Jyoti means "light" and Goddess Jyoti (see color plate 1) repre-sents the power of the Ultimate Reality (Brahman) that illuminates our minds and gives shape and form to all created things and beings of the world.
According to the Taittiriya Upanishad 2.1, the five great elements (Panchamahăbhutas)earth, water, fire, air and spaceemanate from Brahman.32 These five elements, together with the omnipresent cosmic consciousness of Brahman, constitute all created things and beings in the universe. In Hindu mythology, this creative process is symbolized by the family of Lord Shiva. The members of this divine family are Lord Shiva, His spouse the Divine Mother, their two sons Ganesha and Skanda, and their daughter Jyoti. Lord Shiva represents the cosmic consciousness, the Divine Mother denotes the creative energy, Ganesha symbolizes the elements of earth and water, Skanda represents the element of fire, and Jyoti symbolizes the two elements of air and space. Since fire uses air and burns in space, in Hindu mythology Jyoti is always associated with Skanda and is known more as Skanda's sister than as Ganesha's sister. She is worshipped in Her formless (arupa) aspect in all temples where Lord Skanda is worshipped.
According to Tantra Yoga, Jyoti is the aroused kundalini shakti (latent energy) that resides in the ajna chakra (energy center between the eyebrows in the forehead) and is experienced as light in deep meditation.32 In Her popular images, Jyoti is represented as a young girl, dressed in bright clothes. The brightness of Her attire symbolizes the light of knowledge that dispels the darkness of ignorance. Wherever a lamp is lit, Jyoti shines. By worshipping Jyoti, a Hindu seeks God's blessings to acquire intelligence and wisdom (jnăna), attain love for all of God's creatures and secure divine guidance for spiritual progress, leading to spiritual perfection.
Since Jyoti is present in all beings as the light of consciousness, social service and reverence for all forms of life are the hallmarks of Jyoti worship. Jyoti shrines have been erected at many temples, including Houston Sri Meenakshi Temple, New York Maha Vallabh Ganapati Temple, and Los Angeles Sri Venkateswara Temple.