Puranic encyclopaedia

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

This page describes the Story of Saptamatri 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 Saptamātṛ


General information.

Saptamātṛs are the seven goddesses named Brahmāṇī, Vaiṣṇavī, Māheśvarī, Kaumārī, Vārāhī, Indrāṇī and Cāmuṇḍī.


Some are of opinion that the Saptamātṛs are connected with Śiva. Their names reveal that they were born from the bodies of Brahmā, Viṣṇu and such other gods. There is another story that when Śiva and Viṣṇu joined together and tried to kill the asura named Andhaka and failed, they created the seven mothers to kill the asura. From each drop of blood of Andhakāsura that fell on the ground an asura arose. These seven mātṛs joined with Yogeśvarī, the creation of Śiva, drank the blood of the asura without allowing it to fall on the ground and so it became easy for Śiva to kill the asura.

There is a story in Vāmana Purāṇa, Chapter 56, ahout the birth of the Saptamātṛs, as follows: In olden days a fierce war broke out between the devas and the asuras. When the fierce asuras Caṇḍa and Muṇḍa were killed the famous asura named Raktabīja entered the battlefield with an akṣauhiṇī of army (21870 chariots, so many elephants, 65610 horses and 109350 infantry). Seeing this immense army of the asuras drawing near, Kauśikī, Maheśvarī and Kālīmade a loud roaring sound. Then from the mouth of Maheśvarī, Brahmāṇī came out seated on a swan and wearing rosary and water pot. From her eyes Maheśvarī with three eyes came out seated on a bull and wearing great snakes as bangles and ear-rings and holding a trident. From the loins came out Kaumārī, seated on a peacock and holding a lance. The beautiful Vaiṣṇavī came out from her hand, seated on Garuḍa, holding a conch, discus, club, sword, the bow śārṅga and arrow. From her posterior came out the horrible Vārāhī (Boar) with a great pestle, seated on the Nāga (serpent) Śeṣa, and furrowing the ground with her fierce tusks. From her heart came out the awful Nārasiṃhī (woman-lion) with fierce claws, who at the shaking of her mane displaced the planets and the stars, and from her foot Cāmuṇḍī came out. (See under Palālā).

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