About Goddess Varahi and Varahi Navratri
According to the Vedic Calendar, Goddess Varahi is worshiped at nighttime in the Vedic month and date of Aashadha Shuddha Padyami to Aashadha Shuddha Navami.
The Glory of Goddess Varahi:
In the Sri Vidya tradition, we have four different kinds of Navaratris. Among those, the one that comes in the month of Ashadha is called Varahi Navratri. The Goddess Varahi is the commander in chief in complete control of Goddess Lalita Tripuri Sundari’s entire battalion. 5 different Shaktis originate from Goddess Lalita’s bow and arrow, all of which combine to form Goddess Varahi. Goddess Varahi’s chariot is called “Kiri Chakra.” This chariot is pulled by a thousand boars. The controller of the chariot is the Goddess “Sthambini” Devi. All feminine energies reside in her chariot, along with the God of Ayurveda, Dhanvantari, and the Divine Healers known as “Ashvini Devatas.” Slokas 27-29 in Lalita Sahasranama describe Goddess Varahi’s glory and power. The demon “Vishukra” was destroyed by Goddess Varahi.
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 hand from bottom to top, She displays the abhaya mudra (removes fear and offers protection), shield and a plow (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 help 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 resides in the Aagnya Chakra in human physiology. In another meaning, Goddess Varahi means Bhoodevi (Goddess Earth). Goddess Varahi is the feminine aspect of Lord Varaha (boar form), who is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. When the demon Hiranyaksha took Goddess Earth into the water, Lord Vishnu fought the demon and killed him in the form of Lord Varaha. Goddess Varahi is none other than Sri Mahalakshmi, who is the giver of monetary gains in our lives. She is a great healer and protector, especially in times of commotion and pandemics. When noticing Goddess Varahi’s form, we see that her face looks like Varaha (boar), and that she has eight arms holding Shakha (conch shell), Chara (disk), Hala (plow), Musala (a wooden pestle), Pasha, Ankusha , Varada , and Abhaya .
With these, she blesses the whole universe. There are many forms of Goddess Varahi, like Bruhad Varahi, Laghu Varahi, Swapna Varahi, Dhoomra Varahi, etc. If you carefully notice the picture of Goddess Varahi, you can mainly see the Hala (plow) and Musala (a wooden pestle). The plow is used to plow the Earth, and the wooden pestle is used to beat poddy rice. This indicates that the Goddess Varahi is the Goddess of crops, and she fulfills the desires of all worshippers. In the form of Shakti, the Satvik form is Shyamala, and the more aggressive form is Varahi.
Goddess Varahi is the embodiment of compassion, and by reciting her mantra and worshipping her, one can rid themselves of all kinds of enemies and purify themselves internally from their internal demons, Kama (desire),
Krodha (anger), Lobha (greed), Moha (attachment), Mada (pride), Maatsarya (jealousy), Ahankara (ego), and Agnyaana (ignorance). When one can win their internal battles with internal enemies, then they won’t feel or notice enemies in the outside world. This is the status that Goddess Varahi provides her worshippers with.
In the Lalita Sahasranama, Goddess Varahi has many names, such as:
पञ्चमी दण्डनाथा च सङ्केता समयेश्वरी ।तथा समयसङ्केता वाराही पोत्रिणी शिवा ॥१॥
वार्ताली च महासेनाऽऽज्ञाचक्रेश्वरी तथा ।अरिघ्नी चेति सम्प्रोक्तं नाम द्वादशकं मुने ॥२॥
नाम द्वादशधाभिज्ञ वज्रपञ्जरमध्यगः सङकटे दुःखमाप्नोति न कदाचन मानवः ॥ ३॥
Panchami (पञ्चमी), Dandanatha (दण्डनाथा), Sanketa (सङ्केता), Samayeshwari (समयेश्वरी), Samayasanketa (समयसङ्केता), Varahi (वाराही), Potrini (पोत्रिणी), Varatali (वार्ताली), Shivaa (शिवा) , Aagyna Chakreshwari (महासेनाऽऽज्ञाचक्रेश्वरी), and Arighni (अरिघ्नी). Let’s pray to Goddess Varahi so that there may be world peace, that every human be happy and prosperous, that everyone live righteously, and that we all come out safe and sound through this pandemic.
Her sadhana is usually performed in the night times, as it’s meant for destruction of enemies, both internal and external.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 chakras 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 prerequisite 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.
Sri Varahi Devi (श्री वाराही देवी) – Conclusion
Śrī Mahāṣoḍaśi has four chiefs in Her armed forces:-
- Sampatkari :- She represents the aṅkuśa (goad) śakti (power or energy). Aṅkuśa is a weapon for controlling elephants. Spiritually, it’s for clearing all obstacles in our path with an aligned purpose and focus. No matter how large and fierce the obstacle may be, with Her help and energy, it will be in full control and may even help us achieve our goals and become a tool for our progress and prosperity. Sampatkari devi rides the elephants and crushes the enemies to pulp.
- Aśvārūḍhā :- She represents the pāśa (noose) śakti (power or energy). Pāśa helps in reining in the devotees back to the spiritual path, when they go astray. It also helps keep the karmas and actions in balance. Aśvārūḍhā devi is the chief of the cavalry and is very quick to strike down the enemies, internal and external. She’s also worshiped for getting assistance from large organizations including the government, banks etc. She is quick and very effective in cutting down the red tape and conferring benefits to the devotees.
- Rājā Mātaṅgi or mantrinyamba :- She represents the sugarcane bow. Hard on the outside, but very sweet on the inside. Even though the efforts to reach Her are very hard and cumbersome, the results that come from Mātaṅgi are innumerable and infinite. She is the chief advisor or Prime Minister to Śrī Lalita or Mahāṣoḍaśi. She is the source and cause of all knowledge, known and unknown. She represents everything that there is.
- Mahāvārāhi or Danḍini :- As mentioned previously, She is the power of the stick that Śrī Lalita wields. She is the chief of all armed forces and She lords over everyone. She is assisted by Her aṅga devatā-s.
- Svapna Vārāhi :- She is a form of Mahāvārāhi, who aids us in revealing the future course of actions to perform, as well as events to come. She fulfills all our dreams and wishes and removes all illusion and directs us to our true purpose.
- Laghu Vārāhi (Unmatta Bhairavi) :- She is the power of Unmatta Bhairava and takes us to spiritual liberation and self-realization. She will reveal our true spiritual nature and destroy all our inner fears, greed, ego etc and reveals our true identity.
- Tiraskaraṇi :- She shields us from all external elements and enemies and also induces enough fear to keep them away from us. All disturbances and obstacles to our material and spiritual progress are kept at bay and our path becomes much easier.
Vārāhi is also called Pañcami, indicating that She is the fifth form of Śakti, the consort of Sadāśiva, responsible for Regeneration of the Universe. The tasks of the Divine Mother Śakti, are Creation, Preservation, Destruction, Dissolution and Regeneration. Creation is carried out by Brahma and his consort Sarasvati. Preservation is by Viṣṇu and his consort Lakṣmi. Destruction is by Rudra and his consort Parvati. Dissolution is by īśvara and his consort īśvari. The five elements of air, ether, water, fire and earth are also referred to as Pañcami and She lords over them.
Vārāhi riding a bull and carrying a stick, is also called Yāmini, the śakti or power of Yama, who rules the Southern direction and is the enforcer of karmas on departed souls. Vārāhi also has a form called Kirāta Vārāhi, which is a huntress form that She employs in destroying all animal tendencies in us and our enemies.
Vārāhi as the śakti or power of Lord Vārāha, supports the entire world and the universe on Her tusks. She lifts the Creation from the netherworlds and protects everyone.
Vārāhi is also called Bārāhi in the North-Eastern parts of India as well as Nepal.
Vārāhi is also referred to in Buddhism as Vajra Vārāhi or Vajra Vairocani. She is seen as a chief ḍākiṇi accompanied by 12 other ḍākiṇi-s. She has a human face and a boar face and is protector and eliminator of all enemies internal and external. The boar face on the right indicates the right side of our brain that controls all physical action. The skull cap of five skulls once again reiterates Her role as Pañcami, the Lord of all the Pañcabhūta-s or five basic elements of air, ether, water, fire and earth. The knowledge realms represented are :-
- Tathatājñāna :- Non-conceptualizing awareness of emptiness or śūnyata. Also called as dharmadhātu awareness. This basic ground awareness unifies the other four.
- Ādarśajñāna :- Mirror-like awareness devoid of all dualistic thoughts and ever unified, like a mirror with its reflections.
- Samatājñāna :- Awareness of sameness with all phenomena.
- Pratyavekṣaṇajñāna :- Investigative awareness of all general and specific qualities of phenomena.
- Kṛtyānuṣṭhānajñāna :- Awareness of accomplishing activities for the welfare of all creation. Manifestation in all directions.
All other weapons and attributes are similar to Mahā Vārāhi.
Other forms of Vārāhi are Vākdevi, the controller of speech, equating Her to Mātaṅgi . Vārāhi Tantra mentions that Vārāhi has five forms :- Svapna Vārāhi, Caṇḍa Vārāhi, Mahi Vārāhi (Bhairavi), Kṛcca Vārāhiand Matsya Vārāhi.