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Many Faces of the Earth Goddess
by Kalki
In India, the land of Gods and Goddesses, not only is the water of the Ganges holy or the plants of the Himalayas sacred, but the tradition of worshiping our planet as Bhumi Devi or the Earth Goddess is as old as folklore. Shiva (consciousness) and Shakti (nature) are two aspects of the Brahman, the Supreme Being. In Shakti yoga, therefore, we unite our inner self with the outer nature.

In the Hindu scripture, the mother and the motherland are greater than the heaven. More than 12,000 years ago, unlike in any other religions of the world, the God was worshiped as she in the Dravidian mother goddess religion and women were placed on the top of a pedestal in that Indus valley civilization. In Sanskrit, earth is pronounced "Dharitri" which is derived from the root word "Dhri" meaning "to hold". Therefore, Dharitri means one who sustains the lives of the organic and inorganic world. According to the Hindu cosmology, the Supreme Being, with the help of consciousness and nature, created three universal gunas or attributes - Sattva (pure), Rajas (movement) and Tamas (inertia)- from which were manifested the five elements of nature: ether, air, fire, water and earth. From the soil were born plants that become seeds for human lives. Thus, the Hindus praised the mother earth through their Vedic chants saying "let there be peace on earth."

According to the Vedic theory of evolution, God, in order to be a holistic human being, went through ten stages of evolution - as fish, tortoise, boar, lion-man, pigmy, priest, warrior, farmer, Buddha (the enlightened) and Kalki (the illuminator). It is also said that the Mother Goddess, during periods of war, descends to earth to protect her children against evil forces, while in times of peace, she transforms into vegetation in order to sustain human life. With great reverence to mother nature, the Hindu trinity -Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva- welcomed the swan, the big-bird, Garuda, and the bull as their vehicles. Krishna, as a farmer, looked after the cows and agriculture. Buddha, in the Buddhist mythology, was born as a tree and a deer during his one million lives on earth. The Shinto priests, in Japan, worshiped the mountains, the rivers and the forests as different forms of Kami, the spirit of the nature.

In Ayurveda, the science of life, universal nature in microcosm is presented as the three fundamental elements in the humours of our body - Vata (wind), Pitta (bile) and Kapha (phlegm). Vata is composed of air and space, Pitta is made of fire and water and Kapha is built of earth and water. Health can be maintained by keeping the harmony between these three elements through yoga and consuming balanced diets from nature. In case of illness, the disharmony of the body is removed through the application of natural herbs collected after an invocation to mother nature. In Mahatma Gandhi's Nature Cure System clay is used for headache, fever and stomach pain, Neem leaf for constipation and crushed garlic for high blood pressure. Also, in 2500 B. C., the Taoists in China and the Jains in India developed a highly advanced system of alchemy from nature to cure human sickness.

It is important to know that our earth collects cosmic light and transfers it into plants through photosynthesis. Plants, as food, sustain us by nourishing the nervous system, which is used as an instrument for realization of divine love. For 2.5 million years, this cycle of light, life and love has become the essence of mother earth.

The connection of yoga and nature is the key that opens the door to self-realization. For example, it is in nature where Pasupati, Kali, Rama, Sakyamuni, Mahavir, Lao-Tsu, Jesus, Moses, Mohammad and myriads of other enlightened beings in world religions discovered their truth. Truth seekers in India honored nature through their practice of yoga, breathing exercises and meditation for freedom from the suffering of the cycle of life and death. Through love and service to all on earth, as Tantra or earth yoga symbolizes, we can worship God and proclaim that this world is our family.

Kalki is a Himalayan Yogi and world-wide spiritual teacher. His parents are priests of Sri Jagannath and he is descended from the sacred lineage of Brahmarishi Vashista and the sage Varadvaja. He was trained in the spiritual path from the age of four until he received his enlightenment from the Divine Mother Goddess Kali of Dakshineswar, Calcutta and traveled many years in the Himalayas to realize the Supreme Truth. He has been a professor of yoga and eastern religion for the last 24 years, and teaches yoga and Sanatan Dharma (universal path) at the MahaKali temple. Kalki also produces MANDALA, a radio program on Eastern culture, on KBOO 90.7 FM Portland on every fifth Sunday of the month at 7 PM. For information contact (503) 284-8729