Arulmigu Rathnagireeswarar Temple - Shrines

Saptha Kanniakas

         Kannimar (seven divine mother goddesses) representing the saktis, or the energies of the important familiar deities are are: Brahamani, Vaishnavi, Maheshwari, Kaumari, Varahi, Indrani and Chamunda.

         Each of the Saptha Kannimar had come to take her name from a particular God and they represent eight mental qualities, which are morally bad:

         1. Brahamani form Brahma represents Kama or desire. Appears as bright as gold;
         2. Vaishnavi from Vishnu (Lord Vishnu) lobha or covetousness;
         3. Maheswari from Lord Shiva Krodha or anger
         4. Kaumari from Lord Skanda moha or illusion;
         5. Varahi from Lord Varaha (Lord Vishnu). The ferocious goddess has the face of a boar and complexion of the storm cloud;
         6. Indrani from Lord Indra pasunya or tale bearing. Appears with three eyes. Complexion of this goddess is red;
         7. Chamunda is an exception. Her complexion is red in colour and appears more ferocious than others.

         They are armed with the same weapons, wears the same ornaments and rides the same vahanas and also carries the same banners like their corresponding male Gods do.
         The images of Saptha Matrikas are found seated and two of their hands held in the Varada and Abhaya poses, while the other two hands carry weapons appropriate to the male counterparts of the female powers. The sculptural icons represented as benevolent, compassionate and aristocratic mothers.

         Goddess Chamunda appears with her hair in a dishevelled condition, and possess a dark complexion. As told she also has four hands and She weilds the trisula in one of her hands and carry a kapala in another.

Legend:          According to a legend described in the Isanasivagurudevapaddhati, the Matrikas were created to help Lord Siva in his fight against Andhakasura. When the Lord inflicted wounds on Andhaka, blood began to flow profusely from his body. Each drop which touched the ground assumed the shape of another Andhaka. Thus there were innumerable Asuras fighting Siva. To stop the flow of the blood, Siva created a goddess called Yogesvari from the flames issuing out of his mouth. Brahma, Vishnu, Maheswara, Kumara, Varaha, Indra and Yama also sent their saktis to follow Yogesvari in stopping the flow of blood. Thus the Sapta Matrikas originated and Andhakasura finally lost his power and was defeated by Siva.

         In the Suprabhedagama, the Matrikas are said to have been created by Brahma in order to kill Nirrita.

         Preavalence of the worship of Saptha Kannimar (the divine Mothers) is believed to be as early as 3rd millennium B.C., when the Indus Valley Civilization flourished. The earliest epigraphic reference to the Matrikas is to be found in the Gangadhara inscription of Vishwa Varman, in Malwa Samvat

         Their description in ancient Puranas, such as Varaha Purana, Matsya Purana, Markandeya Purana etc refers to their antiquity. The Varaha Purana states that these mother-goddesses are eight in number and includes among them the goddess Yogesvari.

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