A Conversation about Matangi [January 2005]

Devi Bhakta
In certain interpretations, Mathangi Devi may be understood as something of a left-hand Saraswati -- Saraswati being, of course, patroness of the arts, sciences, literature and speech, music and dance. Mathangi governs the same areas, but in their less conventional, less comfortable, less socially acceptable forms.

ctopaz70
Matangi is an original Mahavidya and Saraswati has taken her place in many Hindu oriented Tantric schools as a result of the Brahman influence...Matangi became a Devi associated with the Untouchables.

Devi Bhakta
Mathangi Devi is complex and multilayered beyond words. You are correct that is certain systems Her associations are with the outcaste and the forbidden. All of that is out there, as She reveals in detail to those who take the time to know Her.

But please know that She is not only the ultimate outsider, but also the ultimate insider. The vastly popular Meenakshi Devi of Madurai is, in fact, none other than Mathangi. And in SriVidya -- by far the most complete, refined and sophisticated school of Shaktism -- She is openly understood as part of the central triad; if Lalita Tripurasundari is Supreme Ruler, the Mathangi is Her Prime Minister, and Varahi Her commander-in-chief.

A Devi as powerfully subtle and complex as Matangi is not only eroding Brahmanical hegemony from without; She is also the heartbeat of the very real "Fifth Column" working from within its very core.

Max Dashu
Thanks for the below. Are there any sources you'd recommend to learn more about Matangi, or would you be willing to tell us more?

Devi Bhakta
I'm glad to hear that you found this thread interesting as well.

You asked: "Are there any sources you'd recommend to learn more about Matangi?"

I guess I'd recommend the usual suspects -- Kinsley's intro to the Mahavidyas is okay; he's quite weak on Matangi, but it's better than nothing. Frawley's book on the same topic contains a few nice bits as well. Both are on my book list at Amazon (see Links). Also, a few years back, I posted a somewhat longer essay about Matangi on the Shakti Sadhana homepage, which you might find helpful if you haven't yet looked thru it. Since writing that, I have been fortunate enough to receive some further refinement of my understanding through the oral tradition.

You added "Would you be willing to tell us more?"

If I know more, I will certainly share. Please let me know specifically what kind of information you're looking for -- on board or via private e-mail if you prefer -- and if I have any knowledge or experience in the area, I will certainly try to help.

I received the following response in a private e-mail, and thought I would share it with the group in case any of you had similar feelings. My use of the word "Brahminical" was too loose, I must agree -- it was not intended as a slam against Brahmins as a social group; I most certainly do not harbor any such prejudices. It was just a rather sloppy and imprecise reference to certain exclusivist systems that would define qualification by one's birth rather than one's state of spiritual evolution.

Here is the mail:

Devi Bhakta, you wrote: "A Devi as powerfully subtle and complex as Matangi is not only eroding Brahmanical hegemony from without" There was never something called a Brahminical hegemony. Please understand that. There are some bad brahmins thru out history just like there are bad kshatriya-s, vaishyas, shudras and chandalas. That is it. IMHO, one needs to discard that old mentality of Brahmins trying to hurt or usurp things. For that a clear understanding of Indian history is required.

Max Dashu
Yes, I've read Kinsley and Frawley, and that's the sum of it so far.

I am just really drawn to this Devi, who seems to enfold some very profound Wisdom indeed. She seems to have jupiterian (Guruvian?) qualities with her vina, elephant connection, and isn't she pitambara as well? She feels connected to very ancient Adivasi roots. I'm interested in anything on how she is worshipped, her titles, attributes, stories, mantras (which I realize however might be only passed on in initiations)... whatever. The connection with Meenaksi is fascinating.

I will try to find your essay. Do you remember what it is called or when posted. I got immediately embroiled in the Sahasranamas while searching, had no idea there was so much nectar posted on the files page. I'm supposed to be doing something else right now but had to download the Divine Names right away, of course.

Devi Bhakta
Hi Max:

You wrote: "I will try to find your essay. Do you remember what it is called or when posted?"

I am sorry, I should have provided the link. It's down on about the 10th tier of the homepage. *lol* Anyway, it is linked off our main page on Mathangi, which is here: Matangi

Please have a look; maybe these pages will provide the information you need.

*** She feels connected to very ancient Adivasi roots. ***

Oh yes. In that connection, you may also want to read this page: Lajjah Gauri

*** I'm interested in anything on how she is worshipped, her titles, attributes, stories, mantras (which I realize however might be only passed on in initiations)... whatever. The connection with Meenaksi is fascinating. ***

A lot of that is probably contained in the material above.

*** had no idea there was so much nectar posted on the files page. I'm supposed to be doing something else right now but had to download the Divine Names right away, of course. ***

Yes, there is a *lot* in there!

Enjoy, and we'll take it from here later ...

surya vishnubhotla
Was in the impression that at least one matangi mantra (for her form as laghu shyamala devi dosent need initiation or rules) .. In her form as laghu shyamala she is blackish blue in color .. just sharing !! even I am curious to know more about this lovely godess!

just to exchange notes .. what is the mantra that you know of?

I sometimes wonder about the word Laghu attached to shyamala in laghushyamala ... does anyone know the significance?

Sarabhanga Giri
Namaste,

Laghu means short or quick, so that Laghu-Shyamala would be an abbreviated version.

Devi Bhakta
Hi Surya:
The bija of all forms of Maatangi is identical to that of Saraswati, that is to say, aiM. That is more than enough for anyone to find Her, if they are serious and attentive.

The non-secret multi-syllable mantras are easily obtainable in various books about Hindu Tantra and even online, and I see no need to repeat them here. You must know that everyone who's ever picked up a book by Harish Johari is an expert in these things?

The more secret mantras are not shared outside the lineages. But Bhasurananda Natha recently told me something *extremely* interesting in that connection, which I'll share this excerpt for those who are interested in such matters.

BN: ALL mantras are equally powerful.
DB: No matter how secret or how widely known? It can't be so.
BN: It IS so. The secrecy has only a psychological effect. In fact, I had a revelation recently that no mantras are required, and no poojas.
DB: Then what *is* needed?
BN: Just visualisation. It is the visualisation that's important.
DB: It's hard to fathom that. I need to think about it.
BN: All this came to me in the bathtub the other day! And a lot more that I am still trying to digest!
DB: But every mantra has its own devi or deva. And they are not all equal.
BN: Each deals with a different level of the psyche. But at a certain level they are all IT. That's why it is said that once you get siddhi in one mantra you have siddhi in all mantras.
DB: Yes, at some high level. It is very conceptual. Useful perhaps to only the most advanced sadhakas?
BN: I don't know about that. Let me sleep on it. It was a powerful experience, a rare event. Normally I get no such experiences.
DB: I wonder what triggered it?
BN: No idea. It just came. I don't know what triggered it. I will sleep on it.

Msbauju
I love it!

'[....] "starting and ending with water." [....] everything starts after a deluge and ends in a deluge.'

Or maybe a bath!

sankara menon
there are hundreds of mantras and any can be used without any guru; like getting into a jet fighter without an instructor and just pulling on all levers and just enjoy what happens.

surya vishnubhotla
My concept is that mantras are necessary till u need a stage when u no longer need their support to move onwards ..

The Laghu shayamala mantra goes:
"Aim namaha ucchista chandali matangi sarva (or sarvajana) vasam kari swaha"
Before doing this mantra u read the following mantra once :
"Manikyaveena mupalayantim madalasaam manjula vak vilasam mahendra neeladyuti komalangim matanga kanyam manasa smarami"
The godess is dark bule hued and visualization of her helps !
Visualization has a different importance altogether ... but mantras cannot be substituted only by visualization? .

sankara menon
Yes visualisation is the most important thing; it can substitute for the mantra IMHO

rajeshwari iyer
Mantras are like medicine which one can buy over the counter and it has its own limitation. Where as Guru Mantra is like Doctor's prescription - it can cure underline cause. It is up to an individual to decide what he wants. Am I right?

Devi Bhakta
You added, "Mantras are like medicine which one can buy over the counter and [each] has its own limitation. Whereas Guru Mantra is like Doctor's prescription - it can cure the underl[ying] cause."

Do you mean the Mantra given by Guru, or the Guru Mantra itself. I originally read your statement as referring to the latter, and found it quite a beautiful thought. I even asked a great adept of my acquaintance if it might be objectively true. [No reply as yet]

I guess a related question would be, is ANYTHING is one's sadhana objectively true? Or is it all a series of subjective truths until we all meet in the same place at the end of the journey. Or more: Is our perception of the End of the Journey colored by the path that brought us there? Or will all great souls experienced the same Ultimate Truth when they finally merge with and become It?





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