Decoding Myths Through Archetypal Amplification

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  • Topic: Shaktism, Kamakhya, Kali
  • Pages : 7 (2093 words )
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  • Published : April 2, 2012
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INTRODUCTION
The shrine of the Goddess Kamakhya is situated on the top of the hill called Nilachala on the southern bank of the mighty river Brahmaputra, at a distance of 6 km from the heart of the city of Guwahati. The Goddess in the sanctum sanctorum of the shrine is in laconic form and not an anthropomorphic one. In other words, there is no icon of the Goddess and thus it is unique in its own standing. Perhaps except the temple of Sambaleswari at Sambalpur in Orissa, there is no temple in India without an image of the presiding deity. She is an important Tantric mother goddess closely identified with Kali and Maha Tripura Sundari, according to the Tantric texts (Kalikapurana Stotra, Yoginitantram) that are the basis for her worship at the Kamakhya temple. Kamakhya is mentioned in the Kalika Purana as the most important goddess of Tantric worship, and is referred to in the text as Mahamaya, the "great goddess of illusion," who takes on many forms depending on her mood. Devotees also call her Kameshwari ("beloved goddess of desire").The temple is primary amongst the 51 Shakti Peethas related to the myth of Sati, and remains one of the most important Shakti temples and Hindu pilgrimage sites in the world. The exact date of the original temple is not known. It is believed that, the temple is an ancient temple. The Temple was rebuilt in 1665, after being destroyed by Muslim invaders. It was probably an ancient Khasi sacrificial site, sacrifices are still very much part of worship here. Group of devotees arrive each morning with goats to offer to Shakti.

CULTURAL BACKGROUND
There are several myths or legends associated with kamkhya devi temple. There is a legend attached to the history of the temple, which goes way back to the mythological age. According to the legend, Sati the wife of Lord Shiva (one of the holy Trinities in Hindu mythology) took her life at a `Yagna` ceremony that had been organized by her father Daksha, because she could not bear the insults hurled at her husband by her father. On hearing the news of his wife`s death, Shiva, the destroyer of all that was evil flew into a rage and punished Daksha by replacing his head with that of a goat. Torn between misery and blind fury, Shiva picked up the corpse of his beloved wife Sati and performed a dance of destruction called the `Tandava`. The intensity of the destroyer`s fury was so overwhelming that it took several Gods to pacify his anger. In the midst of this struggle, Sati`s corpse accidentally got cut into 51 parts by the disc in the hands of Lord Vishnu (also one of the Trinities in Hindu mythology), and her female genitalia or `Yoni` fell on the spot where the Kamakhya temple stands today, forming one of the many Shakti `Peethas` adorning the rest of her body parts. But the place where her uterus fell was not known till the god of love, Kamadeva, searched it out to rid himself of a certain curse of Brahma`s. Kama regains his body here. The place came to be known as `Kamarup` and the presiding deity as `Kamakhya` or one worshipped by Kama MYTH OF NARAKA

There is also a popular story current about Naraka among the people. The story is built on the well-known motif, deceptive conditions.Another legend says that the demon Narakasura fell in love with Goddess Kamakhya once and he wanted to marry her. But as a goddess cannot marry a demon or asura, Goddess Kamakhya played a trick to save herself. She laid a condition that she would marry him only if he builds a temple for her within one night. Narakasura agreed to it and almost finished building the temple overnight. This scared Goddess Kamakhya and before the final steps of the temple were completed, a cock was sent to cry cock-a-doodle-do to announce the arrival of the morning, before it was actually dawn. Narakasur realised that he was deceived and This made Narakasura very angry and he killed the cock at a place called Kukurakata (a place where hens are slaughtered).But according to the condition...
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