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Goddess Shyamala In Hinduism

Goddess Shyamala in Hinduism is the presiding deity of music, dance and drama. She is also known as Goddess Matangi and is of celestial origin. According to Brahmanda Purana, she is one of the two important helpmates of Mahatripurasundari Lalita.

Goddess Shyamala bears the epithets of Sangita Yogini (a yogi adept in music), Shyama (the dark one, the ever young one), Shyamala (the sweet dark one), Mantra Nayika (the heroine of mantra), Mantrini (the confidant of Lalita), Sacivesi (the principal secretary), Sukapriya (the one having a pet parrot), Vinavati (the one holding a lyre), mudravati (the one who holds the seal also one who has mastered the different Agamic gestures), and Sadamada (ever intoxicated).

Goddess Shyamala is also a chandali, a girl outcaste from a hypocritical urban society. She belongs to the outer realm of the so-called civilization. So she is pure in nature;she is the innate spirit of woman, free and cheerful. She becomes the source of harmonious music which is not pretentious. Such music knows naught of all the grills of hypocrisy, all pretensions of detachment, all pretensions of exclusive and absolute divinity.

One should meditate on Shyamala, well bedecked with jewels (made out of flowers, naturally), intoxicated with the wine of all sweetness, kadamba garland entwined in her braid, holding a beautiful veena (lute), wearing a red sari, with a mark of musk on the forehead, the digit of moon as her forehead ornament, and a conch cup fixed in one of the ears, fulfilling the wishes of her worshiper with one sweet smiling glance, shining with the glassy luster of a parrot and having by her side a parrot, the embodiment of all arts.

The Goddess of music is in a state of ecstasy. Her hair is braided with full blown kadamba flowers with a thousand filaments. She holds a beautiful veena in her hand. Her apparel is red (red being the color of manifest passion), she herself is a dark as a dense cloud and as such is the embodiment of nitiraga, a deep and unmanifest love; both complement each other. Her forehead is marked by a musk-made tilaka. Musk itself is a fragrance pouched in the nave of a musk-deer, in whose quest it runs here and there but doesn’t realize that it is coming from within him. So musk sap is there on the forehead, so that self-recollection is made possible. Music, poetry and painting also generate a process of self-recollection beyond the comprehension of the senses or the mind or even of the buddhi (super mind). They kindle the spark of the innermost consciousness. The digit of the moon (usually in the case of Devi it is the eighth day,in other words, it is the half-fulfilled aspect of immortality) is a driving force and an urge to become a fuller entity. A conch cup held by the ear is a desire to hear the music of the infinite through the crevice of the conch. There are no words used for granting a wish. There no words used for granting a wish. There is just a smile and a sweet glance that alone is the fulfillment of a young musician.

There are several hymns in praise of Goddess Shyamala, and the most fascinating one is called Shyamala or Matangi Dandaka, ascribed to Kalidasa (some attribute it to Sri Shankaracharya). The worship of Shyamala or Matangi as a prelude to the worship of Mahatripurasundari Lalita has been described in brief in Parasurama Kalpasutra and at length in Srividya Ratnakara of Vidyaranya (15th century CE). Mid-noon is the hour of her worship. At the close of the ritual, Shyamala Dandaka is sung.