- Art History
- Religious Context
Associated with the mysterious Shavari tribe of ancient India, the Forest Goddess, Parnashavari, with three faces and six hands, wears a skirt and a garland of thatched green leaves. She is associated with jungle tribes and the practice of healing, particularly curing contagious diseases. In the Himalayas and Tibet when a large group of people congregate to receive extended religious teachings, it is common to first give the initiation and blessing for the Forest Goddess in order to stave off sickness.
The Forest Goddess is an example of an Indian folk deity absorbed into Tantric Buddhism. She is a popular practice and has numerous forms with varying emphases. For the practitioner of Esoteric Buddhist meditation, the Forest Goddess is an emanation of the Buddha, and her special characteristic or metaphor is that of sickness and healing.
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Jeff Watt 5-2003 [updated 9-2016, 6-2017, 1-2020]