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Goddess Nirrti In Hinduism

Goddess Nirrti in Hinduism is the Goddess of destruction, identified with misery, decay and dissolution. She is referred to as the fetter of ruin and is also invoked to wipe of sins. In the ritualistic worship of Nirrti, the remnants of the offering (food etc) can only be partaken by the priest; others may only smell them.

Maitrayani Samhita, Satapatha Brahmana, Katyayana Srauta Sutra, Asvalayana Grihya Sutra, etc, prescribe that after the rites which have to do with the dead, with evil demons like Nirrti and Rudra, one should not look back or around oneself.

In the funeral ritual, the pouring of water around the corpse placed on mat or stone (now platform), meant for the Goddess Nirrti, separates the living from the dead.

Manusmriti (II. 105) states that one who has illicit relations with the wife of one’s guru should cut off one’s genitals and move towards the region of Nirrti.

According to the Mahabharata, Nirrti is the wife of Adharma and mother of Bhaya (fear), Mahabhaya (terror), and Mrityu (death), who keep watch and ward over sinners. Some late authorities like Manu make Nirrti the guardian of the southwestern quarter. Nirrti is also described as one of the eleven Rudras, son of Sthanu and grandson of Brahma, and one of the eight Vasus.

In Vishnudharmottara Purana, Nirrti (mrityu) has been described as the wife of Virupaksha (kala, time). Nirrti does not figure in literature like other gods and even the images of this deity are rare.

Some of the texts, however, recognize Nirrti as a male deity.

Iconographic texts describe Nirrti as a terrific god holding sword, the enemy’s head, etc, and riding an ass, horse, man, lion, dog, corpse or goblin