Sunday, July 13, 2014

Celestial Parrots: Indian Goddess Meenakshi and Her Parrot Avatar or Vahana

Anyone who has a parrot or has been around parrots realizes the celestial nature of parrots, the Angels and Seraphs of Heaven. Why else are angels and seraphs depicted with wings? The celestial nature of parrots has been known and commented on since ancient times.

A storyteller in Indian lore is a Shuka. Shuka in Sanskrit means parrot and thus the name is derived from the large number of parrots found around the Shukachari hills of India, in the Indian State of Maharashtra. Shukachari literally means abode of parrots in the Sanskrit language. This bird has the special privilege of resting on the right shoulder of Goddess Meenakshi, who is none other than Goddess Raja Mathangi, also known as Raja Shyamala. This Goddess is the upasana murthi or deity for fine arts,especially music and dance. The parrot resting on Her shoulder is certainly not a decorative bird, but the celestial partner of the Goddess, imparting knowledge of all the 64 arts.

The parrot depicted with the Goddess is the parrot native to the Indian Subcontinent, the Indian Ringneck parrot (Psittacula krameri). These parrots were prized by the likes of Alexander the Great and lesser invaders and visitors. These parrots have become naturalized around the world, North and South America, Eastern and Western Hemisphere. Cities great and small have fallen to their onslaught.

Such a parrot is held on the right side of Goddess Meenakshi. The parrot is positioned in such a way that its beak is aligned with the Goddess's right ear. The parrot imparts its knowledge of the 64 arts to the Goddess. Worshipers of the Goddess seek the blessings of the parrot for fulfillment of the knowledge of the fine arts.

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