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49.1. The myths and legends associated with Matangi suggest that her origins are in the
tribal traditions. Though there are various versions of her myths, in the Hindu and the
Buddhist lore, they together contribute to form the picture of Matangi. She appears to have
been the daughter of Matanga who according to some was a chieftain of tribal elephant
hunters (Maatanga raja) . He belonged to the low caste of Chandalas. Thus, Matangi,
right from her early stage, became closely associated with birds, forests, wilderness,
elephant hunting culture and Chandala way of living; as also with casting magic-spells.

49.2. Matangis origins are also associated with the tribal goddess Savaresvari (Savara
=Svara ; the goddess of Svara, musical notes) who is described as sixteen, smiling and short

in stature .She is dressed in leaves wearing creepers as earrings and a garland made of
gunja seeds. She collects in her basket fruits while singing to herself.
And, Savari who enjoys dwelling in the forests and loves singing is one of the many names
of Matangi. Further, Raja-Matangi is said to listen to the chattering of green parrots, to
play on veena, to wears flowers and garlands and to have conch- shell earrings.
All these elements of various stories characterize the nature of Matangi Mahavidya. They
affirm her tribal origins and her identity with tribal culture which is different from the
tradition bound way of living.
50.1. The Mahavidya Matangi, the erotically powerful intoxicated with passion like a
female elephant in heat (masth) is described as a sixteen-year - young girl in the flush of her
youth seated on an altar. She has full breasts and a very slim waist. Her complexion is
greenish. She is impassioned. Her eyes are intoxicated while a gentle smile plays upon her
lips. She is perspiring slightly around her face, which makes her all the more exiting and
desirable. Below her navel are three horizontal folds of skin and a thin vertical line of fine
hair. Her hair on the head is long and wild, and the disc of the moon adorns her forehead.
She favors red; her dress and ornaments are in various shades of red. She wears a girdle of
jeweled ornaments, as well as bracelets, armlets, and earrings. She is adorned with
garlands of wild Kadamba flowers. She holds in her hands a skull and a chopping blade
dripping blood. With the other hand, she holds an ornate musical string instrument, veena.
She is flanked by two parrots. She represents sixty-four arts. Such is the majesty of Rajamatangi the queen of all.

50.2. Matangi is also Raja-Shyamala, dark with blue as the cloud filled with water.She is
seated on the gem-studded throne, listens to the sweet utterances of the parrot, is aglow
with youth, has one foot on the lotus, has her forehead bedecked with the crescent
moon, plays on the veena, has a garland of jasmine flowers, wears red garments, has a
conch-vessel. Matangi, lustrous like sapphires in her self-glory plays the ruby-bejeweled
veena .

50.3. Another description says: Matangi is blue in color and dressed in red. Her waist is
slim and her breasts well-developed. The crescent moon adorns her forehead. She has three
eyes and a smiling face. She is bejeweled and is seated on a lotus throne. In her four arms,
she carries a skull, a sword, and a veena. She is Modini the goddess who grants worldly

50.4. There is also an extreme tantric form of Matangi. It describes Matangi as a highly
impassioned girl of sixteen with fully developed breasts. She sits on a corpse wearing a
bright red garment. She wears red jewelry and a garland made of gunja berries (a small
forest seed) .She holds in her hands a skull-bowl, a sword or scissors . She prefers offerings
of leftovers (ucchista) and polluted things such as pieces of cloths stained with blots of
menstrual discharge. Such is the fierce form of Ucchishta-Matangini.

50.5. In sharp contrast to her tantric form there is a classy description of her benign form.
Matangi, here, is described as seated, in all her glory and charm, on a gem-studded throne,
listening to the sweet utterances of parrots. She is stunningly beautiful, glowing in her
emerald complexion. Her limbs are delicate and soft; lustrous like sapphires. She is aglow
with youth. As the evening is lit up with golden yellow, she having just had a drink of
honey- sweet wine places one foot on the lotus and delicately holds in her hands a ruby-red
bejeweled veena, leisurely; and sings in her sweet voice songs of great charm and melody.
There is a dreamy expression in Matangi's eyes (madhura madhu madaam). Two lotus
flowers tied to the upper part of the veena swing rhythmically as she plays on it. She is
dressed in delicate clothes of mild red; has a fitting bodice covering her delicate breasts.
She is decked with garland of fragment jasmine flowers. On her head is a diadem with
crescent moon; and blow that is bright vermillion mark adding luster to her glowing
countenance. The conch shell she holds and the birds surrounding her are in white. The
sweet-charming glory of Matangi the daughter of sage Matanga is truly matchless.

51.1. The last mentioned is the benign and pleasing aspect of Matangi. But, that is not the
form in which Matangi is depicted as a Mahavidya. Let me mention that there are several
representations of Matangi depending upon the class of Tantra that is talked about. For
instance, in the Sri Vidya tradition, Matangi is the Mantrini the minister or counselor of the
Supreme Queen (Para bhattarika) Sri Rajarajeswari. Matangi is also identified with Devi
Meenakshi of Madurai. And, Matangi is also called Tantric-Sarasvati and Tantric
Ganesha .Her complexion too varies from white, black, brown, blue or to green depending
on the context, says as Ucchista Matangini, Ucchista-Chandalini, Raja Matangini, Sumukhi
Matangini, Vasya Matangini or Karna Matangini.
51.2. But, Matangi as Mahavidya is a Siddha Vidya, the Tantra personified. She brings
focus, rather very disturbingly, on the notions of distinctions between purity-impurity;
clean-polluted; auspicious-inauspicious; puritanical notions- unrestrained sex; high castelow caste; and civilized society- hunting tribes of forests.
She is depicted as a domineering, fearful tantric deity, who is outside the pale of the
traditional society; who wields magical powers; who is pleased with the offering of leftovers
and polluted things; and who enjoys sex.
52.1. The myths associated with Matangi project her as a Chandalika (daughter of a
Chandala) who loves leftover or partially-eaten food (Ucchishta- Chandalini) and polluted
things. Her preference for pollution, it is said, extends over many things, such as: food, sex,
dress, dwelling and habits etc. The Nepali tradition mentions that Matangi lives among the
low caste, near garbage dumps, prefers Ucchishta offered by devotees who areunkempt and
unwashed; and she admires them for not rinsing the mouth and washing the hands after

52.2. The central message of this myth is to set free the Tantric devotee from the strangling
obsession with purity which can be dangerous and destructive. Ucchishta Matanginias the
embodiment of all that is impure and polluted is the goddess who helps in coming to terms
with, and transcend the apparent dualities in the existence. She, in her own manner,
emphasizes the importance of inner purity over external cleanliness. Matangi is therefore a
great teacher; and powerful and liberating goddess.
53.1. Mahavidya Bagalamukhi and Matangi are worshipped to gain magical or psychic
powers. Matangi is associated, in particular, with magical powers that exercise control over
53.2. Matangi is considered by some as the Tantric form of Sarasvati the goddess of speech
(vak) and learning. Both the goddesses are associated with music and speech. They,
however, differ in certain aspects. Sarasvati is sattvic in nature and represents the Vedic
learning. Matangi is tamasic and is related to magical powers. While Sarasvati is the power
or the awareness that generates speech, Matangi is the articulated speech (vaikhari vak),
while Mahavidya Tara is the un-manifest speech that resides in breath (madhyama-vak)
.Matangi is posited in the throat centre (visuddhi). The parrot which she holds (keera kara)
signifies the ability to talk.
53.3. Matangi and Ganesha are both related to elephants. The terms - matanga, maatanga
and matanga raja all refer to the elephant. Matangi had her origin amidst the elephant
huntress and she holds a hook (ankusha) that controls an elephant. Ganesha as para-vak the
un-manifest word is at muladhara, while Matangi as vaikhari vak is at visuddhi. The
tantric sadhana regards Matangi as the female counterpart of Ucchishta Ganapathi.
The Ucchishta Ganapathi is a tantric form of Ganesha .He is depicted as red in color,
naked and intoxicated. In some forms he is shown amorously playing with his consort
seated on his left lap (nari-yoni-rasasvada lolupam, Kama mohitam).Like Matangi, the
Ucchishta-Ganapati too is associated with unclean things.
54.1. But, basically, Matangi as Mahavidya severs attachment to the limited understanding
of the world in terms of pure or impure. She challenges the normally accepted concepts
and values in an established social order. She brings into question the very notions of
beauty, goodness, honor, respect, decency, cleanliness and physical comfort etc. She instills
in the heart of the Sadhaka the faith that all existence is pervaded by the goddess and there
is nothing that is outside the goddess; She pervades all; and within her there are no
distinctions of pure or impure. She guides the Sadhaka to transcend the artificial
manmade demarcations of beauty-ugliness, cleanliness polluted or pure -profane etc. Her
message forms the very core of the Tantra ideology.

Saraswatyaya Namo Nityam Bhadrakalyaya Namo Namah

Vedavedantavedanga Vidyasthanebhya Eva Cha

Ucchisthachandali Sri Matangeswari

Sarvagyanavashamkari Swaha"