Devī (Sanskrit: देवी) 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 appears in the Vedas, which were composed in the 2nd millennium BCE; however, they do not play a central role in that era. Goddesses such as Parvati and Durga 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. 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.
The Devīsūkta of the Rigveda 10.125.1 through 10.125.8, is among the most studied hymns declaring that the ultimate reality is a goddess.
I have created all worlds at my will without being urged by any higher Being, and dwell within them. I permeate the earth and heaven, and all created entities with my greatness and dwell in them as eternal and infinite consciousness.
— Devi Sukta, Rigveda 10.125.8, Translated by June McDaniel
The Vedas includes numerous goddesses including Parvati (power), Lakshmi (wealth), Prithvi (earth), Aditi (cosmic moral order), Saraswati (river, knowledge), Vāc (sound), Nirṛti (destruction), Ratri (night), Aranyani (forest), and bounty goddesses such as Dinsana, Raka, Puramdhi, Parendi, Bharati, Mahi among others are mentioned in the Rigveda.:6–17, 55–64 However, the goddesses are not discussed as frequently as gods (Devas). Parvati, appears in late Vedic texts dated to be pre-Buddhist, but verses dedicated to her do not suggest that her characteristics were fully developed in the Vedic era.:18–19 All gods and goddesses are distinguished in the Vedic times,:18 but in the post-Vedic texts, particularly in the early medieval era literature, they are ultimately seen as aspects or manifestations of one Devi, the Supreme power.
Devi is the supreme being in the Shakta tradition of Hinduism, while in the Smarta Tradition, she is one of the five primary forms of Brahman that is revered. In other Hindu traditions, Devi embodies the active energy and power of Deva, and they always appear together complementing each other, such as Parvati with Shiva in Shaivism, Saraswati with Brahma in Brahmanism, and Lakshmi with Vishnu in Vaishnavism.
The Devi-inspired philosophy is propounded in many Hindu texts, such as the Devi Upanishad, which states that Shakti is essentially Brahman (ultimate metaphysical Reality), from her arise Prakṛti (matter) and Purusha (consciousness), she is bliss and non-bliss, the Vedas and what is different from it, the born and the unborn, and all of the universe. Shakti is Parvati, Shiva’s wife.  She is also mentioned as the creative power of Shiva in Tripura Upanishad, Bahvricha Upanishad, and Guhyakali Upanishad.
Devi identifies herself in the Devi Upanishad as Brahman in her reply to the gods stating that she rules the world, blesses devotees with riches, she is the supreme deity to whom all worship is to be offered, and that she infuses Ātman in every soul. Devi asserts that she is creator of earth and heaven and resides there. Her creation of sky as father, seas as mother is reflected as the “Inner Supreme Self”. Her creations are not prompted by any Higher being and she resides in all her creations. She is, states Devi, the eternal and infinite consciousness engulfing earth and heaven, and “all forms of bliss and non-bliss, knowledge and ignorance, Brahman and Non-Brahman”. The tantric aspect in Devi Upanishad, states June McDaniel is the usage of the terms yantra, bindu, bija, mantra, shakti and chakra.
Among the major world religions, the concept of goddess in Hinduism as the divine feminine, has had the strongest presence since the ancient times.