The Goddesses of the Hindu Dharma are often described as the radiant, virtuous power that personifies all there is in this Universe. One such silent undercurrent, revered sceptically, unappreciated and unlike the rest, smoky complexioned, riding a chariot with a flag bearing a crow is Dhumavati. Seventh of the Das Mahavidyas, (10 Great Wisdom), Dhumavati personifies the dark side of life with a name that means “she who is made of smoke.”
Baren breasts and scrawny, She wears a relentless grimace on Her face, sitting in the wisdom of despair, She is the Crone and the grandmother among all Goddesses. She is the dissolved form of consciousness that diffuses in sleep and illusion. Among yogis, She is the power that destroys ill thought and the illusory idea of what we are not. She is the crone, grandmother spirit, the death of winter which is followed by the promise of rebirth in the spring. She is the wisdom we turn to in darkness that brings us home – giving us strength to vision and dream our worlds anew.
Depicted with two hands, She holds a winnowing basket and makes either boon conferring gesture or knowledge giving gesture with the other hand. The boon conferring gesture and knowledge giving gesture are known as Varada Mudra and Chin Mudra respectively. She rides on a horseless chariot bearing an emblem of a crow. She is the only one of the Mahavidyas without Her consort. Her negative energies incite desolation, fights, divorces, conflicts and endless disagreements. Capable of massive destruction, gazing at Her, one wishes to be detached. Powerful even without a consort, She depicts that a woman, if she so chooses, can remain independent and self-sufficient.
Working with Dhumavati takes us into the limitless themes of the past. She is indeed the emissary of Ketu, the planet of the past and the ancestors. Dhumavati can help us resolve the unresolved. She deals with themes of grief, loss, decay and depression and carries the secret teaching and hidden wisdom of these hazy realms.
Often portrayed as holding an empty winnowing basket, separating nutrient-rich grain from inedible husk, Dhumavati holds the empty basket in Her fragile weakened hands – a powerful symbol that points to Her standing. The empty basket reveals much, if we take the time to look into it and deliberate its mysteries. Its barrenness may infact be its secret fullness. By looking into its eternal weave, we might understand the many stories woven into our lives, as we see the grains and the husks of our destiny that we have been perpetually separating, as well as the place where both grain and husk are no more. When Dhumavati releases the basket, She is no more to contact; for as long as the basket is in hand, we are in life.
Dhumavati is the primordial darkness and ignorance, from which rises the world of illusion. She represents the darkness/ignorance before creation and after decay. This ignorance, which obscures the ultimate reality, is necessary because, without the realization of this ignorance, true knowledge cannot be achieved. Dhumavati also represents Yoganidra, the pre-creation state of consciousness or the voids in which all creation would dissolve and reach the ultimate reality of Brahman. This void is pure consciousness, the cessation of movements of the mind, and silence. Dhumavati’s ability to spread disease is also considered positive, as disease punishes the wicked and restores cosmic order. Dhumavati is also associated with the heart or middle region of the body.
Goddess Dhumavati’s sadhana (practise), is done to get rid of extreme poverty. She is also worshipped to make the body free from all sorts of diseases. In Sanatan Society, Dhumavati is considered as the eldest among the Goddesses, the Grandmother Spirit. She stands behind the other Goddesses as their ancestral guide. As the Grandmother Spirit, She is the great teacher who bestows the ultimate lessons of birth and death. She is the knowledge that comes through hard experience, in which our immature and youthful desires and fantasies are put to rest. Dasha Mahavidya, published by Geeta Press Gorakhpur mentions, “Dhuma means ‘smoke.’ Dhumavati is ‘one who is composed of smoke.’ Her nature is not illumination but obscuration. However, to obscure one thing is to reveal another.
By obscuring or covering all that is known, Dhumavati reveals the depth of the unknown and the unmanifest. Dhumavati obscures what is evident in order to reveal the hidden and the profound. Dhumavati is portrayed as a widow. She is the feminine principle devoid of the masculine principle. She is Shakti without Shiva as a pure potential energy without any will to motivate it. Thus, She contains within Herself all potentials and shows the latent energies that dwell within us. To develop these latent energies we must first recognise them. This requires honouring Dhumavati.” According to David Frawley, “Dhumavati shows the feminine principle of negation in all of its aspects. On an outer level, She represents poverty, destitution, and suffering, the great misfortunes that we all fear in life. Hence, She is said to be crooked, troublesome, and quarrelsome – a witch or a hag. Yet on an inner level this same negativity causes us to seek a greater fulfillment that cannot be achieved in the limited realms of the manifest creation. After all, only frustration in our outer life causes us to seek the inner reality. Dhumavati is whatever obstructs us in life, but what obstructs us in one area can release a new potential to grow in a different direction. Thus, She is the good fortune that comes to us in the form of misfortune. Dhumavati represents the darkness on the face of the deep, the original chaos and obscurity which underlies creation. She is the darkness of primordial ignorance, Mulavidya, from which this world of illusion has arisen, and which it is seeking to transcend.”
Dhumavati’s worship is performed in the night in a cremation ground, bare-bodied with the exception of a loincloth. The fourth lunar day of the dark fortnight (Krishna Paksha) is considered the special day to worship Her. The Sadhaka (devotee, disciple), should observe a fast and remain silent for a whole day and night. They should also perform a homa (“fire sacrifice”), wearing wet clothes and a turban, repeating the goddess’ mantra in a cremation ground, forest, or any lonely place.
Dhumavati’s worship is considered ideal for bachelors, widows, Sannyasins, and Tantrics. It is advised that people who are married should not worship Dhumavati, as She instills a desire to be alone and an aversion to worldly things. She encourages a certain kind of aloofness and independence; and sets one on the spiritual path which can hinder married life.
Dhumavati also shares Her characteristics with Nirriti, Jyeshta and Alakshmi. All three goddess personify inauspiciousness, ugliness, poverty, quarrels and never-ending hunger.
DHUMAVATI MAHAVIDYA JAYANTI – FRIDAY 18TH JUNE 2021
Dhumavati Jayanti or Dhumavati Mahavidya Jayanti stands at a powerful lunar junction. We have the half ascending Moon and the last rising Moon in the rising end of the year. The death of the growing days is approaching in just a handful of hours. Thereafter, the declining days and lengthening of nights will bring us into a new cycle.
According to the Hindu legends, Goddess Dhumavati is associated with all inauspicious things. It is believed that She appeared during the time of Cosmic dissolution. Some of the Hindu scholars strongly consider that Goddess Dhumavati is the void just prior to creation and post destruction. The Goddess is depicted in the form of an ugly old lady seated on a horseless chariot. Sometimes, She is also portrayed as riding a crow. Symbolically speaking, Goddess Dhumavati urges Her devotees to look beyond the superficial things and foster their faith in the Supreme Truth, from which both the beauty and ugliness arises.
*Only for this auspicious day, these rituals can be performed by all, regardless of marital status. DO NOT continue after today, especially if you are married.
CHANT: DHUM DHUM DHUMAVATI SVAHA 9x
- Offer red flowers and 3 ghee lamps at 7.30pm on this day to Maa Dhumavati if you are enduring court cases or financial blockages.
- Offer white flowers, 3 ghee lamps and fruits if you have been suffering from illnesses or diseases.
- Offer yellow flowers, 5 ghee lamps and fruits if you wish to be free from any toxic physical bondage.
- Offer red and yellow flowers, milk, 9 grains (navdhan), and 5 ghee lamps if you want to heal from a divorce, miscarriages, bad luck and loss of income.
- Offer 9 grains, 5 nectars (panchamrit – honey, ghee, milk, yoghurt, jaggery/sugar), 9 ghee lamps and white flowers to eradicate pandemics or diseases in your locality.
- Offer navdhan, panchamrit, 9 white flowers, milk and 9 ghee lamps, to aid in heightening your tantric practice and your spiritual ascension.
Om Sri Matre Namaha
SUJATA NANDY WORLD GURUKUL
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