Control over or embodiment of sexual desire - Godess Sri Chinna Mastha Devi

A nude decapitated Chhinnamasta holds her severed head in her right hand and a sword in the left. She seats squatting on and in coitus with a white-complexioned naked Shiva lying on the ground. Cremation pyres appear in the background. Dogs and jackals feast on severed human heads in the foreground. An 18th-century painting from Rajasthan of Chhinnamasta, seated squatting on Shiva, in coitus with him.

Control over or embodiment of sexual desire - Godess Sri Chinna Mastha Devi
Chinna Mastha Devi

Cremation pyres appear in the background. There are two contrasting interpretations of Chhinnamasta with regard to sexual desire. The image of Chhinnamasta standing on a copulating couple of Kamadeva (literally, "sexual desire") and Rati ("sexual intercourse") is interpreted by some scholars as a symbol of a person's control over sexual desire, while others interpret the goddess as being the embodiment of sexual energy.

Her names, such as Yogini and Madanatura ("one who has control of Kama"), convey her yogic control over the sexual energy.

Her triumphant stance trampling the love-deity couple denotes victory over desire and samsara (the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth).

Her subjugation of the amorous couple suggests that her worship will grant control over sexual urges and other impulses of the indriyas ("senses"), whose governing god Indra - she is associated with.

Images in which Chhinnamasta is depicted sitting on Kamadeva-Rati in a non-suppressive fashion suggest that the couple is giving sexual energy to the goddess. Images, where Shiva is depicted in coitus with Chhinnamasta, are associated with this interpretation.

Chhinnamasta's names like Kameshwari ("goddess of desire") and Ratiragavivriddhini ("one who is engrossed in the realm of Rati – [copulation or sexual desire]") and the appearance of klim – the common seed syllable of Kamadeva and Krishna – in her mantra support this interpretation.

Her lolling tongue also denotes sexual hunger. The inverted triangle, found in Chhinnamasta's iconography as well as in her yantra, signifies the yoni (womb) and the feminine. The goddess is often prescribed to be visualised in the centre of the inverted triangle in the navel.

It also signifies the three Gunas (qualities) and three Shaktis (powers) –iccha ("will-power"), kriya ("action"), and jnana ("wisdom"). The goddess is called Yoni-mudra or Yoni-gamya, accessible through the yoni.

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