Saturday 22nd June 2024,
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Bhramari Devi : The Hindu Bee Goddess

The God Indra was the namesake of ancient India and the deity who separated heaven and earth, and is said to have received honey as his first food. Similarly, the Indian Bee goddess Bhramari Devi derives her name from the word Bramari, meaning ‘Bees’ in Hindi.  It is said that Bhramari Devi resides inside the heart chakra and emits the buzzing sound of Bees, called ‘Bhramaran’. Likewise, the sound of a Bee humming was emulated in Vedic chants and the humming of Bees represented the essential sound of the universe all across India.

The most ancient of India’s sacred books is the Rig-Veda, and it contains countless references to Bee’s and honey. So do other texts, such as the Atharva-Veda, which speaks at length about the Bee and the twin horseman lords of light known as the Avsvins; “O Asvins, lords of Brightness, anoint me with honey of the bee, that I may speak forceful speech among men.” In Indian traditions, goddesses frequently turned into Bees to ward off demons and purify the land. The god Prana – the personification of the universal life force, is sometimes shown surrounded by a circle of Bees. The goddess is said that to have applied nectar – or honey, to the roots of the ash tree in order to keep it alive and well – and green. Even Krishna, the sacred Hindu deity, was sometimes depicted as the Bee goddess Madhusudana, the divine Bee of loving mellows.  Kama, the Indian god of love, is also associated with Bees, as the famous Indian poet Kalidasa recounts;

“A stalwart soldier comes, the spring, Who bears the bow of Love; and on that bow, the lustrous string is made of bees….Weaves a string of Bees with deft invention, To speed the missile when the bow is bent.”

Andrew Gough

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