Sri Jwalamukhi Tripura Sundari Temple



Tripura Sundari, is a goddess and one of the ten Mahavidyas. She is a form of Goddess Parvati. She is best known as the Devi extolled in the Lalita Sahasranama and as the subject of the Lalitopakhyana (story of the goddess Lalita) in Hinduism.

According to the Srikula tradition in Shaktism, Tripura Sundari is the foremost of the Mahavidyas and the highest aspect of Goddess Adi Parashakti. The Tripura Upanishad places her as the ultimate Shakti (energy, power) of the universe. She is described as the supreme consciousness, above Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Tripurasundari is said to sit on Shiva’s lap in his form as Kāmeśvara, the “lord of desire”. Tripura Sundari (Parvati) is also the primary goddess associated with the Shakta Tantric tradition, known as Sri Vidya.
The Sanskrit word ‘Tripura’ is a combination of two Sanskrit words; “Tri” meaning “tráyas (three)” and “pura” meaning a city or citadel, but also understood as referring to three cities or citadels “built of gold, silver, and iron, in the sky, air, and earth, by Maya for the Asuras, and burnt by Śiva”  referring to the legend of the three cities destroyed by Shiva. However, “Tripura” can also mean “Śiva Śaktir (Shiva Shakti)” while “sundarī” means “a beautiful woman”.

Therefore, “Tripura Sundarī” literally means “She who is beautiful in the three worlds”.

She is called Tripura because she is identical with the triangle (trikona) that symbolizes the yoni and that forms her chakra (see below). She is also called Tripura because her mantra has three clusters of syllables. Here Tripura is identified with the alphabet, from which all sounds and words proceed and which is often understood to occupy a primordial place in tantric cosmology. She is three-fold, furthermore, because she expresses herself in Brahma, Visnu, and Siva in her roles as creator, maintainer, and destroyer of the universe. She is threefold also because she represents the subject (maul), instrument (mina), and object (meya) of all things. Here again, she is identified with reality expressed in terms of speech, which involves a speaker, what is said, and objects to which the words refer.

Tripura Sundari is also known by names as Ṣoḍasi (“She who is the sixteenth”), Lalita, Kamesvari, Srividya and Raja-rajesvari. The Shodashi Tantra refers to Shodashi as the “Beauty of the Three Cities,” or Tripurasundari.

She is Tripura because she is beyond the three Gunas. She dwells in the three worlds of manas, buddhi, and chitta. She is the Mother of the three gods Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, so she is Trayi, the unified combination of the three. She is also known as Lalita (the graceful one) and Kameshwari (the desire principle of the Supreme).
Shiva is one of the three gods who together constitute the Trimurti, the Hindu trinity. Shiva married Sati, the daughter of Daksha. Daksha and Shiva did not get along and consequently, Daksha did not invite Shiva for one of the great fire sacrifices that he conducted. However, Sati went to attend that function in spite of Shiva’s protest. Daksha insulted Shiva in Sati’s presence, so Sati committed suicide by jumping into the fire to end her humiliation. Consequently, Shiva decapitated Daksha, but after Shiva’s anger had been reduced he allowed Daksha to be resurrected with a goat’s head. This incident, i.e. death of his wife, upset Shiva and he entered into deep meditation. Sati reincarnated as Parvati, the daughter of the mountain king Himavat and his wife the apsara Mena. This was possible due to a boon was given to them by Adi Parashakti (un-manifested form of Lalita Tripura Sundari or Nirguna Brahman). Naturally, Pārvatī sought and received Shiva as her husband.

The devas faced an enemy in Tarakasura, who had a boon that he could be killed only by a son of Shiva and Parvati. So for the purpose of begetting a son from Shiva and Parvati, the devas deputed Manmatha, the god of love. Manmatha shot his flower arrows to Shiva and Parvati in order to induce severe sexual feelings in them. In anger for being tricked, Shiva opened his third eye which reduced the god of love to ashes. The devas and Rathi Devi, the wife of Manmatha, requested Shiva to give life to Manmatha. Heeding their request, Shiva stared at the ashes of Manmatha. From the ashes came Bhandasura, who made all the world impotent and ruled from the city called Shonitha pura, after which he started troubling the devas. The devas then sought the advice of Sage Narada and the Trimurti, who advised them to seek the help of Nirguna Brahman, the ultimate god head which is unmanifested i.e. Sat-Chit-Ananada (Truth-Consciousness-Bliss). Nirguna Brahman (parashivlalitha) divided itself into the male Maha Sambhu and the female Adi Parasakthi (who were unmanifested and beyond the manifest) and appeared before them. Maha Sambhu and Adi Parasakthi agreed to take the forms of Maha Kameswara and Kameswari Tripura Sundari respectively, for the benefit of the universe. For this, a maha yajna (great sacrifice) was made, where the entire creation, i.e. the manifest universe, was offered as the oblation, and from the fire rose Kameswari Tripura Sundari and Kameswara. Tripura Sundari and Kameswara re-created the entire universe as it was before. They re-created Brahma and Saraswati, Vishnu and Lakshmi, Shiva and Parvati, and all the other devas. Thus Vishnu came to be known as the brother of Parvati.

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