By Swami Harshananda
Kanyakā-Parameśvarī is the patron goddess of the vaiśya community especially in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. It is said that once Brahmā asked Jayanta, the son of Indra, to fight and kill a demon named Satajihva. His mother Sacīdevī intervened and prevented him from going due to the fear of himself being killed in the process. This enraged Brahmā who cursed her to be born on the earth among the vaiśyas.
She was born as the daughter of Kusumaśreṣthi and named Vāsavāmbā. A king named Viṣṇuvardhana proposed to get married to her. Since the members of the community refused, the king threatened to fight and kill them. But before he could do it, a large section of the community led by Vāsavāmbā herself immolated themselves in the fire. In course of time, she was deified into the goddess Kanyakāparameśvarī. Her temples are generally found in the places where the vaiśyas are concentrated. Another story identifies her with Pārvatī.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore