Saptamatrika-Seven Mother Goddesses in Durga Saptashati

In Hindu Shaktism, some special forms of Adishakti are collectively called Matrika. As they are seven in number, they are also called Saptamatrika. They are: Brahmani, Vaishnavi, Maheshvari, Indrani, Kaumari, Varahi and Chamunda. However, according to some, the forms of Matrika are eight in number and they are known as Ashtamatrika. Saptamatrika forms are worshipped in South India and Ashtamatrika forms are worshipped in Nepal. These forms are narrated in the Devi Mahatmyam or Markendeya Purana which is also known as Durga Saptashati, Saptashati, Chandi etc. This scripture is actually a part of Devi Bhagavata Purana or Devi Bhagavatam, one of most famous sacred scriptures in Hinduism. The brief description of Saptamatrika or seven mother-goddesses are presented below.

Brahmani

Goddess Brahmani is the first form of the Saptamatrika or seven mother-goddesses. It is said in Sri Sri Chandi that Brahmani is the Shakti (power) of Lord Brahma.

Goddess Brahmani

Her appearance, adornment and vehicle remind us of Lord Brahma. She helped goddess Kaushiki in battle and disheartened Asuras (demons) to fight by sprinkling holy water from Kamandul.

Aum Dhevee Brahmani Vidmahe
Maha-shakthiyai Cha Dhimahee
Thanno Dhevee Prachodayath

Vaishnavi

She is one of the seven mother-goddesses described in the Durga Saptashati. Goddess Vaishnavi is the Shakti (power) of Lord Vishnu. Actually, the power by which Lord Vishnu preserves the world was appeared as Goddess Vaishnavi.

Goddess Vaishnavi

Her Vahana is Garura (eagle). She appeared before Devi Chandika with Shankha (conch shell), Chakra (disc-like weapon), Gada (mace), Shringa (horn) and Talvar (sword) etc.in her hands.

Aum Thaarksh Yathwajaaya Vidmahe
Chakra Hasthaya Dhimahee
Thanno Vaishnavi Prachodayath

Maheshvari

Goddess Maheshvari is one of the seven mother-goddesses created by Mahadeva (Lord Shiva) to drink the blood of Andhakasura (a malevolent demon named Andhaka).

Goddess Maheshvari

Sitting on Mahavrishava (ox), she appeared holding a Trishul (trident), a Chandra (moon), a Talvar (sword) etc. in her hands.

Aum Vrushath-vajaaya Vidmahe
Miruga Hasthaya Dhimahee
Thanno Rowthree Prachodayath

Indrani

Indrani is one of the Saptamatrika or seven mother-goddesses. She was born from the body of Devraj Indra (the king of the highest heaven).

Goddess Indrani

According to the Durga Saptashati, goddess Indrani participated in the battle against Asuras (demons) when innumerable Asuras (demons) were created from the blood flowing from the body of Andhakasura (a malevolent demon named Andhaka).

Aum Gajath-vajaayai Vidmahe
Vajra Hasthaya Dhimahee
Thanno Indrani Prachodayath

Kaumari

Goddess Kaumari, also known as Kumari, is considered as the Shakti (power) of Kartikeya. Kaumari appeared riding a peacock. She has four or twelve arms.

Goddess Kaumari

In her various arms she holds Varsha (spear), Kuthar (axe), Trishul (trident), Dhanuk (bow), Teer (arrow), Talvar(sword), Dhal (shield), Gada (mace), Padma(lotus), Chakti (disc) Shankha (conch shell) etc. in her hands. She killed the Asura (demon) mentioned in the Durga Satashati. She is well-known as goddess Jagdamba.

Aum Sikid-vajaaya Vidmahe
Vajra Hasthaya Dhimahee
Thanno Kumari Prachodayath

Varahi

Goddess Varahi appeared as the Shakti of Varaha, the third incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Her Vahana (vehicle) is Mahisha (buffalo). Her appearance is associated with two stories.

Goddess Varahi

According to the first story, she appeared to help goddess Kaushiki in the battle. The second story says that she appeared along with other goddesses to kill Bhandasura (a demon named Bhanda).

Aum Varaaha-muhi Vidmahe
Aanthra-shani Dhimahee
Thanno Yamuna Prachodayath

Chamunda

Goddess Chamunda is one of the Saptamatrika or seven mother-goddesses. She is also known as Chamundi, Chamundeshvari and Charchika.

Goddess Chamunda

She is called Chamunda as she killed Asuras named Chanda and Munda (two malevolent demons).

Aum Pisaasath-vajaaya Vidmahe
Soola Hasthaya Dhimahee
Thanno Kali Prachodayath

By Krishna Das

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Krishna Das is an experienced article writer. He writes about Hinduism in his spare time.

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