Kanya means virgin. Man’s soul is virgin. That virginity cannot be contaminated. Its pristine beauty and glory cannot be sullied. But you can’t see that virgin soul; you don’t know what it is or where it is in you. That purity of soul is the kanya, which is the form of the Mother. At the Sat Chandi Mahayajna you are the guests of that virgin soul, of that virgin reality who you don’t know, who nobody knows. When you don’t know an object, then you have to form a concept. Here, the concept is the kanyas of Rikhia who are sitting here. They are innocent and pure, and they represent your virgin soul, they represent your pure spirit, they represent your inner being, which you cannot and will not see.
In Devi tantra, the tantric system of the Cosmic Mother, the virgin is considered to be the true replica of the Cosmic Mother. At this yajna you are not the master, you are only servants. We are all servants of the Cosmic Mother. We are not her husband or her father. We are her children and she is our master. We should remember this and feel this. The priest is a kanya, the caterer is a kanya, the singer is a kanya, the controller of every ritual of this yajna is a kanya. They are our hosts. This is the most ancient concept of Shakti tantra.
Worship of the Mother is a very ancient culture, which was born with civilization. It was not introduced by any religion, it was not taught by any canon. It is natural for a child to love his mother. You don’t have to teach a child to love his mother because it is in the scriptures, because it is in the Bhagavad Gita, the Upanishads, the Bible or the Koran. Love for mother is intrinsic to a child. It is so natural, so spontaneous, so primitive, so total.
From the beginning of creation, it is the mother who has given birth to the child, not the father. Not only in the history of humankind, but even in the history of God, in the history of all universes and planets, it is the woman who has given birth to the child. Therefore, she was the first person the child knew, not the father. When he was an infant, a child, a boy and a lad, he only knew his mother. The father is a redundant principle, but society has brought him in as a social, political and economic factor. The mother is the real friend of the child. Therefore, the worship of Mother is as ancient as humankind.
Some religions denounced mother worship, but not the religion of India where it is considered to be supreme. Mother can never be cruel. Even if she slaps you, it is out of compassion, love and affection. A son may betray his mother, a son may forgo his mother, but a mother cannot and should not repeat the folly of her child. In India, this worship has been prevalent for many thousands of years. We don’t call Durga, Kali, Saraswati, Lakshmi, etc. by the name goddess, we always use the word Devi. Devi means luminous, illumined, lustrous, the light that is within. You are all Devi. You are all fortunate.
The concept of the kanya is unparalleled in man’s philosophy. The discovery that a young virgin was capable of symbolizing and representing the Cosmic Mother was made by a rishi. Could you ever think of your little daughter as the replica of the Mother? No. The idea did not come to the people, only to those rishis, the great seers, who saw very clearly. Just as you see greed in money, passion in a woman, fear in a ghost or tiger, why can’t you similarly see the goddess in the kanyas? Why do you need to be convinced? Why should I convince you? It is your daily experience that where there is money, there is greed. Money represents greed. The replica of greed is money. The replica of passion is a woman. The replica of fear is a tiger. The replicas of Devi are here. You don’t have to prove it. It is as simple as that!
It is written in the Upanishads that a person who is innocent, who lives like a child, behaves like a fool among fools, like a scholar among scholars, like a young man among girls, is called an avadhoota. These girls are very simple and innocent. Up to the age of puberty they don’t know the jugglery of sensual life. There are many who even after puberty remain a virgin mentally and spiritually. Once puberty approaches, the whole system within the body and within the structure and psychology of the mind changes, and manifests in the emotional actions and reactions.
Kanya worship is a most important part of Shakti tantra. Here you are being presented with a new concept, you are being initiated into a new philosophy of life where a little girl can be the replica of Devi.