Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Devi Mean?

Devi is the Sanskrit word for "goddess." It is the feminine form of the masculine, deva, meaning "god." As gender-specific terms for a deity in Hinduism, devi and deva translate as "heavenly," "divine," or "anything of excellence."

The notion of a goddess is multi-faceted. She is known by a myriad of names, worshipped and personified in many forms. For example, Devi Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth, fortune and prosperity. Saraswati is the goddess of arts, wisdom and learning. Parvati is the goddess of love, fertility and devotion. Durga is the goddess of power.

In the Shakta tradition of Hinduism, devi is the supreme being; while, in the Smarta tradition, she is one of the five primary forms of Brahma. In other Hindu traditions, devi embodies the active energy and power of deva. She always appears with him, complementing him: such as Lasksmi with Vishnu in Vaishnavism, and Parvati with Shiva in Shaivism.

Devi can be worshiped and channeled through yoga practice. There are even some poses and practices in yoga, such as goddess pose, that are inspired by devi.


Yogapedia Explains Devi

Devi can be observed through her six main functions. First, she is a cosmic force that destroys demonic forces threatening the world's equilibrium. She creates, annihilates and recreates the universe. Then, in her gentle and radiant dayini form, she is the gracious donor of blessings, wealth, fortune and success. In her third aspect, she comes to earth as the heroine and the beloved. She provides inspiring models for earthly women.

Devi is seen fourthly as a local protector of villages, towns and individual tribal people. In her fifth and sixth aspects, devi can be represented as semi-divine. She is reflected in women saints and yoginis who are born on earth, but who possess deep spiritual and otherwordly powers.

Devi puja is the spiritual worship of devi, which is observed in four forms:

  1. Tara: exists in the realm of the fourth chakra (anahata), representing the spiritual heart
  2. Saraswati: emanates in the first chakra (muladhara)
  3. Lakshmi: forms the second chakra (svadisthana)
  4. Kali: the heart of the third chakra (manipura)

This worship leads to the realization of cosmic energy within oneself.

Devi yoga, or Goddess yoga, refers to a type of yoga that may be practiced in order to realize and identify a goddess within one's self. Practitioners visualize the goddess, pray to and meditate on her, awakening their kundalini energy and bringing healing and happiness.

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