Kushmanda is the fourth form of the mother goddess and is worshipped on the fourth day of Navaratri. The meaning of the name ‘Ku-shm-anda’ is as follows: ‘Ku’ = a little; ‘ushma’ = ‘warmth’; ‘anda’ = ‘the cosmic egg’. So she is considered the creator of the universe. The universe was no more than a void full of darkness, until her light spreads in all directions like rays from the sun. Often she is depicted as having eight or ten hands. She holds weapons, glitter, rosary, etc., in her hands, and she rides a lion.
Origin Of Goddess Kushmanda
According to the Durga Saptshati, Goddess Kushmanda created the universe. She is the one who controls the functioning of the solar system. She is the one who existed when there was nothing except darkness. Then She smiled and the universe was created, illuminated with light.
The core of the Sun is believed to be the residence of Goddess Kushmanda. She is the one who provides theenergy to the Sun to shine and emit light to the universe. All the directions get illuminated by Her divine smile including the Sun itself. Goddess Kushmanda is depicted as an eight armed Goddess. In Her seven hands She holds a kamandalu, bow, arrow, lotus, a jar of nectar, mace and a discus. In Her eighth hand, She holds a rosary which has all the eight Siddhis and nine Niddhis. She rides a lion which represents ‘Dharma’.
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It is believed that if one worships Devi Kushmanda on the fourth day of Navratri, he/she is blessed withgood health, prosperity, fame and strength. The rituals of worshipping the Goddess are elaborate. The worship begins with the worshipping of the Kalash. All the other Gods and Goddesses are invited to the Kalash. Then the puja begins by chanting the mantra of the Devi. The Goddess also loves the sacrifice of a pumpkin. Hence, sacrificing pumpkin in front of the Goddess is a crucial ritual of the fourth day.
CREATION OF TRIDEV & TRIDEVI
From the glance of her left eye, a terrible lady with pitch-black complexion was created. She had ten faces, ten arms, ten feet, thirty eyes, fifty fingers and fifty toes. Her hair was disheveled and tongue lolled. Her white teeth bit her ten tongues. She was clad in space except a girdle of severed arms and a garland of skulls. She was seated on a burning funeral pyre and cackled in a ghastly manner. She was armed withcleaver, trident, discus, arrow, shield, severed head, skull-cup, conch-shell, cross-bow and a club. She was collecting blood dripping from the severed head in the skull-cup and sipped it while eating carrion. Kushmanda named her Mahakali.
From the glance of Kushmanda’s third eye, a ferocious lady with complexion of lava was created. She had eighteen arms. She was clad in saffron clothes and wore a warrior’s armour and helmet. She was armed with battle-axe, trident, discus, mace, thunderbolt, arrow, sword, lotus, rosary, conch-shell, bell, noose, spear,goad, bow, shield, whine-cup and a waterpot with handle. She sipped wine from the wine-cup. She was seated on a lotus and roared viciously. Kushmanda named her Lakshmi.
From the glance of Kushmanda’s right eye, a benevolent lady with complexion of milk was created. She had eight arms and three placid eyes. She was clad in white clothes and wore a crescent moon on her forehead. She was armed with trident, discus, small drum, arrow, conch shell, bell, bow and a ploughshare. Her face was glorious like the full moon and she wore pearl ornaments. She was seated on a gem-studded throne and maintained a serene smile. Kushmanda named her Saraswati.
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Kushmanda’s person from her face fell upon Mahakali. Immediately, a man and a woman sprang out of Mahakali’s body. The man had five faces, fifteen eyes and ten arms. His complexion was fair and he was cladin tiger-skin. A serpent was coiled around his throat and he wore a crescent moon on his forehead. He was armed with battle-axe, antelope, bow, arrow, trident, thunderbolt, skull-cup, Damru, rosary and a Kamandal. Kushmanda named him Shiva. The woman had four arms and complexion of milk. Clad in white, she held agoad, a rosary, a book and a lotus. She wore white ornaments. Kushmanda named her shakti.
Kushmanda’s person from her feet fell upon Mahalakshmi. Immediately, a man and a woman sprang out of Mahalakshmi’s body. The man had four faces and four arms. His complexion was red and he was clad in saffron clothes. He wore expensive ornaments. He held lotus, book, rosary and a waterpot. Kushmanda named him Brahma. The woman had four arms and fair complexion. Clad in gold, she held two lotus buds in her two upper arms while her two lower hands were held open. She was heavily decked with ornaments. Kushmanda named her Lakshmi.
Vishnu and Shakti
Kushmanda’s person from her arms fell upon Mahasaraswati. Immediately, a man and a woman sprang out of Mahasaraswati’s body. The man had four arms. His complexion was dark and he was clad in yellow clothes. He was heavily decked with ornaments. He held a discus, a conch-shell, a mace and a lotus. Kushmanda named him Vishnu. The woman had four arms and a fair complexion. Clad in red, she held her two lower hands open while her two upper hands held a goad and a noose. Kushmanda named her Shakti, who was an incarnation or part of herself. Kushmanda then re-absorbed the triple Goddesses (Mahakali, Mahalakshmi, Mahasaraswati) and gave Shakti to Shiva, Saraswati to Brahma and Lakshmi to Vishnu as consorts. She then entered Shakti as an orb of great energy and a part of her resided in the Sun, giving him life and energy to burn and glow.
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Kushmanda is Goddess Shakti herself, the first being of the entire universe and she is only the one who created this universe by making her half being as Shiva. The man and woman created the universe and other Gods and Goddesses too. Adi Shakti took herself into three forms, one of the three splits was her own form. Kali and hence we find Adi Shakti as well as Kali being wife of Shiva. The other splits were Saraswati and Lakshmi. Adi Shakti Kushmanda had reappeared in the form of Chandi, by the combination of these three Goddesses. Kushmanda is also known as Smaanda Devi.
दधाना हस्तपद्माभ्यां कूष्माण्डा शुभदास्तु मे॥
Dadhana Hastapadmabhyam Kushmanda Shubhadastu Me॥
Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasyai Namo Namah॥
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