Devi: The Great Goddess
Devi (in Sanskrit and in English)
HomepageAspects of Devi
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Parvati. Lent by a private collection.
Ganga and Vasudhara
Tara and Ambika
As dayini, gracious donor of boons, she blesses devotees with wealth, fortune, and success. She is a gentle, radiant figure who attends to the daily needs of those who adore her. The first appearance of female divinities was in the guise of dayini, the gentle and beneficent fulfiller of the desires of devotees, a role which remains one of enduring strength and attraction. Dayinis take many and varied guises within the Hindu religion, and they also penetrate the Buddhist and Jain faiths which arose around the fifth century B.C. Here we see Devi as Lakshmi, Sarasvati, the river goddess Ganga, Vasudhara, the Buddhist goddess Tara, and the Jain goddess Ambika.

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The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC 20560.
All presented material is copyright © Smithsonian Institution, 1999 except where otherwise noted.