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October - December 2021

Kamakshi – Various Forms

Swarna Kamakshi

BRAHMA visited Kailasa and other Siva kshetras on earth and, not finding Ambika in all of them, he found through his divine vision that it was all Sri Kamakshi’s sport. He went to Kanchi and prayed that Devi should give darshan in all Siva kshetras along with Siva. He did austerities for twelve years at Kanchi. Devi said, “We made Gowri vanish from Siva kshetras in accordance with our blessing to Manmatha. Now you go and establish Gowri again in all Siva kshetras and have darshan of Siva and Parvathi together.” Brahma then asked Devi as to how to have darshan of Gowri in Kanchi before proceeding to other kshetras. Devi said, “After the battle between Rudrakotis and Manmathaktis, Siva went to Odyana Petham. Now he will emerge at the foot of the Mango Tree here as Jyoti Linga along with Gowri.” Brahma then wished to know how to conduct the divine marriage function of Chutanatha (Ekamranatha) with Gowri every year. Devi thought for a while and replied, “All Saktis of this kshetra are now merged in me. They will now emerge as Chit Jyoti (Light of Consciousness) as one Devi, Ekambika from my forehead. She is the exceedingly beautiful Devi, who did austerities earlier in order to attain Ekamranatha, and merged with him. You now make an image in gold similar to her form and establish her here in this temple, and perform marriage function with Ekamranatha on special occasions. You also make similar Vigrahas (Utsava Vigrahas) and put up in each Siva temple here as Mula Linga Sakti. No Mula Sakti should be established in the temples here.”

Devi now continued to elaborate on the procedure for conducting the divine marriage function. She said, “On the marriage day, take Swarna Kamakshi from this temple to Ekamranatha temple and conduct marriage as per rules. The next day evening, bring the two deities in procession along the streets here. Leave Swarna Kamakshi here and take Ekamreswara to his temple. As Pujas have not been done here i n Dhruvasthana for two days for Swarna Kamakshi, Santhi should be done through Maharishi Durvasa with Sahasra Kalasabhishekam etc. as per Vedic practices. Nitya Puja should then be continued. This should be done every year. After arranging for this, you may get back to your realm.” Saying so, Parasakti made all Saktis of all kshetras, who had been absorbed in her, appear and give darshan again in those various kshetras in the Mula Bimbas.

As mentioned by Devi, Gowri appeared as Chit Jyoti from the forehead of Devi Parasakti. Brahma worshipped her and made in a moment Swarna Vigraha like her. The Vigraha had two lotus-like eyes, two hands, the right hand holding parrot, the left hand in suspended pose, slender waist, fully decorated with all ornaments, dressed in yellow attire. The time of manifestation of Jyoti of Gowri from the forehead of Parasakti was: Svetavaraha Kalpa, seventh Manvantara called Bhouchya, Tamasa Kalam, Kritayuga, the time of Hayagriva’s incarnation, Srimikha year, Kartika month, with Surya in Tula Rashi, Krishna Paksha, Dasami Tithi, Friday dawn, Purvaphalguni star Madhya Pada.

Brahma installed the Swarna Vigraha in the south of Bila (Cave). He named that spot as Dhruvasthanam (permanent place). He performed special Pujas from the month of Aswin (Aippasi) to Phalgun (Panguni) for six months. He then performed the marriage function (Kalyana Utsava) as instructed by Devi. After Swarna Kamakshi returned the next day, he performed S anthi ceremony. Meditating on Ambika, he then threw up a lotus flower in the sky. At that time, from the sky emerged an emperor, who was part of Chandra. Brahma handed him an undecaying Dhanapatra (vessel of riches), asked him to live in Kanchi with the name of Akasa Bhupala and conduct the divine marriage function every year. Brahma then established Ambika in all Siva Temples and returned to his realm.

When Brahma returned to Satyaloka, a strange development took place; he lost his eyesight. Saraswathi said, “The reason for your blindness is known to me. In Kanchi in Kamakoti Peetham below Gayatri Mandapa, at the location of Bilakasa (Cave Space), Kundalini Griha was established by Siva earlier. As you placed your foot at that spot, you have become blind. If you go back to that place now and perform Srichakra Puja, you will regain your eyesight; otherwise your blindness will never go away; no doubt in this.” Queried as to how she knew this, Saraswathi said, “Siva had said while establishing Srichakra that Srichakra Puja should be done as detailed in Devi Tantram called Rudrayamalam; one who places his foot at that spot will go blind; the remedy for such blindness is to do Srichakra Puja there again.” Brahma accordingly went to Kanchi, performed Srichakra Puja as stipulated, got relieved of blindness and had good darshan of Swarna Kamakshi. He gave the boon that one, who commits the sin of placing his foot in Kamakoti Peethasthanam, would get rid of that sin by having darshan of Swarna Kamakshi. If he is unable to have that darshan, he should perform Srichakra Puja as detailed in Rudrayamalam.

त मादेवं महादे  ा भि  भाजो नरो माः । त  कै व यमाि, य वत -ते द तेजसा ॥ गवां को ट दानै  दानशील य य फलम् । त फलं लभते म य वणा गीसेवया सकृ त् ॥

“Humans devoted to Mahadevi, imbued with divine glory, worship her there for attaining Moksha. By worshipping Swarna Kamakshi even once, one reaps the fruit of giving in charity a crore of cows.”

Parasakti – Six Forms

Parasakti manifests in six forms in Kamakoti Peetham: as Sakti in three

forms; as Siva in two Sivalinga forms; as Vishnu in one form.

There are five names each of the three forms of Devi in Kamakoti Peetham:

  1. Swarna Kamakshi – Anga svarupa: S w a r n a n g i , S u k a h a s t a , Chutalingavallabha, Kamakshi Devi,
  2. Tapas Kamakshi – Kalarupa Sakti

svarupa: Tapasvini, Ghanasyama, Sarva Saivalayeswari, Kamakshi, Kali.

  1. Tripurambika Parasakti – Purna Sakti

(Jyoti) svarupa: Tripura, Rajarajeswari, Mahakamesavallabha, Kamakshi, Kamakoti.

There are five names each of the two forms of Siva in Kamakoti Peetham:

  1. Chutalinga – Nirguna Siva svarupa: Chutajyoti, Nirgunatma, Siva, Kameswara,
  2. Amsabhavalinga – Saguna svarupa:

Rasalalinga, Rudrakoti, Sadasiva, Saguna, Ekamranatha.

There are five names of Vishnu in Kamakoti Peetham:

Bimba Sakti – Ardhamsa svarupa – Purusha (male): Y agnodbhava, Punyakoti,

Mahadeva, Devaraja, Abhishtavarada.

Puja Paddhati (Procedure)

Worship is of two kinds: Nirguna (without Attributes) and Saguna (with attributes). Of these, Nirguna worship is reckoned to be superior to Saguna. Siva is Nirguna, and manifested Sakti is Saguna. Tripurambika is united with Nirguna Jyoti

Linga; Tapas Kamakshi emerged from the forehead of Tripura; hence these two forms of Parasakti should be worshipped on Nirguna Aradhana Paddhati. In this Paddhati, the unity of Siva and Sakti is contemplated upon; there is no sense of difference between Siva and Sakti. Those who worship in this manner get all their wishes fulfilled.

Swarna Kamakshi is Gowri (Kalyana Gowri) and is seated on Siva’s left side during marriage function. She should not be worshipped as unified form of Siva and Sakti. Ekamranatha should be worshipped first, followed by Swarna Kamakshi. Those who worship with separate emotions of devotion to Siva and Sakti in this manner will obtain all auspicious fruits; if not, they will incur great sin.

It must be understood that Parasakti manifests in three forms here for the advancement of Jivas.

Swarna Kamakshi is Bhoga Murthy. Jivas who are still in ordinary mundane state get their wishes fulfilled from her.

Tapas Kamakshi is Yoga Murthy. Jivas, who are a little more spiritually advanced, get guidance on the means and further path from her.

Tripurambika (Kamakshi Devi) is Gnana Murthy. Jivas, who are more spiritually advanced with all their impurities removed, obtain true Gnana and Saktinipatam (blessing of Sakti) from her.

Siva is indistinguishably united with

Yoga and Gnana Murthis. Hence their worship is Nirguna, with no distinction.

Siva is separate from Bhoga Murthy. Hence their worship is Saguna, distinct for each.

With differences in Bimba (Murthy) as mentioned above, there a re corresponding differences in Yantras, Mantras and Tantras. Appropriate procedure should be followed in each case of worship.

In case of inability to observe the above distinctions in Mantras and Tantras, one should follow the procedure given in Goulagama. In the triangular Srichakra, at the eastern tip, Guru, Parama Guru, Parameshti Guru and Paratpara Guru should be invoked and worshipped. In the Mahakameswari Kuta, Srividya should be meditated upon and Ashtottara, Sahasranama etc. Archanas should be performed. In the Vagbhava Kuta, if one chants Srividya mantra also, he will be blessed with all comforts.

One, who is unable to perform Srichakra Puja as above, should meditate upon the lotus feet of Sri Kamakshi Devi with sincere devotion. If one worships Devi in Sri Kamakoti Peetham, he will not be subject to rebirth.

Pujya Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi Swamigal, 68th Sankarachaya of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham provides the f ollowing interesting analysis:

Manmatha learnt about the presence of the omnipresent power, Ambal, at Kanchipuram as Kamakshi, a divine presence. If we consider the earth to be a woman, Kanchipuram can be compared to the golden girdle around her waist. The word Kanchi indeed refers to the girdle. At the position of the navel is the abode of Kamakshi, the sanctum sanctorum at Bilakasam. Like the umbilical cord that nourishes the child in the womb, all living beings derive their powers and abilities from this Bilakasam, all due to the blessings of Ambal.

Akasham is Atmaswaroopam in itself. The space spread everywhere is called Mahakasham (Maha + Akasham). When that space is present within us as the self realised Atma, the Perambalam (the big stage or the outer space) becomes the Chitrambalam (the small stage or the inner space – t he mind). T he M a h a k a s h a m b e c o m e s t h e Daharakasam. Chidambaram also means the same. Chit means knowledge; ambaram means space. When we attain the ultimate state of self awareness, we will experience that one thing which is the source of all our thoughts and our breath – the ‘Hrudaya Akasam’.

If the world is considered to be a man (the Virat Purusha), the secret space located within the sanctum sanctorum of the Chidambaram temple is the heart of the Virat Purusha. This space is referred to as the ‘Chidambara Rahasyam’. The same is in Kanchipuram as the Bilakasam. Though the Bilakasam is within the sanctum sanctorum, its power is spread all across the region of Kanchipuram. In Chidambaram, the

Gnana Akasam is confined to the Chitsabha. Here in Kanchipuram, it is spread all over the region. This is what the Puranas say.

Ambika, the Bilakasa Roopini is present there as Kamakshi with Manmatha’s sugarcane bow and flower arrows in her hands. Manmatha understood he would be able to get his wish fulfilled if he worshipped her. He came to Kanchipuram and performed penance. The compassionate Ambal appeared in front of him. “Mother! Parameswara burnt me down. But later, he himself developed desire for you. You had appointed me to instill passion in the minds of living beings. If someone were to fall in love, it should come under my jurisdiction” he pleaded. He further implored: “Parameswara’s marriage to you is a victory to me. The world is aware that he burnt me down. But the fact that I could finally influence him is not known at all. You, Mother, should take pity on me and declare my victory”.

The sympathetic Mother agreed to the child’s request. She immediately attracted all her powers from the Siva temple at all Kshethras including Kailasa and concentrated them into the Bilakasam. Parameswara, present in Kailasa and all the other Siva temples, experienced the pangs of separation because of the absence of his dear wife. Was he not aware of Manmatha’s wish and Ambal’s drama? He decided to concede to Manmatha’s wish, acted as if he was in sorrow and played along. When Brahma saw Siva’s yearning in Kailasam and all the Siva temples, he decided to act as a

messenger on behalf of Siva and came to Kamakshi.

Ambal said to Brahma: ‘The world now knows that Parameswara is suffering from pangs of separation. This was Manmatha’s wish too. I attracted my divine force from everywhere and concentrated it here only to satisfy him’. She then sent back the divine force to Kailasam and all other Siva temples. Ambika’s form in all these places got back their force. Parameswara was also satisfied.

This history is narrated in ‘Kamakshi Vilasam’. Engravings on stone are available as proof of this. Ambal Sannidhis in most of the Siva temples happen to possess the name “Kamakottam”, which becomes evident from the inscriptions found in the respective Sannidhis.


Kamakshi created a desire for her in Parameswara. Why? He had to help people control their desires and elevate themselves. She, as Sivakama Sundari, made Iswara develop love for her, only for the welfare of the world. Mooka Kavi says ‘It is surprising that you, (who is capable of creating passion in the m ind of Parameswara) are also capable of liberating men fully immersed in desires and granting them Moksha’. Kama (Manmatha) uses the arrows made of flowers and the sugarcane bow to make our mind and our senses go wayward. By holding these five arrows in her hand, Devi ensures that our senses are in her hold and are not rebellious. The bow in her hand, representing our mind, ensures that the vagaries of our mind are controlled. All the beauty experienced through sound, touch, form, taste, and smell come from her. She has taken up the divine form of Kamakshi with the sugarcane bow and the arrows to indicate that our mind too is subject to her control. She symbolizes the sweetness of sugarcane and the softness of the flowers.

As Kamakshi, she generated passion with her eyes in Iswara. If a slight glance from those eyes were to fall on us, our desires will run away from us. We will see only her everywhere. Everything we see will be just that one ‘Advaita’. There will be nothing that is superior or inferior. ‘Those blessed by Kamakshi will find no difference between a house, a forest, a friend, an enemy or an agile girl’s lips’ says Mooka Kavi. That state where all things appear equal is the state of ‘Brahma Gnanam’.

Personages who worshipped Sri Kamakshi Devi


Vishnu, who was fair-complexioned, became dark on exposure to poisonous fumes during churning of Milk Ocean. At this, Lakshmi, who resides in his chest, spoke to him in sport in a disparaging manner. An angry Vishnu cursed her to become dark and old. Lakshmi came to Kamakoti Peetham in Kanchi and worshiped Parasakti. Devi blessed that Lakshmi would henceforth be present on her right side in Gayatri Mandapa as Anjana Kamakshi, blessing devotees and that one who touches Lakshmi from foot to head, meditates on her and has her darshan would be granted the eight riches by Lakshmi.


Hayagriva wished to get back the earlier form of Vishnu and came to Kamakoshtam and did austerities, meditated and prayed to Sri Kamakshi Devi. At that time a Rakshasa named Padma came there, thought he is a horse and took him to Patala with intent to make him his vehicle. Devi killed the Rakshasa and blessed Hayagriva with the face of Vishnu, which he desired. Hayagriva killed all Rakshasas in Patala, took the inexhaustible pot of Amrita created by Sukracharya, came to Kamakoshtam and performed Abhisheka of Devi with Amrita. He took residence on Devi’s right side in Gayatri Mandapa.


The eighth Manu, Vaivasvata wished to gain good awareness of merits and sins before embarking on rule of the earth. He entrusted the kingdom to his minister Sumantra, took leave of Maharishi Vasishtha and went to Kamakoshtam. He received initiation in Devi mantra from sage Durvasa, and did penance for a hundred years. One day Sri Kamakshi Devi took the form of Saraswathi and poured the waters of Panchatirtha from a pot on his head and blessed him with knowledge of all arts. Manu became equal to Saraswathi in knowledge. He returned to his capital, authored the celebrated Manusmriti and ruled the kingdom justly as per dharma.


Dasaratha had no offspring; as instructed by Vasishtha, he went on pilgrimage. He came to Kamakoshtam

and worshipped Parasakti. One day he heard Akasavani (voice from sky) that he would get children in a year. He reached Ayodhya happily and enjoyed the pleasure of children eventually.

Tundira (Tunda) Maharaja

Akasabhupati, who came from the sky as part of Chandra and who was appointed king by Brahma in Kanchi, misappropriated funds earmarked for religious activities, lost devotion and adopted Buddhism. He did not have children owing to that sin. With the beneficial effect of earlier merit, he once happened to approach Goraksha Siddha and listen to teachings of Vedic dharma. He then abandoned Buddhism and drove away Buddhists and their preceptors. He ruled the kingdom justly, got initiated into Devi mantra, renovated all temples in Kanchi and, with great devotion to Devi, performed all dharmic activities. Devi was much pleased and asked Ganapati to go and become the son of the king. Ganapati was quite happy to be the son of Devi’s great devotee. He went and told the king accordingly. The king’s joy knew no bounds; he informed his queen, who embraced Ganapati with boundless cheer. Ganapati became a baby at that time.

King Akasabhupati performed Vedic rituals for the new born baby. On the twelfth day, he conducted detailed Puja, Homa etc. in Devi’s temple. While Samaradhana (feeding) of brahmanas was going on, there was a shower of gold for a Muhurtha (48 minutes). The king asked the sages present including sage

Srivatsa about the cause of the wonder. They could not give a proper reply. Ganapati, the twelve-day old baby got up from the cradle, walked up to the king and said, “I shall tell you the reason. In the heap of black gram kept for cooking of food for brahmanas, a piece of your gold dropped and got mixed by chance. The cooks prepared Modakas out of that gram and served. Sri Kamakshi Devi came in the guise of an ordinary woman and sat in the row of women and ate food. The Modaka which had the piece of gold was eaten by her and went into her belly. That caused the shower of gold. Come, you can still see that woman having her food.” Ganapati took the king to the row of women; as soon as Devi saw the king, she vanished. Ganapati partook of the balance food from Devi’s plate and shone with mastery of all Sastras. The brahmanas and the king partook of the food left after being eaten by Devi and Ganapati, and also became proficient in all arts.

Everyone now treated Ganapati as Guru, gave him the divine name of Tunda (pot-bellied) (Tundira in local parlance), and made him sit in the side of Sri Kamakshi, facing west and coronated him as king. Ganapati is seated in the second Avarana (enclosure) of the temple. He has the form of Ganapati in Kritayuga, Deva in Tretayuga, Manu in Dvaparayuga, and idol in which his glory is latent in Kaliyuga. As he is ever in deep meditation on Devi, one, who goes there during circumambulation of the shrine, should take care to observe complete silence so as not to disturb his meditation.

Chola King

There was a Chola king called Vikrama in the lineage of Vrisha. His kingdom was captured by his younger brother Salya. Vikrama left the kingdom with his wife and reached Kamakoshtam. He developed good gardens, made big garlands and gave for Devi’s decoration in the temple every day. By Devi’s grace he begot a beautiful female child. Kulasekhara Pandya, the king of Pandyas, was looking for a suitable match for his son. Devi told him in his dream to go to Kanchi, get his son married to the beautiful daughter of Vikrama, and also take Vikrama to his Chola capital and get him coronated as king. Kulasekhara Pandya was too pleased and did everything accordingly. At Kanchi, he performed special Pujas to Devi, took Vikrama to his kingdom and got

him coronated. The marriage of the Pandya heir with the Chola bride was also celebrated. After the Pandya king left, Vikrama entrusted his kingdom to his son and went to Kanchi. He grew flower- gardens after removing forests, renovated the temple and lived a life of dispassion. At the end, he attained to Devi’s holy feet.

Similarly, Gunarudra (Rudra merged with Brahma) and Adisesha (rudra merged with Vishnu) worshipped Devi and attained to Mukti.

In every yuga, many humans have also adored Sri Kamakshi Devi and attained all their wishes including Moksha.

From the book ‘Kanchi Mahima’