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Śrī Śoṣikā Devī
Thus she is the ultimate, unified Śaktī; the Parameśvarī, triple Tripurā, the very self of Brahma, Viṣṇu and Iśa; the being who is Jñānā Śaktī, Kriyā Śaktī and Icchā Śaktī – Vāmakeśvarīmatam IV, 10-11
Śoṣikā is the goddess of the leftovers, associated with Mātaṅgī, the ninth Mahāhavidyā. At the end of pūjā, or ritual worship, the remains of the offerings are cast into a fire and dedicated to this aspect of Tripurasundarī. The aspect of Lalitā called Śoṣikā consumes everything that is left. She is worshipped in the north-east in a circular pit, enclosed within a square. Other guardians of the intermediate directions consume specific elements (upacāras) in the pūjā.
Chapter 20 of the Gandharva Tantra deals with her worship in detail. “Devī said: How is Parameśanī Śoṣikā worshipped, Śiva? What is the nature of this Mahādevī? Speak fully, Lord.
“Iśvara said: I now speak of the very secret Devī Śoṣikā Sundarī, the foremost Ucchiṣṭa Devī, Mātaṅgī, the bestower of all success. Devī, the Vidyā gives all prosperity and removes all defects. Weakness and misfortune disappear in one who comes to this knowledge. By depending on this Vidyā, O Devī, one may destroy the fixed, the mobile, the artificial and the bodily [afflictions].
This Vidyā is a Mahāvidyā, the destructress of all sin, giving heaven, liberation, dominion and good fortune. If poor, one gains wealth, if a fool one becomes knowledgeable. Listen! I declare the mantra of Mahādevi accordingly. Pronounce Ucchiṣṭa then Caṇḍālī then Sumukhī and Mahāpiśacinī, afterwards saying Hrīṃ then Ṭhaḥ Ṭhaḥ (Svāhā). Mahādevī, this mantra is the giver of all success.
“Now I speak of her other mantra, very hard to get. Aiṃ Hrīṃ Śrīṃ Namo Bhagavatī Mataṅgeśvarī Sarvajanavaśaṃkarī Svāhā. This is the mantra giving all siddhi.
“Deveśī, in the case of this Devī there are no defects, obstructions or restraints. There is neither limb nyāsa or hand nyāsa nor attendants with this devatā. He who is rooted in this mantra becomes the celestial tree. I speak to you of her dhyāna accordingly. Sitting on a corpse, wearing red garments, adorned with red jewels, resplendent with red gunja berries. In the first flush of youth, with high, swelling breasts, carrying a skull bowl and scissors, the form of supreme light.
“Now I speak to you of her alluring manner of worship. Listen, Devī! Offer water for sipping and food immediately after. After giving bali using the root mantra, a sādhaka should then recite it many times. With the leavings he should do japa of she, the desired giver of success. Listen to what follows which gives results. Having done homa and oblation in the circle within a square with a bindu and a bhūpura, the sādhaka should worship the maṇḍala of the Devī using the root mantra.
“There he should invoke the Devī who is the permanent form of fire. He should worship and do homa using milk, with mustard seed and rice. By reciting it 1,000 times, he can subjugate a king. He should do homa using goat’s flesh with honey and ghee. After 1,000 recitations, they become the givers of success.” (Gandharva Tantra, XX. 1-25)
Artwork is © Jan Bailey, 1975-2022. Translations are © Mike Magee 1975-2022.Questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org