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In her most famous pose as Daksinakali, it is said that

Kali, becoming drunk on the blood of her victims on the
battlefield, dances with destructive frenzy. In her fury
she fails to see the body of her husband Shiva who lies
among the corpses on the battlefield. Ultimately the
cries of Shiva attract Kali's attention, calming her fury.
As a sign of her shame at having disrespected her
husband in such a fashion, Kali sticks out her tongue.
One South Indian tradition tells of a dance contest
between Shiva and Kali. After defeating the two
demons Sumbha and Nisumbha, Kali stays in a forest.
With fierce companions she terrorizes the surrounding
area. One of Shiva's devotees becomes distracted while
doing austerities and asks Shiva to rid the forest of the
destructive goddess. When Shiva arrives, Kali threatens
him, claiming the territory as her own. Shiva challenges
her to a dance contest, and defeats her when she is
unable to perform the energetic Tandava dance.
Although here Kali is defeated, and is forced to control
her disruptive habits, we find very few images or other
myths depicting her in such manner.
Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa
Great devotee of Dakshinakali at Dakshineshwar, West
Bengal was Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa who
worshipped her as mother.
In her form as Dakshina Kali, she is the real form of all
vidyas (goddesses) who give siddhi (success). Because
Shiva and Shakti are one, they must be worshipped

The oral tradition gives an intriguing origin to the

goddess Tara. The legend begins with the churning of
the ocean between the Devas (Hindu Gods) and Asuras
(Hindu Demons). The Deva Shiva drank the poison that
was created from the churning of the ocean (in the
process turning his throat blue and earning him the
epithet Nilakantha), thus saving the world from
destruction, but fell unconscious under its powerful
effect. Tara Ma appeared and took Shiva on her lap.
She suckled him, the milk from her breasts
counteracting the poison, and he recovered. This story
is reminiscent of the one in which Shiva stops the
rampaging Kali by becoming an infant. Seeing the child,
Kali's maternal instinct comes to the fore, and she
becomes quiet and nurses the infant Shiva. In both
cases, Shiva assumes the position of an infant.
Bamakhepa is the famous devotee of Ma Tara. He
worshipped Tara as his mother and became very
famous tanric.

The presiding Deity of Srichakra, Devi, is Known as

Lalita Tripura Sundari. The goddess Tripura Sundari in
her aspect as Shodasi is represented as a sixteen-year-
old girl, and is believed to embody sixteen types of
desire. Tripura Sundari, also called Shodashi, Lalita and


Bhuvaneshvari is the fourth of the ten Mahavidya

goddesses and an aspect of Devi. Bhuvaneshvari, who
is known for her beauty. Bhuvanesvari means Mistress
of the World. Bhuvaneshvari's beauty is mentioned
often. Her dhyana describes her as having a radiant
vermilion complexion resembling the sunrise and a
beautiful face. She has three eyes and a pleasant,
nurturing smile. She has four arms, in two of which she
holds a noose and a goad. With her lower left hand, she
makes the gesture (varada-mudra) of offering a boon,
and with the lower right she signals fearlessness
(abhaya mudra).

Bhairavi is a fierce and terrifying aspect of the Goddess

virtually indistinguishable from Kali. Bhairavi is also
identified with Kalaratri, a name often associated with
Kali that means ⼜black night (of destruction)â¼[ and
refers to a particularly destructive aspect of Kali.


Chinnamasta (also called Chinnamastaka), is one of the

mahavidyas, and an aspect of Devi. Chinnamasta,
having severed her own head with her own sword,
holds her severed head on one of her hands. Three jets
of blood spurt out of her bleeding neck, and one
streams into her own mouth of her severed head, while
the other two streams into the mouths of her two
female associates.

Dhumavati is one the of mahavidyas (Great Wisdoms);

she is one of the many aspects of Devi. She acts as the
divine smoke screen in the form of old age and death.
Only the ardent devotee is able to see beyond the fear
of mortality to the Goddess's promise of immortality.

The dhyana mantra of Dhumavati says:

Dhumavati is ugly, unsteady, and angry. She is tall and
wears dirty clothes. Her ears are ugly and rough, she
has long teeth, and her breasts hang down. She has a
long nose. She has the form of a widow. She rides in a
chariot decorated with the emblem of the crow. Her
eyes are fearsome, and her hands tremble. In one hand
she holds a winnowing basket, and with the other hand
she makes the gesture of conferring boons. Her nature
is rude. She is always hungry and thirsty and looks
unsatisfied. She likes to create strife, and she is always
frightful in appearance.

Bagala or Bagalamukhi is the eighth Mahavidya in the

famous series of the 10 Mahavidyas. Bagalamukhi
means "The Crane-Headed One". This bird is thought of
as the essence of deceit.

Expounding the great power of the Goddess

Baglamukhi the text Mantra Maharnnav states -"The
Mantra of the Goddess has the power of the divine
weapon Brahmastra instilled in it and the Goddess
simply strikes terror in and paralyses the enemies of
her Sadhaks. Repetition of her Mantra is enough to stop
even a tempest."

Matangi is the aspect of Devi (in other words, the

Mahavidya) who is the patron of inner thought. She
guides her devotee to the uncaused primordial sound.
Matangi has a dark emerald complexion and has three

It is said that once Vishnu and Lakshmi went to visit

Shiva and Parvati. Vishnu and Lakshmi gave Shiva and
Parvati fine foods, and some pieces dropped to the
ground. From these remains arose a maiden endowed
with fair qualities. She asked for leftover food
(uccishtha). The four deities offered her their leftovers
as prasada (food made sacred by having been tasted by
deities). Shiva then said to the attractive maiden:
"Those who repeat your mantra and worship you, their
activities will be fruitful. They will be able to control
their enemies and obtain the objects of their desires."
From then on this maiden became known as Uccishtha-
matangini. She is the bestower of all boons.

Kamalatmika is the Goddess Devi in the fullness of her

graceful aspect. She is shown as seated on a lotus,
symbol of purity. Kamala is a beautiful young woman
with a shining complexion. Kamalatmika is the 10th
Mahavidya. She is also known as Kamala. Kamala like
Lakshmi is a goddess of fortune, ritches, fertility and
conception of children, fame, and material well being.



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Each form of the Divine Mother Kali is a Mahavidya. The ten Mahavidyas are:

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ead the story of the origin of the Das Mahavidyas.

To learn the Bija Mantras and Gayatris of the Das Mahavidyas please click here.


First of all Sati took the form of Kali. Her form was fearful, her hair untied and
loose, her body the color of a dark cloud. She had deep set eyes and eyebrows shaped like curved
swords. She stood on a corpse, wore a garland of skulls, and earrings made from the bones of
corpses. She had four hands - on one hand she had the head of a skull, and the other a curved
sword with blood dripping on it. She had mudras on her other two hands - one giving freedom
from fear and the other giving blessings. She roared and the ten directions were filled with that
ferocious sound.

The exploits of this Goddess Kali are outlined in the Chandi Path. She is the Goddess that killed
Chanda and Munda and also drank the blood of aktabija. She is known as Kaushiki, She who
came from within, and is the Slayer of Shumbha and Nishumbha.

Kali is the first of the Das Mahavidyas. She is beyond time. She takes away the darkness and fills
us with the light of Wisdom, which is why She is the embodiment of Jnana Shakti. She resides in
the cremation grounds, where all creation dissolves. To learn Her Bija Mantra and Gayatri please
click here.

Bagala is the second Mahavidya. Listen to her story. Once the creation was in
turmoil and being destroyed in many places (Shree Maa adds, "like the present scenario in the
world"). Brahma became worried about His creation and wondered what the outcome of this
turmoil would be. He then meditated to bring peace to the universe. Not succeeding, He then
performed severe tapasya to obtain the blessings of Tripurambika â¼³ the Mother of the Three
Worlds. Pleased with His austerities, She appeared before Him as Mother Bagala in a yellow
form and gave him a boon. Bagala grants all kinds of perfection to devotees who pray to Her.

Here is another story of Her origin. Once an asura named uru, the son of Durgam, performed
severe penance to win the favor of Brahma. Since uru was already very powerful, the Gods
became very apprehensive of what might happen if he obtained a boon from Brahma. So they did
aradhana (propitiation) to yellow water (Shree Maa says here, that yellow intuitively means
peace). Pleased with their tapasya, the Divine Mother appeared as Bagala.

Bagala is the Goddess who stops all motion at the appropriate time, silences the mouths and
words of all evil beings, and controls their tongues. May that Goddess bless us with stillness
when it is appropriate!

To learn Her Bija Mantra and Gayatri please click here.

The third Mahavidya is Cinnamasta. Listen to the story of Her origin from the
Pancharatna Grantha.

Once Parvati went with Her friends Dakini and Varnini to take a bath in the Mandakini iver.
Parvati was feeling very happy and a lot of love was welling up inside Her. Her complexion
darkened and the feeling of love completely took over. Her friends on the other hand were
hungry and asked Parvati to give them some food. Parvati requested them to wait and said that
She would feed them after a while, and began walking.

After a short while, Her friends once again appealed to Her, telling Her that She was the Mother
of the Universe and they Her children, and asked to be fed quickly. Parvati replied that they
should wait until they got home. Her friends could not wait any longer and demanded that their
hunger be satisfied immediately. The compassionate Parvati laughed and with her finger nail cut
Her own head. Immediately the blood spurted in three directions. Her two friends drank the
blood from two of the directions and the Goddess herself drank the blood from the third
direction. Since she cut Her own head, she is known as Cinnamasta.

Cinnamasta shines like a lightning bolt from the Sun. She demonstrates the rare courage needed
to make the highest conceivable sacrifice. May we imbue that very same courage from that
daring Goddess! To learn Her Bija Mantra and Gayatri please click here.


Bhuvanesvari is the fourth Mahavidya. Bhuvan means the Universe, and Iswari
means the uler, and therefore She is the uler of the Universe. She is also known as
ajarajeswari and protects the Universe. Here is the story of her manifestation from the
"Pranatoshini Grantha".

Brahma had the desire to create the Universe, and he did intense tapasya to invite the energy of
Creation, Kriya Shakti. Parameswari, pleased with his tapasya responded to his invitation and
came as Bhu devi or Bhuvanesvari. She is red in color, seated on a lotus flower. Her body is
resplendent and shining with jewels. She holds a noose (paasham) and a curved sword
(ankusham) in two of her hands and the other two assume the mudras of blessing and freedom
from fear. She resides in Shiva's heart.

Bhuvanesvari is the Supreme Empress of Manifested Existence, the exposer of consciousness.

To learn Her Bija Mantra and Gayatri please click here.


The fifth Mahavidya is Matangi. Here is the story of her origin. One day
Maheshwari went to Shiva to obtain permission to go to Her father's house. Shiva wanted to go
with Her, but would not go without being invited. Parvati laughed and said the He should go
with her. Shiva replied that He would not go with Her, but would come to escort Her back.

In Her absence, Shiva began to long for Her and decided to visit Her in the disguise of an
ornament vendor. When She selected the ornaments and asked for the price, Shiva told Her that
if She fulfilled his desire, He would give Her the ornaments. Parvati was astounded that
somebody would dare suggest such a thing to Her. Then She realized that the vendor was none
other than Her Lord Shiva.

She told Shiva that She would fulfill His desire, but not just then and sent Him away. Later that
evening, She went with a friend to where Mahadev was praying. She took the form of a beautiful
outcaste girl, a chandali, and approached him thinking that He would not recognize her.

Seeing Her, Shiva called out, "Hey beautiful lady (Shubhangi), who are You and why have You
come here?"

Parvati said, "I am a chandali, I am here to do tapasya to become a Goddess, so please do not
disturb me."

Then Shiva said, "I am Shiva, I give the fruit of tapasya. If you marry me, I will make you like
Parvati, without a doubt."

Parvati understood that Shiva had seen through Her disguise and bowed to Him. She said, "Hey
Devadi-deva, nobody can hide anything from You," and was very happy with this interlude.

Shiva said, "Devi, you took this form because you wanted to pray to me, and so I give you the
name Matangi.
Matangi is the measurement of all the limbs of creation and Supreme Goddess of all desires.
Shree Maa says that anyone prays to Matangi will attain perfection. To learn Her Bija Mantra
and Gayatri please click here.


The sixth Mahavidya is Sorasi. This is the story of Her manifestation.

When Parvati left Her form as Kali and assumed the form of Gauri, Shiva addressed Her as Kali
again and again. Parvati was insulted and left that place. Shiva went into His own heart and
began to remember the Goddess. But without seeing the Goddess in person, He became
dismayed and wondered where She had gone. At that time Narad Muni came to where Shiva was
meditating. Shiva narrated this occurrence to Narad and told him that Kali had left Him. Narad
was very happy to hear of the differences between Shiva and Kali. In his meditation Narad saw
that Parvati was sitting in meditation on Sumeru Mountain in an inaccessible place. In order to
increase the separation between Shiva and Parvati, Narad went to where Parvati was meditating
and said that Shiva was entering into a relationship with another woman. It will be proper for you
to stop Him.

When the Goddess heard this from Narad's mouth, She became filled with anger. In this great
anger, the Goddess assumed the form of the most beautiful young lady of sixteen years, Sorasi,
and presented Herself before Shiva. Seeing Her own shadow reflected upon Shiva's chest, and
thinking it to be another woman, She became even more angry, and said, "When we were
married, You gave Your heart to me for my residence. How can you now give Your heart to
another woman?"
When Shiva heard Kali's words, He replied, "Look closely at my heart. The woman you see in
my heart is your reflection." When the Goddess looked closely and meditated carefully, with
great satisfaction She asked, "The woman that I just saw in your heart, by what name shall She
be known?" Hearing Kali's question, Shiva replied, "This new form of Yours is one of the
Mahavidyas, and Her name will be Sorasi, She who manifests the sixteen. In this form you will
manifest excellence!"

Sorasi unites the sixteen syllables of Siva and Sakti, the Supreme Goddess of all Desires. To
learn Her Bija Mantra and Gayatri please click here.

The seventh Mahavidya is Dhumavati. Here is the story of Her origin.

One day Mahadev was sitting in Kailash and Parvati was on his lap. She told Shiva that She was
very hungry and requested Him to get Her some food. Shiva asked Her to wait awhile and so
saying went back into meditation. Parvati once again asked Shiva, "Hey Father of the Universe,
please give me some food, I cannot wait any longer". When Shiva asked Her to wait a second
time, Parvati was so hungry that She became aggressive. The third time this happened, Parvati
could bear no more and she ate Shiva to appease Her hunger. Immediately smoke started to come
from within Her body. Shiva, who was inside her body, had opened His third eye and He said to
Parvati, "Without me, there is no Purusha in the universe, only Prakriti, as only You exist."

For this reason, this is the widow form of the Goddess known as Dhumavati. Dhuma means
smoke, and She is depicted without any ornaments and in widow apparel.

Dhumavati demonstrates renunciation and removes all frustration and agitation, and is free from
disrepute. To learn Her Bija Mantra and Gayatri please click here.


The eighth Mahavidya is Tripurasundari, also known as Kamala. A form of

Mahalakshmi, She symbolizes wealth. Her body is golden in color and She is seated on a gold
lotus. Here is the story of Her origin.

One day Indra, the ruler of the heavens, saw ambha and was lost watching her beauty. At that
time, the fierce ishi Durvasa appeared and gave a garland to Indra. But Indra, still mesmerized
by ambha, did not realize what he was doing and gave the garland to his elephant Airavat.
Durvasa was angry with the disrespect shown to him and immediately cursed Indra thus, "You
are the King of the Gods, but yet you are playing with women. You will lose Lakshmi. She will
leave your kingdom." Goddess Lakshmi, true to the curse, left the heavenly regions.

All the Gods were saddened, and led by Indra went to Vishnu to get His counsel. Vishnu
suggested that Lakshmi would appear if they churned the ocean of milk. Both devas and asuras
arrived at the ocean of milk (Ksheera samudra). They used Mount Mandara as the central axle
and the serpent Anant Nag as a rope to move the mountain. Lord Vishnu took the form a large
tortoise to support the Mountain. The asuras and the devas each took the opposite ends of the
snake and churned the ocean. As they churned, a lot of beautiful beings and objects manifested
including Ucchaisrava (the divine horse), Dhanvantari (the God of Medicine), the Sudharshana
Chakra, the Parijata flower. And then came Lakshmi.

When they saw Laksmi, the Gods offered Her an asan with the greatest respect. They did an
abishek to Her, offered Her a lotus garland and entreated Her to stay with them, to which She
agreed. She became known as Tripurasundari.

Tri means three, Pura means city, and Sundar means beautiful. Tripurasundari is the beautiful
one of three cities, or all the threes. She manifests the perfection of compassion in all Nature. To
learn Her Bija Mantra and Gayatri please click here.


When Lord Shiva bade Sati not to attend Her Father's yajna, Sati became furious
and assumed the fearful form of Kali causing Shiva to flee in another direction. Sati then
assumed the form of the ninth Mahavidya, Tara.

Tara is blue, Her tongue is fearfully sticking out, and Her face is terrifying. Her hair is tangled
like snakes sticking straight up and She is dressed in a tiger's skin. On Her head are five half
moons. She has three eyes, four arms, a large protruding belly, and stands on a corpse. She has
four arms in which She holds a lotus, a sword, a drinking bowl, and a bell.

Tara is the illuminator, She illuminates all our attitudes. To learn Her Bija Mantra and Gayatri
please click here.

The tenth form of Mahavidya is Bhairavi. She has many names including Tripura Bhairavi,
Sampath Praja Bhairavi, Kaulesh Bhairavi, Siddhida Bhairavi, Bhay Vidwamsi Bhairavi,
Chaitanya Bhairavi, Kameshwari Bhairavi, Nitya Bhairavi and udra Bhairavi. Her body is the
color of the rising sun. She wears a pearl necklace around her neck, has red breasts and has four
hands in which She holds a japa mala, pustak, and displays the mudras of blessing and freedom
from fear. She has three eyes that are red in color and wears a moon on Her forehead.

Bhairavi is the form of Kali that killed Chanda and Munda. She is free from all fear and frees us
from all fear. To learn Her Bija Mantra and Gayatri please click here.