Etymology of Chandi
The word ‘Chanda’ refers to the fiery power of anger. The name "Chandi" is derived from the Sanskrit word "chand" which means "tear apart." Hindus worship Chandi under many names such as ‘Mangal Chandi’, ‘Jay Chandi’, ‘Olai Chandi’, ‘Kului Chandi’, and ‘Chelai Chandi’. In the appearance of ‘Jay Chandi’, the goddess destroys the destructive desires.
Iconography of Chandi
Chandi emerges as black or sometimes in red complexion, wearing ‘mundamala’ the garland of cut off head skulls. The Goddess is described as eighteen armed bearing;
She is revealed as standing on a ‘shava’ or dead body or sometimes seated on a ‘pretasana’ or sometimes beating demon.
Her skull cup is filled with blood; she has a skeletal body with three eyes. Her face is horrifying with the long nails and her eyes are burning the world with flames. Bones, skulls, serpents and scorpions are her ornaments. Her headdress is the ‘jata mukutta’, the piled tangled hair tied with snakes. She stays with beasts and goblins surrounded by fearful jackals. Her ‘vahana’ choices are lion, sometimes tiger or owl.
Legends of Chandi
The ‘Chandi Path’ is her chronicle which explains how she manifests in the lives of her devotees to bring them to the internal place of safety of true peace and happiness. She is considered as ‘Katyayani’ or Supreme Goddess, ‘Mahalakshmi’, who had killed ‘Mahishasura’ and ‘Kaushiki’ or ‘Mahasaraswati’ who killed ‘Shumbha’, ‘Nishumbha’ and their fellow demons. In other scriptures, ‘Chandi’ is portrayed as helping Goddess Kali in her fight with demon ‘Raktabija’. While Kali drank Raktabija’s blood, Chandi destroyed the armies of demons, formed from his blood and at last killed Raktabija. In ‘Skanda Purana’, this story is retold and another story of ‘Mahakali’, killing demons ‘Chanda’ and ‘Munda’ is added.
The medieval literature of ‘Chandi Mangal’, which is still sung in the villages of West Bengal, depicts the greatness of goddess Durga as ‘Aranyani Chandi’. Here the goddess is ascribed as fearless ‘Mangalchandi’ who is the saviour of the people. The mention of Chandi is also found in the folklores and is known as ‘Ban Durga’. When she stands under a ‘Sheoda’ tree then she is called ‘Devi Shasthi’. As the manifestation of ‘Basanta Chandi’, she cures the patients of 'Basanta' or small pox. The devotees of Chandi tie strips of cloth to the branches of the tree in the name of the goddess ‘Nekdai Chandi’ and pray for her blessings. At the time of Durga Puja, people recite ‘Chandi Slokas’ to get the blessings of Devi Chandi. Human sacrifices are believed to have been made to the goddess Chandi in the past. Chandi is one of the principal female ‘Bhiitas’, who is worshipped by the hill tribes of ‘Nagara Malnad’.
Worship of Chandi
In ‘Chandi Path’, Chandi helps people to become liberated from the cruelty of thoughts. With the regular reciting of it, she explains people how to keep up the heavenly view as Gods and Goddesses. People discover how to yield the ego and to cut through the self-centredness of self pride and self contempt. It is performed from corner to corner India in different festivals, especially during the ‘Navaratri’. Some of the temples dedicated to Chandi are Chandi Devi Mandir at Haridwar, Maha Laxmi Temple at Mumbai, Vaishno Devi Mandir at Jammu and Kashmir and many more.
(Last Updated on : 10-03-2018)
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