Female power and its personifications hold an important place in Hindu devotional practices. The goddess figure represents the primordial female force underlying nature (prakriti) and power (shakti)both in its generative and destructive aspects. As Devi (Great Goddess) or Ma (Mother), divine female energy is worshiped under different names and visual forms. She may be the local village goddess, the powerful Durga, the frightening Kali, the benevolent Lakshmi, or the devoted Sita. Goddesses are sometimes divinities worshiped in their own right or are vital companions (consorts) of gods such as Shiva, Vishnu, and Krishna, in which role they provide essential support and balance to their male counterparts.