Awakening Compassion through Working with Karma

Karma, a fundamental concept in the teachings of self-realization, holds significant importance in our spiritual journey. Derived from Sanskrit, karma refers to “action, work, or deed.” It is a psycho-spiritual principle that emphasizes the effects our intentions and actions have on ourselves, others, and the world.

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Goddess Katyayani Symbol and Meaning

Katyayani Navadurga Maata Creative Commons

Katyayani is a form of Hindu mother goddess. She was born from the fire of the Gods. Vishnu Purana says,

 Shiva, Brahma, and the other gods emitted such flames from their eyes and countenances that a mountain of effulgence was formed, from which became manifest Katyayini, refulgent as a thousand suns, having three eyes, black hair and eighteen arms. [1}

As a form of the mother goddess, she holds the power to bestow paradise or liberation. In the Devi-Mahatmyam, the mother goddess (Devi) is honored as the bestower of paradise (svarga) and liberation (moksha). In Verse 11, 7 we read:

When You are being praised as the embodiment of all beings, the Devi, the effulgent One, and the bestower of paradise and liberation, what words however excellent, can praise You.

In Hindu cosmology, Svarga (paradise) is one of the seven Lokas or planes. Svarga is a heavenly realm that is said to exist above Mt. Meru. Svarga is the plane of paradise, which the soul may attain after death as a reward for their virtue. In Svarga, they will find themselves having bodies of light, surrounded by the pleasures of the gods.

Svarga, as paradise, is a transitory place. It is a place for the virtuous souls who have performed karma, but who are not ready for enlightenment. The aim of enlightenment is not heavenly pleasure, but enlightenment.

The goddess may bestow upon us either (svarga) paradise or (moksha) enlightenment. Svarga is still in the realm of karma. After some time of pleasure, we may find ourselves again back in the cycles of birth and death. It is only through spiritual enlightenment (moksha) that we find true release from the cycles of pain and suffering.


  1. Vishnu Purana, CHAPTER VII. UMĀ. Hindu Mythology, Vedic and Puranic, by W.J. Wilkins. 1900. page 306
  2. Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious by Carl Jung, CW 9.1, para. 156.
  3. Dharma, Hindu and Christian According to Roberto de Nobili By Soosai Arokiasamy