You are on page 1of 4

Santoshi" redirects here. For Hindi movie director, see Rajkumar Santoshi.

Santoshi Mata

Goddess of satisfaction







Om shri santoshi mahamaye gajanandam dayini shukravar

priye devi narayani namostute


Sword, golden pot of rice andTrishula (trident)


Tiger or Lion or lotus

Santoshi Mata (Hindi: ) or Santoshi Maa ( ) is a relatively new goddess in the Hindu pantheon. She
is venerated as "the Mother of Satisfaction",[1] the meaning of her name. Santoshi Mata is particularly worshipped by
women of North India and Nepal. A vrata (ritual fast) called the Santoshi Maa vrata performed by women on 16
consecutive Fridays wins the goddess' favour.
Santoshi Mata emerged as the goddess in the early 1960s. Her cult initially spread through word of mouth, vratapamphlet literature, and poster art. Her vrata was gaining popularity with North Indian women. However, it was the
1975 Bollywood film Jai Santoshi Maa ("Hail to Santoshi Maa")narrating the story of the goddess and her ardent
devotee Satyavatiwhich propelled this then little-known "new" goddess to the heights of devotional fervour. With the
rising popularity of the film, Santoshi Mata entered the pan-Indian Hindu pantheon and her images and shrines were
incorporated in Hindu temples. The film portrayed the goddess to be the daughter of the popular Hindu
god Ganesha and related her to the Raksha Bandhan festival, however, it had no basis in Hindu scriptures.

1Historical development




3.2Jai Santoshi Maa


5External links

Historical development[edit]

Cover art for the DVD release of the 1975 film "Jai Santoshi Ma", the extraordinary popularity of which elevated previously unknown deity,
Santoshi Mata to the pan-Indian Hindu pantheon. The scene shows Santoshi Mata (left) in a red sari and holding a trident and her devotee

The 1975 film Jai Santoshi Maa elevated Santoshi Mata, a little-known "new" goddess to the pan-Indian Hindu
pantheon.[2][3] The screenings of the film were accompanied by religious rituals by the audience. Some of the audience
entered the theatre barefoot, as in a Hindu temple, and small shrines and temples dedicated to the goddess, started
springing up all over North India.[3] The film attained cult status and years after its release, special matinee Friday
screenings were organized for women, who observed the goddess' Friday vrata (ritual fast) and engaged in her
worship. The success of this low-budget film and media reports of the "sudden emergence of a modern celluloid
goddess" resulted in scholarly interest in Santoshi Mata.[3]
Art historian Michael Brand suggested Santoshi Mata emerged in the early 1960s with the establishment of five
widely spread temples in North India. Her iconography also was crystallized in this period and slowly spread through
poster art. Her cult spread among women through word of mouth, pamphlet literature, and poster art.[3] According to
Brand and Professor John Stratton Hawley of the Barnard College (Department of Religion), it was the wife of Vijay
Sharma, the director of Jai Santoshi Maa, who urged her husband to "spread the goddess's message".[3][4]
Hawley notes: "As her film brought her to life, Santoshi Ma quickly became one of the most important and widely
worshiped goddesses in India, taking her place in poster-art form in the altar rooms of millions of Hindu homes. [...]
Yet it is hard to conceive that Santoshi Ma could have granted such instant satisfaction to so many people had she
not been part of a larger and already well-integrated culture of the Goddess. Her new devotees could immediately
recognize many of her characteristic moods and attributes, and feel them deeply, because she shared them with
other goddesses long since familiar to them."[4] Hawley stresses that Santoshi Mata's iconography took elements from
the familiar form of the Hindu goddesses. Santoshi Mata's characteristic posture standing or sitting on a lotus
mirrored that of the goddess Lakshmi (Shri). The weapons she heldthe sword and the tridentare traditional
attributes of the goddess Durga.[4]According to sociologist Veena Das, the story of Santoshi Mata and Satyavati
from Jai Santoshi Maa borrows from older Hindu legends like those of sati Anusuya, who humbled the pride of the
jealous goddess triad and of an ardent devoteeof the goddess Manasawho has to face opposition from her
family and other goddesses to worship her patron Manasa.[5]

Brand, Das, Professor Kathleen Erndl of the Florida State University (Department of Religion) and Stanley Kurtz who
authored the book "All the Mothers are One" considered that there was nothing "new" about Santoshi Mata, rather
she was just another model of the prototype Hindu Divine Mother.[3][6] Erndl identified Santoshi Mata with the lion-riding
goddess, Sheranvali.[3]
Hawley notes that although a temple dedicated to Santoshi Mata existed in Jodhpur before the release of the Jai
Santoshi Maa, before 1967, the same temple was dedicated to a goddess called Lal Sagar ki MataThe Mother of
the Lal Sagar Lake, on whose banks the temple is situated. However, Lal Sagar ki Mata unlike the vegetarian
Santoshi Mata, was offered animal sacrifices.[2] With rising popularity of the film, Santoshi Mata images and shrine
were incorporated in Hindu temples and in some cases, Santoshi Mata was installed as the presiding deity like in
Jodhpur, deposing other goddesses from that status.[4]
According to Professor Philip Lutgendorf of the University of Iowa (Modern Indian Studies), the Santoshi Maa
vrata was gaining popularity among women in North India in the 1960s, a decade before the release of Jai Santoshi
Maa. He further notes that the fact that Santoshi Mata expected the inexpensive raw sugar and roasted chickpeas
associated with the "non-elite"as offerings in her vrata and her benevolent nature made her popular with the
masses.[1] However, Das considers the film was instrumental in spreading the Santoshi Mata worship to the illiterate,
who until then could not have known the written vrata katha (legend related to the vrata).[5]
Even though the script of Jai Santoshi Maa has no scriptural basis, scholars Anita Raina Thapan and Lawrence
Cohen cite Santoshi Mata's cult as evidence of Ganesha's continuing evolution as a popular deity.[7][8]