Chinnamastā: The Goddess Who Decapitates Herself

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Laura Dunn

A simple online catalogue of images for researching Mahāvidyā Chinnamastā—seemingly gruesome, but a possible symbol of self-sacrifice and liberation for the sake of others.

One day Pārvatī went to bathe in the Mandākinī River… with her attendants, Jayā and Vijayā. After bathing, the great goddesses color became black because she was sexually aroused. After some time, her two attendants asked her, “Give us some food. We are hungry.” She replied, “I shall give you food, but please wait.” After a while, again they asked her. She replied, “Please wait, I am thinking about some matters.” Waiting awhile, they implored her, “You are the mother of the universe. A child asks everything from her mother. The mother gives her children not only food but also coverings for the body. So that is why we are praying to you for food. You are known for your mercy; please give us food.” Hearing…

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