Iconography of Goddess Biraja

  The iconography of Goddess Biraja is very interesting and unique. She is a two armed Mahiṣāmardinī image, the parallel of which is found nowhere in India. The Goddess holds a trident in right hand and lifts the tail of the theriomorphic form of the buffalo demon with her left hand so that the front portion of the body is knelt down. Standing in a pratyaliḍha pose she tramples the body of the demon with her left foot and pierces the demon with the trident. The mount lion is absent in the image. The image belongs to the Gupta or pre-gupta period. The crown of the Goddess Biraja is one of the most interesting features in its iconographic characteristics. In her head dress there are the carvings of Gaṇapati (the elephant headed God), yoni (pudendum mulibre), linga (the phallic emblem of siva), Indu (The crescent moon) and phaṇi (the serpent) each having its meaningful implication. The very concept of Gaṇapati is the symbol of synthesis between the Āryān and nonāryān culture. It is said to be the supreme lord, custodian and dispenser of knowledge and wealth social inspiration and a devotional object of the masses, liked and worshipped by all. This indicates her divine importance among the Āryāns and the primitive people. The association of lingam and yoni (the male and female sex organs) symbolizes procreation and productivity. The mother Goddess is regarded as the creator of all animate and inanimate beings, vegetations and the whole universe. The female sex organ symbolizes the power and receptacle of producing all the above and the male sex-organ is the cause of all procreation and growth. The fundamental belief of genesis of the early man has been depicted through a strange symbolism of human organic instrument. The presence of Indu or crescent moon symbolizes, energy, the nectar of life and remover of all sorts of physical and mental ailments. Lastly the representation of Serpent brings out the omnipotent character of a mother who puts up with all sorts of odds and balances the good and evil. It also symbolizes synthesis of the non-Āryān Naga worshippers and later Vedic Āryāns, Buddhists, Jainas etc. who equally regard snake as an object of divinity. As a whole Goddess Biraja in the form of two-armed Mahiṣāmardinī is depicted as the earliest manifestation of energy incarnate, the creator, dispenser and the destroyer. The Dhyāna Mantras specified in the following chapters corroborate to the carving of the Goddess Biraja.