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10 Mahavidya

Kali Tara mahavidya Sodashi Bhuvaneswari.
Bhairavi Chhinnamasta cha vidya Dhumavti tatha.
Bagala siddha vidya cha Matangi Kamalatmika.
Etaaha dasamahavidyaaha gupta vidyaaha prakeertitaaha.

In Sanskrit:Dasa = ten
Maha= great
Vidya: transcendental wisdom

Mahavidya is a collective name for ten major goddesses of the Indian pantheon, all of whom are regarded as aspects of Shakti.

In Tantra, worship of Devi-Shakti is referred to as a Vidya. Of the hundreds of tantrik practices, the worship of the ten major Devis is called the Dasa Mahavidya. These major forms of the goddess are described in the Todala Tantra. They are Kali, Tara, Maha Tripura Sundari (or Shodasi-Sri Vidya), Bhuvaneshvari, Chinnamasta, Bhairavi, Dhumavati, Bagalamukhi, Matangi, and Kamala. These ten aspects of Shakti are the epitome of the entire creation. Chapter 10 also outlines their consorts, although Dhumavati, the widow form, is not allocated a consort.

There are several “levels” at which these para shaktis(divine powers) can be worshiped with the Mantra and Yantra. Like a simple worship of the yantra with the mantra recitation, as a remedial astrological measure, elaborate worship with all tantrak rituals for attaining various siddhis associated with these tantras and for spiritual salvation.

Successful sadhana of these Vidyas gives several boons to the practitioner. The Tantrik-Yogi who has control over his senses and positively inclined uses the boons to guide people and for the benefit of mankind. The ones whose head starts spinning with success use them for the gratification of the senses, gather a bunch of disciples around them and become fake gurus.

The last chapter of todala Tantra equates Vishnu’s ten incarnations with the ten Mahavidyas as follows:

“Shri Devi said: Lord of Gods, Guru of the universe, tell me of the ten avatars. Now I want to hear of this, tell me of their true nature. Paramesvara, reveal to me which avatar goes with which Devi.

“Shri Shiva said: Tara Devi is the blue form, Bagala is the tortoise incarnation, Dhumavati is the boar, Chinnamasta is Nrisimha, Bhuvaneshvari is Vamana, Matangi is the Rama form, Tripura is Jamadagni, Bhairavi is Balabhadra, Mahalakshmi is Buddha, and Durga is the Kalki form. BhagavatÌ Kali is the Krishna murti.” (Todalatantra, chapter 10)

The worship of these is also prescribed as an astrological remedy – for the 9 planets and the Lagna as follows:

Kali for Saturn, Tara for Jupiter, Maha Tripura Sundari (or Shodasi-Sri Vidya) for Mercury, Bhuvaneshvari for Moon, Chinnamasta for Rahu, Bhairavi for Lagna, Dhumavati for Ketu, Bagalamukhi for Mars, Matangi for Sun, and Kamala for Venus.

The tantrik worship of these most powerful Vidyas must be practiced only under the guidence of a spiritual master (siddha Guru).