Matrikas are devis or incarnations of Goddess Bhagwati or the Supreme Goddess , Ashta Matrikas or the Sapta Matrikas are the female counter forms of the Male Gods or the Devas. In the battle fields of the war between Devi and Sumbha-Nishumbha (the demon brothers) devi called upon all the matrikas to help her slay The Asura and let Truth Trimph over Evil.
Brahmani emerged from Brahma, Vaishnavi from Vishnu, Maheshvari from Shiva, Indrani from Indra, Kaumari from Skanda, Varahi from Varaha and Chamunda from Devi, and additionals are Narasimhi, Vinayaki.
- Brahmani (ब्रह्माणी, Brahmâṇī) is the Shakti (power) of the creator god Brahma. She is depicted yellow in colour and with four heads. She may be depicted with four or six arms. Like Brahma, she holds a rosary or noose and kamandalu (water pot) or lotus stalk or a book or bell and is seated on a hamsa (identified with a swan or goose) as her vahana (mount or vehicle). She is also shown seated on a lotus with the hamsa on her banner. She wears various ornaments and is distinguished by her basket-shaped crown called karaṇḍa mukuṭa.
- Vaishnavi ( वैष्णवी, Vaiṣṇavī), the power of the preserver-god Vishnu, is described as seated on the Garuda (eagle-man) and having four or six arms. She holds Shankha (conch), chakra (Discus), mace and lotus and bow and sword or her two arms are in varada mudra (Blessing hand gesture) and abhaya mudra (“No-fear” hand gesture). Like Vishnu, she is heavily adorned with ornaments like necklaces, anklets, earrings, bangles etc. and a cylindrical crown called kiriṭa mukuṭa.
- Maheshwari( महेश्वरि, Māheśvarī) is the power of god Shiva, also known as Maheshvara. Maheshvari is also known by the names Raudri, Rudrani, Maheshi and Shivani derived from Shiva’s names Rudra, Mahesha, and Shiva. Maheshvari is depicted seated on Nandi (the bull) and has four or six hands. The white complexioned, Trinetra (three eyed) goddess holds a Trishula (trident), Damaru (drum), Akshamala (A garland of beads), Panapatra (drinking vessel) or axe or an antelope or a kapala (skull-bowl) or a serpent and is adorned with serpent bracelets, the crescent moon and the jaṭā mukuṭa (A headdress formed of piled, matted hair).
- Indrani ( इन्द्राणी, Indrāṇī), also known as Aindri, (Sanskrit: ऐन्द्री, Aindrī), Mahendri and Vajri, is the power of the Indra, the Lord of the heaven. Seated on a charging elephant, Aindri, is depicted dark-skinned, with two or four or six arms. She is depicted as having two or three or like Indra, a thousand eyes. She is armed with the Vajra (thunderbolt), goad, noose and lotus stalk. Adorned with variety of ornaments, she wears the kiriṭa mukuṭa.
- Kaumari ( कौमारी, Kaumarī), also known as Kumari, Kartiki, Karttikeyani and Ambika is the power of Kumara (Kartikeya or Skanda), the god of war. Kaumari rides a peacock and has four or twelve arms. She holds a spear, axe, a Shakti (power) or Tanka (silver coins) and bow. She is sometimes depicted six-headed like Kumara and wears the cylindrical crown. In Tamil Nadu, Karumari Amman is a favored deity and is popularly worshipped in many temples.
- Varahi ( वाराही, Vārāhī) is described as the power of Varaha – the boar-headed form of Vishnu. She holds a Danda (rod of punishment) or plough, goad, a Vajra or a sword, and a Panapatra. Sometimes, she carries a bell, chakra, chamara (a yak’s tail) and a bow. She wears a crown called karaṇḍa mukuṭa with other ornaments.
- Chamunda ( चामुण्डा, Cāṃuṇḍā), also known as Chamundi and Charchika is the power of Devi (Chandi). She is very often identified with Kali and is similar in her appearance and habit. The identification with Kali is explicit in Devi Mahatmya. The black coloured Chamunda is described as wearing a garland of severed heads or skulls (Mundamala) and holding a Damaru (drum), trishula (trident), sword and pānapātra (drinking-vessel). Riding a jackal or standing on a corpse of a man (shava or preta), she is described as having three eyes, a terrifying face and a sunken belly.
- Pratyangira ( नारसिंहीं, Nārasiṃhī), also known as Narasimhika, is the power of Narasimha (lion-man form of Vishnu). She is a woman-lion goddess who throws the stars into disarray by shaking her lion mane.
The Goddess is a supreme being and she is one in all and all in one , she is static and she is in motion , she is gender neutral , she is the sun and the moon , all the seasons, the feeling of heat and cold , the emotions of anger and peace , sorrow and bliss. She is a feeling, she is an energy and she can embodied by the one who has belief and faith.
Durga Puja is a larger than life festival in Bengal, India and it marks the welcoming and invoking of the Goddess, this picture story is my riverse representation of the embodiment of male Gods by Female Gods in the form of Matrikas. Hope you liked it !
Photography : Avishek Majumder
Team Management and Special Thanks: Ankur Saha