Goddess Chamunda

Goddess Chamunda is included in the Saptamatrika (seven Matrikas or mothers) lists in the Hindu texts like Mahabharata (Chapter `Vana-parva`), Devi Purana and Vishnudharmottara Purana. She is often depicted in the Saptamatrika group in sculptures, examples of which are Ellora and Elephanta caves. Though she is always portrayed last (rightmost) in the group, she is sometimes referred to as the leader of the group. While other Matrikas are considered as Shaktis (powers) of male divinities and resemble them in their appearance, Chamunda is the only Matrika who is a Shakti of the great Goddess Devi rather than a male god. She is also the only Matrika who enjoys independent worship of her own; all other Matrikas are always worshipped together. Devi Purana describe a pentad of Matrikas who help Ganesha to kill demons. Further, sage Mandavya is described as worshipping the Māṭrpaňcaka (the five mothers), Chamunda being one of them. The mothers are described as established by creator god Brahma for saving king Harishchandra from calamities. Apart from usual meaning of Chamunda as slayer of demons Chanda and Munda, Devi Purana gives a different explanation: Chanda means terrible while Munda stands for Brahma`s head or lord or husband. Found in Jajpur dated 8th Century AD In Vishnudharmottara Purana - where the Matrikas are compared to vices - Chamunda is considered as a manifestation of depravity. Every matrika is considered guardian of a compas direction. Chamunda is assigned the direction of south-west. Chamunda, being a Matrika, is considered one of the chief Yoginis, who are considered to be daughters or manifestations of the Matrikas. In the context of a group of sixty-four yoginis, Chamunda is believed to have created seven other yoginis, together forming a group of eight. In the context of eighty-one yoginis, Chamunda heads a group of nine yoginis.