Lord Skanda-Murugan

Goddess Jyoti

from Hindu Dharma by Bansi Pandit (Hindu Temple Society of North America: 1996)

Goddess Jyoti

Jyoti means 'light' and goddess Jyoti represents the power of the Ultimate Reality (Brahman) that illuminates our minds and gives shape and form to all created things and beings of the world.

According to the Taittiriya Upanishad 2.1, the five great elements (pañchamahabhutas) -- earth, water, fire, air and space -- emanate from Brahman. These five elements, together with the omnipresent cosmic consciousness of Brahman, constitute all created things and beings in the universe. In Hindu mythology, this creative process is symbolized by the family of Lord Shiva. The members of this divine family are Lord Shiva, His spouse the Divine Mother, their two sons Ganesha and Skanda, and their daughter Jyoti.

Lord Shiva represents the cosmic consciousness, the Divine Mother denotes the creative energy, Ganesha symbolizes the elements of earth and water, Skanda represents the element of fire, and Jyoti symbolizes the two elements of air and space. Since fire uses air and burns in space, in Hindu mythology Jyoti is always associated with Skanda and is known more as Skanda's sister than as Ganesha's sister. She is worshipped in her formless (arupa) aspect in all temples where Lord Skanda is worshipped.

According to Tantra Yoga, Jyoti is the aroused kundalini shakti (latent energy) that resides in the ajna chakra (psychic center between the eyebrows in the forehead) and is experienced as light in deep meditation. In Her popular images, Jyoti is represented as a young girl dressed in bright clothes. The brightness of Her attire symbolizes the light of knowledge that dispels the darkness of ignorance. Whenever a lamp is lit, Jyoti shines. By worshipping Jyoti, a Hindu seeks God's blessings to acquire intelligence and wisdom (jñana), attain love for all God's creatures and secure divine guidance for spiritual progress leading to spiritual perfection.

Since Jyoti is present in all beings as the light of consciousness, social service and reverence for all forms of life are the hallmarks of Jyoti worship. Jyoti shrines have been erected at many temples, including Houston Śrī Meenakshi Temple, New York Maha Vallabha Ganapati Temple, and Los Angeles Śrī Venkateswara Temple.

Skanda's Sister Jyoti by Dr. A. Alagarappan | Chennai's Aru Padai Veedu Temple Complex