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Chinnamasta's mantra: "Srim hrim klim aim Vajravairocaniye hum hum phat svaha.

"32 It is equally relevant to note that the invocation of this mantra is said to attract and subjugate women." Chinnamasta's erotic nature is also suggested in some of the names contained in her hundred- and thousandname hymns. In her hundred-name hymn she is called Kamesvari (goddess of desire, name 76), Kamarupa (she whose form is desire, name 79), and Karnakautukakarini (she who creates the eagerness of desire, name 81).3 4 In her thousand-name hymn she is called Madonmattasvarupini (she whose form is intoxicated with delight, name 725), Ratiragavivrddhinl (she who is engaged in the realm of rati [sexual intercourse or desire], name 762), and Puspayudhadhara (she who holds a flower weapon [that is, who is like Kama-deva, the god of lust], name 896)

Like Kama and Rati, the kundalini hus been aroused. Normally, she^ee^ curled up there in the form of a serpent. She is roused by tantric yogjc e x _ ercises, such asjapa mantra, nydsa, and puja. This also might be thought of as the first awakening of one's spiritual consciousness in preparation for a spiritual ascent that will result in infinitely expanded awareness

Worship of Chinnamasta Tantric manuals such as the Sdkta-pramoda, Tantrasdra, and Mantra-mahodadhih give the details for worship of Chinnamasta, just as for all Mahavidyas and other deities. The invocation of her mantra, the meditation on her form, the construction and worship of her yantra, and so on, are more or less the same as for the other goddesses in the group. It is easy to get the impression that her worship is not much different from what is prescribed for other deities and that it might be as widespread. The usual rewards for her worship are cited: poetic speech, wellbeing and security, control over one's enemies, the ability to attract others (specifically women), the ability to influence kings, and liberation (moksa or makti).

CHINNAMASTA In fact, however, worship of Chinnamasta, at least at the public level, is extremely rare. It is probably also uncommon at the private level. This is not so surprising, given Chinnamasta's particularly fierce nature.

In her hundred-name hymn, for example, she is called: Mahabhima (great terrible one, name 3), Candesvari (fierce goddess, name 5), Candamata (mother of fierce beings, name 6), Mahacanda (great fierce one, name 8), KrodhinI (wrathful one, name 12), Krodharupa (wrathful in form, name 14), Kopatura (afflicted with rage, name 17), Pretasana (who sits on a ghost, name 31), Ghorarupa (of terrific form, name 3 7), Ghorattista (terrific to behold, name 38), Ghorarava (having a terrific roar, name 39), Raktapanaparayana (gulping blood continuously, name 61), BhairavT (formidable one, name 66), Bhutabhairavasevita (served by fierce ghosts, name 68), and Drstisamharakarinl (she who causes destruction by her glance, name 99).4 7 Her thousand-name stotra invokes many more names in a similar vein: Mahabhayarikari-devi (very frightening goddess, name 19), Bhayarupa (who has a fearful form, name 22), Ghoraghurghurnadim (whose fierce roar is frightening, name 182), Ghorasattva (who embodies fierceness, name 189), Ghorattattvamayi-devi (the goddess who embodies a fierce form, name 199), Ghoramantrayuta (who is worshiped with a fierce mantra, name 209), Naramansapriyanitya (who is always pleased with human flesh, name 622), Nararaktapriyasada (who is always pleased with human blood, name 623), Pretasananivasini (who lives among ghosts, name 642), Lomamansaprapujita (who is worshiped with body hair and flesh, name 810), and Palaladipriyanitya (who is always pleased with meat, name 930).4 8 Some other Mahavidyas are also fierce, particularly Kali and Tara, and Dhumavatl is clearly a goddess with many inauspicious connotations and associations. Chinnamasta, though, seems to have the strongest reputation for being a dangerous goddess to worship or approach, and her many fierce epithets indicate this. She has exceedingly few temples or shrines, and it is often said that those who do worship her must be either yogis or world renouncers or of a particularly heroic nature. The only shrine I have been able to find to Chinnamasta in the Varanasi area, which is a veritable ocean of Hindu temples, is very small and located in the northeast corner of the compound of the Durga temple in Ramnagar (across

the Ganges River from Varanasi). The pujari (priest) there told me that the goddess is only worshiped by tdntrikas and that when she is worshiped the sddhaka uses a corpse. The shrine is said to have been built by a tdntrika from Madras. The goddess's image is of white marble, and she is flanked by the usual two figures (see figure 25). There are also temples of ChinCHINNAMASTA 165 Fig. 25. White marble image of Chinnamasta in a shrine in the compound of the Durga temple, Ramnagar. Photograph by Hillary Rodrigues. namasta in Bihar. One is located on top of a hill, Nandan Parvat, northeast of Vaidyanath.49 Another is located in Ranchi, where there are shrines to all ten Mahavidyas. There are shrines to each of the other Mahavidyas, including Chinnamasta, at the Kamakhya-devi temple at Kamarupa in Assam.501 have also been told of a Chinnamasta temple in Vishnupur in West Bengal at which daily worship takes place. Chinnamasta generally is not casually approached, and some texts indicate that this might be because of the inherent dangers of her worship. The Bhairava-tantra, as cited in the Sdkta-pramoda, says in reference to Chinnamasta's worship: "Whoever performs this worship without meditating on Chinnamasta, the Goddess will sever one's head and drink one's blood."5 1 The Sdkta-pramoda also distinguishes between the worship of Chinnamasta by renouncers and householders,52 implying that there are different styles of worship and that renouncers pursue a more heroic path. Indeed, many people have told me that only those of particularly heroic nature dare worship Chinnamasta. 166 CHINNAMASTA The Saktisamgama-tantra stipulates which path is appropriate for worshiping each of the Mahavidyas. Chinnamasta is to be worshiped by the left-handed path alone.53 The only other goddess to be so worshiped is Bhairavl. The others are to be worshiped by the right-handed path or by both paths. A consistent theme in tantric texts is that only those with the nature of the vira (hero) are qualified to undertake sddhand of the lefthanded type and that those who are not qualified should not attempt it.

Left-handed worship of Chinnamasta involves sexual intercourse with a woman who is not one's wife, according to both the Mantra-mahodadhih-* and the Sdkta-pramoda.55 The Sdkta-pramoda also says that, in making fire offerings to Chinnamasta, one should offer her meat and wine at night.56 In conclusion, Chinnamasta has few shrines or temples and is probably worshiped in tantric fashion by a few particularly brave individuals who are bold enough to engage this fearsome deity