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Vengeance / Victory
Katyayani Sanghasri 2010 Arnab Dutta.JPG
Daughter of Sage Katyayan, hence known as Katyayani
Devanagari कात्यायिनी
Tamil script காத்யாயனி
Affiliation Avatar of Shakti
Weapon Talwar (longsword),
Mount Dawon (tiger or lion)

Katyayini is the sixth form amongst the Navadurga or the nine forms of Hindu goddess Parvati or (Shakti), worshipped during the Navratri celebrations.[1] this is the second name given for Parvati in amarakosha, the Sanskrit lexicon. (uma katyayani gaouri kali haimavathi iiswari) In Shaktism she is associated with the fierce forms of Shakti or Durga,a Warrior goddess, which also includes Bhadrakali and Chandika,[2] and traditionally she is associated with the colour red, as with Goddess Durga, the primordial form of Shakti, a fact also mentioned in Patanjali's Mahabhashya on Pāṇini, written in 2nd BCE.[3]

She is first mentioned in the Taittiriya Aranyaka part of the Krishna Yajurveda. Skanda Purana mentions her being created out of the spontaneous anger of Gods, which eventually led to slaying the demon, Mahishasura, mounted of the lion given to her by Goddess Gauri. This occasion is celebrated during the annual Durga Puja festival in most parts of India.[4]

Her exploits are described in the Devi-Bhagavata Purana and Devi Mahatmyam, part of the Markandeya Purana attributed to sage Markandeya Rishi, who wrote it in Sanskrit ca. 400-500 CE. Over a period of time, her presence was also felt in Buddhist and Jain texts and several Tantric text, especially the Kalika Purana (10th century), which mentions Uddiyana or Odradesa (Odisha), as the seat of Goddess Katyayani and Lord Jagannath[citation needed].[5]

In Hindu traditions like Yoga and the Tantra, she is ascribed to the sixth Ajna Chakra or the 'Third eye chakra', and her blessings are invoked by concentrating on this point.[1]


According to ancient legends, she was born a daughter of Katyayan Rishi, born in the Katya lineage, thus called Katyayani, "daughter of Katyayan" . Elsewhere in texts like the Kalika Purana, it is mentioned that it was Rishi Kaytyayan who first worshipped her, hence she came to known as 'Katyayani. In either case, she is a demonstration or apparition of the Durga, and is worshipped on the sixth day of Navratri festival.[1][6]

Devi Mahatmya in Sanskrit, the central text of Shaktism, dated 11 CE

The Vamana Purana mentions the legend of her creation in great detail: "When the gods had sought Vishnu in their distress, he, and at his command Shiva, Brahma, and the other gods, emitted such flames from their eyes and countenances that a mountain of effulgence was formed, from which became manifest Katyayini, refulgent as a thousand suns, having three eyes, black hair, and eighteen arms. Siva gave her his trident, Vishnu a Sudarshan Chakra or discus, Varuna a shankha, a conch-shell, Agni a dart, Vayu a bow, Surya a quiver full of arrows, Indra a thunderbolt, Kuvera a mace, Brahma a rosary and water-pot, Kala a shield and sword, Visvakarma a battle-axe and other weapons. Thus armed, and adored by the gods, Katyayini proceeded to the Vindhya hills. There, the asuras Chanda and Munda saw her, and captivated by her beauty they so described her to Mahishasura, their king, that he was anxious to obtain her. On asking for her hand, she told him she must be won in fight. He came, and fought; at length Durga dismounted from her lion, and sprang upon the back of Mahisha, who was in the form of a buffalo, and with her tender feet so smote him on the head that he fell to the ground senseless, when she cut off his head with her sword, and hence was called Mahishasuramardini, the Slayer of Mahishasura.,[4] the legend also finds mention in Varaha Purana, and the classical text of Shaktism the Devi-Bhagavata Purana[7]

According to 'Tantras, she revealed through the North face, which is one six Faces of Shiva. This face is s blue in color and with three eyes, and also revealed the Devis, Dakshinakalika, Mahakali, Guhyakah, Smashanakalika, Bhadrakali, Ekajata, Ugratara (fierce Tara), Taritni, Chhinnamasta, Nilasarasvati (Blue Saraswati), Durga, Jayadurga, Navadurga, Vashuli, Dhumavati, Vishalakshi, Gauri, Bagalamukhi, Pratyangira, Matangi, Mahishasuramardini, their rites and Mantras.[8]

Elsewhere in history, Katyayani and Maitreyi are mentioned as a wives of Sage Yajnavalkya (याज्ञवल्क्य) of Vedic India, credited with the authorship of the Shatapatha Brahmana[9]

This piece is adapted from Kumudam Bhakti Special December 2007

Once Parvati stealthily approached Siva from behind seated Siva and covered His eyes with Her palms. What happened was a disaster. The Sun, the Moon and the Fire are His eyes. Pitch darkness enveloped the world. The sins of all creatures including humans morphed into creeping blackness, which enveloped Parvati and turned her from golden to black complexion. Parvati out of nasty surprise, panic and grief let loose the hands covering the eyes of Siva. Siva said, 'My dear Devi, This is just not mere blackness; this is a big bag of all the sins of Jivas.' This episode is given as the cause of Anāśrita Śiva in Kashmir Saivism. Sakti blocks or isolates Siva temporarily from seeing the objects she creates in Her Capacity as Vimarsa. Parvati: 'How am I going to get rid of the Jivas' bag of sin?' Siva: 'This is all for the good of everyone. Go to Badri and morph into a baby. KatyAyana Muni, not blessed with a child, will walk in on you. On seeing a tender baby, he will scoop you up, and raise you in his Asrama. In the meantime, the Muni will come to know who you are. On my instructions, he will provide you with Yoga Dandam, Prayer beads, tall light, vessels, fan, Chamaram, roasted seeds, parasol. Take them to Kasi (Benares or Varnasi). By the time you arrive at Kasi, the people will be in the grip of famine. You will relieve their famine, earn the name Annapurna and live there for 12 years, after which You proceed south. As you tread on your southern path, a delightful period full of momentous events will unfold. Your Rudraksha Rosary will turn into Vilva Garland; Your parasol will turn into a NAgAparanam; Yoga Dandam will become TrisUla; Ganges water becomes milk; the fan morphs into a parakeet; Chamara transforms into young girls; the vessel will turn into a lamp; the roasted seeds will start germinating; that place is the Kanchi, you will come to know.

Under a mango tree in Kanchi, You will see a Linga; know that Linga is Me. You will offer Your worship to that Linga. Everyday, You will worship Me by performing ablution with milk and decorate me with the Nagaparanam, and Vilva garland. On either side of Lingam, station two girls as guardians; perch the parakeet on your hand; perform Tapas on Me from the middle of the Panchagni on a platform; at that time I will appear before you and marry you. That moment, Your black complexion will vanish; You will shine gloriously in Your usual golden complexion.

On the orders of Siva, Parvati went to BhadrikAsrama. She incarnated as the child of KAtyAyana Muni and was glorified as katyayani. She grew up in the Asramam, at appropriate time left for Kasi, offered relief from famine, and earned the name Annapurna.


The Bhagavata Purana in 10th Canto, 22nd Chapter, describes the legend of Katyayani Vrata, where young marriageable daughters (gopis) of the cowherd men of Gokula in Braja, worshipped Goddess Katyayani and took a vrata or vow, during the entire month of Margashirsha, the first month of the winter season, to get Lord Krishna as their husband. During the month, they ate only unspiced khichri, and after bathing in the Yamuna at sunrise, made an earthen deity of the goddess on the riverbank, and worshipped the idol with aromatic substances like sandalwood pulp, and lamps, fruits, betel nuts, newly grown leaves, and fragrant garlands and incense. This follows the episode where Krishna takes away their clothes while they were bathing in the Yamuna River.[10][11]

She is worshiped as the Adi shakti swaroop who if you make vow of fasting, would give you the husband you have wished and prayed for. The fasting, called Kātyāyanī-vrata is made for a whole month, offering such things as sandal, flowers, incense, etc.

"During the month of Mārgaśīrṣa, every day early in the morning the young daughters of the cowherds (gopis) would take one another's hands and, singing of Krishna's transcendental qualities, go to the Yamunā (Jamuna) to bathe. Desiring to obtain Krishna as their husband, they would then worship the goddess Kātyāyanī with incense, flowers and other items".

Each day they rose at dawn. Calling out to one another by name, they all held hands and loudly sang the glories of krishna while going to the Kālindī (Kalindi—personified Jamuna) to take their bath.

The Adolescent Virgin Goddess in the southern tip of India, Devi Kanya Kumari is said to be the avatar of Devi Katyayani. She is the goddess of penance and Sanyas. During the Pongal (Thai Pongal), a harvest festival, which coincides with the Makara Sankranthi, and is celebrated in Tamil Nadu, young girls prayed for rain and prosperity and throughout the month, they avoided milk and milk products. Women used to bath early in the morning, and worshiped the idol of Goddess Katyayani, carved out of wet sand. The penance ended on the first day of the month of Thai (January–February) in Tamil calendar.[12]



  • Sri Katyayani Shakthipeeth Adhar Devi(Arbuda Devi) Temple, Mount Abu, Aravali Range, Rajasthan, India.

http://hill-temples.blogspot.in/2010/07/adhar-arbuda-devi-temple.html, http://astrobix.com/hindumarg/69-अर्बुदा_देवी_मन्दिर__Arbuda_Devi_Temple__Arbuda_Devi_Mandir__Arbuda_Devi.html


  1. ^ a b c The Sixth form of Durga
  2. ^ Religious beliefs and practices of North India during the early medieval period, by Vibhuti Bhushan Mishra. Published by BRILL, 1973. ISBN 90-04-03610-5. Page 22.
  3. ^ Devī-māhātmya: the crystallization of the goddess tradition, by Thomas B. Coburn. Published by Motilal Banarsidass Publ., 1988. ISBN 81-208-0557-7. Page 240.
  4. ^ a b CHAPTER VII. UMĀ. Hindu Mythology, Vedic and Puranic, by W.J. Wilkins. 1900. page 306
  5. ^ Uddiyana Pitha Iconography of the Buddhist Sculpture of Orissa: Text, by Thomas E. Donaldson, Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts. Abhinav Publications, 2001. ISBN 81-7017-406-6. Page 9.
  6. ^ Forms of Durga
  7. ^ The triumph of the goddess: the canonical models and theological visions of the Devī-Bhāgavata Purāṇa, by Cheever Mackenzie Brown. SUNY Press, 1990. ISBN 0-7914-0363-7. Page 97.
  8. ^ Chapter Six: Shakti and Shakta Shakti and Shâkta, by Arthur Avalon (Sir John Woodroffe), 1918.
  9. ^ LECTURE II - THE MYSTICISM OF THE UPANISHADS Hindu Mysticism, by S.N. Dasgupta, 1927.
  10. ^ Sri Katyayani Vrata Story Bhagavata Purana 10th Canto 22nd Chapter.
  11. ^ Ancient Indian tradition & mythology: Puranas in translation, by Jagdish Lal Shastri, Arnold Kunst, G. P. Bhatt, Ganesh Vasudeo Tagare. Published by Motilal Banarsidass, 1970. Page 1395.
  12. ^ History of Pongal Festival
  13. ^ http://temple.dinamalar.com/en/new_en.php?id=1531

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