In the Vedas, Aditi (Sanskrit: अदिति = "limitless" or "boundless”) is mother of the gods, specially Sun (devamata) and all twelve zodiacal spirits from whose cosmic matrix, the heavenly bodies were born. As celestial mother of every existing form and being, the synthesis of all things, she is associated with space (akasa) and with mystic speech (Vāc). She may be seen as a feminized form of Brahma and associated with the primal substance (mulaprakriti) in Vedanta. She is mentioned nearly 80 times in the Rigveda: the verse "Daksha sprang from Aditi and Aditi from Daksha" is seen by Theosophists as a reference to "the eternal cyclic re-birth of the same divine Essence" and divine wisdom.
Mother of the Gods
Brahma with Aditi (right)
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Aditi is a daughter of Daksha and Panchajani. The Puranas, such as the Shiva Purana and the Bhagavata Purana, suggest that Aditi is wife of Rishi Kashyapa and gave birth to the Adityas such as Indra, Surya, and also Vamana.
The name is mentioned in Vedas as the mother of Surya (Sun) and other celestial bodies or gods, Âdityas ("sons of Aditi"). The first mention of Aditi is found in Rigveda, which is estimated to have been composed roughly during 1700-1100 BC.
Aditi with sage Kashyapa had 33 sons, out of which twelve are called Âdityas including Surya, eleven are called Rudras and eight are called Vasus. Aditi is said to be the mother of the great god Indra, the mother of kings (Mandala 2.27) and the mother of gods (Mandala 1.113.19). In the Vedas, Aditi is Devamata (mother of the celestial gods) as from and in her cosmic matrix all the heavenly bodies were born. She is preeminently the mother of 12 Âdityas, whose names include Vivasvān, Aryamā, Pūṣā, Tvaṣṭā, Savitar, Bhaga, Dhātā, Varuṇa, Mitra, Śakra, and Vishnu (Lord Vishnu was born in his Vamana avatar to her) She is also the mother of the Vamana, avatar of Vishnu. Accordingly, Lord Vishnu was born in his Vamana avatar as the son of Aditi in the month of Shravana (fifth month of the Hindu Calendar, also called Avani) under the star Shravana. Many auspicious signs appeared in the heavens, foretelling the good fortune of this child.
In the Rigveda, Aditi is one of the most important figures of all. As a mothering presence, Aditi is often asked to guard the one who petitions her (Mandala 1.106.7; Mandala 8.18.6) or to provide him or her with wealth, safety, and abundance (Mandala 10.100; 1.94.15).
Aditi is usually mentioned in the Rigveda along with other gods and goddesses. There is no one hymn addressed exclusively to her, unlike other Vedic gods. She is perhaps not related to a particular natural phenomenon like other gods. Compared to Ushas and Prithvi, Aditi can be defined as the cosmic creator.
Aditi means Freedom. The name Aditi includes the root "da" (to bind or fetter) and suggests another attribute of her character. As A-diti, she is an unbound, free soul and it is evident in the hymns to her that she is often called to free the petitioner from different hindrances, especially sin and sickness. (Mandala 2.27.14). In one hymn, she is asked to free a petitioner who has been tied up like a thief (Mandala 8.67.14). As one who unbinds, her role is similar to her son Varuna's as guardian of Rta, cosmic moral order. She is called the supporter of creatures (Mandala 1.136). It also means 'one of its kind' or 'unique.'
Aditi challenges the modern idea that the Vedic peoples were patriarchal. Aditi was regarded as both the sky goddess, and earth goddess, which is very rare for a prehistoric civilization. Most prehistoric civilizations venerated a dual principle, Sky Father and Earth Mother, which appears to be borrowed from the concept of Prithvi and Dyaus Pita. Aditi was attributed the status of first deity by the Vedic culture, although she is not the only one attributed this status in the Vedas. She is addressed, in the Rigveda as "Mighty".
Like many other Hindu gods and goddesses, Aditi has a savari (a mount). Aditi flies across the boundless sky on a rooster. The rooster symbolizes strength and honour. Her weapons include the famous Trishula and a sword.
We can find one old temple of Aditi devi near rock cut cave in Vizhinjam, Kerala.
- From a- (privative a) and diti "bound," which is from the Proto Indo-European root *da- "to bind."
- The Secret Doctrine 2:247n
- "Adi-Ag: Encyclopedic Theosophical Glossary". Theosociety.org.
- Gopal, Madan (1990). K.S. Gautam (ed.). India through the ages. Publication Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. p. 62.
- Oberlies (1998:155) gives an estimate of 1100 BC for the youngest hymns in book 10. Estimates for a terminus post quem of the earliest hymns are more uncertain. Oberlies (p. 158) based on 'cumulative evidence' sets a wide range of 1700–1100
- Sathyamayananda, Swami. Ancient sages. Mylapore, Chennai: Sri Ramakrishna Math. p. 173. ISBN 81-7505-356-9.
- "Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 6 Chapter 6 Verses 38-39". Vedabase.net. Archived from the original on 20 March 2012. Retrieved 13 August 2012.