By Dr Manish Pandit
In the first part of this essay, I went into a Shabda Pramana from chapter 4 of the Durga Saptashati to give the reason for my discernment of the Devi as the cause of Moksha ….. here: https://mmpandit.wordpress.com/2021/07/27/devi-as-the-cause-of-moksha/
But the question arises quite naturally: why should the Great Goddess be considered as the cause of Moksha? We shall explore the various different spiritual traditions and comment on their manifold scriptures to provide a logical explanation as to why the Shaktas hold the Great Goddess in that highest of esteem. The 3rd verse of the Durga Saptashati in the same 4th Adhyaya proclaims :
देव्या यया ततमिदं जगदात्मशक्त्या निःशेषदेवगणशक्तिसमूहमूर्त्या । तामम्बिकामखिलदेवमहर्षिपूज्यां भक्त्या नताः स्म विदधातु शुभानि सा नः ॥ ३॥
The statement is very very impressive and has very significant import for it says that the Goddess by Her own power (Aatmashaktya) fills the entire Universe (we can translate as Devi projects as the Universe/Devi is the power underlying the Universe) and She is the fructifying power of the ENTIRE assemblage of Devatas (within the Cosmos) that is to say निःशेषदेवगणशक्तिसमूहमूर्त्या
In other words, no matter what the religion, no matter what the tradition and no matter what the actual Devi/Devata/formless divine worshipped therein… that would be ultimately deriving its power back from the Great Goddess Herself. This particular idea also comes from another verse which follows: ie.. verse 7 of the same chapter which states:
हेतुः समस्तजगतां त्रिगुणापि दोषै- र्न ज्ञायसे हरिहरादिभिरप्यपारा । सर्वाश्रयाखिलमिदं जगदंशभूत- मव्याकृता हि परमा प्रकृतिस्त्वमाद्या ॥ ७॥
Thus we see the words हेतुः समस्तजगतां point to the Goddess being the cause हेतुः of the entire Universe ie. समस्तजगतां . The verse goes on to say that even Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara (हरिहरादिभि:) are unable to recognise or understand (न ज्ञायसे) the great Goddess who is the most fundamental power or ADYA प्रकृति:
Bringing the two verses together we can see clearly now that She alone is the cause of the Universe and is the power which fills the Universe and in fact She is also the REPRESENTATIVE power which comes from all the Devatas whomsoever they may be.
Here a question arises: What about Shiva then? Well… for this we can look to two different traditions, in the first which is the Soundarya Lahiri, which follows:
Thus we can see that devoid of Shakti, even Shiva is unable to move, is indeed devoid of movement.
We will explain this idea further in the course of our essays on the Devi Mahatyma when we come to the explanation of the word “Shivaduti” which comes later in the Saptashati.
In summary, coming back to verse 3, we can see that logically speaking we can say on the basis of what we have explained till now that the Great Goddess is the very CAUSE of the Universe, fills the entire Universe AND is the Supreme Shakti which represents the power of the entire collection of powers contained within the Universe. This makes Her eminently capable (samartha) of granting Moksha at Her own sweet will and to whomsover She desires, when She desires.
This discussion started from this particular blog post which I wrote years ago: