Categories: Hindu God and Goddess

Kamala:The Tenth Manifestation of Dasa Mahavidyas।Hindu Temple Talk

In the rich tapestry of Hindu mythology and spirituality, Kamala, often referred to as “she of the lotus (padma),” holds a significant place as one of the Dasa Mahavidyas. These Mahavidyas are a group of Tantric goddesses, each representing unique aspects of divine energy. Kamala, also known as Lakshmi, is a goddess of immense importance, symbolizing prosperity, beauty, and auspicious qualities. In this article, we will delve into the fascinating world of Kamala, exploring her symbolism, legends, and her role as both a Mahavidya and a beloved deity in Hindu culture.

Kamala: The Divine Symbol of Beauty and Prosperity

Goddess Kamala

Kamala is depicted as an exceptionally beautiful goddess with a golden complexion. She is often seated in a lotus posture upon a lotus flower, a symbol of purity and spiritual awakening. Kamala possesses four hands, with two holding lotuses, and the other two gesturing blessings and assurance. Her iconography frequently includes the imagery of being bathed in nectar by elephants, reinforcing her association with sovereignty and fertility. Kamala’s attributes are closely linked to those of Sri-Lakshmi, indicating their shared identity as the goddess of wealth and fortune.

The Legend of Kamala

One of the most captivating stories associated with Kamala is the tale of her role in the Samudra Manthan (Churning of the Cosmic Ocean). This legend narrates how her departure from the world led to chaos, and how she was restored through a grand cosmic endeavor. Kamala, in her role as Lakshmi, helps the gods combat demons that threaten to engulf the world. Her departure from the realm of the gods due to Indra‘s arrogance prompts a series of events that result in the Samudra Manthan. This epic endeavor involves the gods, seeking her favor, churning the cosmic ocean to bring her back. Ultimately, Kamala’s return leads to the defeat of the demons and the restoration of balance in the world.

The Symbolism of Kamala’s Iconography

Kamala’s iconography is rich in symbolism. Her association with the lotus represents not only physical beauty but also spiritual purity and transcendence. The lotus’s ability to bloom uncontaminated above the water, despite its roots in the mud, mirrors Kamala’s essence as a pure life force rooted within the material world. Furthermore, the presence of elephants in her iconography symbolizes fertility and royal authority, reinforcing her role as a goddess of prosperity and sovereignty.

Lakshmi as Kamala and Her Multiple Arms

Like many Hindu deities, Kamala is portrayed with multiple arms, each signifying different facets of human existence. Her four arms represent the four key pursuits in Hinduism: Dharma (the pursuit of ethical and moral living), Kama (emotional fulfillment and love), Moksha (the quest for self-knowledge and freedom), and Artha (the achievement of wealth and prosperity). These arms encapsulate the aspirations and goals that drive human life, making Kamala a symbol of both material and spiritual well-being.

Kamala’s Evolution into Sri-Lakshmi

In the early literature, Kamala is referred to as Sri, symbolizing glory. She is associated with qualities such as royal power, wealth, beauty, and fertility. Her connection with the lotus and elephants remains consistent throughout the literature. While Sri may have been an independent deity at one point, she evolved into the more widely recognized Lakshmi (Grace). Lakshmi’s association with various male figures, such as Vishnu, Dharma, Indra, and Kubera, underscores her importance in maintaining order, prosperity, and fertility in the world.

Divergent Interpretations of Lakshmi’s Passivity

The perception of Lakshmi’s passivity varies among different schools of thought in Hinduism. In the Pancaratra school, she plays an active role alongside Vishnu in upholding the cosmic order. In the Sri-Vaishnava tradition, her cosmological role is less prominent, but she serves as a compassionate mediator between Vishnu and his devotees. This diversity of interpretation showcases the multifaceted nature of Lakshmi’s character.

Kamala Among the Ten Mahavidyas

Kamala holds a unique position among the Ten Mahavidyas, who encompass a diverse array of goddesses, from the fierce and formidable to the benevolent and desirable. These Mahavidyas are believed to be distinct manifestations of the same goddess, with various origin myths and interrelated qualities. Kamala’s portrayal within this group highlights her independence from male deities and her fear-inspiring attributes, particularly as a demon slayer.

Worship and Devotion to Goddess Kamala

Goddess Kamala is worshipped in temples and through Tantric practices. Her devotees seek her blessings for wealth, prosperity, good luck, and fertility. Merchants worship her to ensure success in their businesses, while farmers seek her favor for bountiful crops. Kamala’s worship is believed to ward off misfortune and bring about positive changes in one’s life.

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

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