By Swami Harshananda
Sometimes transliterated as: Katyayani, KAtyAyani, Kaatyaayani
Kātyāyani literally means ‘daughter of the sage Kata’.
Kātyāyani is one of the forms of the Divine Mother. She is so called Kātyāyani because she was once born as the daughter of the sage Kata. She is one of the nine forms of Durgā (Navadurgās).
Iconographical works describe her in different ways. She has three eyes and her body is bent in three places (tribhaṅga). She may be shown with four or eight or even ten arms. The objects commonly shown in her hands are:
- Khaḍga - sword
- Kheṭa - shield
- Kamala - lotus
- Abhayamudrā - gesture of protection
- Triśula - trident
- Dhanus - bow
- Bāṇa - arrow
- Aṅkuśa - goad
- Pāśa - noose
- Śakti - a special weapon
- Paraśu - battle axe
- Ghaṇṭā - bell
She is shown mounting a lion. She has the demon Mahiṣāsura below her left foot.In the Bhāgavata the young cowherd girls are described to have performed a religious rite called ‘Kātyāyanī-vrata’ in order to get Kṛṣṇa as their husband.