Imparting Great Wisdom Pertaining To creation and destruction, compassion and devotion, good fortune and misfortune, self-sacrifice and altruism, knowledge and prosperity, and life and liberation, Maa Das MahaVidyas Are The Greatest Teachers For sincere devotees across generations. With the word “Maha” meaning great, and “Vidya” meaning knowledge or wisdom, Maa Das MahaVidyas Are Eminent As The Ten Great Cosmic Wisdom Forms Of The Divine Mother Of the universe.
Since ancient human history to this present day, sincere and devout seekers and devotees have dedicated themselves to the worship Of Maa Das MahaVidyas to be Blessed With The Revelation Of crucial spiritual truths.
Revered As Maa Das MahaVidyas Are:
- Maa Kaali
- Maa Tara
- Maa Tripura Sundari / Maa Shodashi
- Maa Bhuvaneshwari
- Maa Bhairavi
- Maa BagalaMukhi
- Maa ChinnaMasta
- Maa Matangi
- Maa DhumaVati
- Maa Kamala
Each Great Cosmic Wisdom Form Of The Divine Mother Leads the sincere devotees from one step to another on the ladder of spiritual evolution.
The Maa Das MahaVidyas Have Captivating origin myths that shed light On Their Depictions And Symbolism. These myths provide insights Into The Manifestations Of The Divine Mother And The Great Cosmic Wisdom Teachings Imparted By Them.
Among the four ancient tales Of Emergence Of Maa Das MahaVidyas described below, one origin story is described in two versions (myth 1 and 2) found in the mahabharata-purana and the brhaddharma-purana. These versions were likely written in eastern india after the fourteenth century c.e. In both accounts, the origin story Of Maa Das MahaVidyas is intertwined with the story of daksa’s fire sacrifice, a well-known and ancient tale in indian traditions.
Myth 1 – The Furiousness Of Maa Sati
In This narrative, daksa, Maa Sati’s father, decides to perform a grand fire sacrifice and invites all gods except his Daughter, Maa Sati, And Her husband, Lord Shiva. Daksa disapproves of Lord Shiva’s unconventional habits and antisocial nature. Maa Sati Is Outraged By Her father’s exclusion And Is Determined To Attend the sacrifice To Confront And Berate him. However, Lord Shiva forbids Her From Doing So.
Maa Sati, enraged by Lord Shiva’s prohibition, Accuses him of neglecting Her. Her Anger Transforms Her Appearance, and Lord Shiva, fearing Her Wrath, closes his eyes. When he opens them, A Terrifying Divine Form Stands Before him. Her Form Changes, Becoming Elderly And Disheveled, With Fiery Complexion, And A Protruding Tongue. She Wears A Garland Of severed heads And A Half-Moon Crown, Radiating Intense Light And Laughter.
Lord Shiva tries to escape, But Maa Sati Fills the surrounding directions With Ten Different Forms, Maa Das MahaVidyas, Standing In his way no matter in which direction he ran.
Maa Sati, In The Form Of Maa Kaali, Proceeds To daksa’s fire sacrifice where She Sacrifices Herself By Immolating In the fire.
This origin story highlights The Superiority Of Maa Sati As The Supreme Divine Mother Of the universe and all gods, and portrays The Terrifying Depictions Of Maa Das MahaVidyas As The Divine Forms Of The Divine Mother.
Myth 2 – The Restraint Of Maa Parvati
This Version of the origin tale Of Maa Das MahaVidyas is narrated in tantra. This version is not found in written sources but is said to be present in all the tantra scriptures. According to this account, Maa Das MahaVidyas Emerge From Maa Parvati (Reincarnation Of Maa Sati).
Once after an argument, when Lord Shiva decides to leave the house, Maa Parvati Blocks the ten doors of the house With Her Ten Great Forms, Maa Das MahaVidyas, To Prevent his departure.
The story is an allegory, where the house symbolizes the human body, And The Blocking Of the ten doors symbolizes the control of the ten bodily apertures, including the senses and vital openings.
Similar to the first version, Maa Das MahaVidyas Emerge To Restrain Lord Shiva And Align him With The Divine Mother Maa Parvati’s Desires. Maa Das MahaVidyas Symbolize Different Aspects Of The Divine Mother Coming Together In The Divine Manifestation Of Maa Parvati.
Like the first version, this story also underscores The Superiority Of The Supreme Divine Mother. However, this version lends itself to an allegorical interpretation, in which Maa Das MahaVidyas Symbolize facets or powers of the various states of consciousness. The emphasis on yogic concentration and religious endeavor implies Maa Das MahaVidyas Association With the human body, which is considered a microcosm of the universe in tantra. Some tantric texts support this interpretation, linking The Powers Of Maa Das MahaVidyas To the five senses and five elements.
Furthermore, in this account of the origin tale it is implied that Maa Das MahaVidyas Are The Bestowers Of siddhis Upon the devoted tantra practitioners and sincere devotees to enhance their senses for the attainment of spiritual advancement.
Myth 3 – Maa Maha Kaali Fills the cosmos With Her Forms
In This version of the origin story Of Maa Das MahaVidyas, which is documented in a contemporary book on the worship Of Maa Tara, Lord Shiva resides With The Divine Mother Of the universe Maa Maha Kaali during the satya yuga, the first and most perfect period of a world cycle. Eventually, Lord Shiva becomes restless and decides to leave. As he starts to wander off, Maa Maha Kaali Appears In Maa Das MahaVidya Forms. Witnessing The Great Forms, Lord Shiva realizes that Maa Maha Kaali Permeates the entire cosmos, and wherever he goes, She Exists In One Of Her Forms. This realization Of The Divine Mother’s Omnipresence causes him to abandon his desire to leave Maa Maha Kaali to wander.
This version shares similarities with the previous two versions of the myth. Maa Das MahaVidyas Emerge As Divine Forms Of The Supreme Divine Mother. However this version focuses on Lord Shiva going against Maa Maha Kaali’s Wish by attempting to depart, and emphasizes that Maa Maha Kaali Pervades the entire cosmos Through Her Forms, rather than highlighting The Role Of Maa Das MahaVidyas In Restraining lord shiva.
The central theme of this version, consistent with the implicit message in the other versions, is the impossibility of escaping The Presence Of The Divine Mother Of the universe. The story underscores that Maa Maha Kaali Is Omnipresent, and the cosmos is Her Manifestation. It also emphasizes The Role Of Maa Das MahaVidyas In Bestowing knowledge, specifically the understanding that Maa Maha Kaali Pervades all of reality. Thus, this version Depicts Maa Das MahaVidyas Not As Cosmic Maintainers, Givers Of magical powers Or To Symbolize states of consciousness But As Sources And Expressions Of Great Cosmic Wisdom. The spiritual enlightenment of Lord Shiva Facilitated By Maa Das MahaVidyas is the focal point of this version of the origin story.
Myth 4 – Maa Durga’s Salvation Of the vedas
Another emergence story Of The Maa Das MahaVidyas, has its first mention in the “Shiv Purana” (v.50). In this story, a demon named durgama gains control over the four vedas, granting him power over the entire universe through a boon from lord brahman. As a result, a severe drought plagued the earth, causing suffering for all living beings.
In response to the gods’ plea to save the world, The Divine Mother, Who Always Responds To the prayers of Her devotees, Intervened. She First Ended the drought And Replenished the earth’s waters. The gods then requested Her Assistance In destroying the formidable demon and reclaiming the vedas. In the ensuing battle, The Divine Mother Manifested Maa Das MahaVidyas From Her Own Body. Ultimately, She Emerged Victorious, Defeating the demon And Returning the vedas to the gods. In Honor Of Her Triumph Over durgama, She Was Venerated As Maa Durga.
Maa Das MahaVidyas Are Primarily Associated With the myth of restoring vedic teachings. The lineage of mantra and meditation teachings centered Around The Divine Mother has remained unbroken from the vedas to the tantras. Periodically, The Divine Mother Revitalizes And Sustains these teachings in a world constrained by time and mortality.
The Supreme Divine Mother Of the universe Is Unchanging And Beyond Description. The Divine Mother Is Transcendent, Remaining Beyond the material world. However, Within the universe created By The Divine Mother, She Is Omnipresent In space and time. Even though space is actually one continuous expanse, we perceive it as ten different directions: east, west, south, north, southeast, southwest, northeast, northwest, above, and below. In a similar way, The Infinite Divine Mother Is experienced by Her devotees In Ten Distinct Forms. Each Of The Divine Maa MahaVidya Forms Expresses A Great Cosmic Wisdom Of The Ultimate Truth. Therefore, The Divine Mother Is worshipped and approached Through The Reverence Of Maa Das MahaVidyas, The Ten Great Cosmic Wisdom Expressions Of The Divine Mother.
By learning from and internalizing Each Great Cosmic Wisdom Teaching From Each Of Maa Das MahaVidyas, sincere devotees can advance on the path Of Self-Realization and liberation, keeping in mind the well-being of all with the awareness that all is one.
- Kinsley, D. (1997). PART I. The Mahāvidyās as a Group. In Tantric Visions of the Divine Feminine: The Ten Mahāvidyās (pp. 9-64). Berkeley: University of California Press. https://doi.org/10.1525/9780520917729-003
- Frawley, D. (1994). Tantric yoga and the wisdom goddesses: spiritual secrets of ayurveda. Lotus Press.
- Shankaranarayanan, S. (1972). The ten great cosmic powers (Daśa Mahāvidyās).