|Goddess of Power|
A shrine to Bhavani
|Weapon||Bow and Arrow|
Bhavani was the tutelary deity of the Maratha leader Shivaji, in whose veneration he dedicated his sword, Bhavani Talwar. A temple to Bhavani at Tuljapur in Maharashtra dates back to the 12th century. The temple contains a metre-high granite icon of the goddess, with eight arms holding weapons. She also holds the head of the demon, Mahishasura, who she slew in the region which is the present day Mysore.
Temples of Bhavani
The Tulja Bhavani and another temple in Tuljapur in the Osmanabad District of Maharashtra is considered one of the 51 Shakti Pithas. This temple was built close to the 12th century CE. The Tulja Bhavani temple was built between 1537-1540 CE in Chittorgarh. It is located at coordinates .
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Worship of the primeval energy, Shakti, in the form of the mother Goddess is seen in the four Shakti Peethas of Maharashtra - Bhavani with her seat at Tuljapur, Mahalakshmi at Kolhapur, Mahamaya Renuka at Mahur and Jagadamba at Saptashrungi, and also in Tamil Nadu (Periyapalayam) Sri Bhavani Amman. Other Shakti temples in the state are those at Ambejogai and Aundh. (also see Daksha Yagna).
Goddess Bhavani is held in great reverence throughout the state of Maharashtra. She is considered to be an embodiment of Ugra or ferocity, as well as a Karunaswaroopini - an embodiment of mercy. A number of castes, sub-castes and families from Maharashtra consider her their family deity or Kuldevta.
The Bhavani temple in Tuljapur is located on a hill known as Yamunachala, on the slopes of the Sahayadri range in Maharashtra near Sholapur. The temple entrance is at an elevation and visitors need to ascend a flight of steps to reach the shrine. Historic records speak of the existence of this temple from as early as the 12th century CE.
Bhavani is worshipped in the form of a 3-foot-high (0.91 m) granite image, with eight arms holding weapons, bearing the head of the slain demon, Mahishasura. Bhavani is also known as Tulaja, Turaja, Tvarita, and Amba.
Legend portrays that a demon by the name, Matanga, wreaked havoc upon the devas and the humans who approached Bhrahma for help. Upon his advice, they turned to the Mother Goddess, Shakti, who took up the form of the destroyer; and powered by the other (Sapta)-Maataas Varaahi, Bhrahmi, Vaishnavi, Kaumaari, Indraani, and Saambhavi, vanquished him for peace to reign again.
Legend also describes that Bhavani vanquished another demon who had taken the form of a wild buffalo Mahishasura and hence the name Mahishasura Mardhini or 'the slayer of Mahisha the demon'. Later, she took abode on the Yamunachala hill, which is now home to the temple.
Four worship services are offered each day here. The festivals of significance here are Gudi Padwa in the month of Chaitra, Shriral Sashti, Lalita Panchami, Makara Sankranti, and Rathasaptami. The deity is taken out in procession on Tuesdays. Navaratri is also celebrated with great fanfare, and it culminates in Vijaya Dasami.
Sri Bhavani Devi is Adhi Parashakti herself. The name Bhavani denotes various meanings.
Bhavani- Bhava(Shiva)ni- Internal Power of Lord Shiva
According to Lalitha Sahasranamam, Bhavani means the Deity who always helps devotees, and who gives Mukthi.
The great sage and Guru Aadhi Shankara says, "A Person who recitates the name, Bhavani, with true devotion thrice every day will not acquire Sorrow, Sin, Illness & Unexpected Death."
People occasionally confuse Bhavani devi with Renuka devi; however, the story of Bhavani devi is different from Renuka devi.
One of the Great Purana Devi Bhaghavatam says Bhavani Devi is the original form of Aadhi Parashakti and Sister
Of Shri Krishna, Since Maha Vishnu did Penance to get Devi's help for his Krishna Avatar, Devi is born to Yashodha
As Maha Maaya devi (in Tamil Magamaaye), That is why Bhavani amman holds Sanghu (Conch)& Chakram (Wheel) which resembles
Vishnu, Her Appearance actually denotes She is the Sister of Vishnu
Image of Tuljabhavani
The image (murthi) of Tuljabhavani is made up of black nonperishable stone. It is around 3 feet in height and 2 feet in width. The face of goddess is beautiful and smiling. The goddess has no clothes carved on her upper body. The goddess is asta-bhuja(with 8 hands) Mahishasura Mardini Durga. As she is Parvati, she has a swayambhu (self manifested) shiv-lingam in her crown. She has an arrow holder on her back. Her long hair is coming out of the crown. The sun and the moon are present as witnesses of her victory over Mahishasura. Her lion stands near her. The image is self manifested and movable. It is moved three times a year from its place to the bedroom of Maa Bhavani. Below the lion, sage Markandeya is chanting the durga-saptashati shlokas. The lady sage Anubhuti is on the left side of the goddess. She is in a hanging position and is meditating on the goddess. It is chala murthi . It is moved thrice a year during the long sleeping periods of maa Bhavani. The face of Sati had fallen in Tuljapur because of which the goddess is decorated in such a way that only her face is visible after covering her with sarees and ornaments. Bhavani came here to save Anubhuti from the demon known as Kukur. In a battle with the goddess, Kukur took the form of a buffalo. Bhavani cut his head, then he started coming in his original form. At that time, she penetrated her trident in his chest. Hence, she is in form of Mahishasura Mardini Durga.
- Hindu Goddesses: Vision of the Divine Feminine in the Hindu Religious Traditions (ISBN 81-208-0379-5) by David Kinsley