In Chapter XIII of Matsya Purana, the Devi Sati’s various names are mentioned by which she was known at different places.
Visalaksi in Kasi; Lingadharini in Naimisaranya; Lalita in Prayaga; Kamaksi in Gandhamadana hills; Kumuda at the Manasa lake; Visvakaya in Ambara; Gomati in Gomanta; Kamacharini at the Mandar Hills; Madoktata in the Chaitraratha forest; Jayanti in Hastinapura; Gauri in Kanyakubja; Rambha on the Mount Malaya; Kirtiwati in Ekambhaka; Visva in Visvesvara; Puruhuta in Puskara; Margadayini in Kedar; Nanda in the Himalayas; Bhadrakarnika in Gokarna; Bhavani in Sthanesvara; Bilvapatrika in Bilval; Madhavi in Srisaila; Bhadra in Bhadresvara; Jaya in Varahaksetra; Kamala in Kamalalaya; Rudrani in Rudrakoti; Kali in Kalanjar hills; Kapila in Mahalinga; Mukutesvari in Markota; Mahadevi on the banks of the Salagrami river; Jalapriya in Sivalinga; Kumari in Mayapuri; Lalita in Santana; Utpalaksi in Sahasraksa; Mahotpala in Kamalaksa; Mangala in Gangatirtha; Vimala in Purushottam; Amoghaksi on the banks of the Vipasa river; Patala in Pundvardhana; Narayani in Suparsva; Bhadrasundari in Vikuta; Vipula in Vipula; Kalyani in Malayachala; Kotavi in Kotitirtha; Sugandha in Madhavavana; Trisandhya in Godasrama; Ratipriya in Gangotri; Sivananda in Sivakunda; Nandini on the banks of the Devika river; Rukmini in Dwarika; Radha in Vrindavana; Devaki in Mathura; Paramesvari in Patala; Sita in Chitrakuta; Vinduvasini in Vindhyachala; Ekavira in Sahyadiri; Chandrika in Harischandra; Ramana in Ramatirtha; Mrigavati on the banks of the river Yamuna; MAHALAKSHMI in Karavira; Umadevi in Vinayaka; Aroga in Vaidyanathan; Mahesvari in Mahakala; Abhaya in Usnatirtha; Amrita in the caves of Vindhyachala; Mandavi in Mandvaya; Svaha in Mahesvara; Prachanda in Chagalanda; Chandika in Amarakantaka; Vararoha in Somesvara; Pushkaravati in Prabhasa; Devamata on the banks Paravara of the Sarasvati river; Mahabhaga in Mahalaya; Pingalesvari in Payosni; Sinhika in Krita Saucha; Yasaskari in Kartikeya; Lola in Utpalavarta; Subhadra at the confluence of the Ganges and the Sone; Mata in Siddhapura; Laksmirangana in Bharatasrama; Visvmukhi in Jalandhara; Tara in Kiskindha; Pusti in Devadaruvna; Medha in Kashmir; Bhima in Himalaya; Pusti in Visvesvar; Sudhi in Kapalamochana; Mata in Kayavarahana; Dhvani in Sankhodhar; Dhriti in Pindaraka; Kala on the banks of the river Chandrabhag; Sivakarini on the Achodaka tank; Amrita in Vena; Urvasi in Badarinarayana; Ausadhi in Uttarakuru; Kusodka in Kusadvipa; Manmatha in Hemkuta; Satyavadini in Mukuta; Vandaniya in Asvatha; Nidhi in the town of Kuvera; Gayatri in the Vedas; Parvati in Kailasa; Indrani in Devaloka; Saraswati in the mouth of Brahma; Prabha in the disc of the Sun; Vaisnavi in the Matrikshetra; Arundhati among the Pativratas; Tillottama among women; and Brahmakala in the mind; and Sakti in all bodies.
The Chandi-mahatmya, which celebrates the victories of this goddess over the Asuras, speaks of her under the following names:
1. Durga, when she received the messengers of the Asuras. 2. Dasa-bhuja. ‘Ten-armed,’ when she destroyed part of their army. 3. Sinha-vahini. ‘Riding on a lion’, when she fought with the Asura general Rakta-vija. 4. Mahisha-mardini. ‘Destroyer of Mahisha,’ an Asura in the form of a buffalo. 5. jagad-dhatri. ‘Fosterer of the world,’ when she again defeated the Asura army. 6. Kali. ‘The black.’ She killed Rakta-vija. 7. Mukta-kesi. ‘With disheveled hair.’ Again defeats the Asuras. 8. Tara. ‘Star.’ She killed Sumbha. 9. Chhinna-mastaka. ‘Decapitated,’ the headless form in which she killed Nisumbha. 10. Jagadgauri. ‘World’s fair one,’ as lauded by the gods for her triumphs. The names which Devi obtains from her husband are: - Babhravi (Babhru), Bhagavati, Isani, Iswari, Kalanjari, Kapalini, Kausiki, Kirati, Maheswari, Mrida, Mridani, Rudrani, Sarvani, Siva, Tryambaki. From her origin she is called Adri-ja and Giri-ja, ‘mountain-born’ [remember Himavat or Daksha is her father; Him signifying mountain); Ku-ja, ‘earth-born;’ Daksha-ja, ‘sprung from Daksha.’ She is Kanya, ‘the virgin;’ Kanya-kumari, ‘the youthful virgin;’ and Ambika, ‘the mother;’ Avara, ‘the youngest;’ Ananta and Nitya, ‘the everlasting;’ Arya, ‘the revered;’ Vijaya, ‘victorious;’ Riddhi, ‘the rich;’ Sati, ‘virtuous;’ Dakshina, ‘right-handed;’ Pinga, ‘tawny, dark;’ Karburi, ‘spotted;’ Bhramari, ‘the bee;’ Kotari, ‘the naked;’ Karna-moti, ‘pearl-eared;’ Padma-lanchhana, ‘distinguished by a lotus;’ Sarva-mangala, ‘always auspicious;’ Sakam-bhari, ‘nourisher of herbs;’ Siva-duti, ‘Siva’s messenger;’ Sinha-rathi, ‘riding on a lion.’ As addicted to austerities she is Aparna and Katyayani. As Bhuta-nayaki she is chief or leader of the goblins, and as Gana-nayaki, the leader of the Ganas. She is Kamakshi, ‘wanton-eyed;’ and Kamakhya, ‘called by the name of Kama, desire.’ Other names, most of them applicable to her terrible forms, are Bhadrakali, Bhima-devi, Chamunda, Maha-kali, Mahamari, Mahasuri, Matangi, Rajasi, ‘the fierce;’ and Rakta-danti, ‘red or bloody toothed.’
We have been showing time and again that the One Absolute Formless God created a Manifest Power (Manifest Self or Paramatma), which when desired that there be more worshippers of the Absolute created a Light or Noor, that got divided into 14 Devatas or Manus (progenitors of mankind), one of whom is a Devi. This can be proved time and again through the Vedas, the Upanishads and also the Puranas.
It is this one Devi of the scriptures, which was introduced everywhere. Based on her attributes, we gave different names to her in different parts of the world. With time several myths and legends got associated around her in each part of the country, so much so that the legend spoken in one part was different from the legend known in another. Some of the names by which the Devi was known in some parts got faded in oblivion. But some other names got so much prominence that we started considering them as a different devis. So there became a goddess of learning separate from goddess of wealth and prosperity and many others. This is unfortunate because by doing so, Hindus couldn’t fathom even a bit of the Divine Creation Plan that was being told in the Divine Scriptures. When Saraswati was being talked about, they thought her to be a Devi different from when Parvati or Rudrani or Daksha-ja was being talked about. They forgot that there was just one Devi in the Divine Creation Plan along with 13 Devas (overall 14 Devatas).
Tibetan Buddhism has talked extensively about Devi, known as Tara. When you read the list of the various names of Devi, given above, you will find that Tara is mentioned there as well. It is unfortunate that we do not relate between the two. The same Devi was talked about there as well but we have got accustomed to seeing these things through the prisms of our respective religions so much that we see the same truths described in other religions as different or farce whereas the truth is that there is just one Divine Path that was being told in different times by different avatars or Prophets and every time we digressed from the path, we created a religion or sect of our own.
Just imagine, so many names have been given to Devi in India alone. We are of the opinion that these Devatas were introduced around the same time in all the major civilizations of the world. What would be the number of names, if we were to find them on international basis?
The fact that she is the same female Devi among the fourteen can be known from the very nature of names above. That one of her names is Devi itself proves it. Then she is called Mahadevi, which shows her relationship with Mahadeva, which is another name for Siva or Rudra or Vayu. She is also Rudrani, which confirms her relationship with Rudra or Siva – also a Deva. She is also Devayani, also shows her relationship with Deva. She is Daksha-Ja (sprung from Daksha) and Indrayani (daughter of IndraDeva), which confirms that Indra and Daksha are same.
The Devi is said to be the mother of eleven Devas having been married to the first of the Adityas, hence she is called Lingadharini in Naimisaranya. She is one of the fourteen who were responsible for creation of this world; hence she is known as Visvakaya in Ambara. All fame is to her; hence she is called Kirtiwati in Ekambhaka. Her father is known as Visvadeva and she is called Visva in Visvesvara. She is the wife of Rudra and hence is called Rudrani in Rudrakoti. No Devi matches her stature so she is known as Mahadevi on the banks of the Salagrami river. It is through her that it is possible to reach God; hence she is referred to as Narayani in Suparsva. She is one Devi along with the 13 Devas, and hence is called Devaki in Mathura. She was the chief of the creations created by God, hence is called Paramesvari in Patala. And that is why she is called Mahesvari in Mahakala. She gave so many sacrifices in life and hence is called Svaha in Mahesvara. She was the mother of eleven Devas hence is called Devamata on the banks of Paravara of the Saraswati river and Mata in Siddha pura and Kayavardhana. The Sakti that is related to her is evident in all things in the world and hence she is called Visvamukhi in Jalandhara. She is one of the five who constitute Life in our body and hence is called Dhvani in Sankhidhar. It is she who is referred to as Gayatri in the Vedas. Owing to being the daughter of Indra, she is called Indrani in Devaloka and Sakti in all bodies. All other names given to her too confirm one or other of her virtues. The Devi is also from Noor or Light that was created out of division from the One Noor created by God. The Noor or Light of Devi kept descending in pure human bodies on earth, at various times and in various places. This is exactly similar to the Noor or Light of 13 Devas descending in pure human bodies on earth in various places and times. Purpose was to show the One and Only Divine Path to reach God; to know and understand what God wants from us; and, to show us the way and lead us by creating an example.
It is inability to understand the relationship between Devi and Devas that we get confused when Devi is described as mother of Manu at one place and daughter of Manu at others. Because 14 Devatas are actually the 14 Manus, which too we have been unable to understand so far. It is they who have been described as Life, because all life is due to them. Due to this reason, she is also called Jagan-mata (the mother of the world). She is also the wife of Siva at some place and wife of Rudra at other (Siva and Rudra are one and the same).
Vedas have described Devatas as the rulers of our organs of action and senses. Brhad-aranyaka and Paingala Upanishads confirm that they are 14 in numbers. The 14 Light or Noor of 14 Devatas kept descending in pure human bodies at different places and time. Finally, when the Kaliyug had progressed to an extent and Evil (Darkness) had begun to surmount Goodness (Light), all 14 came in succession and were called Ahlulbayt – People of the House (of Manifest Self of God) by people known as Muslims. Muslims revere the same 14 differently, Buddhists revere the 14 differently, Hindus revere the 14 differently, but the ultimate truth is that the same Devatas were responsible for showing the path and it is they who are being described at all places. We understood the path differently and labelled it as different religions.
Prophet Mohammad too appears to be confirming this when he says that it was his noor that was in Adam, Ibrahim, Ismael and others and then came back to him. He not only took the names of various Prophets but also of some people in the progeny of Ismael. Quran confirms that Jesus too was from the same source when it talks of a spirit that entered Isa at the time of his birth. Unfortunately, Christians believed in the Holy Spirit but disjointed it with Paramatma (Supreme Spirit) of Hindus) and Rooh (Spirit) of Quran. Prophet Mohammad also said that my noor was created prior to all creations and that Ali and I are from the same Noor or Light. Moreover, verse 33 of Chapter al-Ahzab in Quran when read with verses 77 to 79 of Chapter al-Waqi-ah reveal that the creator Lord created a group of His chosen representatives, thoroughly purified them, gave them His wisdom, and then commissioned them to guide mankind, in every age and every clime, till eternity. One after another the prophets of God came with divine guidance at every stage of development in the human society; and in the end all 14 constituents of the Noor came in succession and were known as Ahlulbayt.
A passage in Vishnu Purana further substantiates this view:
Devi Yoganidra, “the great illusory energy of Vishnu, by whom, as utter ignorance, the whole world is beguilded,” was ordered by Vishnu to incarnate her in the eighth conception of Devaki. Then said Vishnu to her: “Kansa shall take you and hold you up to dash you against a stone; but you shall escape from his grasp into the sky, where the hundred eyed Indra shall meet you and do homage to you, through reverence forms, and shall bow before you, and acknowledge you as his sister. Having slain Sumbha, Nisumbha, and numerous other demons, you shall sanctify the earth in many places. Thou art wealth, progeny, fame, patience, heaven and earth, fortitude, modesty, nutrition, dawn, and every other female (form or property). They who address you morning and afternoon with reverence and praise, and all they Arya, Durga, Vedagarbha, Ambika, Bhadra, Bhadrakali, Kshemi or Kshemankari, shall receive from bounty whatever they desire.”
If you notice, some of these names are the same as those described in the names of Sati in the Matsya Purana. This means that the same Devi, who was in noor or light state (hence referred to as ‘the great illusory energy of Vishnu (the Manifest Self), continued to move inside several of the illustrious women at various times and finally took birth in the house of Mohammad and was known as Fatima, thus becoming one of the 14 Ahlulbayt.
So next time when you remember Lakshmi on Diwali, remember her not for the wealth and bounty that she may give to you. If you do so, you will only be expecting certain material benefits from a Devi who is responsible for everything, including our lives. Do not expect her to come and purify the various parts of your house. Instead, pray that she purifies the various parts inside your body. Strive to remain aloof from sins and do good deeds so that the Devi (one from light) removes all darkness from inside your body and unites your atma (self) with the Paramatma (Manifest Self). If you are able to build this relationship and the relationship so built lasts till soul departs from your body, you have attained Moksha or Salvation and will dwell forever in bliss.
HAPPY DIWALI from MOHAMMAD ALVI