She sits in immense grandeur in the Tulmul nag island temple,
Presiding over the protection and well being of Kashmiris:
She is Maharajni Khir Bhavani, Kashmir’s supreme and the newest goddess.
She is also called Tripurasundri, Shyama, Rajni, Ragniya;
She has held at various times aspects also of Kali and Sita.
Her prophecies of the state of life in Kashmir are rendered by the color of the water in the nag.
She is a Tantaric goddess, a vegetarian and a virgin,
She is worshipped by Shiva and Rama.
Over time her iconic image has changed in some ways
But in a classic one she is seated in a yogic asna on a thousand petal lotus bedecked hexagonal seat
Wearing a bejeweled crown,
She has a third eye in the middle of her forehead and she has four arms:
Upper right carries a lotus, left a spear; lower right a poison/elixir container, left an auspicious vessel;
She is flanked by Vishnu on the right and Shiva on the left.
A supreme Tantaric goddess equipped with powerful cultic paraphernalia.
Her murti, mantra, and yantra are for people to understand and worship,
And realize what they want.
Her fifteen syllable mantra is:
Aum, Hrim, Shrim, Ram, Klim, Sau, Bhagavatyai, Rajnyai, Hrim, Svaha.
Which alludes to paying respect to the Shakti of desire and nailing it down.
This penetrating and marvelous power is in an arrow whose manifestation is the goddess Rajni.
It is a mantra of the highest degree which can take one to Shivahood.
Her yantra is a hexagonal form which is produced by juxtaposition of two triangles:
The upward pointing triangle symbolizes the male aspect of the supreme reality
And the downward pointing triangle symbolizes its female aspect, Shakti.
Thus the total hexagonal shape symbolizes the eternal unity of Shiva-Shakti.
Each arm of the triangles represent her gunas; Tamasi, Rajasi, and Sattvika.
The hexagonal space formed by the two triangles is the seat of the goddess,
Which is protected by the six Kashmiri deities.
The hexagonal star is enclosed by a circle which represents the cyclical cosmic forces.
The circle blossoms into eight lotus petals, signifying the unfolding of the divine essence.
The yantra has further architecture of other geometric shapes,
The journey through which leads the tantric sadhaka
To the bindhu (center of the yantra), where the goddess resides, carrying in her the supreme consciousness.
The whole representational concept of the yantra is the integration of a person with cosmos,
Releasing the latent energy in the human system for a cosmic bliss.
She came all the way from Lanka to Kashmir to start a new life:
Ravana, the great demon of Lanka, a great devotee of Shiva and a yogi, but still a Tamasi,
Did a dedicated penance for a hundred thousand years but found that he was still not favored by gods.
In distress he prayed to Brahama, who responded to him and told him
To worship Shakti from that point on for his good.
Ravana prayed to her for ten thousand years and she finally appeared before him.
Impressed, the goddess Shyama/ Tripurasundari bestowed on him the kingdom of Lanka
And assured him that it will last for three eons and gifted him a boon:
Ravana asked for the goddess to live in his house, so that she is always near him.
She accepted his request and stayed in his house for a long time but then got turned off
By the regular demonic rituals of the offerings of buffalos, alcohol, and humans
And furthermore when Ravana threatened to kill Rama to keep Sita with him,
She decided to leave Lanks and move on to Satidesha (Kashmir).
Shiva Bhairavi mandated her to take care of Kashmir Valley and
Rama, her devotee, asked Hanuman to take her there, accompanied by countless nagas.
Crossing Pir Panjal mountain in Kashmir, she went to Kapalamula,Vishnupada, Madhyagrama,
Khilavar ini, Anantanaga, Lokutpur, Rayasthal, Vadipur, Kotipur, Chandipur,
Tankarpur, and Sharda (Teethwal, now in Pakistan).
Finally, she selected a marshy area, near the confluence of rivers Sindh and Vitasta,
Which was suitable for nagas and was studded with trees.
Tulmul became her home and the foremost mandala.
The beginnings of the Khir Bhavani temple are shrouded in mystery:
Tulmul residents used to pay homage to a natural spring which was surrounded by marshes.
One day, in the last quarter of the 19th Cent., the village mystic, Pandit Govid Joo Gadru,
Had a vision of a goddess, who manifested herself as a serpent,
Dwelling at a spot at the marshes.
He felt her presence at that spot;
It was confirmed by another village wise man, Krishna Taplu.
Emergence of Maharajni Khir Bhavani at Tulmal soon became history.
She rose from the level of a Tamasi goddess at Lanka to Sattvika state In Kashmir
Through her yogic power and willfulness.
She showed the people that a person can achieve excellence
With the right spirit and the right guidance.
She also echoed the virtue of mobility when necessary.
Khir Bhavani came to Kashmir when its people were drifting hopelessly,
Having lost their great visions, faith, and discipline.
Kashmiri Pandits are again in confusion and spiritual distress,
They need a leap of mind to reignite their faith and galvanize their practical skills,
And find the path forward.