The Das Mahavidyas are the ten aspects of the Divine Mother, Goddess Parvati, the Adi Parashakti. These Ten Mahavidyas are known as Wisdom Goddesses of Hindus. The term 'Mahavidya' is a compound of two words, 'Maha' means great and 'vidya' means knowledge. Goddesses of great knowledge. The spectrum of these ten goddesses covers the whole range of feminine Divinity, encompassing fierce goddesses at one end, to the ravishingly beautiful at the other. Each of the Das Mahavidyas has her own significance, attributes, story, Mantras for invocation. For the seekers of spirituality, who practice Das Mahavidya Sadhana, all Devis can guide to liberation. They can evoke various stages of the awakening of the inner self, leading to enlightenment, for the dedicated devotee or seeker of knowledge. Chanting these Stotra is one of the powerful ways to invoke the Dus Mahavidya Devis.
Name of Das Mahavidya
The Dus Mahavidya names are:
KALI - The Eternal Night.
TARA - The Compassionate Goddess
SHODASHI (Tripura Sundari) - The beautiful Goddess Who is Sixteen Years Old.
BHUVANESHWARI - Creator of the World.
CHINNAMASTA - The Goddess Who cuts off Her Own Head
BHAIRAVI - The Goddess of Decay
DHUMAWATI - The Goddess Who widows Herself. Eternal Widow.
The Puranas have different versions of the story of the appearance of the 10 Devis, the Das Mahavidyas.Once during their numerous love games, things got out of hand between Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. What had started in jest, turned into a serious matter with Lord Shiva threatening to walk out on Parvati Maa. No amount of coaxing or cajoling by Parvati Devi could pacify Lord Shiva. Left with no choice, Goddess Parvati multiplied Herself into ten different manifestations for each of the ten directions. So, as hard as Lord Shiva tried to escape, He could not, as He found Her standing as a guardian, guarding all escape routes.
Each of Devi's manifestations made Lord Shiva realize essential truths, made Him aware of the eternal nature of Their mutual love and significantly made concrete in the Indian mind the Goddess's superiority over Her male counterpart. This incidence did not stir Lord Shiva in any negative way, rather it made Him spiritually awakened. Just as it was true for the Great Lord, so it is for us, ordinary mortals. Befittingly thus they are referred to as the Great Goddess of Wisdom.
The second version of the story goes on to narrate the incidence of Goddess Parvati insisting on attending the Yajna organized by Her father, King Daksha, It is said that King Daksha was not in favour of Goddess Parvati marrying Lord Shiva. So the King purposely did not invite His daughter and Her husband. When Goddess Parvati wanted permission to attend the Yajna, Lord Shiva was against it, as He sensed that King Daksha's intention was to insult Him by not inviting Him and Goddess Parvati. Also, He explained to His beloved wife that without His presence with Her, the sacrifice She would make would not yield auspicious results.
However, Lord Shiva's refusal to give Her permission made Parvati Maa furious and She thought Her husband was disrespecting Her. Devi Parvati manifested Herself into the 10 forms, to show Lord Shiva Her power. Seeing these forms Lord Shiva tried to escape but the 10 Devi forms obstructed His way. At the end of it, Lord Shiva let Parvatiji go to attend the Yajna.The Goddess is indeed the muse who guides and inspires us in the journey of spiritual learning. She is the high priestess who unfolds the inner truths.
Das Mahavidya Stotra
The Das Mahavidya Stotra is a potent Vedic chant in praise of all the 10 Devis. Conducting this path of the Das Mahavidya Stotra has immense power. However, it is believed that only after learning to perform Das Mahavidya Sadhana properly from a qualified Guru who has the knowledge and practices Das Mahavidya Sadhana, one should do the Dus Mahavidya Stotram recitation by himself. The steps of the rituals should be strictly followed. Reciting it with devotion can bless the devotee with the Stotram benefits, like, complete protection, spiritual attainments, ushers wealth, prosperity and abundance and it is also done to attain Siddhis of Mahavidya. Chanting the Das Mahavidya Stotra while meditating on its Yantra, is also considered to bring rich benefits.
A Brief About Each of the Das Mahavidyas
The Goddesses are said to be from Kali Kul and Shri Kul. Goddess Kali, Chinnamasta, Tara, Bhuvaneshwari are from Kali Kul and the rest of the Devis are from Shri Kul.
Kali - Kali is mentioned as the first amongst the Mahavidyas as Goddess Parvati first took the form of this Goddess. She appears as Black as the night (ratri). This form was meant for slaying the Asuras and Demons. Maa Kali is the giver of bliss, peace and happiness. She eliminates the darkness of ignorance and brings the light. Read Kali Mantra
Tara - Literally the word 'tara' means Star. Thus Tara is the star of our aspiration, the One who guides us along the creative path. Though Her appearance is fierce, She is the compassionate Goddess who illuminates and guides to liberation. Read Tara Mantra
Shodashi (Tripura Sundari) - The word 'Shodashi' means sixteen in Sanskrit. She is thus visualized as a sweet girl of sixteen. In human life, the age of sixteen years represent the age of accomplished perfection after which decline sets in. Goddess Shodashi or Tripura Sundari is said to be the most beautiful in the 3 Worlds. She rules over all that is perfect, complete, beautiful. She is the Goddess representing the manifestation of excellence and desire. Read Shodashi Mantra
Bhuvaneshwari - The Creator of the World and the Ruler of the Universe, She is present in all the 14 Lokas, which is the whole Universe. Ancient texts say, the Devi answered Lord Brahma's call when He intended to create the Universe. It is believed that all the conditions that humans go through, all emotions, be it happiness or sadness are Bhuvaneshvari's play. Read Bhuvaneshwari Mantra
Chinnamasta - The image of Chinnamasta Maa is completely different from other forms. It is indeed a depiction of the fact that sex, life and death are an intrinsic part of the Universe. Chinnamasta Devi raises the veil for us about life and death. She also represents sexual energy and sexual restrain. This form of Goddess Parvati has deep meaning and is the giver and taker all at once. Read Chinnmasta Mantra
Bhairavi - An embodiment of destruction, Devi Bhairavi, arises when the body decays. Here, destruction is not meant in a negative light as She represents constructive destruction. The new will only be created when the old is destroyed. She removes fears of all kinds from Her devotees. Read Bhairavi Mantra
Dhumawati - The Devi who is curiously in a widowed state by Her own doing. Devi Dhumawati is said to have swallowed Lord Shiva, which caused Her to be a widow. 'Dhuma' means smoke/smoky, as Her story says that smoke emanated from Her body after swallowing Lord Shiva. She is often called a tender-hearted Goddess who bestows boons. Her form also urges devotees to look beyond the superficial, the appearance and address the true self. Read Dhumavati Mantra
Bagalamukhi - The image of Baglamukhi shows Her holding the tongue of a demon and is known as "Stambhan Shakti'' as She has restrictive powers which can stop anyone, even paralyse, anyone who tries to harm Her devotees. She is both unique and significant. Tongue, the organ of speech and taste, also lies and is deceitful. The wrenching of the demon's tongue is therefore symbolic of the Goddess removing what is in essentiality a perpetrator of evil. Maa Baglamukhi fulfils the wishes of Her devotees and showers with wealth and prosperity too. Read Bagalamukhi Mantra
Matangi - Goddess Matangi is depicted with dark Green/Emerald Green colour of the body and holds a Veena in Her hand. She is said to be a Devi who likes pollution. She is said to be a form of Maa Saraswati, the Goddess of Knowledge etc. However, Her puja rituals are totally contrasting to the normal rituals. It may surprise many to learn that worship of Maa Matangi is done by offering left-over food or 'uccishtha'. The devotees should worship without washing their mouth after eating, offer Her food with their dirty hands that have stains of food which they have eaten etc. She is the Goddess of spoken words and inner thoughts. Read Matangi Mantra
Kamala - The name Kamala means "lotus" and is a common epithet of Goddess Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth, prosperity, fertility, crops and of good luck. She is a different form of Maa Lakshmi. Her Image has White Elephants, holding a garland in their trunk, flanking Her from both sides. Read Kamala Mantra
Benefits of Das Mahavidya Puja
This puja should be performed with the utmost care by following the rituals in detail. The Divine Mother, even in fiercest of appearances, is most loving and giving and is benevolent with Her blessings. Even though their forms are unconventional, Das Mahavidya Puja has numerous benefits.
It builds an invisible shield around the person, to protect him/her.
Evil eye, Black Magic or any such lower energies are nullified by the grace of the Das Mahavidya.
Enemies are unable to cause any harm when this puja is performed.
If there is any legal case which the devotee is going through, this puja turns the case in favour of worshipper.
By the grace of the Das Mahavidyas, disharmony or discord in the marital life of any intensity are resolved and peace is established.
If the devotee is burdened with debts, the puja helps to easily get out of it.
It benefits by a blessing with prosperity and material abundance.
In case of illnesses, worshipping the Dus Mahavidyas helps to heal physically.
It is benevolent and fulfils desires of the worshipper.
Significance: I invoke Goddess Chhinnmastika who is the lighting-force power behind the Lord who wields the Vajra, the weapon of the God Indra (King of Heaven). You are the one who fulfils the desires and saves from all sorts of worries.
Significance: Prayers to the one who creates an illusionary smoke screen (Dhum= smoke, Vati = cover) in the form of old age and death. May we see beyond the fear of illusions and mortality to truth and immortality.
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