Acrylic on Canvas, 2001
40 x 44 cm
Collection of Suman Ratna Dhakhwa
Bagalāmukhī, also known as Bagalā, is one of the Daśa Mahāvidyās (ten powerful female deities) in Hinduism. She is frequently seen as an incarnation of the Goddess Pārvatī or Dūrgā. The name “Bagalā” is derived from the words “Valgā” which means “bridle” and “mukhī” which means “faced,” meaning that she has the ability to govern or conquer foes. She is also known as “Pitāmbarī,” which refers to her yellow dress.
The name “Bagalā” consists of three components: Ba, Ga, and Lā. “Ba” signifies that the deity is intoxicated with the desire to vanquish the demon. The second letter “Ga” signifies that she is the goddess who bestows divine power or siddhis and accomplishment on humans. The third letter, “Lā” represents the foundation of all supporting forces in the universe, such as the earth and consciousness herself.
Bagalāmukhī iconography represents her ability to control and overcome adversaries, negativity, and obstacles. It can be divided into various categories: two-armed, and four-armed, and in her “Bagalāmukhī Samaya Svarūpa”, she can also be seen with eighteen hands. The iconography of Bagalāmukhī symbolizes her power to control and suppress enemies, negativity, and obstacles. In this painting to refer to the attributes that the goddess is holding, the artist took a reference to an old painting. The attributes that she is holding are Gadā, Khaḍga, Pātra, and the tongue of an Asura or Daitya or a demon.