A Group Conversation

The Goddess Is In Me writes:

The 10th Mahavidya is KAMALA, "The Lotus Goddess." Here is Her dhyana:

"She has a beautiful golden complexion. She is being bathed by four large elephants who pour jars of nectar over her. In her four hands she holds two lotuses and makes the signs of granting boons and giving assurance. She wears a resplendent crown and a silken dress."

I pay obeisance to Her who is seated on a lotus in a lotus posture.

A question: "What is the difference between Kamala and Lakshmi?"

Devi_Bhakta responds:

Here are two passages on the interplay between Lakshmi and Kamala -- the first is more factual, the second more mystical. But both are very good, and each complements the other:


The name Kamala means "she of the lotus," and is a common epithet of the goddess Lakshmi or Sri, who is said to adore lotuses and to be lotus-eyed and surrounded by lotuses. Indeed, Kamala is none other than the goddess Lakshmi. … [However,] Lakshmi is often portrayed as Vishnu's loyal, modest and loving wife. She is described as being occupied with domestic chores, such as cooking, and is typically depicted as subservient to her husband. Iconographically, [for example], she is often shown massaging Vishnu's feet and is much smaller than he. …

It is striking, [therefore], that as a Mahavidya Kamala is never shown iconographically or described in her dhyana mantras as accompanying Vishnu. He may be mentioned, [for instance, to] say that she has "glances that please Vishnu" or [that she is] "the beloved of Vishnu," but for the most part he is absent. In this respect, [and unlike Lakshmi,] Kamala is almost entirely removed from marital and domestic contexts. Her central role [in Vaishnavism] as mediator between devotees and Vishnu is completely missing in her Mahavidya incarnation. She does not play the role of model wife in any important way, and her association with proper dharmic or social behavior (either as an example of it or as the rewarder of it) is not important in the Mahavidya context. …

This is to be expected in the context of the Mahavidyas, where a premium seems to be put on the independence of the goddesses. For the most part, the Mahavidyas are seen as powerful goddesses in their own right. Their power and authority do not derive from assoiation with male deities. Rather, it is their power that pervades the gods and enables them to perform their cosmic function.

Source: Kinsley, David. "Tantric Visions of the Divvine Feminine: The Ten Mahavidyas," University of California Press (Berkeley), 1997.


Kamala is a little different from Lakshmi. Kamala is the aspect of Lakshmi that is part of the Wisdom Goddesses [Mahavidyas]. She is the form of Lakshmi which relates specifically to the practice of Yoga. Hence she is also a form of Kali.

Kali, or the Beauty of the Void, is also the basis of Kamala, or the Beauty of Life. The spiritual lotus, which is the basis of the Universal Energy, blooms in the void. It comes forth in the space of pure consciousness. Hence to allow it to come forth we must first make ourselves empty and clear. Only the non-attachment of Kali enables us to enjoy life and find our fulfillment through Kamala.

Though Kamala is beneficent in form, she may appear as Kali and remove our head is we become attached to Her delights. On the other hand, if we recognize Kali and surrender our desires to the eternal reality, then Kali appears as the beautiful and beneficent Kamala, granting us all good things in the glory of [Devi].

Source: Frawley, David. "Tantric Yoga and the Wisdom Goddesses," Passage Press (Salt Lake City), 1994.

Dashiki Djibouti adds:

Expansion of happiness is the purpose of existence, and no other reason. When Siva came out of samadhi on thought and wanted to know why, he cognized Kamala -- the first thought, and most beautiful form of the Goddess.

All Goddesses are One - as one knows when reading Ashtotaras. Lakshmi the consort of Vishnu, the vision of a perfect universe based on a perfect being drawn down to the bindu of our mind is Kamala. Again, what is our ultimate transcendental desire? To go back to a womb-like state of wholeness and beauty where all needs are met and we just feel the joy of existence.

Thank you Kamala - Lakshmi for this ultimate of boons of safety and nourishment. Her mantra is EEM. To transcend upon her we use EEMAH; the pulsating form of the deity. Do you want the ultimate transcendental form of Siva's first desire? She is Kamala -- use her bija mantra in pulsating form to know her. Do it in silence.

Tripura_Joe writes:

There is much confusion as to what is the ultimate reality. Which Mahavidya should we say is ultimate? The answer is all of them. So what? Ok, each is ultimate in a certain way and this is the greatness of Hindu worship is the ability to chose sides from amongst a hundred or thousand or a million deities. But ultimately what is the point?

Well, in Kamala it is really the fulfillment of desire for pure transcendence of desire to where desire overflows and stops. Kamala is desire reaching its destination and stopping and returning to desirer. Fulfillment is Kamala. One cannot see more beauty anywhere, ever. Desire kills itself and rolls over dead at her feet. And for a woman, she becomes object of every desire and all creation stops at her feet too. One can build up knowledge and vidya past this point to Tripura where all of nature becomes one huge churning of creation as thrice great gunas of bliss, but Kamala as first Mahavidya is truly all that was ever needed, unless you want your head lopped off at the neck when you meet Chinnamasta.

But again, enlightenment, dashmahavidyas …; which can bring a person fastest to enlightenment? Any -- but where did you start in your life? The young can easily attain samadhi on Kamala mantra, the very old need Kali bija mantra. That's how transcendence on mantra works. Young Kamala, old Kali, in between the others.

[ Back to The Forum Main Index ]