Devī is the Sanskrit word for "goddess"; the masculine form is Deva. Devi – the feminine form, and Deva – the masculine form, mean "heavenly, divine, anything of excellence", and are also gender specific terms for a deity in Hinduism.
The concept and reverence for goddesses appear in the Vedas, which were composed in the 2nd millennium BC; however, they do not play a central role in that era. Goddesses such as Saraswati and Usha have continued to be revered into the modern era. The medieval era Puranas witnessed a major expansion in mythology and literature associated with Devi, with texts such as the Devi Mahatmya, wherein she manifests as the ultimate truth and supreme power, and she has inspired the Shaktism tradition of Hinduism. The divine feminine has the strongest presence as Devi in Hinduism, among major world religions, from the ancient times to the present.The goddess is viewed as central in Shakti and Saiva Hindu traditions.