Śākambhari

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By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Sakambhari, ZAkambhari, shaakambhari


Śākambhari literally means ‘One who is full of vegetables’.

Significance of Śākambhari

In the Durgāsaptaśatī[1] the Divine Mother, while addressing the gods who had supplicated her, tells them that when severe drought affects the world, she will bring out plenty of śāka or nourishing vegetables out of herself and save the famished people.

Iconographical Representation of Śākambhari

  • One hand shows the abhayamudrā.[2]
  • She is described as the Mother of the three worlds Trailokyajananī.
  • The Mahābhārata[3] describes a place of pilgrimage known as Śākambharī.
  • Fasting at this place improves one’s health.
  • She is an aspect of Durgā having sixteen hands, carrying in them the following items:
  1. Spear
  2. Noose
  3. Skull-cup
  4. Bow
  5. Arrow
  6. Thunderbolt
  7. Goad
  8. Shield
  9. Conch
  10. Discus
  11. Mace
  12. Snake
  13. Sword
  14. Magic wand
  15. Cudgel

References

  1. Durgāsaptaśatī 11.49
  2. It means gesture of protection.
  3. Vanaparva 84.13
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore