Lotus Flower: primordial image of the mother goddess

The Gods evoke the Devi, 1780. US public domain via wikimedia
The Gods evoke the Devi, 1780. US public domain via wikimedia

The Devi is represented in various archetypal incarnations, as images or forms of the divine mother. Yet, the true form of the divine mother is more than any image or form can portray. Jung says that the mother is ‘supraordinate to all phenomena’.

“Somewhere, in “a place beyond the skies,” there is a prototype or primordial image of the mother that is preexistent and supraordinate to all phenomena in which the “maternal,” in the broadest sense of the term, is manifest.” (CW 9i, para. 149)

The true nature of the mother exists beyond form, beyond representation. In the illustration above, we see the Gods invoking the Devi in the form of the lotus. The lotus represents the primordial nature of the mother, as Adi Shakti or Param Shakti, as a truth and power beyond representation.

From the lotus the Goddess arises, taking various sacred forms. First as Durga who slays the buffalo demon. Then, Kali emerges from the third eyes of the Devi and beheads the demons Chanda and Munda. In the story, the Goddesses battle the demons. The demons are representatives of the ignorance and delusions of the ego. Sothebys describes the illustration:

“The present illustration to the Markandeya Purana marks the beginning of the Devi Mahatmya which is considered to be a part of this extensive Purana. Here we see the Gods gathered on the right with their palms folded invoking the great Goddess Devi. The absent Goddess is indicated by an open lotus flower beneath a tree on the left, the scene set against a broad, expansive landscape.

According to the legend, Devi rises from this lotus, is bestowed powers collectively by all the Gods and then sets forth to destroy the demon Mahisasura who had conquered the three worlds and unseated the Gods from their heavenly abode.”

Reference:

  1. The Archetypes and The Collective Unconscious (Collected Works of C.G. Jung Vol.9 Part 1)
  2. Sothebys.com

 

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