What are the Goals and Modes of Chinnamasta devi worship

The yantra of Chhinnamasta. The yantra serves as aniconic representation of the goddess

Dec 10, 2021 - 12:19
Aug 12, 2022 - 02:17
What are the Goals and Modes of Chinnamasta devi worship

Tantric practitioners worship Chhinnamasta for acquiring siddhis or supernatural powers. Chhinnamasta's mantra (a sacred chant that is repeated by a devotee) Srim hrim klim aim Vajravairocaniye hum hum phat svaha is to be invoked to attract and subjugate women.

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Her mantra associates her with syllables denoting beauty, light, fire, spiritual self-realization, and destruction of delusion. The Shakta Pramoda and the Rudrayamala recommend the use of her mantra to obtain wealth and auspiciousness.

Another goal of Chhinnamasta's worship is to cast spells and cause harm to someone. She is prescribed to be worshipped for subjugation or enchantment of men and women (vasikarana), the annihilation of foes (uchchatana), someone's death (Marana) and causing hatred or hostilities between friends (vidveshana).

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Acarya Ananda Jha, the author of the Chinnamasta Tattva, prescribes her worship by soldiers as she embodies self-control of lust, heroic self-sacrifice for the benefit of others, and fearlessness in the face of death. In a collective prayer to the Mahavidyas in the Shakta Maha-Bhagavata Purana, the devotee prays to emulate Chhinnamasta in her generosity to others.

Other goals common to worship of all Mahavidyas are poetic speech, well-being, control of one's foes, removal of obstacles, ability to sway kings, ability to attract others, conquest over other kings, and, finally, moksha (salvation).

Modes of worship

An inverted triangle in the centre is surrounded by three concentric circles, embedded in another inverted triangle – which in turn is encircled by a circle with 8 lotus petals. This arrangement is enclosed in a square with T-shaped appendages in the centre of each of its four sides.

The yantra of Chhinnamasta. The yantra serves as an aniconic representation of the goddess.

The Tantric texts Tantrasara, Shakta Pramoda and Mantra-mahodadhih give details about the worship of Chhinnamasta and other Mahavidyas, including her yantra, mantra and her dhyanas (meditative or iconographic forms).

The Sri Chhinnamasta Nityarcana by Shri Swamiji (1979) details the rituals for the daily worship of Chhinnamasta.

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In her puja, Chhinnamasta's image or her yantra is worshipped, along with her attendants. The heterodox offerings of Panchamakara – wine, meat, fish, parched grain, and coitus – along with mainstream offerings such as flowers, light, incense, etc., are prescribed for her worship.

A fire sacrifice and repetition of her stotra (hymn of praise) or her nama-stotra (name-hymn) are also prescribed in her worship. The Shakta Pramoda has her sahasranama (thousand name-hymn) as well as a compilation of her 108 names in a hymn.

Tantric texts tell the worshipper to imagine a red sun orb – signifying a yoni triangle – in his own navel. The popular form of Chhinnamasta is imagined to reside in the orb. The Tantrasara cautions a householder-man to invoke the goddess only in "abstract terms".

It further advises that, if woman invokes Chhinnamasta by her mantra, the woman will become a dakini and lose her husband and son, thereby becoming a perfect yogini.

The Shaktisamgama Tantra prescribes her worship only by the left-handed path (Vamamarga). The Mantra-mahodadhih declares that such worship involves having sexual intercourse with a woman who is not one's wife.

The Shakta Pramoda tells the same, adding fire sacrifices, wine, and meat offerings at night. The best time to propitiate her is said to be the fourth quarter of the evening, that is, midnight.

Some hymns narrate that Chhinnamasta likes blood and thus is offered blood sacrifices at some shrines. The Shaktisamgama Tantra says that only brave souls (viras) should follow Vamamarga worship to the goddess. The Shakta Pramoda warns that improper worship brings severe consequences, with Chhinnamasta beheading the person and drinking his blood.

Further, it explains the worship rituals to be followed by householders and those to be followed by renouncers. The Todala Tantra mentions that, as part of Chhinnamasta's worship, Shiva or his fierce form, Bhairava, be worshipped as Kabandha ("headless trunk") as the goddess's consort. The worship of Kabandha, to the right of Chhinnamasta, is said to grant siddhis.

Chhinnamasta is typically worshipped at midnight along with the other Mahavidyas at Kali Puja, the festival of Kali. However, householders are cautioned not to worship her. The Bakhrabad area of Cuttack district and the 86 Palli pandal of Kolkata have unique traditions of worshipping Chhinnamasta, instead of Kali, on Kali Puja.

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