Sri Chinnamasta: 6th Goddess of Dasa Mahavidya and Controller of Sexual Desires

Sri Chinnamasta is the 6th tantric goddess of Dasha or Dasa Mahavidya (wisdom goddess) of Parvati. Chhinnamasta is the goddess of the Shakti Tantric pantheon in the Vedic Story of Indian mythology. She is represented as a nude goddess, symbolizing control over sexual desires. However, one has to surrender himself to the yogic path to understand the goddess and awaken the Kundalini Shakti.

Goddess Chhinaamasta: Iconography

Chinnamasta, the goddess of Kundalini Shakti and the 6th Dasa Mahavidya of Parvati is one of the most terrifying and heart-wrenching forms of Shakti. She holds her torn head in her left hand and, from her neck, three streams of blood flow. Devi Chinnamasta and her two attendants, Dakini and Varnini, drink the bloodstream standing on each side of her scathing neck.

She stands or sits on Goddess Rati (sexual desire) and Kamadev (god of love or lust), who are in sexual intercourse positions. Devi Chinnamasta has no clothes on her severed body. However, she only wears a garland of skulls and some ornaments, such as a necklace made of bones and a serpent. Goddess Chhinnamasta also holds a knife in her right hand and is thus believed to be the most fierce form of Devi Shakti.

Dakini and Varnini, her attendants, stand beside her with weapons and a platter.

Goddess Chhinnamasta: Meaning and Other Names

As per ancient texts, Chhinnamasta, the most frightening goddess of Dasa Mahavidya, is made of two words, Chhinna and Masta. Chhinna means “severed,” and Masta means “head.” Thus, she is the goddess of the severed head.

However, Goddess Chinnamasta: Controller of Sexual Desires has over 108 names, but she is often known as Prachanda Chandika, Jogini Maa, and Chinnamastika.

Goddess Chhinnamasta: Birth Story from the Pranatoshini Tantra

As per the Pranatoshini Tantra, the goddess Chhinnamasta was born when Parvati and her attendants, Dakini and Varnini, went to bathe in the Mandakini River. However, due to unknown reasons, Parvati becomes so sexually aroused that she has to come back. At the same time, both of her attendants became extremely hungry and demanded food from Parvati. As a mother of the universe, she severed her head with a scimitar and offered them to drink her bloodstream to make them satisfied.

Thereafter, she joined her head back and returned home.

Pranatoshini Tantra’s story about the birth of Chhinnamasta sounds so disturbing. How does the mother of the universe suddenly feel aroused? How do her attendants suddenly feel hungry?

Well, the symbolism behind the story represents the awakening of Kundalini.

In the Pranatoshini Tantra, blood, sex, and wine represent many things; however, they appear gruesome and disturbing.

Goddess Chhinnamasta: Birth Story from the Svatantra Tantra

According to the Svatantra Tantra, once Lord Shiva and Goddess Chandika were conjugating in reverse posture, however, she turned enraged during seminal emission, and thus Dakini and Varnini arose from her body. Thereafter, the story of Chhinnamsta goes as the Pranatoshini Tantra.

Meanwhile, after Parvati returns from bathing, Lord Shiva finds her so pale, and this disturbs and angers him. He then assumes the form of Krodha Bhairava.

Goddess Chhinnamasta: A Birth Story from the Puranas

Shiva Purana narrates the birth story of the goddess Chhinnamasta. Once, a great war between the gods and demons occurred. To stop the injustice of demons, the gods asked Mahashakti to help them. Goddess Parvati took the form of Devi Chhinamasta, the 6th tantric goddess of Dasa Mahavidya, or Para Shakti. She killed all the demons and drank their blood. However, she remained unsatisfied. Thus, she cut off her head and drank her blood.

Goddess Chhinnamasta: A Birth Story from Samudra Manthan

Another exciting and gruesome birth story of the goddess Chinnamasta goes like this: During the Samudra Manthan, or the Churning of the Ocean, demons headed by King Bali wanted to trick the gods when the elixir came out. However, to teach a great lesson to the demons, goddess Chinnamasta came out of the body of goddess Parvati and drank the demon’s share of the elixir by making them mortal.

Many Hindu scriptures, including Shiva Purana, Devi Bhagavata Purana, Skanda Purana, and tantric texts, narrate the story of the goddess Chhinnamsta, who is the form of Dasa Mahavidhya of Parvati, or ten tantric goddesses of wisdom. She is known as Kali, Tara, Tripura Sundari, Bhuvaneshwari, Sri Bhairavi, the 5th Dasa Mahavidhya, and the Goddess of Kundalini, Tara, Bagala, Matangi, Dhumra, and Mahadevi.

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Goddess Chhinnamasta: Symbol of Kundilini Shakti

  • The garland of a snake on Goddess Chhinnamasta’s neck symbolizes the divine Kundalini Shakti.
  • Kamadev and Rati, under the goddess Chinnamasta, in a posture of intercourse, represent complete control over sexual desire.
  • Goddess Chinnamasta’s naked body symbolizes the banishment of mateworldlyngs.
  • If a person desires to awaken his Kundalini Shakti, he has to control his sexual desire and eradicate his ego.
  • Her head is a symbol of the ego. Therefore, goddess Chinnamasta, the 6th goddess of wisdom, cuts off her head from her neck to remove the “Aham Bhav or Ego.”
  • Her radiant eyes and lightening-shaped hair represent absolute consciousness.
  • The sword she holds represents “vivakam,” or discernment.
  • Her tongue symbolizes the limitless power of divinity.
  • Dakini and Vardini, her two attendants, represent “Ida and Pingala Nadi,” and the chopped head of the goddess represents “Sushumna Nadi.”
  • If a person awakens his Kundalini Shakti, the tantric energy drinks all the blood of the body and takes a new birth as the goddess Parvati enters Chhinnamasta.
  • Muladhara Chakra, up to Sahasrara Chakra, represents the divine path of the Vedayana, or Vedic gods.
  • It then circulates the Prana Shakti through Sushumna Nadi until it reaches the realm of transcendental bliss by the sun.

However, this level of awakening cannot be achieved easily. Yogi has to surrender himself to Yoga Shakti to awaken the Kundalini Shakti. Therefore, one has to understand the iconography of Devi Chinnamasta, Goddess of Kundalini Shakti, and Dasa Mahavidhya in the Vedic story of Indian ancient mythology.

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Archana Das
Archana Das
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