Chamunda

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Chamunda (Sanskrit: चामुण्डा, Cāmuṇḍā), also known as Chamundi, Chamundeshwari and Charchika, is a fearsome aspect of Devi, the Hindu Divine Mother and one of the seven Matrikas (mother goddesses). She is also one of the chief Yoginis, a group of sixty-four or eighty-one Tantric goddesses, who are attendants of the warrior goddess Durga.[2] The name is a combination of Chanda and Munda, two monsters whom Chamunda killed. She is closely associated with Kali, another fierce aspect of Devi.[3] She is sometimes identified with goddesses Parvati, Chandi or Durga as well. The goddess is often portrayed as haunting cremation grounds or fig trees. The goddess is worshipped by ritual animal sacrifices along with offerings of wine and in the ancient times, human sacrifices were offered too. Originally a tribal goddess, Chamunda was assimilated in Hinduism and later entered the Jain pantheon too. Though in Jainism, the rites of her worship include vegetarian offerings, and not the meat and liquor offerings.

Contents

Origins

Bhandarkar says that Chamunda was originally an indigenous goddess, worshipped by the wild tribes of the Vindhya mountains in central India. These tribes were known to offer goddesses animal as well as human sacrifices along with ritual offerings of liquor. These methods of worship were retained in Tantric worship of Chamunda, after assimilation in Hinduism. He proposes the fierce nature of this goddess is due of her association with Vedic Rudra (called Shiva in the present form of Hinduism), identified with fire god Agni at times.[4] Wangu also backs the theory of the tribal origins of the goddess.[5]

Iconography

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