From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshanananda

Tripurabhairavi literally means ‘the Mother-goddess who is fierce towards the three realms’.</ref>

Significance of Tripurabhairavi Goddess[edit]

Tripurabhairavi is one of the major forms of the Mother goddess worshiped in her fierce as well as benevolent aspects. Tripura signifies the three worlds:

  1. bhu - It means the earth. It stands for dharma[1] in her benevolent aspect.
  2. Bhuvah - It means the middle region. It stands for artha[2] in her benevolent aspect.
  3. Suvah - It means the heaven. It stands for kāma[3] in her benevolent aspect.

In her fierce aspect, she destroys these at the end of a cycle of creation.

Iconographical Representation[edit]

Iconographical works describe her thus:

In her benevolent form:

  • She is very bright like a thousand rising suns.
  • She wears reddish silken garments.
  • She has four arms, carrying in her two hands a book and a rosary while the other two exhibit the postures of boon-giving called as varadamudrā and protection called as abhaya-mudrā.

In her fierce aspect:

  • She is shown as red in color with parted lips revealing blood-shot teeth and the eyes wild with intoxication.
  • She wears garlands of skulls or a garland of three heads of Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Rudra.

In both these aspects she has three eyes and four arms. She also has matted hair-braids tied up into a topknot and adorned with a crescent moon.


  1. Dharma means virtue.
  2. Artha means wealth.
  3. Kāma means pleasure.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore

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