Puranic encyclopaedia

by Vettam Mani | 1975 | 609,556 words | ISBN-10: 0842608222

This page describes the Story of Candika included the Puranic encyclopaedia by Vettam Mani that was translated into English in 1975. The Puranas have for centuries profoundly influenced Indian life and Culture and are defined by their characteristic features (panca-lakshana, literally, ‘the five characteristics of a Purana’).

Story of Caṇḍikā

A terrific form of Pārvatī, who is worshipped in temples under the name Caṇḍikādevī. The Devī’s idol has twenty hands. In the hands on the right side are held Śūla (three-pronged weapons) sword, Vela (rod), Cakra, pāśa (rope), parigha (shield), āyudha, abhaya, ḍamaru and Śakti, while the hands on the left side hold nāgapāśa, small parigha, axe, Aṅkuśa (a long-hooked rod), pāśa, maṇi, flag, gadā, mirror and an iron cylindrical rod. There are also idols of Caṇḍikā with ten hands. At the feet of the Devī lies Mahiṣāsura with his head severed from body. There will also be standing near the idol a puruṣa (man) born from the neck of the Māhiṣa brandishing his weapon, and with the Śūla in his hand in all rage and womitting blood and with red hairs and eyes. That puruṣa is bound strongly on his neck with rope. The vehicle of the Devī is a lion. The Devī is mounted on the lion with her left leg on the asura lying below. This Caṇḍikādevī thus stands with weapons in the hand, as annihilator of enemies and with three eyes, and she should be worshipped in pūjāmaṇḍala with nine Padmas (tantric divisions) along with her idol. Firstly the Devī should be worshipped in the central padma and Indra and others in the other padmas.

There is also another Caṇḍikādevī (Durgā) with eighteen hands. She holds in her right hand a skull, shield, mirror, broom, bow, flag, ḍamaru and pāśa (cord) and in her left hand rod, iron pounder, Śūla, Vajra, sword, Aṅkuśa (a sticklike weapon with one end bent to hold on to things) Śara (arrow) Cakra and śalākā. There are nine other Durgās having the same weapons as the above except the Ḍamaru and the broom. But, they have only sixteen hands each. These nine Durgās are called Rudracaṇḍā, Pracaṇḍā, Ugracaṇḍā, Caṇḍānāyikā, Aticaṇḍikā, and Caṇḍogrā. The Durgā standing at the centre will have the colour of gorocana (red sandal paste) and the others will have the following colours; aruṇavarṇa (red) Kṛṣṇa varṇa (black), nīla varṇa (blue), śukla varṇa (white), dhūmra varṇa (brown) pīta varṇa (yellow) and śveṭa varṇa (white). The nava Durgās (nine Durgās) are installed for the prosperity of children etc. And all these are different forms of Pārvatī.

Also, in various aspects or poses, Pārvatī is called by other names. She is called Siddhā when installed in Raṃbhā-vana wearing akṣamālā (garland of beads), kirīṭa (crown) and agni. The same Siddhā without the fire is called Lalitā. Gaurīdevī with one of the hands on the left side placed on the shoulder and the head, and holding the mirror in the other hand, and holding in one of the hands on the right side fruits etc. and the other hand held up is called Saubhāgya gaurī. (For further details see Pārvatī). (Agni Purāṇa, Chapter 50).

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