Mirita – The Self Beheading Dakini

Mirita (Chinnamasta) conveys the idea of reality in the contrast of sex and death, creation and destruction, giving and taking. She is probably the most stunning representation in the Hindu pantheon of the truth that life, sex, and death are part of an interdependent, unified system. (Kinsley)

Mirita is one of the ten Mahavidyas. The name Mahavidyas comes from the Sanskrit root, with maha meaning ‘great’ and vidya meaning, ‘revelation, manifestation, knowledge, or wisdom. Mahavidyas are Wisdom Goddesses, aspects of devi Parvati, who represents a spectrum of feminine divinity, from horrific goddesses at one end, to the gentle at the other.

The Mahavidya grouping arose in the psyche of the anthropos sometime post 10th century ce, and Chinnamasta, as with some of the others, may have appeared as early as 5th century to the Buddhist followers in the Himalayas, whom they named Cinnamunda. Her origin story varies, with about five versions including the Buddhist rendition. There are similarities in each of these tellings. I will mainly focus on highlights of her unique qualities here.

There are, in fact, many goddesses and spirits in Hindu tradition, who haunt battlefields, are nude, fierce, and bloodthirsty, or associated with fertility. Mirita, however, seems to be the only goddess who decapitates herself in order to nourish her devotees.

One striking feature is how she chooses to feed them, not from her breasts, but with her blood. Instead of drinking her maternal milk, they drink her life blood.

There is an overall theme of self sacrifice. They look to her for satisfaction, which they receive in dramatic fashion.

It is a gesture of primal sacrifice and renewal of creation, she renews and resuscitates the universe.

Her icon is dominated by severed heads. But in Mirita’s case it is her own head that is offered, a rare case indeed when examining the history of ritual blood sacrifice to the goddess, in one form or another, dating back many centuries.

Like Kali and Tara, she wears a garland of severed heads, and this can be translated a number of ways, however, it is common to recognize these trophies as the slain heads of demons from battle.

The head as the chief of the body’s parts also houses the persons essential being. Without the head, a person is without identity. The severed heads may also represent ‘the forbidden’ – out of bounds – and the destination for devotional adherents as they seek to be unhampered by social limits. This can also be interpreted as liberation into a fully realized and awakened state of consciousness.

She stands on the copulating couple Kama and Rati – this can be interpreted in one of two ways. Firstly as a form of self-control and discipline. A mastery of sexual and selfish desires.

Secondly she can be seen as receiving the sexual vitality from the lovers beneath her. She channels this kundalini fire from the base or root center and feeds this shakti current in the image of blood directly to herself and her devotees.

Worship of Mirita is rare given her particularly fierce nature. Only those of heroic nature dare worship Mirita. Hers is the left hand path, and the only other goddess to be so worshiped is Bhairavi. Only those with the nature of the hero are qualified to undertake the left handed path. (kinsley)

“With each encounter with the Mahavidyas, we pick up more detail on their individual traits and powers. Each has her own mantra (sound formula) and yantra (sacred symbol). It takes some time to get to know them, but not so long. As you do get to know them, you may find that you are attracted to a certain one more than others. You feel affinities here and there, catch a sharp resonance. You identify. The Mahavidyas have a way of attaching themselves to the psyche of those who will become their devotees. They will adhere selectively to your imagination of them.” JLL

References: Ten Mahavidias – Tantric Visions of the Divine Feminine – Kinsley
Amazing Artwork Credit: DeviantArt – F Mattias

Lunar Cycle: Last crescent moon sighting in the RAM