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She has three eyes and four arms. Her upper right hand makes a gesture meaning "fear not," while the lower right hand's gesture promises the granting of boons to Her devotees. Her left hands hold a bloody sword and a freshly severed human head. Thus She combines the compassionate and the terrible aspects of the Divine. Yet even in Her terrible aspect She is looking out for the good of Her devotees--indeed of all humanity: The head She has severed represents the ego, the biggest obstacle to our realization of God.

She wears nothing but a skirt and a garland--but the skirt is made of human arms, the garland of skulls. Again, however, these symbols transcend the obvious macabre associations with Her destructive nature. The arms represent work or action, also known as Karma: All work belongs to Her and should be dedicated to Her. The fifty skulls in the garland represent the fifty letters of the Sanskrit alphabet, the root of all knowledge, indeed of creation itself.

The murthi of Adya Ma found by Annada Thakur in the Eden Gardens and reproduced in the Adyapeath temple reflects most of these characteristics. Missing is the skirt of human arms and the third eye, in whose place appears a mark similar to those made on their foreheads by devout Hindus everywhere. In addition, Adya's hair, instead of flowing free, is matted into three long strands, like the matted locks worn by sannyasins, including the Great God Shiva Himself.
Adya Ma Murthi
Murthi at Adyapeath
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