to marry ekAmranAtha. She then worshipped Mula Kamakshi at Kamakoshtham and attained Ekamreshwara with her grace. Parameshwari also granted her own epithet Kamakshi to Gauri and she also came to be known as Kamakshi. In this light, the following can be the reasons why mUka Shankara refers to Kamakshi as ekAmranAtha praNayini.

1. He refers to umA, also called Kamakshi, as ekAmranAtha priyA, which is completely logical. This is straight forward.

2. In upAsanA shAstra, there certainly is devatA tAratamya and all deities are not considered equal. In Srividya Tantra, shuddha sattva ghanIbhUta mUrti is considered to be only mahAkAmeshwara mithuna, when speaking of saguNa mUrtis. All other forms are mishra and hence different from the mahAmithuna. The relation is a~NgA~Ngi there. Again, from the standpoint of Advaita, Vaidyanatha Dikshita, Shankarananda, Dhanpati Suri etc criticize this theory but their criticism is of no practical use to Upasana. So I would stick to Srividya Tantra rather than borrowing alien concepts and accept Bhaskara's interpretation. Now, there is always a practice to elevate our beloved deity to the highest stature by devotees. For example, shrImadAcharya tells us in saundaryalaharI: turIyA kApi tvam, oh madam, you are not one of the three ladies every one associates you with, but are the fourth one! But he again refers to her as girisute, parvatarajanyakumAri etc., which are more so epithets of pArvati. As umA is an amsha of Parameshwari, all her pastimes apply equally to the Mula Devata and hence it is not incorrect to ascribe the lIlA of sharvaNi to parabrahma mahiShi. Using a similar logic, umA, consort of ekAmranAtha, is elevated at times by mUka Shankara to represent Srividya Parameshwari, who represents mahAkAmeshwara mithuna.

3. Alternately, we can consider the entire hymn as referring to Mula Kamakshi and assume all references to ekAmreshwara as referring to mahA kAmeshwara, present within the Sri Vigraha of Kamakshi and as Srichakra established by Sri Krodha Bhattaraka. In this case, the elevation would of Sri ekAmreshwara.

4. There is no separate Shakti in any of the Shiva temples in Kanchi Mandala as all Shaktis are said to reside within Sri Kamakshi and as Chidakasharupini, she permeates the entire Kanchi Mandala. Thus, she represents the Shakti for every shiva murti, in the sense, the individual Shaktis of every form of Shiva resides in her. If seen this way, owing to the presence of even Ekamreshwara's consort within Parameshwari, she can be called his Shakti without being logically incorrect.

Finally, look at what mUka Shankara himself says:

triyambakakuTumbinIm tripurasundarImindirAm
pulindapatisundarIm tripurabhairavIm bharatIm |
mata~NgakulanAyikAm mahiShamardinIm mAtR^ikAm
bhaNanti vibhudhottamA vihR^itimeva kAmAkShi te ||

Also, in aryA shataka, he describes Kamakshi as gaurI, araNya durgA, rAjashyAmalA, durgA, chaNDikA, annapUrNA, mahAvArAhI, bAlA tripurasundarI, shAradA, tripurabhairavI, pratya~NgirA, kAmakAlA [of three forms] etc. One can only experience the presence of various Devata Murtis at different hours in a day and changing patterns of energy in the Sannidhi of Sri Kamakshi at Kamakoshtham, and this truth cannot be effectively captured in words. The aShTottara shata mUrti nyAsa is of special significance at the shrine of Kamakshi as the Devata here represents Charyanandanatha Para Bhattarika mithuna, who are Guru Murtis and envisioning them as constituting of various glorious forms of Amba is a true feast. Meditating on Paradevata as Rasmimanadala Nayika grants various fruits. For example, if one recognizes aShTamukha ganDabheruNda nR^isimHa and kubjashrIyuta mahAvAmana in the two ears of Sri Kamakshi and mediates on this form, all evils are mitigated. This is also the source concept behind the formation of shatavaktrAstra and other mAntric weapons worshipped in shrIvidyA Krama as Ayudha devatas.