In Hinduism, Bagalamukhi or Bagala is one of the ten mahavidya goddesses. Bagalamukhi Devi smashes the devotee's misconceptions and delusions by her cudgel. She is also known as 'Pitambari' in Northern Parts of India.
"Bagalamukhi" is derived from "Bagala" (a distortion of the original Sanskrit root "valgā") and "mukha", meaning "bridle" and "face", respectively. Thus, the name means one whose face has the power to capture or control. She thus represents the hypnotic power of the Goddess.
The name literally means “crane faced,” though this is a misnomer. The name 'Bagla' is . She has a golden complexion and her cloth is yellow. She sits in a golden throne in the midst of an ocean of nectar full of yellow lotuses. A crescent moon adorns her head. Two descriptions of the goddess are found in various texts- The 'Dwi-BhujA' (two handed), and the 'ChaturbhujA' (Four handed).
The Dwi-BhujA depiction is the more common, and is described as the 'Soumya' or milder form. She holds a club in her right hand with which she beats the demon, while pulling his tongue out with her left hand. This image is sometimes interpreted as an exhibition of stambhana, the power to stun or paralyze one’s enemy into silence. This is one of the boons for which Bagalamukhi’s devotees worship her. Other Mahavidya goddesses are also said to represent similar powers useful for defeating enemies, to be invoked by their worshippers through various rituals.
Once upon a time, a Huge storm erupted over the earth. As it threatened to destroy whole of the creation, all the gods assembled in the Saurashtra region. Goddess Bagalamukhi emerged from the 'Haridra Sarovara', and appeased by the prayers of the gods, calmed down the storm.
A demon named Madan undertook austerities and won the boon of vak siddhi, according to which anything he said came about. He abused this boon by harassing innocent people. Enraged by his mischief, the gods worshipped Bagalamukhi. She stopped the demon's rampage by taking hold of his tongue and stilling his speech. Before she could kill him, however, he asked to be worshipped with her, and she relented, That is why he is depicted with her.
Major temples to the goddess are situated in the Himachal Pradesh
in the north, and at Nalkheda
in Madhya Pradesh
. Nepal, where the worship of tantric goddesses had Royal patronage, also has a large temple devoted to Bagalamukhi in the Newar city of Patan. The territory of the Bagalamukhi temple in Patan also has several other temples there: a Ganesha temple, a Shiva temple, a Saraswati temple, a Guheswari temple, a Bhairabha temple and also temples for many other gods and goddesses. In Hinduism there are 330 million separate gods and goddesses. The main difference between any other temple and a Bagalamukhi temple is that if someone worships all the gods in this temple, they would actually worship all 330 million gods and goddesses at one place. Bagalamukhi Devi Temple is situated at Guma in Mandi, in the state of Himachal Pradesh in North India. Large numbers of Hindu devotees offer prayers here to fulfill their wishes. Bagalamukhi Puja is performed by an experienced Pandit, as any mistake in the ritual may result in bad effects.
Bagalamukhi Devi is one of the ten Hindu Goddesses of Power. Bagalamukhi Puja is performed according to Vedic ritual, to defeat enemies. It not only decreases the power of the enemy, but also creates an atmosphere where he or she becomes helpless. The Abhimantrit Bagalamukhi Yantra is also used for the same purpose. It protects the person from enemies and evils. There is a beautiful Mandir of Ma Bagalamukhi in Varanasi as well.
Bagalamukhi maha mantram meaning is as below:
Oh Goddess, paralyze the speech and feet of all evil people. Pull their tongue, destroy their intellect.
- Hindu Goddesses: Vision of the Divine Feminine in the Hindu Religious Traditions (ISBN 81-208-0379-5) by David Kinsley
- Tantric Yoga and the Wisdom Goddesses By David Frawley (ISBN: 812081357X, 9788120813571), Published by Motilal Banarsidass Publ., 1996