By Swami Harshananda
Sometimes transliterated as: Kamaksi, KAmAksI, Kaamaaksi
The Kāmākṣī temple is situated in Kāñcīpuram, the modern town Kanchi or Conjeevaram in Tamil Nadu and one of the seven very ancient sacred cities described in the scriptures.
The goddess in the Devī temple attached to the Ekāmranātha temple complex is known as Kāmākṣī, ‘one with beautiful eyes’. It is said that once when Śiva and Gaurī quareled during a game of dice, Śiva cursed Gauri to become ugly. With Viṣṇu’s grace she obtained lovely features with beautiful eyes. By performing severe austerities under a single mango tree, she pleased Śiva and was reunited with him.
Goddess Kāmākṣī is shown seated in the padmāsana with four hands. In the upper right and left hands, she holds the aṅkuśa (goad) and pāśa (noose). The other two hands holds lotuses. A parrot is also shown at the back.
Names of Goddess Kāmākṣī
Goddess Kāmākṣī has several names:
Śrīyantra at Kāmākṣī Temple
Śaṅkara (CE 788-820) established a Śrīcakra or a Śrīyantra in front of the idol, on the ground. Worship is offered to this yantra. Originally this goddess was fierce and used to come out of the temple at night to devour the people who had incurred her wrath. When Śaṅkara came to know about it, he appeased her and exhorted a promise that she would not stir out of the temple without his permission.
The tradition of taking Śaṅkara’s permission before the utsavamurti or the procession idol is moved out is kept up even now. The idol of Śaṅkara has also been established in the temple complex.
- A single mango tree is called as eka āmra.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore