In Hinduism, Shakambhari is an incarnation of Ishwari, consort to Shiva. She is the divine mother, ‘The Bearer of the Greens’
It is said that in times of famine, Goddess Durga comes down and gives vegan food, (Shaka comes from Sanskrit. means vegetables and vegan food. Ambari means one who wears or bears), to the hungry. That is why she is called “Shaka” + “Ambari” = ‘Shakambhari’.
Glory of Maa Shakambari
According to Vedas and Puranas only one single power called “Para Brahm” exist. ( Not the Brahna of guna rup of Brahm such as: Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh ) The “Para Brahm” or Parmatma as such has no conditions like birth or death. It has no attributes like form or qualities. Yet this seeming creation is nothing but “Leela” of “Para Brahm”. This “Leela” is carried out with the help of “Prakriti” or Maya. This Maya is an inseparable ingredient of Parmatma. Therefore, there is no beginning or end of this Leela of creation (Brahm), maintenance (Vishnu) and destruction (Mahesh.) The concept of Maya as Mother of the universe i.e. Shakti serves the mortals to overcome the process of birth and death.
This Maya -Mula-Prakriti – Adi Parashakti has been conceived as the highest divine force. Our Puranas refer to various forms and incarnation of Maya. Each incarnation has a purpose and in every case only to protect the pious and punish the wicked.
One such form of this Maya -Mula-Prakriti – Adi Parashakti is MAA SHAKAMBARI.
Maa Shakambari glory was originally told by Shiva to Maa Parvati and Sri Skanda and has references in Skanda Purana.
Every incarnation of Shakti has been named after the “Leela” she perform under the influence of “Purusha and Prakriti” like Mahishasurmardini who killed demon Mahishasur.
Most common name for the worship of the Shakti is “Durga”. Under what “Leela” performed by Adi Parashakti that She is known to this world as Durga. This name attributed to the Adi Shakti because of the following “Leela”.
Once upon a time there was a Demon Durgam who worshiped Brahma for years together. As a result he had acquired all the four books of total knowledge,Vedas from Brahma through penance. He also gets a boon from Lord Brahma that makes sure that all the pujas, yajnas and havanas being offered to the Devtas reach him instead making him invincible. Durgam became very arrogant and started tormenting the whole world.
As the consequence, devtas become weak and were not able to perform their duties properly. Therefore it did not rain for one hundred years and the whole world was hit by very severe drought. The rishis and munis take refuge in the caves of the Himalayas, and meditate upon the Supreme Shakti. The Shakti appeared in front of them bearing a wonderful form! She had countless number of eyes upon her that gave her the name SATAKSHI. She was so moved by their plights that tears rolled down from her eyes for nine continuous days and nights. The tears took the form of a river.
Than SHE saw that the rishis and munis has nothing to eat. So she appeared in a form bearing grains, cereals, vegetables, greens, fruits and other herbs and medicines – and was hence called Maa SHAKAMBARI. The rishis, munis and the Devtas then requested that she recover Vedas, which were in possession of Durgam and make sure that the share of Devtas of uja, yagna and havanas goes to Devtas so that they become powerful and can perform their duties properly.
Durgam came to know that again people were living happily through his messengers and immediately attacked with a large army. Maa Shakambari protected the frail rishis, munis, Devtas and others by putting up a huge wall of fire around them, and then let her discuss hover around it.
There ensued a tremendous battle between the Maa Shakambari and Durgam. At last Maa Shakambari, killed Durgam with her trident and recovered The Veda from his possession. At that very moment all the mantras and japas that were performed by the rishis, munis and devtas had performed earlier but were absorbed by the demon Durgam due to his boon, transformed into a bright light of a 10000 Suns and entered the Devi.
From Her body Maa Shakambari manifested the ten most powerful powers who has never been in universe before called “Dashamahaavidya” and 64000 other goddesses. She then handed over The Veda to the deities. There for Adi parashakti is known as Durga as she had killed the demon Durgam
Appearance of Shakambari Maa
The splendid form of Shakambari Devi is de scribed in detail in Durga Sapt-Shati in the last chapter named ‘Murti Rahasya’. According to this, the goddess is of blue color. Her eyes are like lotus flower. Navel is slightly below the normal place with three curves. She bears breasts of a virgin. A lotus is carried in her hand, which is thronged by bees. The other hand carries arrows. Other hands carry flowers, roots, and vegetables, fruits symbolizing the goddess of vegetation, who feeds us and keeps us away from disease. One hand is carrying a bow representing her fierce-ness.
This is the appearance of Shakambari Devi, Shatakshi and Durga. This goddess removes the grief and calamities and terrorizes demons. The devotee of this goddess, worshiping mother by hymns, meditation, Japa and bhajans, attains the fruits of food, drink and infinite bliss.