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BAHUCHARA-MATA

Bahucharaji was a daughter of a “Charan” Bapal dan Detha. She and her sister were on journey with a caravan when a marauder named Bapiya attacked their caravan. It was common practice in charan men and women if overpowered by their enemies, not to surrender but to kill themselves. Shedding the blood of charan was considered heinous sin. When Bapiya attacked the caravan, Bahuchara and her sisters announced tragu and cut their breasts. Legends tells that Bapiya was cursed and became impotent. The curse was lifted only when he worshiped Bahuchara Mata by dressing and acting like woman. Today Bahuchara mata is considered patroness of—and worshipped by—the hijra community inIndia. Her followers believe in non-violence and consider killing of all animals and creatures a sin.
Depiction and Symbols:
Bahuchara Mata is shown as a woman who carries a sword on her top right, a text of scriptures on her top left, the abhay hasta mudra (”showering of blessings”) on her bottom right, and a trident on her bottom left. She is seated on a rooster, which symbolises innocence.
Myths associated with Bahuchara Mata:
One important myth concerns a king who prayed before Bahuchara Mata to bring him a son. Bahuchara complied but the prince Jetho, who was born to the king, was impotent. One night Bahuchara appeared to Jetho in a dream and ordered him to cut off his genitals, wear women’s clothes and become her servant. Bahuchara Mata identified impotent men and commanded them to do the same. If they refused, she punished them by arranging that during their next seven incarnations they would be born impotent. This is how the cult of Bahuchara Mata, whose devotees are required to self-castrate and remain celibate, developed. In one of the many folk stories associated with Bahuchara Mata, the goddess was once a princess who castrated her husband because he preferred going to the forest and “behaving as a woman” instead of coming to her bridal bed. In another story, a man who attempted to molest Bahuchara Mata was cursed with impotence. He was forgiven only after he gave up his masculinity, dressed as a woman, and worshipped the goddess.

 

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