Categories: Hindu God and Goddess

Ashta Matrika:A Revered Group of Goddesses

The Ashta Matrika, often referred to as the “Eight Mothers,” are a revered group of goddesses deeply rooted in Hinduism. These divine figures are typically depicted in Hindu art and mythology, either as a group of seven known as the Sapta Matrika or as a group of eight, the Ashta Matrika. Each of these goddesses is intricately connected to a major Hindu deity, either as a spouse or an embodiment of their divine energy. For instance, Brahmani is linked to Lord Brahma, Vaishnavi to Lord Vishnu, and Maheshvari to Lord Shiva. These goddesses play a significant role in Hindu spirituality and symbolize the profound connection between the divine and the maternal forces of creation.

The Story of Ashta Matrika

In ancient times, there was a powerful demon named Andhakasura who had received the gift of immortality from Lord Brahma, making him arrogant and tyrannical. The gods, tormented by him, sought Lord Shiva’s aid. A fierce battle erupted, but when Shiva wounded Andhakasura, his blood spawned countless more demons.

Ashta Matrika

Enraged, Shiva’s fiery breath gave birth to Yogishwari, and seven other goddesses emerged from different deities. They became known as the Ashta Matrika, each with their worship day. Devotees who honor them on Ashtami, the eighth day, are blessed. The ritual use of the sacred bael fruit holds great significance in this celebration.

According to the Devi Mahatmya, the Ashta Matrika or Ashta Matara consists of the following goddesses.

Brahmani (Brahmi)

Brahmani

She embodies the power of Lord Brahma, the creator. Brahmani is depicted as yellow in color with four heads and may have four or six arms. She holds a rosary, water pot, book, or bell and is often seated on a swan.

Mantra

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

Vaishnavi

Vaishnavi

The power of Lord Vishnu, Vaishnavi, is seated on the eagle-man Garuda. She has four or six arms and carries a conch, discus, mace, and lotus. Her adornments are resplendent, including necklaces, anklets, and a cylindrical crown.

Mantra

Aum Thaarksh Yathwajaaya Vidmahe
Chakra Hasthaya Dhimahee
Thanno Vaishnavi Prachodayath

Maheshvari

Maheshvari

This goddess represents the power of Lord Shiva and is seated on the bull, Nandi. Maheshvari has a white complexion, three eyes, and wields a trident, drum, and garland of beads, among other symbols.

Mantra

Aum Vrushath-vajaaya Vidmahe
Miruga Hasthaya Dhimahee
Thanno Rowthree Prachodayath

Indrani

Indrani

Indrani is the Shakti of Lord Indra, the ruler of heaven. She rides on a charging elephant and can have two, four, or six arms. Her arsenal includes a thunderbolt, goad, noose, and lotus (padma) stalk.

Mantra

Aum Gajath-vajaayai Vidmahe
Vajra Hasthaya Dhimahee
Thanno Indrani Prachodayath

Kaumari

Kaumari

Kaumari is linked to Kumara (Kartikeya), the god of war. She rides a peacock and can have four or twelve arms. Her weaponry includes a spear, axe, and bow.

Mantra

Aum Sikid-vajaaya Vidmahe
Vajra Hasthaya Dhimahee
Thanno Kumari Prachodayath

Varahi (Vairali)

Varahi

Varahi embodies the power of Varaha, the boar-headed form of Vishnu, or Yama, the god of death. She has a boar head on a human body and may ride a ram or buffalo. Varahi carries various weapons, including a rod of punishment and a sword.

Mantra

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

Chamunda (Chamundi)

Chamunda

Chamunda, closely related to Kali, is depicted as dark-colored and fearsome. She wears a garland of severed heads and wields a damaru, trishula, sword, and panapatra. Often, she is associated with standing on a corpse.

Mantra

Aum Pisaasath-vajaaya Vidmahe
Soola Hasthaya Dhimahee
Thanno Kali Prachodayath

Narasimhi

Narasimhi

Narasimhi represents the power of Narasimha, the lion-man form of Vishnu. She takes on the form of a woman-lion and is said to disrupt the stars with her mane.

Mantra

Aum Sarabheshwara Saantha Kaarini Vidmahe
Ugra Narasimha Shakthi Swaroopini Dheemahi

Conclusion

It’s important to note that the names and characteristics of the seventh and eighth Matrika can vary in different texts and traditions. Some sources mention Yami and Yogishwari, while others include Maha-Lakshmi or Vinayaki. The Ashta Matrika or Eight Mothers are revered for their divine powers and attributes, contributing to the rich tapestry of Hindu mythology and spirituality.

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

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