Adi Shakti or Energy

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All religions go through changes and though Hinduism has had an unbroken chain its emphasis and message may have drastically changed over the millennia. While in a small post one cannot do justice to this topic what I want to briefly state is that ascetic strain that influenced India (Bharat-Varsha) after the advent of Buddhism and having been given a definite boost by Adi Shankara, has given shape to what I call the philosophical face of modern day Hinduism with its emphasis on Formless and Nirgun Brahaman. While the Bhakti cult of the middle ages did provide an alternate but they too had the world renouncing tendency. Householder saints had their sights set on God with mundane affairs relegated to the background.

Rishis of yore were householders who presided over the function of Teaching the students. There was another branch namely Tantra (not in the way west takes it to be) which became more or less extinct due to Adi Shankara and retained its influence in remote parts of North east or Kerala. Its approach was diametrically opposite for it affirmed life and stated that all was Energy. Adi Shakti was conceived as feminine Goddess who was one with the formless aspect and thereby synthesizing a Great Unity. A look at Tantroktaḿ Devīsūktam, Stotra from Devi Mahatmyam (Chandi) starting with famous verse Ya Devi Sarvabhutesu would reveal the difference.

http://greenmesg.org/mantras_slokas/devi_durga-ya_devi_sarvabhutesu.php