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Paintings > Folk Art > Madhubani > Matangi - The Outcaste Goddess
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Matangi - The Outcaste Goddess

Matangi - The Outcaste Goddess

Matangi - The Outcaste Goddess

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Madhubani Painting on Hand Made Paper treated with Cow Dung
Artist Vidya Devi and Dhirendra Jha

10" x 14"
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Matangi - The Outcaste Goddess

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Viewed 2542 times since 2nd Oct, 2008
Once upon a time, Vishnu and Lakshmi went to visit Shiva and Parvati. Vishnu and Lakshmi gave Shiva and Parvati fine foods, and some pieces dropped to the ground. From these remains arose a maiden endowed with fair qualities. She asked for leftover food (uccishtha). The four deities offered her their leftovers as prasada (food made sacred by having been tasted by deities). Shiva then said to the attractive maiden: "Those who repeat your mantra and worship you, their activities will be fruitful. They will be able to control their enemies and obtain the objects of their desires." From then on this maiden became known as Uccishtha-matangini. She is the bestower of all boons.

The legend of her origin stresses Matangi's association with leftover food, which is normally considered highly polluting. Indeed, she herself actually arises or emerges from Shiva and Parvati's table scraps. And the first thing she asks for is sustenance in the form of leftover food (uccishtha). Texts describing her worship specify that devotees should offer her uccishtha with their hands and mouths stained with leftover food; that is, worshippers should be in a state of pollution, having eaten and not washed. Since for Matangi worshippers make offering in a polluted state, she is known to have been offered a piece of clothing stained with the menstrual blood in order to win the boon of being able to attract someone. Menstrual blood is regarded in almost all Hindu texts and contexts as extremely polluting, and menstruating women are forbidden to enter temples or otherwise serve the deities. In the case of Matangi, these strict taboos are disregarded, indeed, are flaunted.

This description by Nitin Kumar, Executive Editor, Exotic India.


Kinsley, David. Tantric Visions of the Diveine Feminine. New Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1997.

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