lordess sakthi

 

SAPTHA MATHA (MATHRIKA)

The Sapta Matrikas or the seven divine mothers, representing the saktis, or the energies of the important familiar deities are Brahmani (Saraswati) Mahesvari (Raudani) Kaumari (Karttikeyani) Vaishnavi (Lakshmi) Varahi, Indrani and Chamunda (Chamundi). According to a legend described in the Isanasivagurudevapaddhati, the Matrikas were created to help Lord Siva in his fight against Andhakasura. When Lord Shiva inflicted wounds on Andhaka, blood began to flow profusely from his body. Each drop which touched the ground assumed the shape of another Andhaka. Thus there were innumerable Asuras fighting Siva. To stop the flow of the blood, Siva created a goddess called Yogesvari from the flames issuing out of his mouth. Brahma, Vishnu, Maheswara, Kumara, Varaha, Indra and Yama also sent their saktis to follow Yogesvari in stopping the flow of blood. Thus the Sapta Matrikas originated and Andhakasura finally lost his power and was defeated by Siva.
In the Suprabhedagama, the Matrikas are said to have been created by Brahma in order to kill Nirrita. The Agama literature gives a brief description of these goddesses : that Brahmani should be sculptured like Brahma; Mahesvari like Mahesvara; Vaishnavi like Vishnu; Varahi as a short woman with an angry face and bearing a plough as her weapon; Indrani like Indra and Chamunda as a terrific woman. This lastmentioned goddess should have her hair in a dishevelled condition, should possess a dark complexion and have four hands. She should weild the trisula in one of her hands and carry a kapala in another. All the Matrikas are to be seated images and should have two of their hands held in the Varada and Abhaya poses, while the other two hands carry weapons appropriate to the male counterparts of the female powers.
The Varaha Purana states that these mother-goddesses are eight in number and includes among them the goddess Yogesvari. It further says that these Matrikas represent eight mental qualities which are morally bad. Accordingly, Yogesvari represents kama or desire; Mahesvari, krodh or anger; Vaishnavi, lobha or covetousness; Brahmani, mada or pride; Kaumari moha or illusion; Indrani, matsarya or fault finding; Yami or Chumunda paisunya, that is tale bearing; and Varahi asuya or envy.
The Sapta Matrikas are mentioned in the Rigveda, Gobhilasmriti, Markandeya Purana, Matsya Purana, etc. Varahamihira’s Brihat Samhita also mentions about the images of Sapta Matrikas. The sculptures of the Sapta Matrikas are referred to in the Krityaratnakara. The Devi Purana mentions the name of the flowers used for the worship of Matrikas. Prevalence of the worship of the divine mothers is believed to be as early as 3rd millennium B.C., when the Indus Valley Civilization flourished. The earliest epigraphic reference to the Matrikas is to be found in the Gangadhara inscription of Vishwa Varman, in Malwa Samvat 480 or 423-424 A.D. The Matrikas also figure in the Viharstambha inscription of Skandagupta.
Kadambari mentions that the Matrikas were worshipped in every village. The several Tantra sastras such as Svachhanda Tantra and Yogini Hridaya contain a detailed description of the Sapta Matrikas. As the Matrikas are stated to be sitting in lalitasana posture, they are adorned with heavy ornaments, necklaces and circular ear-rings. From the Sadhana in the Buddhist literature it appears that the Tantric Buddhism had also incorporated the Sapta Matrikas in its religious fold. This is amply corroborated by the discovery of a composite figure of the seven mothers at Nalanda.

 

 
1. Brahmani
2. Vaishnavi
3. Maheshwari
4. Kaumari
5. Varahi
6. Indrani
7. Chamunda