Aditi: The forgotten Mother Goddess

While reading Vedas, one encounters various Goddesses namely Aditi, Usa, Vac, Saraswati, and Prithvi among others.

Aditi, meaning limitless, is the independent goddess with no evident male consort is invoked numerous times in Rig Veda. She also happens to be one of the most powerful and all-pervading Goddesses of her times. And this what precisely makes this Goddess unique and of particular interest to me.

It is said that ‘Daksa was born of Aditi, and Aditi was Daksa’s Child.’ She demonstrates the continuity of the cycle of life.

Aditi is the caring chief mother goddess who is equated with air, sky, the stream of water, cow, and heaven. She is the ghee (clarified butter) which is produced by the churning of the milk.

She is everything that is born and everything that will be born. She is the harbinger of all immortal life. She has Agni (fire) in her womb from where the seed of the humankind first arose.

She is the wife of Gods and the mother of Gods. She is first offered the oblation of sacrifice and also the concluding oblation of sacrifice. Three roddy spotted horse is provided to her as a sacrifice.

She along with Gods defends the life as she is the mother of all. She is the goddess of righteousness, protection, and guidance. She saves us from evils, grief, nights and enemies.

Puranas also mention Aditi as the mother of all Devas. All inhibitors of the earth are born from Aditi. Lord Vishnu and Sun, both have taken birth from her womb after being pleased from her devotion.

I will reiterate my question, why and how did worship of the Vedic deities mainly female stop? Rudra or Shiva is one of the primary Hindu God, and he is being revered since Vedic times.

Varun, Agni, and Soma are still invoked during the havans or yagyas although there are no temples dedicated to them.

Then why did we forget our Goddesses from Vedic times (except Saraswati)?

 

12 thoughts on “Aditi: The forgotten Mother Goddess

  1. Aditi… My fav name in vedic lore! Haha…how have I missed reading this! Good article! And great question.

    I guess vedic goddesses like Gauri, Saraswati, Lakshmi took prominent role in daily worship because of their role in terms of life-trinity: Strength, wisdom and wealth. Rest of the Gods and goddesses can not appeal to a householder, for, their role, how ever great it is in terms of philosophical aesthetics, does not have utilitarian value. And unfortunately, most of us look for a bargain than intellectual gratification or true realization. But, its interesting how Vedic deities are all like epitome of each other. So, catch one and the result of following others will be immanent (for, Vedas themselves claim “Eko vai bahudaa vadanti” – The one almighty manifests as so many deities).

  2. But yea, I can see the underlying depth in your question! I feel the same. You have very beautifully depicted her roles. Given atleast that, she is like world mother and thus deserves far more than a small place in rusty pages or ignorant minds.

  3. Even if we ignore the worship part here, I’ll be still curious to know as to why Vedic gods and Goddesses were totally absent from our subsequent legends/myths/stories.

  4. I don’t think they are totally absent. But some of them changed their garb as Vyasa had to make it tangible to present gen. Vedic era is an era of diff class of ppl with diff approach to life. Present age is very diff than that. So, Vyasa had to tinker and he alone was allowed to do so, being the world teacher. Puranas are 18 and there are 18 more sub puranas. The seeds of all the allegories of puranas are from Vedas and thus they have to have vedic deities in one way or another.

  5. Also, I guess the deities reveal themselves to us (humanity) as per the evolutionary stage and time. As you always say: “her grace “… May be we are yet to first train with whats in vogue to transcend to other domains of reality!

  6. (Adding a few words to this valuable article)-aditi—a (without) + diti (duality). Her spread (tan/son/ tanya) is the Sun or aaditya. She and aaditya are characterized by adana which means the act of eating or assimilation. As the Creator created, Creator determined to eat every thing thus created. This is the process of bringing back the duality into the Oneness that has multiplied into duality. Thus from this sun, time is governing us, we are aging, evolving and going back to the mother aditi through cycles of births and deaths. Saraswati is the expressive goddess of word or vaak inclined to create definitions (naama) and forms (rUpa). Saraswati represents the expressive aspect of Mother Adits or Universal consciousness. So, Saraswati was indeed worshipped in the Vedic era. Idol or image means the expression of the Consciousness as physicality, with boundaries and definition (it means vaak frozen to vaakya).

    As, I know, aditi the mother of all the deities was worshipped as Isis in Egypt, with her son Horus (indraa). She was also worshipped in Mahenjodaro and Harappa as the mother goddess.

    Our Guru, worshipped the idol of mother goddess in Howrah. The place where She was worshipped is still known as ‘Jaganmaata baari’. The dhyana mantra of the goddess starts like this..udyat aaditya raaga ranjitam—-hued by the rising aaditya’s tunes…
    Also a few lines in the dhyana mantra have relevance to your article:
    shiva maataam shivaanIm cha (You are the mother of Shiva as well as his shakti / consort)
    brahmaaNI brahma-jananIm—-(also you are the consort of Bhramaa and his progenitor)
    vaiShnabhI viShnu prasutIm—-(you are the consort of viShNu as wells as his creator )

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