From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia
By Swami Harshananda
Nirṛti literally means the ‘deity of unfailing misfortune’.
Various inferences of the word Nirṛti is as follows:
- The word ‘Nirṛti’ occurs for the first time in the Ṛgveda as an evil spirit, as a personification of sin.
- Jyeṣṭhādevī or Alakṣmī is also sometimes called Nirṛti.
- Nirṛti is more commonly pictured as the guardian deity presiding over the south-western direction. He is one of the eight dikpālakas.
- Iconographical works describe him as dark in color, with a huge body and matted hair. He has two hands carrying a sword and a shield. Caṇḍikā or Rākṣaseśvarī is his consort. He rides on a donkey. Of course, there are other descriptions also.
- An avakīrṇin was expected to sacrifice an ass to appease Nirṛti as an atonement for the sin.
- There are other Nirṛtis also mentioned in the purāṇas. He is one of the eleven Rudras.
- As a woman, she is the wife of Adharma. Bhaya, Mahābhaya and Mṛtyu are her off-springs.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore