Our Ista Devi, Haidakhandeshwari Ma is often misunderstood as Babaji’s wife or His sister. She is His female aspect residing always in His heart. The concept is that Lord Shiva is pure consciousness formless and beyond time and the Divine Mother is all that has taken form, all we can see, feel and think about. Babaji is Lord Shiva but a particular aspect of Him that is on earth to guide and help humanity evolving to become whole, to become a proper human BEING in harmony with The Divine living on earth. His feminine aspect has given it form with cherished aspects of Love and compassion that we human beings so much need and require.
Ista Devi means our personal Devi and for Babaji’s devotees Haidakhandeshwari Ma is That. There is only one Divine Mother called Durga or Jagdamba (Mother of the world) and various other names and she takes numerous manifestations to accomplish Her divine task of delivering Bhukti and Mukti, abundance and liberation to Her children on earth. Having a personified Devi for Babaji’s devotees makes our connection more personal.
Haidakhandeshwari Ma encompasses some attributes of all the three forms of Divine Mother-namely Mahakali, Mahalaxmi and Mahasaraswati and in addition SHE has a distinctly local Kumouni characteristic that can be seen in Her clothes and jewels that She wears.
As per the interpretation of (Durga) Devi Saptasati Her first form is of Mahakali also known as Mahamaya, representing the illusory potency of Divine Mother. Maya means what appears to be but is not an illusion! She is the Grand Illusionist who keeps us attached to worldly things of which we suffer great mental pain because of our attachment. But Mahamaya not only causes illusions and attachments, with sincere devotion –she also releases us from worldly attachments and sets us on a path of liberation. The crescent moon on the forehead of Haidakhandeshwari Ma is symbolic of Shiva as one of the names of Shiva is Chandrasekhar (one who holds the moon on his forehead). It is through the Grace of Mahamaya that we can overcome our delusions on this earth and understand our true nature.
Our Haidakhandeshwari Ma is also embodying Lakhsmi Devi, the consort of Lord Vishnu ( the sustainer of the Universe) as She is holding in Her hands; Shankh (conch), Chakra (rotation disk), Gada (mace) and Padma (lotus). These four attributes are symbolic of Purusharth-which literally symbolize the Objects of Human Pursuits. This is an important concept in Sanatan Dharma and refers to the four proper goals or aims of human life. The four Purusharths are Dharma (righteousness, moral, values) ,Artha (prosperity, economic values), Kama (pleasure, love, psychological values) and Moksha (liberation,spiritual values). Shankh is symbolic of Abundance and Wealth, Chakra is symbolic of Dharma or Righteousness, Gada is symbolic of enabling Moksha, Padma is symbolic of fulfilment of Desires.
The third form of the Devi is that of Mahasaraswati-who is symbolic of pure consciousness and intellect. She gives to her devotees the highest form of liberation consciousness. With her Blessing a devotee ceases to identify himself/herself with the body and realises their true nature as a part of Divine Consciousness. She also bestows knowledge and artistic creativity in humanity. In Haidakhandeshwari Ma this is expressed with Her sitting on the lotus.
In the 1960’s Shri Vishnu Datt Achary (Shastriji) wrote the Haidakhandeshwari Saptasati with the blessings of Shri Mahendra Maharaj.
When Shastriji came to Vrindavan and recited the Saptasati for the first time showing his work, Mahendra Maharaj started dancing around the temple grounds holding the written version on his head.
On the same day Mr Manohar Lal Vohra came from Bombay saying that he had a vision of a Devi who told him that She was Haidakhandeshwari Ma and showed a drawing that was made by a painter according to his directions of that vision. On seeing the painting Shastriji went in ecstasy saying that it was exactly as he had described in the Saptasati. Mr Vohra took on the printing of the first edition of the Haidakhandeshwari Saptasati There and then Haidakhandeshwari Ma descended in this form onto our world under the fine directions of Mahendra Maharaj. He said, I am only a crow but soon the Swan will be here, show it to Him when He comes.
Mahendra Maharaj gave Vishnu Datt Shastri a secret mantra that only Babaji and he knew, to recognise the authenticity of Haidakhan Whale Baba, Babaji. When Babaji went to Vrindavan in 1971 for the first time He asked, where is my Acharya. Shastriji was called and on arrival Babaji took him in a room before he could ask anything. As soon as the door closed the sounds of the mantra came from the walls and filled the room. Shastriji came crying out of the room claiming that the Swan had descended, Babaji has arrived. Soon after The Saptasati and the painting were show to Babaji. He said that this is my form and the true form of the Devi. Further explaining that now in Kali Yuga time is compressed and that is why for the benefit of mankind Babaji made a shorter version of the Durga Saptasati which is more than double in size. He promised that anybody reading the Saptasati with sincerity will have all wishes, material and spiritual fulfilled.
Her mantra is for Japa is ; Om Hreeng Shreeng Haidakhandeshwariyee namah.
There are two murtis of Haidakhandeshwari Ma in standing position.
In Herakhan at the cave side
In the Universal Ashram in USA
There are many smaller ones around the world where She is in sitting position.
To get to know Her is to experience Her with focusing on Her with Mantra’s and reading Her Saptasati booklet containing 700 versus describing Her and Her qualities.
There are now many editions, translated in several languages available in our ashram shops around the world. Practise makes perfect. There is also an online version that can be downloaded for free here.