In 2007 I was in Cuttack to visit Sripad Baya Baba’s ashram and Ras Bihari Math and we also took darshan of the famous Ma Chandi of Cuttack. Photos are not allowed, but the pujaris have a friendly relationship with the sadhus of our lineage so they permitted me to quickly take a photo.
There is a story about Ma Chandi and her appearance there. The land where the Mandir is now located used to be a field in which Sri Hansa Panda, the priest of the King of Kanika, would let his cows graze. One day Hansa Panda was feeling sleepy so he layed down on a small hill to take a little rest and he experienced a stange sensation while lying there. That night Ma Chandi appeared to him in a dream and she asked to be dug out of the ground. Hansa Panda told the King the whole story and with the King’s help the digging began the next day. It is said that 40 bullock carts of sindoor were removed from the hole before the deity of Ma Chandi was finally revealed. A temple was built on the same location and Sri Hansa Panda began her worship with great care and love.
She has four arms and she carries a pAza (noose), and an aGkuza (iron goad with a hook) in two hands and the other two hands are in the posture of the mudras, bara (awarding a boon), and abhaya (protecting from harm). Etymologically the word “Chandi” means fierce or violent and forcefully so. She is a loving Mother, but a wild killer. Her loving motherly side makes her intolerant of those who are hostile to her human and divine children. With all her strength she destroys the demon of darkness that impedes the evolution of her creation and the revelation of Divine Light. Jai Ma!