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Maa Kathyayini

Maa Kathyayini

Kathyayini (also known as Katyayani) is the sixth form of the Durga, part of the Navadurga or the nine forms of Hindu goddess Durga or Shakti, worshipped during the

Navratri celebrations.

In Shaktism she is associated with the fierce forms of Shakti and a War goddess, which also include Bhadrakali and Chandi , and traditionally she is associated with the colour red, as with Goddess Durga, the primordial form of Shakti, a fact also mentioned in Patanjali's Mahabhashya on Pāṇini, written in 2nd BCE .

She is first mentioned in the Taittiriya Aranyaka part of the Krishna Yajurveda. Skanda Purana mentions her being created out of the spontaneous anger of Gods, which eventually lead to slaying the demon, Mahishasura, mounted of the lion given to her by Goddess Gauri. This occasion is celebrated during the annual Durga Puja festival in most parts of India..

Her exploits are described in the Devi-Bhagavata Purana and Devi Mahatmyam, 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 AD), which mentions Uddiyana or Odradesa (Orissa), as the seat of Goddess Katyayani and Lord Jagannath .

In Hindu traditions like Yoga and the Tantra, she is ascribed to the sixth Ajna Chakra or the 'Third eye chakra', and her blessings are invoked by concentrating on this point


According to ancient legends, she was born a daughter of Katyayan Rishi, born in the Katya lineage, thus called Katyayani, "daughter of Katyayan" . Elsewhere in texts like the Kalika Purana, it is mentioned that it was Rishi Kaytyayan who first worshipped her, hence she came to known as 'Katyayani. In either case, she is a demonstration or apparition of the Durga, also known as Parvati, Shiva's wife, and is worshipped on the sixth day of Navratri festival.
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. Siva 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, Katyayini proceeded to the Vindhya hills. There, the asuras Chanda and Munda 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 came, and fought; at length Durga dismounted from her lion, and sprang upon the back of Mahisha, who was in the form of a buffalo, and with her tender feet so smote him on the head that he fell to the ground senseless, when she cut off his head with her sword, and hence was called Mahishasuramardini, the Slayer of Mahishasura, the legend also finds mention in Varaha Purana, and the classical text of Shaktism the Devi-Bhagavata Purana

According to 'Tantras, she revealed through the North (Uttaramnaya) face, which is one six Faces of Shiva. This face is s blue in color and with three eyes, and also revealed the Devis, Dakshinakalika, Mahakali, Guhyakah, Smashanakalika, Bhadrakali, Ekajata, Ugratara (fierce Tara), Taritni, Chhinnamasta, Nilasarasvati (Blue Saraswati), Durga, Jayadurga, Navadurga, Vashuli, Dhumavati, Vishalakshi, Gauri, Bagalamukhi, Pratyangira, Matangi, Mahishasuramardini, their rites and Mantras.

Elsewhere in history, Katyayani and Maitreyi are mentioned as a wives of Sage Yajnavalkya (याज्ञवल्क्य) of Vedic India, credited with the authorship of the Shatapatha Brahmana