[Advaita-l] Re: Bhutas and Tantra

M. S. Ravisankar ravi at ambaa.org
Wed Aug 27 19:16:39 CDT 2003

> -----Original Message-----
> From: advaita-l-bounces at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
> [mailto:advaita-l-bounces at lists.advaita-vedanta.org]On Behalf Of
> bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com
> madhusudana's commentary above, so, who are these sapta mAtrukAs, these
> matrukAs are nothing but aspects of mAta pArvati in durgA form (ravi
> prabhuji kindly correct me if I am wrong) purANa story says that these
> sapta mAtrukas are manifested from durgA mAta when she wants to tackle the
> mAyA shakti of rakta bijAsura.


The list of 7 varies slightly  in different sources. But in all, they are
shakti-s are different deva-s. They are all not aspects of pArvatI in that
sense. But you can always say that devI is the supreme being and all
(including vishhNu, rudra, etc.) are her aspects only in that ultimate

I personally wanted to stay away from this discussion for few reasons. Since
you explicitly asked me, I am posting whatever little I know.


Coming back the list in durga saptashati, these are shakti-s of different
devata-s. I am quoting the following verses from the document in
sanskrit.gde.to under devi/tantra) chapter 8. I have listed the shakti-s
with roman numerals. This comes under the section of "Slaying Raktabija".


12-13. At this moment, O King, in order to annihilate the enemies of
devas and for the well-being of the supreme devas, there issued forth,
endowed with exceeding vigour and strength, Shaktis from the bodies of
Brahma, Shiva, Guha, Vishnu and Indra, and with the form of those devas
went to Chandika.

14. Whatever was the form of each deva, whatever his ornaments and
vehicle, in that very form his Shakti advanced to fight with the asuras.

Now the names of the relevant shakti-s

I) brahmAnI or brAhmI

15. In a heavenly chariot drawn by swans advanced Brahma's Shakti
carrying a rosary and Kamandalu. She is called Brahmani.

II) mAheshvarI

16. Maheshvari arrived, seated on a bull, holding a fine trident,
wearing bracelets of great snakes and adorned with a digit of the moon.

III) kaumArI

17. Ambika Kaumari, in the form of Guha, holding a spear in hand riding
on a fine peacock, advanced to attack the asuras.

IV) vaishhNavI

18. Likewise the Shakti of Vishnu came, seated upon Garuda, holding
conch, club, bow and sword in hand.

V) vArAhI

19. The Shakti of Hari, who assumed the incomparable form of a
sacrificial boar, she also advanced there in a boar-like form.

VI) nArAsimhI (some replace her with chAmuNDa or yamI)

20. Narasmihi arrived there, assuming a body like that of a Narasmiha,
bringing down the constellations by the toss of her mane.

VII) aindrI (shakti of indra)

21. Likewise the thousand-eyed Aindri, holding a thunderbolt in hand and
riding on the lord of elephants arrive just like Sakra (Indra).


1) As it was pointed out all hindu devata-s have a tantric representation
and that includes *vishhNu*.  Once Aravind pointed out in ambaa-L that some
even worship and use vishhNu for negative and evil connotations in some
tantra. Vishnu is not excluded from abuse either.

2) Not all tantra is bad. There are elements from tantra such as prANa
pratishhTa used in almost all traditional worship. Also see
http://www.sivanandadlshq.org/teachings/tantrayoga.htm. Tantra is that which
extends the theory to a ritual or practice and protect the adherent. Every
thing can be abused, and tantra is no exception.

3) Some one here said, Oh ganesha also appears in shaiva agAma-s. He is also
a deity of tantra shaastra.  What about vaishhNava agama-s,  just because it
is vaishhNava are they shruti or what?

4) vamAchara is condemned in traditional shaiva works as well. The famous
thirumanthiram of Sage thirumular condemns it quite clearly and explicitly
in two verses.  But vAmAchara is only aspect of tantra.  Even the section of
thirumantram, which is packed in valuable knowledged and which condemns
vAmachara is titled as tantra. Tantra is not a a bad word.

5) More than  what devata you worship, with what intention and attitude with
you worship is important. An arrogant person, even if he has elevated to
status of dwara palaka of vaikuNTha (or milk ocean) will fall to a state of
asura. I am sure you all know the story.

6) In smArta tradition, devI is considered non-different from nArAyaNa. See
verse starting with bANatvam in shivAnandalaharI, or names padmanAbha
sahodarI, nArAyaNi, vaishhNavi in lalita sahasranAma, hari sodarI in
trishati and so on. In the context of smArta-s  you are referring to pArvatI
by the name nArAyaNi. Most of devi worship in tantra also falls under
dakshinAchara or samayAchara (internal worship).

7) Worship of ganesha is largely done based on works in puraNa-s and not

When trying to understand complex statements in shaastra-s be careful
before bashing ganesha, devii etc. All shankara maTha-s worship them and
aacharya-s of these maTha-s have composed works on them.  And more
importantly you will be hurting the sentiments of other bhakta-s who
traditionally follow shankara maTha-s.

My 2c.


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