Sri Varahi Devi (श्री वाराही देवी)
Śrī Vārāhi is a prominent deity in the Śākta literature and is worshipped prominently in Southern India, especially in the state of Tamil Nadu. She is associated with Earth and all material related possessions. The following is Her dhyāna śloka describing Her attributes.
kṛṣṇa varṇātu vārāhī mahiṣastā mahodarī ।
varadā danḍinī khaḍgaṃ bibhratī dakṣiṇekare ।
kheṭa pātrābhayān vāme sūkarasyā lasadbhujā ॥
कृष्ण वर्णातु वाराही महिषस्ता महोदरी ।
वरदा दन्डिनी खड्गं बिभ्रती दक्षिणेकरे ।
खेट पात्राभयान् वामे सूकरस्या लसद्भुजा ॥
She is dark in complexion with a face resembling a boar, seated on a buffalo (mahiṣa). She’s enormous in size and has eight arms. One Her right arms from bottom to top, She displays the vara mudra (grants all wishes), holds a sword, large stick (daṇḍa). On Her left hands from bottom to top, She displays the abhaya mudra (removes fear and offers protection), shield and a plough (hala).
The significance is that, She grants all wishes, removes our ego and punishes all evil afflicting us. She offers immense protection and shields us from misery. She is always ready to strike down and correct our path, whenever we go astray. She will pave the way towards all our goals and helps us achieve the highest levels of spirituality as well as material success. Her boar face indicates that She can dig deep into our karmas and will remove all the hurdles affecting our success in all matters. Her vehicle mahiṣa/buffalo, represents the ego and inertness in a person to change and reset to the same old behavior, like a buffalo bathing in the same murky waters. She riding the buffalo represents Her ability to bring about the change within us and take us forward to spiritual and material heights.
No one who seeks Her blessings and surrenders unto Her, will go empty handed. Such is Her greatness!
She is also seen as the consort of Varāha, an avatar of Lord Viṣṇu. In the Śaiva tradition, She is the consort of Unmatta Bhairava, A form of Śiva intoxicated with bliss. A state that is experienced in the Sahasrāra cakra. She is also one of seven/eight mātṛka-s governing the Western direction.
A simple Vedic mantra to Her is below. This mantra can be recited by anyone and requires no initiation.
oṃ vārāhi! sarvato mām rakṣa rakṣa durge huṃ phaṭ svāhā
ॐ वाराही! सर्वतो माम् रक्ष रक्ष दुर्गे हुं फट् स्वाहा
Her gayatri mantras are as follows. These can also be recited by anyone and require no initiation.
mahiṣavāhanāyai ca vidmahe ।
daṇḍahastāyai ca dhīmahi ।
tanno vārāhī pracodayāt ॥
महिषवाहनायै च विद्महे ।
दण्डहस्तायै च धीमहि ।
तन्नो वाराही प्रचोदयात् ॥
Her other forms include Her holding up the entire Universe or the Cosmic egg on her tusks. Sometimes She’s seen holding a discus (cakra) and a conch, heralding auspiciousness and expulsion of all misery.
She is portrayed in the Devi Bhāgavatam, Mārkaṇdeya and Varāha Purāṇa-s and described to have participated in the annihilation of asurās or evil-doers like Andhakāsura, Raktabīja, Śumbha and Niśumbha. Andhakāsura represents blind and senseless rage arising out of one’s ego and position. Raktabīja represents the innumerable thoughts that spring in our mind that stall our spiritual and material growth. Śumbha and Niśumbha represent the twin attributes to stick to the same old routine, continue to lead the same old ways of living and not bring about any changes in our lives towards our betterment. The attributes to look down upon others and have no gratitude towards the blessings received are also represented by these twin asurā-s. When She enters our thoughts and prayers, all the ingrate qualities in us disappear and we transform into our true selves.
In the Śrī Vidya tradition, Śrī Vārāhi and Śrī Śyāmalā, are the closest deities and advisors to Śrī Lalita or Mahāṣoḍaśi. Vārāhi is the commander of all forces of Lalita and Śyāmalā is the Chief advisor or Prime Minister of Lalita. In the Śrī Cakra, She is the guardian of the sixteenth circle or the Kiri Cakra. Her residence is an Emerald palace of Śrī Nagara. She is the Danḍini (Stick) Śakti of Śrī Māta. Likewise, Śyāmalā is the kodanḍa (sugarcane bow) Śakti.
Among the Dasha Mahāvidyas, She is equated with Bagalamukhi, the controller of the tongue and the silencer of all enemies, internal and external.
In the Kuṇḍaliṇi meditation and the representation of the Divine Mother within ourselves, Śrī Lalita is the spinal cord or the suṣumna nāḍi. Śyāmalā or Rājā Mātaṅgi represents the iḍā nāḍi, or the left spiritual channel that flanks the spinal cord and connects to the left nostril and the right hemisphere of the brain, indicating our artistic and creative thinking as well as sciences and logical abilities. Vārāhi represents the piṅgalā nāḍi, or the right spiritual channel flanking the spinal cord and connecting to the right nostril and left hemisphere of the brain, indicating action, motion and all physical activity.
When both the spiritual channels are balanced, kuṇḍaliṇi moves up the spinal cord and energizes the cakras and ultimately merges with the Divine Superconsciousness at the Sahasrāra cakra, also called Śiva-Śakti-aikya.
Her tantric mantras associated with Śrī Vidya, require a pre-requisite of at least an initiation into the powerful and wondrous Pañcadaśi mantra. Her mantras, as well as those of Rājā Mātaṅgi, are considered as Aṅga mantras of Mahāṣoḍaśi. This is indicative of the fact, that One who has not achieved considerable spiritual progress or obtained fruitful karmas, is therefore ineligible for initiation to the Supreme Śrī Mahāṣoḍaśi mantra.
Mahāvārāhi has aṅga devatā-s namely Svapna Vārāhi, Laghu Vārāhi (Unmatta Bhairavi) and Tiraskaraṇi. Mantra japa must be performed for the aṅga devatā-s, to please Mahāvārāhi.
Her sadhana is usually performed in the night times, as it’s meant for destruction of enemies, both internal and external.
To be continued....