The top illustration at right is a painting I made in an attempt to express Her totality, combining common elements of the dhyana mantras for Ucchista Maatangini from the Brihat Tantrasaara, Maatangi from the Purashcharyaarnava, and Raja-Maatangi from the Purashcharyaarnava and Saaradaa-tilaka. The second picture illustrates a very different Matangi dhyana, set out fully in its caption. The third shows yet another traditional conception.
She is seated on an altar and has a smiling face and a green complexion. Her eyes are intoxicated. Her clothes and all of Her ornaments are red. Around Her neck is a garland of kadamba flowers. She is sixteen years old and has very full breasts and a very slim waist. She holds a skull on Her left side and a bloodied chopping blade on Her right, And She plays a jewel-encrusted veena. Her hair is long and wild, and the disc of the moon adorns Her forehead. She perspires slightly around Her face, which makes Her all the more beautiful and bright. Below Her navel are three horizontal folds of skin and a thin vertical line of fine hair. She wears a girdle of jeweled ornaments, as well as bracelets, armlets, and earrings. She represents the 64 arts and She is flanked by two parrots. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I meditate on Matangi,Who, seated on a gem-studded throne, listens to the sweet utterances of the parrot,is aglow with youth,has one foot on the lotus, has her forehead bedecked with the crescent moon,plays on the veena,has a garland of jasmine flowers, has a fitting bodice adorning her,wears red garments,has a conch-vessel,is inebriated with honey sweet wine, has the vermilion mark on her forehead adding luster to it.Matangi, the daughter of sage Matanga, supportively plays the ruby-bejeweled veenaleisurely in her self-glorycharming in her sweet vocal expression of song her delicately soft limbs, lustrous like sapphires.
Matangi is a primary form of the all-powerful Goddess known in Hinduism as Devi. She appears most prominently as one of the Dasha Mahavidyas
(Ten Wisdom Goddesses) of Tantric Hinduism, but may also be considered a
more primal and fearful form of the popular Goddess Saraswati.
Whereas Saraswati presides only over Creation, governing traditional knowledge and arts, Matangi also contains elements of Destruction -- by which She severs the attachments that bind humans to the mundane world, paving the way for more unorthodox and revolutionary forms of Creation, knowledge and art.
She is called the Outcaste Goddess because She prefers to dwell outside the mainstream, and also because She facilitates the "polluting" process by which Divine Unstruck Sound is manifested on Earth in the form of human speech, literature and music. Meditation upon the esoteric aspects of Matangi provides a bottomless source of meaning, insight, and inspiration.
HER STORYGoddess Parvati (Devi) was away visiting Her father Himalaya, when Her consort Lord Shiva began longing for Her, and growing jealous in Her absence. So Shiva disguised Himself as an ornament vendor and appeared at Himalaya s door. Parvati selected a few shell ornaments, but when She asked the merchant his price he asked Her to pay him with sexual favors. Outraged at his presumption, Parvati was about to curse the man when Her divine intuition revealed he was actually Shiva in disguise, apparently out to test Her fidelity. Concealing Her knowledge of His true identity, She replied, "Yes, fine, I agree. But not just now." And She sent Shiva on His way.
Later, as Shiva prepared for His evening prayers on the shores of Manas Lake, Parvati came to teach Him a lesson. She took the form of a beautiful outcaste girl, a member of the wild hunter-gatherer tribe known as the Chandalas. She was dressed all in red, Her body lean, Her eyes large, Her breasts full -- and She began a seductive dance by the lakeside, near the place where Shiva sat.
Enthralled, Shiva asked Her, "Who are you?" She replied, "I am Matangi, daughter of the Chandalas. I have come here to do penance." Shiva smiled. "I am the One who gives fruits to those who do penance," He said, and he took Her hand and kissed Her, and then He made love to Her. While they were thus engaged, however, Parvati abruptly transformed Shiva into an outcaste Chandala Himself -- whereupon He immediately realized that Matangi was his wife.
Parvati told Him, "Since You made love to Me in the form of a Chandala girl, She will henceforth be one of My permanent forms, to be known as Ucchista Chandalini." That is, Matangi, the Outcaste Goddess, who governs all that is leftover and polluted. And so Matangi took Her place as one of the Ten Wisdom Goddesses, the primary forms of Devi/Parvati. And some time later, when Parvati and Shiva argued and He threatened to leave, Matangi joined the other Mahavidyas in blocking His every exit, thereby demonstrating (among many other things) Devi's ultimate power over Shiva -- and His utter inseparability from Her.
This is only one of the many beautiful myths surrounding Matangi and Her origins. It is taken from the Praanatosini-tantra and other sources. Additional versions relate Her to such pan-Hindu Goddesses as Kali and Lalita Tripurasundari, as well as to more localized deities -- most notably, Tamil Nadu's Meenakshi Madurai.