Friday, 1 July 2011

Goddess Shashti: The Protector of the Children

Goddess Shashti: The Protector of the Children

by Mantra & shlokas on Thursday, November 11, 2010 at 2:37pm

Shashti is a feline goddess, who is depicted riding a cat. Like goddess Manasa, she is of Bengali origin and little worshipped in other parts of India. Goddess Shashti is said to be the goddess of fertility, the one who blesses people with children. Black cats are believed to be goddess Shasti’s vehicle (vahana). Goddess Shashti holds a child and is generally depicted in yellow color. It is believed that goddess Shashti protects the new born from the evil powers, diseases etc.

In the Brahma Vaivarta Purana, Goddess Shashthi has been depicted as the sixth aspect of the Parama Prakriti (universal female energy). She is the goddess of fertility and the protector of children. In eastern India (particularly Bengal), Shashti is a folk-goddess and protector of children. Her worship is held on the sixth (shashti) day following a child's birth. She is considered an aspect of goddess Durga and is also called Skandamata and is worshipped by women desiring offspring. Women observe a partial fast on the day and perform pujas in a forest or under Kadamba tree. Goddess Shashti is worshipped on the day and offerings are made on a traditional hand-fan. Women only eat fruits on the day. A cat along with goddess Shashti is worshipped on the day.

Legend of worship of goddess Shashti along with a cat
Once upon a time there lived a prosperous farmer, who had seven sons. They all married to nice and beautiful girls. But the wife of the youngest son was very greedy. She used to steal food and other delicious sweets and blamed it on a cat. To take revenge, the cat stole all the children that the women gave birth and placed them in a temple dedicated to goddess Shashti. Finally, she prayed to the goddess and she was advised to make an image of cat and worship along with the Goddess Shashti for getting back her babies.

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