In Devi Bhagavatam, the Goddess tells Bhagwan Brahma that she is both feminine and masculine form. She says both feminine and masculine form are one and the same and they appear to be diverse though they are in fact not.
For the creation of the universe the highest form of energy – Parashakti which is essentially formless takes the form of Shakti and Shiva. Shakti is the energy and Shiva is the consciousness. The energy splits into five elements- pancha bhootas- earth, water, fire, air and ether at the macro level in the universe that form the material world.
At the micro level five karmendriyas (mouth, hands, legs, and two organs of excreta), five janendriyas (eyes, ears, skin, tongue and nose), 5 tanmatras (sound, touch, form, taste and smell) collectively take the form of the living beings in the universe.
According to Vedas, there are 8.4 million species in this universe and human is one of them. The 8.4 million species have 4 anthakaranas (mind, heart, intellect and soul) evolved at various stages and the most evolved species is the human being who has the highest level of intellect.
The mind gets entangled with its six enemies- desire, anger, greed, attachment, pride and jealousy and goes to experience the material world.
“Manorupekshu kodanda pancha tanmatra sayaka” (Lalitha Sahasram)
The sugarcane bow on the left hand of the devi symbolizes the mind and her five fingers that hold the bow represent the five tanmatras. These tanmatras originate the motion in the universe of all the living beings leading to the performance of routine physical activities.
From the supreme consciousness soul is formed which acquires trigunas (satwik, rajas and tamas) and along with mind, heart and intellect enters all the living beings. This is followed by the cycle of birth, death and rebirth of all the living beings on the earth. At the macro level it is represented by srushti (creation), sdhithi (protection or preservation) and laya (dissolution).
The interaction between the material world (pancha bhootas) and the living beings is facilitated by the five tanamtras. The five gross elements in turn also possess tanmatras– either (sound), air (sound and touch), fire (sound, touch and form), water (sound, touch, form and taste), earth (sound, touch, form, taste and smell).
As the most evolved living being human has the highest level of intellect. When the mind gets rid of the arishad vargas (six enemies- desire, anger, greed, attachment, pride and jealousy) it merges with intellect. The intellect then devoid of emotional experience from the external world becomes totally analytical and tries to find the source of its existence internally.
This internal enquiry leads the intellect to get connected and merge with soul which is its origin. The soul totally disconnected from the material world gradually transcends the trigunas and goes in search of its origin – supreme consciousness. When the soul joins back the supreme consciousness that results in dissolution (laya). The tanmatras get dissolved into the supreme energy the source from where they originated.
Devi Bhagavatam says Parashakti– highest form of energy which is basically form less and genderless assumes a form of the union of Shakti (supreme energy) and Shiva (supreme consciousness) to create the universe.
In Lalitha Sahasrnamam, the last concluding namavali ends with – Shiva, shivashakti aikya rupini Lalitambika. The goddess Lalitambika is both Shiva as well the composite form of Shiva and Shakti – the masculine and feminine energies that comprise the origin of the universe.
(Featured image source: https://www.templepurohit.com/adi-parashakti-the-divine-mother/)
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