A depiction of saptamatrika ( from left : brahmani, Maheshvari, kaumari, Vaishnavi, varahi, indrani & chamunda) flanked by shiva (virbhadra) on left and ganesha(missing) on right
(1st-2nd century ad)
The level 1 of British Museum hosts the china & south east Asia section . The south east asia section hosts india & though the section is small it reflects the important iconography from the lesser known vijayanagar empire, chola kingdoms, east india & kashmir shaivism. Its an interesting and intriguing visit to all seekers of vedas & tantras & specifically shaktism.
Here i present a short not about “saptamatrika” or 7 creative power of devas who helped lord shiva to destroy the invincible “andhaka” demon as per matsya puran
Keeping legends aside, matrikas are different from yoginis though yoginis evolve from matrikas. They find mentions as far back as rgveda.
The interesting note here is the word “mātrīka” originated from word “matr”
Mātṛkā is a well-known alphabet goddess mentioned in many tantric texts, irrespective of their age or affiliation. Her name is traditionally explained as the matrix or source (yoni), i.e. the source of all mantras, all śāstras, and in general, of everything that is made of words.
As per legend there are. 7 or 8 or even 9 matrika with varying differences.
These matrika coincide with the sanskrit consonants (ka to ksha ) and when the “a” group of vowels are added we get the 8 matrikas
Similarly some regard the vowel as the initialisation of sound through ears as the consonants are first the
Purest perceivable sound from the navel.
Though mathematically intricate, matrikas form the core of human neural pathways through sound and perception giving voluntary control over the cosmic actions from within. :)) The entire elaboration is beyond scope of this note.