Kubjika: Tantric Goddess with a Hunchback

While searching about Goddesses associated with various handicrafts, I came to know about Goddess Kubjika. She is associated with the potter community and is the prime goddess of pottery. Initially, I thought she is a local village goddess worshipped primarily in Nepal and Almora, India.

After a bit of research, made me realize that she is a powerful Tantric goddess who is one of the many manifestations of Kali and Adishakti. But to my surprise, I have never heard about her and or seen her image in most of the Tantric literature that I have come across.

Her name means a woman with hunchback or curve. Kubjika is also Kundalini who is coiled together and is residing in a bent over form in the body of Sadhaka. She often appears in three forms: a girl, a young woman, and an old woman. I think this again symbolizes the opening or unfolding or awakening of Kundalini.

There is a popular myth around her ‘bent over’ form. Once she was sitting to worship the union of God and the Goddess. She contracted her body when God appeared and held her hand. Hence, getting the name Kubjika.

Her consort is Navātman, a form of Bhairava and also an essential mantra in Saiva tradition.

References to Kubjika can be found in two documents: Kubjikamatatantra and the Satsahasra-Kulalikamnaya. Kubjika is mainly mentioned in Pascimamnaya amnaya in Kulagama scriptures belonging to Kaula tradition within Shaivism.

One of the presiding deities for 72 Nabhas Mayukhas mentioned in Saundraya Lahiri, a Sanskrit text devoted to Mother Goddess is Kubjikaa. Agni Purana touches upon the worship of Kubjika by paying obeisance to Aghora. It gives mantra for the worship and says that worship of Kubjika is known to the acquisition of all knowledge and masteries of skills.

Dyczkowski, M. S. has done excellent research on Goddess and written various articles and books on the same. He writes that Goddess is worshipped in secrecy by Newar people in Kathmandu. In his book, The Canon of the Saivagama and the Kubjika Tantras of the western Kaula tradition’, he writes “Kubjika is a Supreme Goddess or ParaDevi who is the divine light of the consciousness that shines in the center of the brilliant radiance that is perceived by the enlightened yogis.”

She is the great mother and is pure bliss. She resides beyond mind and is the source of the divine power of the Shiva.

Though at this stage, I can’t say why and how the worship of this Goddess came to an end in India. But she is undoubtedly the gateway to the immense ancient and hidden knowledge of Tantra.

30 thoughts on “Kubjika: Tantric Goddess with a Hunchback

  1. Good one!

    I think the death of any continuity of worshipping a deity occurs when the way of worship does not agree with natural order. I guess this Goddess bongs to the lefthand path (is it same as western tantra, as you named it?) and thus, along with the decline of the left hand path due to misuse of its practices (exceptions like Bhaskara Raya and others exist) this Goddess also might have disappeared from people’s routine.

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  2. Also, problem with tantric gods and goddesses is that they are technical, like Vedic deities. Veda and Tantra are but two unique representations of a very refined systematic approach to The GOD. When Vyasa introduced Puranas, I guess they stole the hearts of Kings as well as peasants in same magnitude, due to their narrative simplicity. That is why, the puranic deities are what mostly followed now a days, than vedic or tantric or any other paths.

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  3. Agree both Vedas and Tantra are unique and are two distinct branches of the same tree. It is tough to understand and follow this path nowadays especially when so much negative is written about Tantra.

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  4. No, it is not so! Where did you get this notion of whole tantra being left? Tantra has two paths: Left and Right. This is prominently symbolised by Central triangle up or down in Sri Chakra. Bhaskara Raya was adept in left hand path and showed to the then critics how its equivalent to right hand path. But in any case, the while tantra is NOT left. Of anyone says that, you can show Soundarya Lahari as an example.

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  5. The Natural Order is what that happens in front of us. The same story that happens around in and around our creation, happens inside us aswell. When a sage SEES the truth, he sees this TRUTH. Then, he uses the smilies and personification and poetic ornaments to represent this story. When a layman reads it or thinks it, it subtly resonates with their inner self, because its nothing but their own story externalised. When this happens, the truth being in varient of time and location, it is preserved from getting sucked by the winds of time.

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  6. Ah! SL is like epitome of Sri Vidya. Its capsulised in 100 shlokas, the whole Sri Vidya. Interestingly, the same SL can be interpreted as left as well as right with just a 180degree rotation of the yantra.
    Anyway, Avalon has a wonderful pice on first half of SL (called Ananda Lahari). You must read it when you get time. 😁

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  7. Ofcourse! I meant, that the introduction of selfish elements (dark path) by ‘few’ would start a destructive time bomb automatically. That’s the law of any wisdom path. You see how Babylonia or Chaldean or Egyptian way of culture is dead?! Because of this element.

    I adore Indian wisdom paths for one thing. The way of encoding. Tantra or Veda.. They had a way of encoding which could not be touched by the selfish motives. Thus, even today, though you may notice few deities have disappeared from people’s minds, the bases of Tantra or Veda exist in perfect shape with all ‘necessary’ tools intact.

    So my point was, kubjika may have been equivalent to Para Devi in theory. But when put into practice, it might not have appealed larger groups due to the way of left hand path and the inability of people to recognize the inner beauties (which delude people to easily fall into pits of dark side paths)

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  8. Hehe… So true… Infact, always meditate on what you read. If it is one thing that I learnt in my search, it is that everything unfolds from within. The necessary books, interactions, guidance, answers all will “come to you” when you meditate. This is also an answer to your question elsewhere when you asked about “how to find a guru”.

    When I say meditate, it does not mean sitting in a pose and closing eyes. I mean actual meditation. When you read something, three aspects exist right? The reader, process of reading and the thing being read. When this “triangle” collapses into one point (bindu) , where all the three aspects become one and the same – like when you are in ecstacy of silence of mesmerised Musical or so. That’s what I mean. In that state, you will see what I am wanting to say! In an essence this is goal of Tantra (hence triangles and points)

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  9. Even though you asserted the value of my long comments, yet I keep laughing when ever the point is made specifically that they are “long”.. 😁… I can’t help somehow,… It takes more words to express. I guess we need to learn the art of symbols as in Veda or tantra to speak volumes and volumes in just a stroke of a line. Hehe

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  10. Hmm I know! People often tend to spread negativity, without even properly researching…. When a white paper is shown, we always spot even a tiniest dot on it rather than acknowledging the whiteness of it.

    But I always feel, where there is smoke (of negativity and filth) , there sure is fire (of pure wisdom) waiting keenly for us to locate it.

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  11. Sorry, I just realised one interesting point. In SL and LS, the mother is described to have been bent forward due to the weight of her breasts (which are Sun and Moon as clearly stated there and hence ‘directly’ implies the capacity to feed or “Rear” the worlds). But if she is bent forward, then her back is by default curved and hence Kubjika! Suits perfectly with right hand path – See… One describes the front while other describes the back! In essence same thing :D..

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  12. Thanks, frangipani loving tropical lady sipping jasmine tea. I am glad that you enjoyed reading the post. Please do look around and read other posts with similar themes and share your feedback.

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  13. Kubjika is not a form of Kali, She is a mahadevi in her own right. Whereas the worship of Kali was developed in the uttaramnaya, kubjika worship was expounded in pashchimamnaya. Later on, shri vidya was developed which is the last of the great Kaula schools.

    Kubjika was a very secret goddess, secrecy is at the very heart of her teachings. She never amassed a great number of followers because entry into her realms was very restricted, but those who entered were both learned and adept in practice, hence her literature grew strongly. India has lost nearly all of the kaula schools due to the Muslim invasions. Apart from shrividya which was protected by the adishaivas in Tamil Nadu, and some remnants of kalasankarshini worship here and there, it got lost. The Hindu kings who were by and large tantrik during the medieval period, changed orientation back to vaidik because that was more accepted by the Muslim invaders. Nepal never got troubled by the Muslim, and the kings of Nepal have always been tantrik, hence the medieval practices and initiations got preserved. Kathmandu valley is a treasure trove of old tantrik teachings.

    Shrividya blossomed forth in india as did the shakta tantras of the second wave of revelations which was centered in Bengal from 13th century or so. That revelation started with dakshina Kali and developed into dasha mahavidya, a very beautiful teaching and decidedly later then the Kaula schools of trika, kubjika and kalasamkarshini Kali

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