In Hinduism, Shakti is the primordial cosmic energy and represents the dynamic forces that are thought to move through the entire universe. Shakti is the concept or personification of the divine feminine creative power, sometimes referred to as ‘The Great Divine Mother’. On the earthly plane, Shakti most actively manifests through female embodiment, creativity and fertility, though it is also present in males in its potential, unmanifest form.
Hindus believe that Shakti is both responsible for creation and the agent of all change. Shakti represents cosmic existence as well as liberation, its most significant form being the Kundalini Shakti, a mysterious psychospiritual force.
In Shaktism and Shaivism, Shakti is worshipped as the Supreme Being, embodying the active feminine energy of Shiva.
Shakti’s counterpart, Shiva, “The Auspicious” is one of the three major deities of Hinduism. He is one of the three most influential denominations in contemporary Hinduism. He is one of the five primary forms of God in the Smarta Tradition, and is also known as “the Destroyer.”
At the highest level, Shiva is regarded as limitless, transcendent, unchanging and formless. Shiva has many benevolent and fearsome forms. As a benevolent form, he is depicted as an omniscient Yogi who lives an ascetic life on Mount Kailash, as well as a householder with wife Parvati and his two children, Ganesha and Kartikeya; in fierce aspects, he is often depicted slaying demons. Shiva is also regarded as the patron god of yoga, meditation and the arts.
The main iconographical attributes of Shiva are the third eye on his forehead, the snake Vasuki around his neck, the adorning crescent moon, the holy river Ganga flowing from his matted hair, the Trishula as his weapon and the Damaru as his musical instrument.