By Swami Harshanananda
Tripurabhairavi literally means ‘the Mother-goddess who is fierce towards the three realms’.</ref>
Significance of Tripurabhairavi Goddess
Tripurabhairavi is one of the major forms of the Mother goddess worshiped in her fierce as well as benevolent aspects. Tripura signifies the three worlds:
- bhu - It means the earth. It stands for dharma in her benevolent aspect.
- Bhuvah - It means the middle region. It stands for artha in her benevolent aspect.
- Suvah - It means the heaven. It stands for kāma in her benevolent aspect.
In her fierce aspect, she destroys these at the end of a cycle of creation.
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 called as varadamudrā and protection called as abhaya-mudrā.
In her fierce aspect:
- She is shown as red in color 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.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore