By: Ahana Raghavan
For: Gurukulam- The Shloka Learning Centre
Who are the Matrikas?
The Matrikas are a group of seven mother goddesses (in India, they are known as Saptamatrika, but Nepalis worship them as eight mother goddesses). They are associated with birth, the protection of children, conception, and diseases.
Each of the goddesses’ names corresponds to the name of a God (they are known as Shaktis or female counterparts). Their names are Brahmani (Saraswati and the wife of Brahma), Indrani (the wife of Indra), Vaishnavi (Lakshmi and the wife of Vishnu), Maheshvari (Parvati and the wife of Shiva), Varahi (wife of Varaha, the boar, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu), Kaumari (the wife of Kumara), and Chamunda (Yami and the wife of Yama).
Many Nepalis worship an eighth Matrika as well because, in the Varaha-Purana, it is said that Yogeshvari emerged from Lord Shiva’s mouth (to be specific, the flame in his mouth).
What does each of them represent?
Overall, the Matrikas represent morally bad qualities.
Courtesy: Google Images
- Brahmani: pride (mada in Sanskrit)
- Indrani: fault finding (matsarya in Sanskrit)
- Maheshvari: anger (krodh in Sanskrit)
- Vaishnavi: covetousness- having a strong desire to have more materialistic possessions (lobha in Sanskrit)
- Varahi: envy (asuya in Sanskrit)
- Kaumari: illusion (moha in Sanskrit)
- Chamunda: tale-bearing (paisunya in Sanskrit)
- (Yogeshvari: desire (kama in Sanskrit))
What is an accurate description of each of the Matrikas?
She has a yellow complexion and has four faces. A swan is her mount, she is seated on a lotus, and in two hands has the varada and abhaya gesture.
Courtesy: Google Images (The varada gesture)
Courtesy: Google Images (The abhaya gesture)
The other two hands carry both a kamandalu and akshamala, and she wears a yellow garment known as the pitambara with a karanda mukuta (crown in Hinduism).
Courtesy: Google Images (The kamandalu)
Courtesy: Google Images (The akshamala)
She has a dark complexion and a lovely face. In two hands, she holds the varada and abhaya gesture, and in the other hands, she holds a chakra (discus) and a sankha (conch shell). She wears a vanamala (garland known to be worn by Lord Vishnu).
She has a red complexion, four arms, and three eyes. In two hands, she holds the varada and abhaya gesture, and in the other hands, she holds a vajra (almost like a thunderbolt weapon) and sakti. Her mount is an elephant.
She has a white complexion, four arms, and three eyes. In two hands, she holds the varada and abhaya gesture, and in the other hands, she holds a akshamala and trisula (trident). Her mount is Nandi the bull.
She has a yellow complexion and four hands. Her mount is the peacock. In two hands, she holds the varada and abhaya gesture, and in the other hands, she holds the sakti and kukkuta.
She has a dark complexion, human body, and the face of a boar. Her mount is an elephant, and her head is adorned with coral ornaments. She holds the sakti.
She has four arms, a garland of skulls, and a garment of tiger skin. In two hands, she holds the varada and abhaya gesture, and in the other hands, she holds a kapala (skull) and trisula. Her mount is the owl, and she represents the fertility side of Durga.
Thank you so much for reading!