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Maa Chinnamasta Jayanti

Hindu festivals are typically an amalgamation of religious ceremonies, semi-ritual events, processions, veneration, prayer, music, dance, eating, drinking, charity, feeding the poor and other activities that fall under a religious and traditional role. The original reason for these activities was to cleanse, prevent spiteful influences, renew society, bond over critical moments and kindle or save the imperative powers of nature.

This explains the term ‘utsava’ – suggesting both the generation of power and a festival. Since Hindu festivals are associated with the cyclical life of nature, they are understood to avert it from stagnating. These cyclic festivals – which may last for numerous days – continue to be commemorated all through India.

 

What is Chinnamasta Jayanti?

Chinnamasta is believed to be one of the Mahavidyas, ten Goddesses from the esoteric tradition of Tantra and a fierce part of Goddess Parvati, the Hindu Mother Devi. The self-decapitated nude goddess, typically standing or sitting on a heavenly copulating couple, is depicted carrying her own severed head in one hand and a scimitar in another. Three jets of blood ooze out of her bleeding neck that is drunk by her two attendants as well as a severed head.

Chinnamasta is believed to be a goddess of contradictions. She epitomizes both characteristics of Devi: a life-giver as well as a life-taker. She is regarded as both a symbol of sexual self-control as well as a personification of sexual energy, depending upon interpretation.

She stands for death, temporality, annihilation as well as life, immortality and recreation. The Goddess is the messenger for spiritual self-realization as well as the awakening of the kundalini – spiritual energy. The stories of Chinnamasta stress her self-sacrifice, occasionally combined with a maternal element as well as sexual dominance and self-destructive anger.

Chinnamasta Jayanti is venerated on Shukla Paksha Chaturdashi of Baisakhi month. The Devi is believed to be the sixth Goddess out of the ten most worshipped Goddesses. On this holy occasion, the place of worship is adorned with colourful lights and flowers. Mantras are chanted at several places and temples of Mata Chinnamastika. Numerous ancient religious texts like Markandeya Purana and Shiva Purana elucidate this form of Chinnamastika. As per the Puranas and religious texts, the Goddess changed into Chandi to slay the demons.

According to the Gregorian calendar, the day is commemorated in either April or May. In the upcoming year, Chinnamasta Jayanti falls on 15th May 2022.

 

Origins of Goddess Chinnamasta

The literal translation of Chinnamasta implies ‘the severed head’. She stands out from the other Mahavidyas thanks to her shocking, ferocious and grisly depiction. The Goddess is portrayed as self-decapitated and standing in a terrifying manner as she carries her severed head on a platter in her left hand and holds her kartr (sword) in her right hand.

Chinnamasta is occasionally showcased standing upon Kama (God of Sexual Desire) and his wife Rati, who are depicted copulating on a lotus or cremation pyre. Three streams of blood pour out of Chinamasta’s neck that is drunk by her own severed head and her two yoginis, Varnini and Dakini. All three of them are portrayed nude, with shabby hair and wearing a garland of skulls.

Chinnamasta also shows up in tantric Buddhism. Experts are of the opinion that she materialized in Buddhism before appearing in Hindu tradition. The iconography of this Goddess is depicted in a similar way, except in this case, she is not portrayed as standing atop a copulating couple.

 

Chinnamasta Jayanti Story & history

Chinnnamasta’s individual veneration is not extensive but she is renowned and significant among Tantrikas. She is revered and portrayed as part of the Mahavidya group in temples devoted to Goddesses. Temples and public worship of Chinnamasta are not common and any kind of private veneration is even rarer. When it comes to the esoteric Tantric tradition, Chinnamasta is observed as an important Goddess. She is venerated deeply in Eastern India and Nepal. Her temples are observed in Nepal as well as in the Indian states of Odisha, West Bengal, Jharkhand and the Eastern part of Uttar Pradesh.

The Goddess is prayed to in the Kalikula sect of Shaktism, the Goddess-centric sect of Hinduism. The lack of veneration of Chinnamasta by lay worshippers is ascribed to her fierce and terrifying nature and her reputation for being unsafe to approach and pray. But she has acquired a staunch and devoted cult following who do worship her. They are known to celebrate Maa Chinnamasta Jayanti with grand pomp and fanfare.

 

Legends surrounding Goddess Chinnamasta

There are numerous legends discussing Chinnamasta Devi. As per the Hindu scriptures, once Goddess Parvati was bathing herself in the Mandakini river where she was helped by two of her attendants. But during this bath, Parvati Devi lost track of time. Her two assistants began feeling hunger pangs. Even after giving the Goddess several reminders, they were still not able to catch the attention of Maa Parvati. When Goddess Parvati (Bhavani) eventually realized that too much time had passed, she beheaded herself as she felt extremely guilty that she had left her aides hungry. At that time, three separate bloodstreams emerged. Her attendants satiated their hunger from two bloodstreams and the third one was drunk by the severed head of the Goddess herself. Since that day she has been venerated in the form of Chinnamasta Devi.

Another legend talks about Goddess Sati, the daughter of Daksha. She is believed to be the first wife of Lord Shiva. When she and her husband Shiva were not asked to be present for the yagna arranged by her father, she felt insulted and insisted on attending, in spite of Lord Shiva’s protests. After pointless attempts to convince her spouse to let her attend, the enraged Sati has filled up fury and assumed a ferocious form, thereby changing into the Mahavidyas, who encircled Lord Shiva from ten cardinal directions. According to the Shakta Maha-Bhagavata Purana, Goddess Chinnamasta stands to the right of Lord Shiva, construed as the east or the west. The Bridhaddharma Purana mentions her as showing up to the rear of Lord Shiva in the west.

There are other legends similar to this tale. The Mahavidyas emerge from the rage of other Goddesses, particularly Parvati (second wife of Lord Shiva and reincarnation of Sati Devi) and Kali (chief Mahavidya). In one story, Shiva and Parvati were living in the home of Parvati’s father. Lord Shiva desired to leave, but Goddess Parvati produced the ten ferocious Mahavidyas to emerge from ten directions and stop him from leaving. In another tale, Lord Shiva is staying with Kali, recognized as Shiva’s consort in this scenario, but since he is tired of her, he wishes to leave. But Kali generates the Mahavidyas who also hinder his path from ten directions. Goddess Kali halts him in his tracks and prevents him from leaving.

Another story talks about how the Goddess Prachanda Chandika materialized to assist the Gods in the God-Demon battle when the deities invoked the Great Goddess Mahashakti. After killing every asura, the furious Goddess chopped her own head and gulped down her own blood. Another tale talks about her association with the Samudra Manthan (Churning of the Ocean) scenario, where the Gods and demons churned the milk ocean to obtain the amrita (the elixir of immortality). Goddess Chinnamasta is known to drink the demons’ share of the nectar and then proceed to behead herself to stop them from receiving it.

 

Symbolism of Goddess Chinnamasta

Goddess Chinnamasta is believed to be symbolic of life, death and sex – considered to be the three forms of transformation and the three parts of the cycle. Her position could be the victory over the samsara – the rotation of birth, death and rebirth. Her portrayal of how she stands over the copulating couple (Lord Kama and his wife Goddess Rati) denotes an individual’s control over sexual urge, while another views it as the representation of sexual energy.

  • The Goddess is venerated with prayers so the bride will be blessed with a happy and long married life.
  • The puja is performed in a room beautified with pretty backdrops and colourful flowers.
  • The adorned Gauri idol is placed for the puja along with a silver Mangala Gowri plate.
  • Decorate the setup with colorful rangoli and flower arrangements.
  • Usually, the bride’s mother or an elderly female of the home guides the bride to perform the puja.
 

Significance of Chinnamasta Jayanti

According to Hindu mythology, Goddess Chinnamasta is believed to be a unique form of Goddess Kali. She is considered to be a life taker and also a life-giver. It is said that the worshippers who pray to Chinnamasta Devi can be free of all their difficulties and troubles. It is assumed that by venerating Mata Chinnamasta, there is a spike in the spiritual as well as social energy of the worshippers. Chinnamasta Jayanti is no doubt a devout festival to observe. It is believed to hold a vital position in our Hindu mythology.

Goddess Chinnamasta is considered to be the 6th of the 10 Mahavidya Goddesses. She is meant to be bright and illuminated like a million suns assembled together. Her complexion is said to be red like the color of the flower Gudahala. She is worshipped to be victorious over enemies and owing to the terrifying nature of Maa, the sadhana is performed by Tantriks. Goddess Chinnamasta is typically related to the awakening of Kundalini. It is also assumed that by venerating the Goddess, worshippers can prevent various issues linked to debt, progeny and sexual problems. Human beings also pray to Chinnamasta Devi to realize all their wishes and achieve financial prosperity.

Typically, Chinnamasta Jayanti Puja is conducted as per the Tantrik rituals. This puja elevates the human even from total loss of reputation and aids him to succeed. Goddess Chinnamasta is the one who transmits energy, vitality, spirit and offers a new lease of life. With this puja, sadhak can influence not only their sexual energy but also improve their spiritual energy. The Goddess blesses her sadhak by granting success, victory, health, wealth and wisdom.

Chinnamastika Puja is believed to be extremely beneficial for those who are facing issues related to infertility or sexual dysfunction. The puja also aids people in recovering from memory or business loss. The outcomes are realized immediately after concluding the Chinnamastika puja. It is known to induce several benefits such as protection, success, solidity and bless worshippers with a long life. Chinnamastika mantra is believed to play a key role in kundalini awakening. Chinnamastika mantra is recited for the awakening of the Muladhara Chakra while practicing Kundalini yoga.

 

Rituals Concerning Chinnamasta Jayanti

  • Devotees firstly take a bath early in the morning to cleanse themselves and then dress up in fresh traditional outfits.
  • Worshippers keep a rigorous fast on the day of the Chinnamasta Devi Jayanti.
  • Devotees then position the idol or the statue of the Goddess on the altar for the Chinnamasta Jayanti Puja.
  • After this, the worshippers light the incense sticks and a Diya to begin the rituals.
  • Typically, all Chinnamasta temples also have an idol of Lord Shiva kept nearby.
  • Hence worshippers also venerate and offer prayers to Shiva by performing Abhishekam.
  • Devotees cook and present holy food (prasad) to the deity along with flowers, garlands and coconuts.
  • Aarti is conducted and the holy mantras are recited to summon Goddess Chinnamasta
  • Invitees and family members receive the prasad as they are distributed.
  • Devotees also carry out numerous charities and donations on this auspicious day to seek the blessings of Goddess Chinnamasta.
 

Temples Commemorating Chinnamasta Jayanti

Even though Goddess Chinnamasta is not deemed to be a premier deity among the Hindus, Tantric practitioners venerate her to attain siddhis and supernatural abilities. But, in certain places, devotees venerate her as Goddess Kali. You will only witness her in temples in the Northern part of India as well as Nepal. Some of them are Chintpurni in Himachal Pradesh, Chinnamasta Temple in Rajrappa, Kamakhya Temple in Jharkhand, Durga Temple in Uttar Pradesh, Changu Narayan Temple in Kathmandu, Nepal, and so forth are some of the sacred sites where you can observe her shrines.

 

How is Chinnamasta Jayanti Celebrated?

On this auspicious day, worshippers are known to offer prayers to Goddess Chinnamasta. Little girls are also venerated and holy food is offered to them as they are considered to be the avatar of the Goddess. In temples as well as at other places of worship, kirtans, as well as jagrans, are arranged. Worshippers conduct Chinnamasta Puja with utmost sincerity, passion and devotion.

A renowned Chinnamasta temple in Jharkhand is located in the forest area of Ramgad. Typically, all Chinnamasta temples have Lord Shiva temples nearby. Worshippers from all over the globe commemorate this auspicious day with grand pomp and fanfare as this is the day for venerating the Devi or Shakti and is devoted to her completely.

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