The iconography of diverse goddesses

The Wodeyar of Mysore, kR^iShNa rAja, prepared a compendium of Hindu iconography from diverse classical Hindu sources. This collation called the shrI-tattva-nidhI (STN) has become a useful standard for upAsaka-s in amongst educated Hindus, especially from Southern India. Sadly, the full text is not easily accessible these days. It is useful to examine the succinct descriptions of iconography that he provides in his text.
The STN is divided into 9 chapters:
1) shakti nidhi 2) viShNu-nidhi including vaiShNava deities 3) shiva nidhi including shaiva deities 4) brahma, indra and the devas 5) planets, nakShatra-s, kR^ityA-s and others 6) shalagrAman-s 7) li~Nga-s 8) Agamic and tantric issues 9) numbers, and scripts.

It begins with a long description of the iconography of chAmuNDA, who was the patron deity of the Mysore region as chAmuNDeshvarI (At some point I will summarize all the deities whose icons he describes). Some are long while some are laconic. Some the less frequently encountered ones are:

lopAmudrA:
pAshA~Nkushau sharaM chApaM dhArayantIM trilochanAM | sUryAbhAM chandra-chUDAM cha lopAmudrAM bhaje shivAM || sindhUra-varNaH

shItalA (a terrifying female agent of The god, who is the deification of variola. As described here on the chaNDikA hill near my regions of youth I had noted an icon of the deity depicted riding a donkey, naked and bearing a pot of cooling drugs and a winnowing fan and black in color):
dhyAyechcha shItalAM devIM rAsabhasthAM digambaraM | mArjanI-kalashopetAM shUrpAlaMkr^ita-mastakAM || (kR^iShNavarNaH).

tulasI (It also provides the imagery for the demoness tulasI, who was conquered by viShNu, there by allowing rudra to slay her husband, the demon sha~NkachUDa. But here she is caled a devI, worshipped as a deity of the basil plant):
dhyAyechcha tulasIM devIM shyAmAM kamala-lochanAM | prasannAM padmakahlAra-varAbhaya-chatur-bhujAM ||1||
kirITa-hAra-keyUra-kuNDalAdi-vibhUShitAM | dhavalAM shuka-saMyuktAM padmAsana-niSheduShIM ||2|| (shyAma varNaH)

tiraskariNI (A simple but beautiful image is given of our favor-bestowing goddess tiraskariNI, with whose hallowed mantra the stambhana prayoga of ari-s is destroyed.):
nIlavAji-samArUDhA nIlA~NgI khaDga-dhAriNI | nidra-nimIlad-bhuvananA-tiraskariNikAvatu || (nIla-varNaH)

~ by mAnasa-taraMgiNI on October 6, 2006.

 
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