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Mātṛ

From Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia
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Mātṛcakra (मातृचक्र):—Third of the five internal mystic centres (pañcacakra), according to the kubjikāmata-tantra (or, kādiprakaraṇa). These five cakras follow the general principle of a cakra (inward representation of a maṇḍala, the representation of cosmic creation).

The Mātṛcakra is named after the female deities who are called Mahāmātṛs (‘great mothers’) and Mātṛs (‘mothers’), who are localized in the eight-petalled lotus in the region of the heart.

These Mahāmātṛs and Mātṛs are to be distinguished from the eight Mātṛkās, the Mothers who also form part of this cakra. It is associated with Śiva and the gross element Fire (tejas).

From the centre outwardly evolves a structure of predominantly female deities who symbolize different aspects of the phenomenal and phonic creation. In the case of the Devīcakra, the Dūtīcakra and the Mātṛcakra, this unfolding takes place in two phases, first a number of deities come into existence who divide themselves again into further secondary manifestations.

In the Mātṛcakra eight female deities (mātṛkās) arise from the central principle who become eightfold each; these sixty-four deties (mātṛs) symbolize the components of the phenomenal world and are linked to the concept of the subtle body.


The names of the eight Bhairavas presiding over the eight groups of Mātṛs are as follows:

    Saṃvarta (north-east) presiding over the eight Lokamātṛs (‘Space-mothers’) born from Khecarī,
    Caṇḍa (east) presiding over the eight Ātman-mātṛs (‘Soul-mothers’) born from Ātmī,
    Krodha (south-east) presiding over the eight Indumātṛs (‘Lunar mothers’) born from Śaśinī,
    Unmatta (south) presiding over the eight Vahnimātṛs (‘Fire-mothers’) born from Vahni,
    Asitāṅga (south-west) presiding over the eight Marunmātṛs (‘Wind-mothers’) born from Calanī,
    Ruru (west) presiding over the eight Arkamātṛs (‘Sun-mothers’) born from Bhānumatī,
    Jhaṇṭa (north-west) presiding over the eight Mātṛs (‘Earth-mothers’) born from Mahimā,
    Kapālīśa (north) presiding over the eight Payomātṛs (‘Water-mothers’) born from Sukṛtālayā,

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