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Saptamatrikas – Seven Divine Mothers – Saptamatris

In Hinduism, Saptamatrikas are the seven divine mothers and is often associated with Shiva and Shakti. The Saptamatrikas are Brahmani, Vaishnavi, Maheshwari, Kaumari, Varahi, Indrani and Chamundi. Stories about Sapta Matrikas are found in the Varaha Purana, Kurma Purana and the Mahabharata. Yogeshwari, a Shakti created by Shiva, is also mentioned among the Saptamatris and then the count becomes eight.

Saptamatrikas are among the numerous incarnations of Goddess Shakti. But their characteristics differ from region to region and from scriptures to scriptures. General belief is that the Saptamatrikas appeared to defeat the thousands of Anadhakas that were born from the blood of demon Andhaka.

Andhaka was actually the third son of Shiva. Lord Shiva injured demon Andhaka when he tried to take away Goddess Parvati. Andhaka had received a boon that a single drop of blood spilled from his body will create thousands of Andhakas. So when Shiva injured Andhaka thousands of Andhakas appeared from the blood split.

To defeat the Andhakas, Shiva created Yogeshwari and the other gods created Saptamatrikas.

The characteristics of the Saptamatris are that of Goddess Durga and Goddess Kali. But some scriptures term them as Shaktis responsible for diseases, misfortune, ill luck and harming children.

Some Puranas indicate that the Saptamatrikas are personifications of desire, anger, covetousness, pride, illusion, fault-finding, gossip and envy. And they are worshipped to keep out stay away from such qualities.

Some of the Saptamatrikas are worshipped individually in temples in India. Some of them are also worshipped during Navratri.

Sculptures of Saptamatrikas are found installed in temples dedicated to Lord Shiva.