Tripurabhairavī

(‘[the Mother-goddess who is] fierce towards the three realms’)

She is one of the major forms of the Mother goddess worshipped in her fierce as well as benevolent aspects.

Tripura signifies the three worlds—bhū (the earth), bhuvaḥ (the middle region) and suvaḥ (the heaven)—which she, in her fierce aspect, destroys at the end of a cycle of creation. It stands for dharma (virtue), artha (wealth) and kāma (pleasure) in her benevolent aspect.

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 (varadamudrā) and protection (abhayamudrā).

In her fierce aspect she is shown as red in colour, 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.