NO matter how the women are looked upon, men have always kneeled to the supreme power of feminine divinity. One such place of utmost worship and devotion to the female divinity is Vaishno Devi.
The Holy is situated at an altitude of 5200 ft in the folds of the three peaked mountain named Trikuta, Jammu, and Kashmir. The devotees undertake a trek of nearly 12 km from the base camp at Katra who at the culmination of their pilgrimage are blessed with the glimpse of Goddess inside the Sanctum Sanctorum- the Holy Cave. Present in the shape of three natural rock formations called the Pindies. There are no statues or idols inside the Cave.
A geological study of the Holy Cave has indicated its age to be nearly a million years however the mountain Trikuta does find its mention in Rigveda, the oldest of the four Vedas The practice of worshipping Shakti, largely started in the Puranic period.
In Mahabharat, Lord Krishna is said to have directed Arjuna to pray before the mother goddess for victory which they did eventually gain. On a mountain, just adjacent to the Trikuta Mountain and overlooking the Holy Cave are five stone structures, which are believed to be the rock symbols of the five Pandavs.
It is said that Guru Gobind Singh himself is said to have gone there via Purmandal. The old foot track to the Holy Cave passed through this well-known pilgrimage center.
Vaishno Devi – The shaktipeeth
Amongst the 108 shakti peeths (all said to have originated after parts of Sati fell over when her body was carried by Shiva griefstuck due to her death) Vaishno Devi is considered the most powerful as the skull is said to have fallen in Katra some argue it’s the right hand. Nevertheless, in the Holy Cave one does find stone remains of a human hand, popularly known as Varad Hast (the hand that grants boons and blessings).
Features of the temple
Just like the Trikuta Mountain, it is situated in, which is one at the base but has three peaks, the revelation of the Mother Goddess in the Holy Cave is in a natural rock form which is one at the base but has three heads at the top.
These three heads in a natural rock form are known as the Holy Pindies and are worshiped as the revelation of the Mother Goddess. The entire rock body is immersed in water, and a marble platform has now been constructed all around. The main Darshans remain to be the three heads called the Holy Pindies. The uniqueness of the Holy Pindies is that although they emanate from one single rock form, each one is distinctly different from the other two in color and texture.
Towards the right of the devotee is the Holy Pindi of Mata Maha Kali (the Supreme Energy of Dissolution) in the color associated with Her i.e. black. She represents the Tama Guna- the quality associated with the darker and unknown realms of life. She is the basic source of all that is mystical and unknown to man. In her attribute of Maha Kali, the Mother Goddess constantly guides her devotees to conquer the forces of darkness.
The center is the Holy Pindi of Lakshmi with a yellowish-red tinge, the color associated with Mata Maha Lakshmi. She is the Supreme Energy of Maintenance and represents Rajas Guna- the quality of inspiration and effort, and is considered to be the basic source of wealth, prosperity, material gains, quality of life etc. Wealth and prosperity are better represented by the color of gold, which is yellow and hence associated with Mata Maha Lakshmi.
The Pindi to the extreme left of the viewer is worshiped as the Holy Pindi of Mata Maha Saraswati and has a whitish tinge to it. Being the Supreme force of Creation, Saraswati is considered to be the basic source of all Creation, Knowledge, Wisdom, Righteousness, Art, Spiritualism etc. Since white is a color that denotes piousness and purity, hence it is associated with Mata Maha Saraswati. She represents the Satva Guna- the quality of purity.
Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Ji is considered to be an incarnation of the three Supreme Energies.