Realm of the Divine Mother
The Play of The Divine Mother
Our first relationship in the world is through the mother. The Earliest
memory of any person is that of clinging to the mother's breast and
looking into her love-filled eyes. The comfort and security, which the
infant gains from this relationship, lasts with him all his life. In
the mother is centered a whole world of tenderness, comfort and
sustenance. To transfer this concept to a cosmic being was a natural
step, which all the ancient cultures took. Therefore the concept of the
Divine as the Mother is as old as life itself. Devi is the Divine
Mother, the eternal womb of all creatures- human, sub-human and animal.
She cradles her children in her loving arms, suckles them and nurtures
them with her infinite love. Wherever you see maternal love, in a bird
or animal or human, know that to be the love of the Devi for her
children, for she is the universal mother. This book takes us on
ancient quest to unravel the mystery of the Divine Mother in all her
From the Jacket:
How do I love thee?
Countless are the
From the tumultuous
To the tips of they
Drenched am I in
of thy form.
Thy arched brows
Thy upper lip of
The lower one- a
Soft and sweet like
of a rose.
Thy slender neck,
Thy golden breasts,
The tinkling bells
Above all thy
melting with love,
Holding my own in
O Queen of Desire-
Accept this gift of
Filled with the
of thy glory,
Timidly I lay this
This holy book,
At thy golden feet,
My humble offering
Shakti: Realm of the Divine Mother
Devi Lila: The
Play of The Divine Mother
List of Illustrations
Glossary of Sanskrit Terms
Names of Gods
Names of Demons
Names of Goddess
I just completed reading
your book Sri Devi Lila.
I think it is the
best present that I ever gave myself.
"Sri Krishna Lila" induced me
to learn Sri Vishnusahasranamam,
Devi Lila is a reward for my
Sree Lalitha Sahasranamam.
reading this book, I have
started to cherish every nama of Sree LalithaDevi. Next, I think I am
likely to start with another book of yours - Shiva Lila.
is power in your narration. I profusely thank you for your
efforts in making every line so much refreshing and worth remembering.
accept my humble prostrations.
US Edition of Sri
Realm of the Divine
Inner Traditions Books
Realm of the Divine
This Book is a
Joy to Read
By Vatsala Sperling -
In Tamil Nadu, India, there
is a tradition of addressing any woman as Mother. You can call a total
stranger as Ma or Amma. Farther north, the traditional address for an
older woman is Mata Ji or Devi Ji, for contemporaries, it is Bahan Ji
(sister) and for little girls it is `Bitiya' (daughter). Why? Why
address a stranger with such a deep and endearing word as Ma? Why not
call her Miss, Madam, Sweetie pie, honey or Hey You and so on?
has to do with the reverential position of the feminine in the old
culture of the ancient India. In its Golden Age, the Indian culture
recognized the indispensable, undeniable power of the feminine energy
in the ongoing cycle of creation, preservation and destruction. The
seers and rishis who were then contemplating on the eternal truth and
receiving the revelations of Vedas, recognized that the play of the
gods, leela, is never complete without an equal input from the
Vanamali brings out this goddess-centered aspect of the Indian culture
very well in "Shakti the realm of the Divine Mother". This book (370
pages) is a tremendous joy to read. It answers many questions about the
goddesses. Not just that, this book is a deep, engaging, authentic and
accurate treaty on the subject of goddesses and a very fit reference
source for anyone interested in researching the goddess aspect of the
Hindu religion / culture.
book has some poems by Mataji Vanamali. These poems, devoted to
goddess, have an expression of pure devotion or bhakti. Sanskrit
language yields very well to expression of bhakti rasa as it has very
fluid words oozing with love, devotion, surrender, romance, affection,
and softness. Mataji Vanamali has composed her poems in English, but
somehow, she has succeeded in expressing the flavor of bhakti rasa.
twenty-nine goddesses are described in separate chapters complete with
a mantra devoted to them. Mataji Vanamali has used stories from the
ancient Hindu scriptures that go into the purpose of a particular
manifestation of the goddess. In a very picturesque manner, the
goddesses are brought to life in the ongoing process of creation,
preservation and destruction, the three fundamental and interlinked
gunas that generate the universe of cause and effect and the great void
beyond that our five senses find impossible to perceive. Purusha (the
masculine) commands these three processes, but without his partner,
Prakriti (the feminine), the mere Purusha is a pointless, brute force.
It is the goddesses who bring spark and zest to the gods!
read the story part of the book to my 11-year old son and he "got it".
The language is clear and the stories are easy to follow. The few
Sanskrit words that are used are all explained in a glossary at the
end. All the names of the gods, goddesses as well as the demons are
explained in the last pages of the book.
the last two chapters, Vanamali has gone into the detailed explanation
of how charkas and kundalini help us understand the inherent presence
of the goddess within and all around us.
my view, this book is a must read for scholars as well as regular,
inquisitive folks who are keen about understanding polytheistic,
goddess-centered world view of the Hindus that makes them build temples
and worship Lakshmi, Kali, Saraswati, Parvati, Durga and so on, and
give its people humility to address their woman as "Ma". This book is
also a great reference for the Indophiles and Indians when they are
asked about `ill-treatment' of women in India. `Ill-treatment' of
women, unfortunately, occurs all over the world, in all the countries
and cultures, not just in India, but unlike every other religion that
has banished the feminine from its scriptures, India has and continues
to honor the feminine force by worshiping the goddesses. This aspect is
brought out clear and strong in the book and it is supported with
relevant references and quotations from the scriptures as well as
explanations of meanings and nuances for those not familiar with the
would strongly recommend that this book be included in the school and
university courses that teach about Hindu religion. This book is also a
positive, must-read for women so that they realize that a spark of the
divine mother, the sacred feminine, Shakti, feminine lives within them.
such a positive review...how about making it well rounded by
highlighting at least one negative aspect of this book? Sorry. No
matter how critically I looked, I could not find anything wrong with
this unique, deep and smart book written from the heart. Well done,
Marriage Made in Heaven
Ganesh Got His Elephant Head
Parvati Won the Heart of Shiva
the Demon Slayer
Journey to the Medicine Mountain
The Greatest Archer in the World
Dearest Mother Vanamali:
can't tell you how much I have been enjoying reading Shakti. Your
telling of the legends of Bharat Mata (Mother India) is unique, in that
you constantly emphasize, that the demons symbolize the negative
aspects of mind, that everyone deals with. This takes the legends to
another level of profundity for an age that is searching for ways to
deal with its shadows...
Secondly, your constant perspective is the stand-point of illumination,
seeing God at every turn as both eminent and transcendent...
You never miss a chance in your mask as sacred bard, to remind us that
God is the world and the world is God. I loved your books Sri Shiva
Lila and Sri Krishna Lila for your devotion and the profound
authenticity of your writing.
Shakti is a rare jewel among the translations of the ancient wisdom,
that truly does justice to the enlightened consciousness that is the
hallmark of the Sanatana Dharma (Perennial Philosophy).
Review by Sunitha
As the name suggests Shakti: Realm of the Divine Mother is about
Devi—the ancient, eternal Prakriti and mother of universe—and her
various forms. There are an increasing number of books about the
incarnations of gods and goddesses, but what makes this book different
is that Vanamali goes beyond the stories of over thirty avatars in
order to discuss the esoteric significance of each incarnation.
Vanamali has accomplished the gargantuan task of bringing the many
different aspects of Devi into a single book. It has been spectacularly
researched with references to the Devi Bhagavatam Purana, Markandeya
Purana, Ganga Mahatyam, and Bhagavad Gita, along with other sources.
Every chapter begins with a hymn (mantra) to Devi and ends with a verse
from the poem "Savitri" by Sri Aurobindo. The appendix of the book
contains more poems on divine mother, names of gods and goddesses, and
a glossary of Sanskrit terms and Hindu mythology.
Devi is called many names (Maha Maya, Maha Shakti, Maha Prakriti,
Lakshmi, Parvati, and Kali, to name a few), and she is portrayed as the
universal expression of power, which is both gentle and forceful.
Vanamali explains the concept of Maha Maya, one who causes delusion in
the minds of humans, as the production of phenomenal world. Maha Maya
herself is the sum total of all and is worshiped as the mother, the
life energy of the gods and all other creatures. Vanamali writes that,
according to the Devi Bhagavatam Purana, Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva are
born of Devi’s gunas. Hence, the author states, "Wherever you see
maternal love, in a bird or an animal or a human being, know that to be
an aspect of Devi’s love for the universe, for she is the universal
Vanamali points out that the worship of god as a mother is found in all
civilizations and was later repressed. The book accounts around thirty
incarnations of Devi, some of which are gentle and peaceful (Lalitha)
while some are ferocious and frightening (Kali). Others still depict
the ideal housewife (Parvati) and yet others are shown as fierce
warriors (Durga). Shakti: Realm of the Divine Mother thus provides an
invigorating view of feminine power. This book is a great asset to the
Hindu household or to anyone interested in the Hindu religion and its