Kātyāyani

From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

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:

  1. Khaḍga - sword
  2. Kheṭa - shield
  3. Kamala - lotus
  4. Abhayamudrā - gesture of protection
  5. Triśula - trident
  6. Dhanus - bow
  7. Bāṇa - arrow
  8. Aṅkuśa - goad
  9. Pāśa - noose
  10. Śakti - a special weapon
  11. Paraśu - battle axe
  12. Ghaṇṭā - bell

She is shown mounting a lion. She has the demon Mahiṣāsura below her left foot.

In the Bhāgavata[1] the young cowherd girls are described to have performed a religious rite called ‘Kātyāyanī-vrata’[2] in order to get Kṛṣṇa as their husband.
  1. Bhāgavata 10.22.1-5
  2. It is the worship of the Mother goddess Kātyāyanī.