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Goddess of Power
Daughter of Sage Katyayana, hence known as Katyayani
AffiliationAvatar of Durga
Mantraचंद्रहासोज्जवलकरा शार्दूलवरवाहना। कात्यायनी शुभं दध्यादेवी दानवघातिनि।।
WeaponKhadga (longsword)
Padma or Lotus, Abhayamudra, Varadamudra

Katyayani (कात्यायनी) is an aspect of Mahadevi and the slayer of the tyrannical demon Mahishasura. She is the sixth among the Navadurgas, the nine forms of Hindu goddess Durga who are worshipped during the festival of Navaratri.[1] She is depicted with four, ten or eighteen hands. This is the second name given to the goddess Adi Parashakti in Amarakosha, the Sanskrit lexicon (Goddess Parvati names- Uma, Katyayani, Gauri, Kali, Haimavati, Ishwari).

In Shaktism, she is associated with the fierce forms of Shakti or Durga, a warrior goddess, which also includes Bhadrakali and Chandika.[2] She is traditionally associated with the colour red, as with Parvati, the primordial form of Shakti, a fact also mentioned in Patanjali's Mahabhashya on Pāṇini, written in 2nd century BCE.[3]

She is first mentioned in the Taittiriya Aranyaka part of the Yajurveda. The Skanda Purana mentions her being created out of the spontaneous anger of Gods, which eventually led to slaying the demon, Mahishasura, mounted on the lion. 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, which are 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 Katyayani and Jagannath.[5]

In Hindu traditions like Yoga and 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]


Born out of the anger of Gods, Katyayani kills the demon, Mahishasura

According to the Vamana Purana she was created from the combined energies of the gods when their anger at the demon Mahishasura manifested itself in the form of energy rays. The rays crystallized in the hermitage of Kātyāyana Rishi, who gave it proper form therefore she is also called Katyayani or "daughter of Katyayana".[6] Elsewhere in texts like the Kalika Purana, it is mentioned that it was Rishi Kaytyayana who first worshipped her, hence she came to be known as Katyayani. In either case, she is a demonstration or apparition of the Durga and is worshipped on the sixth day of Navaratri festival.[7]

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. Shiva 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, Katyayani proceeded to the Mysore hills. There, the asuras 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 took on the form of Mahisha, the bull and fought; at length Durga dismounted from her lion, and sprang upon the back of Mahisha, who was in the form of a bull and with her tender feet smote him on the head with such a terrible force that he fell to the ground senseless.[8] Then she cut off his head with her sword and henceforth 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.[9]

Other legends[edit]

Raktabīja, an aide of Kolhasur, possessed a power (Siddhi) whereby every drop of his blood spilled on earth would give rise to a demon. Due to this power, Bhairava was finding it impossible to kill Raktabīja. Katyayani swallowed all of Raktabīja's blood without letting it fall on earth. She created an Amrut Kunda (tank of nectar) to rejuvenate Bhairava's soldiers, thus playing a crucial role in the war. Her temple to the South of Kolhapur commemorates this.[10][11]

The second among the 'Shaktipeeths' is Tulja Bhavani (Parvati) of Tuljapur. It is the family deity of the Bhosale Royal family, the Yadavs and of countless numbers of families belonging to different castes. The founder of the Maratha kingdom, Shivaji always visited the temple to seek her blessings. It is believed that the Goddess Durga Bhavani (Katyayani) gave him a sword - 'the Bhawani sword' - for success in his expeditions. The history of the temple has been mentioned in the Skanda Purana. [citation needed]

According to Tantras, she revealed through the North face, which is one of six faces of Shiva. This face is blue in colour and with three eyes and also revealed the Devis, Dakshinakalika, Mahakali, Guhyakali, Smashanakalika, Bhadrakali, Ekajata, Ugratara (fierce Tara), Taritni, Chhinnamasta, Nilasarasvati (Blue Saraswati), Durga, Jayadurga, Navadurga, Vashuli, Dhumavati, Visalakshi, Parvati, Bagalamukhi, Pratyangira, Matangi, Mahishasuramardini, their rites and Mantras.[12]


In the 10th Canto, 22nd Chapter of the Bhagavata Purana describes the legend of Katyayani Vrata, where young marriageable daughters (gopis) of the cowherd men of Gokula in Braja, worshipped Katyayani and took a vrata, or vow, during the entire month of Margashirsha, the first month of the winter season, to get 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, lamps, fruits, betel nuts, newly grown leaves, fragrant garlands and incense. This precedes the episode where Krishna takes away their clothes while they are bathing in the Yamuna River.[13][14]She is worshipped and revered on the 6th day of Navratri. She is also considered to be sister of Surya dev, the Sun God, and is worshipped along with him during the festival of Chhath Puja in the eastern parts of India.

The Adolescent Virgin Goddess in the southern tip of India, Devi Kanya Kumari is said to be the avatar of Katyayani or Parvati. 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 Katyayani, carved out of wet sand. The penance ended on the first day of the month of Thai (January–February) in Tamil calendar.[15]



चंद्रहासोज्जवलकरा शार्दूलवरवाहना। कात्यायनी शुभं दध्यादेवी दानवघातिनि॥:

Chandrahasojjvalakara |

Shaardulavara Vaahana ||

Kaatyayani Shubham Daddya |

Devi Daanava Ghaatini ||

ॐ देवी कात्यायन्यै नम: Oṃ Devī Kātyāyanyai Namaḥ

Chandrahasojjvalakara Shaardulavaravahana |

Katyayani Shubham Dadyad Devi Danavaghatini ||

Ya Devi Sarvabhuteshu Ma Katyayani Rupena Samsthita |

Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasyai Namo Namah ||[16]

Dhyan Mantra[edit]

स्वर्णाआज्ञा चक्र स्थितां षष्टम दुर्गा त्रिनेत्राम्। वराभीत करां षगपदधरां कात्यायनसुतां भजामि॥ Swarnagya chakra sthitam shashtam Durga Trinetram. Varabhit Karam shadgpadmdharam katyayansutam Bhajami


    • Sri Kathayee Amman temple, Nelli Thoppu at Kovilur in Thanjavur city of Tanjore district.


  1. ^ a b "The Sixth form of Durga". Archived from the original on 2017-05-11. Retrieved 2009-06-14.
  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. ^ "Topic 1".
  7. ^ Forms of Durga
  8. ^ "Shardiya Navratri 2021 Day 6: Maa Katyayani story, puja vidhi, and significance". Hindustan Times. 2021-10-10. Retrieved 2021-10-12.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ Shree Katyayani devi Bakor, Mahisagar, Gujarat
  11. ^ Shree Karveer Mahatmya, Author – Dajiba Joshirao, Publisher – Minal Prakashan, Edition/Year of Publication – 2012
  12. ^ Chapter Six: Shakti and Shakta Shakti and Shâkta, by Arthur Avalon (Sir John Woodroffe), 1918.
  13. ^ Sri Katyayani Vrata Story Archived 2010-06-12 at the Wayback Machine Bhagavata Purana 10th Canto 22nd Chapter.
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ "History of Pongal Festival". Archived from the original on 2010-01-19. Retrieved 2009-06-15.
  16. ^ "Navaratri 2021 Day 6: Worship of Maa Katyayani". India Today. October 12, 2021. Retrieved 2021-10-12.
  17. ^ http://www.katyayanidevibakor.org/ Archived 2017-03-08 at the Wayback Machine Katyayani Mandir, Bakor, by N.R.Upadhyay,2016.
  18. ^ "Shreekatyayani.org".
  19. ^ "Katyani". Archived from the original on 2009-04-10. Retrieved 2016-02-10.
  20. ^ "अर्बुदा देवी मन्दिर | Arbuda Devi Temple | Arbuda Devi Mandir | Arbuda Devi".
  21. ^ Temple details and description from Dinamalar composition on temples
  22. ^ "Kathyayini Amman Temple : Kathyayini Amman Temple Details | Kathyayini Amman- Marathurai | Tamilnadu Temple | காத்யாயனி அம்மன்".
  23. ^ "Katyayanipeeth, Religious Trust, Vrindaban, India".

External links[edit]