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Issues For Cleanup[edit]

Hinduism contains a vast array of texts, including the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Puranas, and the Tantras. These texts do not always agree. At a minimum, we can say that different texts often portray the same deities in a very different manner.

Commentators sometimes mix mythological elements with spiritual elements. The current version of Mahavidya explains the origin of the Ten Mahavidyas as based on the "numerous love games between Shiva and Parvati" - more or less the result of a marital tiff! This explanation tends toward the mythological and may not satisfy all readers.

The present article seems to be copied verbatim from:

This in turn is merely a condensation of an original article by Nitin Kumar published here:

So there may be copyright issues. Also, the Nitin Kumar article may not be scholarly or authoritative (though it's certainly worth a read). Kumar's "References and Further Reading" are all Western sources.

It might be helpful to explain that contravening social norms and exploring the forbidden (as discussed in the article) is more characteristic of Tantrism than of Hinduism as a whole. What may be confusing for some readers is that while the Ten Mahavidyas are Tantric Goddesses, some of them also exist outside Hindu Tantrism, where their origins and meaning may be expressed differently.

Perhaps one has to go into the "Tantric neighborhood" of Hinduism to find out about the Ten Mahavidyas. So one tends to get a Tantric-centered view of the universe where goddesses may be "horrific" or "ravishingly beautiful" (to quote the article). It might be helpful to get a more "normalized" view of the Ten Mahavidyas which brings them into the broader context of Hinduism. Admittedly, this is difficult to do.

The article's claim that the Ten Mahavidyas "most significantly established for always in the cannons of Indian thought the Goddess's superiority over her male counterpart" is a point of view. Elsewhere in Hinduism, one finds the idea that male and female are simply dual aspects of one essential Reality. As such, they are equal and inseparable.

Interestingly, Tara Devi (the second Mahavidya) was later embraced (and transformed) by Buddhists. In Buddhism, Tara has a special vow in which she states (according to Taranatha, b. 1575 CE):

In this life there is no such distinction as "male" and "female," neither of "self-identity," a "person" nor any perception, and therefore attachment to ideas of "male" and "female" is quite worthless. The weak-minded are always deluded by this.

Of course, that is the Buddhist view of Tara, not the Hindu view. But it helps to illustrate my point.

In case it's not clear, one of my concerns is that some of the stranger things found in esoteric Tantrism not be confused with Hinduism as a whole. --Fencingchamp 18:19, 4 November 2005 (UTC)

If it's such a direct copy, then it should be removed as a very likely copyright violation (Unless the original publisher very clearly public domains it). 15:24, 12 January 2007 (UTC)


I have expanded a bit in both the top section of the article, and the section on the origin of the Mahavidyas. Much of what I added can be verified in David Kinsley's "Hindu Goddesses: Visions of the Divine Feminine in the Hindu Religious Traditition", which contains an excellent bibliography that references many primary sources (e.g. specific citations from the puranas).

To comment on Fenchingchamp's concerns above, I agree that the "Worship of Das Mahavidyas" section isn't very scholarly and ought to at least be qualified as representing a particular (Tantric) perspective which may not represent Hinduism as a whole. On the other hand, many of the myths and texts from which the Mahavidyas first appear may depict them as espesically shocking or fierce: I think it's equally important not to over-integrate the ideas with modern Hinduism, when the historical context might be quite different. Sonicforest 22:28, 29 July 2006 (UTC)

It is highly inaccurate to refer to the Mahavidyas as forms of Kali - very inaccurate. Each of these goddesses are full and remarkable forms with a broad base of worship on their own. Some are more familiar than others - for instance, Kamala is clearly closely connected to Lakshmi. Dhumavati is the least worshipped of the ten but even She is a great form. Kali is the first of the cycle. I have done Her worship for a very long time. Still, I do not make the mistake of regarding these as just forms of Her. There is no question of that the goddesses are interrelated and play, as it were, off of each other. But to suggest they are all forms of Kali doesn't help any understanding. It is like saying 'all gods are gods.. So what? Understanding their uniqueness and respecting that is terribly important for anyone who chooses to work with these goddesses.

Additionally, I couldn't agree more with the comments above. This article is a disappointing poor presentation of the goddesses and reflects a limited understanding. These forms have a long history which popular Hinduism is this age tends to gloss over for idiosyncratic and often quite repressive reasons. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Paulgarzajr (talkcontribs) 01:00, 26 March 2014 (UTC)

The ten mahavidyas and the ten sephiroth of the tree of life[edit]

Does anyone else see or suspect a simmilarity? I tried to attribute the sephiroth to the mahavidyas once, it matched to my opinion. I am looking forwards to other people's opinion on this...--N33 (talk) 09:40, 13 April 2008 (UTC)

from one other web search.[edit]

10 Mahavidyas is a very important aspect of Tantra and shakti sadhna. It is said that once Shiva became angry with Parvati and decided to leave. Parvati manifested as 10 mahavidyas and surrounded Shiva not to let him go.

Thus Shiva surrounded by 10 mahavidayas and enjoying or suffering due to them is called JIVA and any Jiva who wins these Mahavidyas becomes SHIVA.

The 10 mahavidyas and their shivas are :-

1 - Mahavidya ==Mahakali & Mahakaal

2- Shri vidya== Tara & Akshobhya

3- Siddha Vidya( I) ==Shodashi & Panchvaktra Shiva

4- siddha Vidya (ii) ==Bhuvaneshari & Traymbak Shiva

5- Vidya== Chhinmastaka & Kabandha

6-Siddha vidya (iii)== Bhairavi & Kaal Bhairav

7-vidya (ii)== Dhoomavati (alone)

8- siddha vidya(iv)== Baglamukhi & Ekvaktra shiva

9 - vidya (iii)=== Matangi & Matang

10 -vidya (iv)== Kamla & Sadashiv Vishnu

Nachiketa is right Mother Dhumavati is without Shiva and hence is called a Widow. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:56, 24 September 2008 (UTC)