It is believed that the source of all existence is the female energy. In fact humankind itself has a profound archetypal need for a mother’s protection since time immemorial. Goddess Shakti is the absolute representation of the female divinity as the power that resides in all life as consciousness, mind, matter, energy, elation, and serenity and equally in destruction, disturbance and violence. She transcends everything as a boundless and formless presence without any limitation. This is why the Divine Mother is known as Arupa. She exists in the form of the Dasa Maha Vidya, each of who is an approach to divine knowledge as the Wisdom Goddesses. Dasa Maha Vidya is also known as the ten great secrets or Guptas, the fourth being Goddess Bhuvaneshwari. She is also known as Adi Shakti, an earlier form of Goddess Shakti.
The Goddess is the substantial force of Parashakti, which she manifests as the phenomenal and materialistic worlds. She possesses all elements of the physical cosmos and its extension beyond. Her holy name literally is the compounded form of the words Bhuvana and Ishwari, meaning Goddess of the Worlds. The tri-bhuvana (3 worlds) consists of bhuh (earth), bhuvah (atmosphere) and svah (heavens). Thus, even the Gods regard her to be the Queen of the Universe and the Realm of Beings or the Governess of Creation. Goddess Bhuvaneshwari is associated with Mother Earth, Prithvi according to the sacred hymns of the Rig Veda. In the Puranas, she is intrinsically connected with the Varaha Avatar of Vishnu. She is also the creator of Prakriti or nature.
There is an interesting story about her birth. In the beginning only the Sun God Surya was the master of the sky. The sages and seers begged him to create more worlds and offered prayers and ambrosia in return. Lord Surya used his Supreme Energy to manifest lokas or bhuvanas meaning the worlds. This Supreme Energy formed the shape of the great cosmic deity Goddess Bhuvaneshwari.
She is personified as having three eyes (depicting her knowledge of the three worlds), with very large breasts (symbolizing the nourishing of all beings with the essence of life) and a compassionate face with red lips like bimba fruits. Her glory is symbolized as pure radiation with a halo, resembling Lord Surya’s energy and the moon pouring her soma (ambrosia), the divine nectar of the Gods. She thus carries the three worlds in the form of the blossoming of her self-nature. Therefore her body represents the macrocosm of the universe, while the countless beings said to arise from her are depicted n the form of her precious jewels, ornaments and adornments.
The Goddess’s bija sound (seed sound embodiment) is the same as that of Maya. Through the impassioned worship of Bhuvaneshwari the celestial plan is realized. One can over come the illusory traits of Maya, which becomes a play of Leela. She reclaims humans from the grips of delusion. This results in a sea change in body chemistry and the psyche with the attainment of enlightenment. Goddess Parvati in fact is the Saguna Rupa or benevolent face of Goddess Bhuvaneshwari. Like Goddess Lalita, Goddess Bhuvaneshwari has a mandala in her honor that devotees pray to.
Goddess Bhuvaneshwari is also considered to be the Goddess of Love as the Iccha Shakti. Love creates space and breeds freedom, as unattached love has no boundaries. Her primary mantra (chant to invoke her blessing) is the repetition of the blessed syllable of ‘hreem’, which means the Goddess’s heart. Her blessing is equated to the embrace of consciousness. Even in the human body, the heart is where the treasures of the universe actually lie. Sublime love manifests in a deeply altruistic way. The Goddess of the Three Worlds is also worshipped through the mantra Ma, as she is also known as Sri Ma. Sri Matre Namaha also represents the naval and heart chakras. Hence, she is also regarded as the Goddess of Infinite Love. She is the power of endless opening and expansion.
Complementary to Goddess Kali as the personification of time (kaal), Goddess Bhuvaneshwari represents space (space of the universe and space of the mind). Space is the matrix in which all beings are created, sustained and dissolved. She has the ability to transform situations according to her wish and hence has many devout bhakts, including many gods. Even the Navagraha or nine planet demi gods, cannot stop he all powerful mother goddess from anything she seeks to do. Praying to the Goddess of the Worlds promotes cosmic vision and liberates one from the restriction of narrow beliefs by bestowing one with universal understanding. This is an infinite sense of global understanding irrespective of race, religion, caste or creed.
There is one interesting legend of the Goddess pacifying a colorful argument between the Holy Trinity. Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva were involved in their usual argument about who is the most powerful of the three. Their debate became very intense and disturbed the peace of the heavens. This is when the beautiful Goddess stepped in. She took the Holy Trinity to her idyllic abode and led them to a beautiful chamber. Here she displayed to them three female attendants, each embodying the Holy Triad, and performing noble tasks of equal importance – creation, preservation and destruction. The Supreme Gods saw this presentation and at once realized their flaw and stopped arguing. Hence, Goddess Bhuvaneshwari even helps the Trimurti in gaining immense wisdom through her kind acts.
The great Goddess Durga, the dynamic female force who was called upon by the Holy Trinity to save the world by slaying the demon Mahishasur, is also her famous avatar. Goddess Bhuvaneshwari’s consort is Lord Lingaraj, an avatar of Lord Shiva. She is also supposed to be the witness, observer and aficionado of Lord Shiva’s holy tandava dance and of Goddess Kali’s wild dance of destruction.
Hence, the fourth deity of the Dasa Maha Vidya, the Goddess of Infinite Love is one of the most sacred Devis, worshipped alike by man and gods.