By Dr Manish Pandit
Of all the Mahavidyas, She is the one who is reputed to be very dangerous to worship, there are only a few temples devoted to Her notably in Himachal.. Chintpurni, in Bihar and in Varanasi.
Of all the Mahavidyas, Her iconography is deemed to be the most unusual… a Devata who has cut off Her own head, standing on a copulating couple with three separate streams of blood coming out of Her head in a flash, two of the streams of blood going into the mouths of the two naked and fierce women who flank Her and one stream of blood being consumed by the Great Goddess Herself.
Her legs stand in the “Pratyalidha” stance, She is only one of three Devatas to be depicted this way and only one of two Mahavidyas to be depicted this way commonly, the other being Tara. This stance has a peculiar connotation for those who worship Her, the rise of the Kundalini occurring in a particularly “cutting” fashion such that the sadhaka may fall down if standing, such is the odd nature of the rise of this Devata within the sadhaka.
She is completely naked denoting Her nature as a Shakti who is completely free of all encumbrances, but it is the nature of who She stands on which actually gives great insight into what all She controls. The copulating couple on which She stands are in Vipreeta Rati… the woman on top of the man. In Tantra, this symbolism has a very special meaning, it means that the couple is “Against Nature”..
So, the standing or indeed trampling of the couple underneath indicates the control of internal and external perversions of nature. The control may extend to the complete control of lust in the sadhaka… conversely it may bring about a increase in lust in some who are not quite ready to worship Her in this form.
Blood is a huge part of the depiction of this Devata and here the decapitated head has many meanings: On one side it indicates a complete severance of the mind and indeed the head which contains all notions…. foolish notions or noble ideas, they all die for some time with the grace of Chinnamasta. The holding of the decapitated head has a special meaning; it indicates control of nature… the exact position of the holding indicates the miraculous nature of Her worship in people’s lives as a decapitated person does not normally live. The cutting of the head has a unique and special meaning in the external world: The devata mercilessly removes people and situations from the sadhaka’s life. This makes Her worship quite dangerous even for those initiated.
The three streams of blood pouring out from the trunk indicate that Kundlini awakening is gigantic and extremely swift and unstoppable and works in all the three Nadis to eventually create a golden orb of worship around the sadhaka. The drinking of the blood, not just by one but by three women, gives Her the reputation as the Devata of all wasting diseases. In worship, the Devata may be conceptualised in different ways which make her more Ugra or slightly less Ugra.
In general, Chinnamasta produces instantaneous results in the life of the sadhaka, Her external materialistic results come before the spiritual in some cases. Special caution and exact mantra initiation is recommended in Her worship.
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