Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Durga and her 64 Yogins

Durgastami is an important component of Dasara festival. She is one of the major goddesses and is known by different names in different parts of the country. 
Durga has a large following in West Bengal, Orissa, Bihar and all the north-eastern states. In South India, she is mainly worshipped as Chamundi or Mahishasura Mardini.
It is said that Durga has 64 assistants to serve her and that are all called yoginis. All the yoginis are female and there is a temple situated to a yogini at Hirapur near Bubaneshwar in Orissa.
Hirapur is about 18 kms from Bubaneshwar and there is an ancient temple dedicated to the yoginis here.
This temple has 64 niches, one for each of the yogini. The Devi Mahatme or Durga paatha gives us a detailed picture of Durga and the yoginis who are called Matrikas. There are eight Matrikas and each of them has eight assistants. The eight Matrikas are Durga, Brami, Maheswari, Aindri, Kaumari, Vaishnavi, Varahi and Chamundi.
Durga was assisted in her war against the demon Raktabheeja or Mahishsura by the yoginis. According to Durga Mahatme,  Raktabheeja’s  father Rambh was the King of Asuras (Rakshasas) and he fell in love with a water buffalo. Raktabheeja was born out of this union.  He had obtained a boon from Shiva that he would be born again after each drop of blood fell on the earth.
When Durga battled Raktabheeja or Mahishasura, the Yoginis were asked to assist Mother Durga.The yoginis were asked to swallow each drop of blood before they fell onto the earth.
Raktabheeja thus died. In Mysore and in other parts of Karnataka, Raktabheeja is better knows as Mahishasura. There is a place in the Chamunid Hills where a huge statue of Mahishasura is installed. This is believed to be the exact spot where he was killed. The temple of Chamundi is a little away.

The Mahabhagawata Purana, Matsya Purana gives details about the yoginis and their work in guarding the universe. They also tell us about the kingdom of Kali.
The nine forms of Durga and the 64 yoginis are as follows:

Harivallabhi – The wife of  Hari
Ashoka – One who helps us overcome sorrows
Amrutha – Sweet or nectar
Deepa – light
Lakashokavinashini – One who can overcome agony
Dharmanilaya –One who formulates eternal Law
Karuna –The Goddess of kind and compassion
Lokamatri – Universal Mother
Padmapriya - Lover of lotus flower
Padmahasta – One with Lotus-like hands
Padmakshya – Eyes similar to the lotus
Padmasundari – As beautiful as a lotus
Padmodbhava - One born from the lotus
Padmamukhi - Lotus faced
Padmanabhapriya - Beloved of Padmanabha
Ramaa – One who pleases
Padmamaladhara – Wearer of a garland of lotus flowers
Devi - Goddess
Padmini –Flower like or lotus
Padmagandhini – One who has a fragrance like the lotus
Punyagandha - divine fragrance
Suprasanna - Cheerful
Prasadabhimukhi – One who grants boons
Prabha - Radiant
Chandravadana – Moon -faced
Chanda – Pleasant like the moon
Chandrasahodari - Sister of the moon
Chaturbhuja – One with four arms
Chandrarupa – Beauty like the moon
Indira – Bright Sun  
Indusheetala - cool
Ahladajanani - Happiness
Pushti - Health
Shivaa - Auspicious
Shivakari - Source of Auspicious Things
Satya - Truth
Vimala - Pure
Vishwajanani – One who gave birth to the universe
Pushti - Wealth
Daridriyanashini - Remover of  poverty
Preeta Pushkarini - One with Pleasing Eyes
Shanta -  Calm
Shuklamalambara -Wearer of  white garland
Bhaskari -Sunlike
Bilvanilaya – One who stays under the Bilva tree
Vararoha - Ready to bless with  boons
Yashaswini - Reputed
Vasundhara - Daughter of the earth
Udaranga - Endowed with  beauty
Harini –Like a deer
Hemamalini - Possessing garlands of gold
Dhanadhanyaki - One who grants wealth and foodgrains
Siddhi –One who always protects
Straina Soumya - Showering goodness on women
Shubhaprada – One who gives auspicious things
Nrupaveshvagathananda - Loves to live in palaces
Varalakshmi - wealth
Vasuprada - Bestower of  riches
Shubha - Auspicious
Hiranyapraka -  Gold
Samudratanaya - Daughter of the Ocean of milk
Jaya - Goddess of  victory
Mangala - Auspicious
Devi - Goddess
Vishnuvakshah – One who stays in Hari’s chest
Vishnupatni – wife of Vishnu
Prasannakshi -One with lively eyes
Narayana Samashrita – One who sought Narayana
Daridriya Dhwamsini - Destroyer of  poverty
Sarvapadravanivarini - One who can help us get over distresses
Mahakali -  Kali
Brahma-Vishnu-Shivatmika - Trinity of Brahma,Vishnu and Shiva
Trikala-dnyanasampanna - Aware of  the past, present and
the future
Bhuvaneshwarya – The Supreme one

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