Hinduism...Who is Goddess Nirrti mentioned in the Vedas?

Why is she not worshiped nowadays?

7 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favourite answer

    Nirrti Hindu (Vedic and Puranic) destructive Goddess of darkness, whose name means destruction. She is associated with pain, misfortune and death, and is much feared by many Hindus.

    Nirrti (also: Nirriti) sometimes features in the group of Lokapalas.

    She is the guardian or regent of the South-West and is often featured in temple iconography. For example, the Rajarani Temple outside Bhubaneswar features a statue of Nirrti controlling the South-West direction. She is depicted on this temple holding a sword and a severed head, and standing over a prostrate body.

    Contemporary texts tend to portray Nirriti as demonic or destructive and she is often linked to Kali, Alakshmi or Dhumavati. David Kinsley, in his book on the Mahavidyas, contends that there is little evidence to suggest that Kali is related to Nirrti, but opines that Dhumvati is an “amalgamation” of the qualities of Nirrti, Jyestha and Alakshmi. Arthur Avalon, writing in Shakti and Shakta does stress that Nirrti is both “goddess of misfortune” and the “remover” of misfortunes.

    Generally, Nirrti is associated with calamity & misfortune; death (particularly untimely death); poverty and infertitility. There are also some indications that she is associated with stealing children. The Rakshasas – with whom she is associated – are related to disrupting the sacrificial rituals.

    In the Rg Veda Nirriti is the personification of destruction, calamity, corruption and death. She is also however, the abode or place of dissolution or decay. A verse in the RV (RV 7.104.1,9-11) describes the ‘realm’ of Nirriti as an endless pit without light or warmth – a placed reserved for those who act against the basic ideals of Vedic society. Those who are condemned to the realm of Nirriti do not receive nourishment from the offerings of their descendents, nor from their own accumulated merit. The following Hymn from the RV implores her to leave the sacrifice alone and to “depart to distant places” so that no calamity may befall:

    In the Mahabharata Nirriti is the wife of Adharma (unrighteousness) and the mother of three sons: Bhaya (“fear”); Maha-Bhaya (“great fear”) and Mrityu (“death incarnate”). Another version of this text says that she is the daughter of Adharma and Himsa (“violence or injury”). She is also however, one the creations of Brahma, as recounted in the Bhagavatam:

    “Here is the story of Nirrti . Brahma’s creative energy was showing on his body and mind. Narada popped out from the lap, Daksa trotted out of his thumb, Vasistha spiraled out of his breath, Bhrgu crawled out of his skin, Kratu muscled his way out of his hand, Pulaha sprouted out of his navel, Pulastya wriggled out of his ear, Angira gushed out of his mouth, Atri brimmed over the eyelid, Marici dawned out of his mind, Dharma burst out of his right breast, Adharma scratched his way out of his back, the god of love (Kāma) blossomed out of his heart, Anger bounced off his brow, Greed gyrated on his upper lip, the goddess of Speech (Vak) vaulted out his of mouth with the aid of a pole of nimble wit, the oceans rained down from his phallus, Nirrti plunked out of his anus, and the sage Kardama stepped out of his shadow. Dharma was Lord Narāyana Himself. Thus, Brahma’s creations came out of his body and mind.”

    According to the Agni Purana the spirit of the “doer of bad deeds” leaves the body through the anus. The implication is that if the Jiva leaves the body through the lower orifices (rather than, for example, the head) then the future of the Jiva is bound to the lower worlds.

    In a section of the Taittiriya Samhita which lists the various animals to be sacrificed to the gods, the pigeon, owl and the hare are listed as being sacrifices to Nirrti. Both pigeons and owls were considered to be inaspicious birds and there are is charm in the Atharva Veda which refers to the pigeon as the “messenger of Nirrti”. There are folk stories in North India in which Bhutas – believed to be the spirits of those who have suffered untimely deaths – take on the form of owls (Skt: ulaka). In the Dharmasastras, the cry of an owl is considered an inauspicious sign – a student of the Vedas who hears the owl is enjoined not to continue his studies until he has slept.

    The association of owls and Nirrti is quite interesting, as later, the owl becomes the vehicle of Lakshmi. This might be an instance of the goddess “conquering” an animal associated with misfortune or delusion and taking it as her vehicle – as with Ganesa and the rat/mouse.

    In later texts Nirriti seems to change sex – for example the Mahanirvana Tantra describes Nirriti as a god of dark green hue, seated upon a horse and bearing a sword.

    Thanks for the opportunity!!!

  • 6 years ago

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  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

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    Friend, I respect you and your questions too. But Please note that to Understand VEDAS it takes 48 years , with the help of a Sadguru. How much time have you spent learning or understanding VEDAS. They are the ANAADI, Beginning-less , in Sanatana Dharma and are called the Braeth of Eswara ( Brahman) So The VEDAS too adopted a NETI NETI VAADAM, this is not God or Brahman , This is Not and went on eliminating one by one. The Veda chandus (prosody) is different and the Vedas are HIGHLY SYMBOLIC. One has to struggle to to understand even an Upanishad properly. So Vedas SPEAK ABOUT BRAHMAN,THE ULTIMATE SATYAM,LIGHT,TRUTH. All the names and Forms are Perishable in Time. I too have NOT READ ANY VEDAS , but have read some good commenteraies. and know some things.but I am not an authority. Veads are believed by HINDUS as Apourusheyyamulu...Not uttered by any Person.They were , seen by Maharshis in their Deep Meditation. Sri Krishna is Parabrahman.But His name will not be (I think) mentioned in Vedas . Read Purusha Suuktam and more than that Naraayana Suuktam and TRY to understand. That much I can say. EDIT; Thanks for the considering my answer and replying .The very fact that you had Heard the VEDAS TRANSLATED FOR YOU BY THE PREIST, tells you do not know the Vedic Sanskrit ( which is totally different from the present day sanskrit).The Shadangaas must be understood first , Elders say to understand Vedas from Guru.But the Sanskrit is such a Language that , you know each word has more than at least ten meanings.A translation surely reflects the translators Understanding ONLY.Unless One Learns with Swaram , and Practices it, as Elders say, the meanings are not UNDERSTOOD as MOST are symbolic..I am glad that you heard the all the Veads in some other language.But , with all the respect I would say that THE WESTERNERS TRIED ALWAYS TO PUT THE VEDIC DATES AND EPIC DATES AS NEARER AS THEY CAN BRING IT TO.Srtill the researchers are are doing work as we read in papers , to fix the dates.But they proved the 3000 etc are wrong as far as I know. Edit contd; Friend, You agree Mahabharata was 3000 BC as Rigveda and Veads are 1500 BC.In Mahabharata , which you beliebve to be 3000 BC , in Bheeshma Parvam , You find the Vishnu Sahasra Naamam.I hope you agree that IT ,THE VISHNU SAHASRA NAAMAM IN MAHABHARATA IS IS NOT INTERPOLATION. I wish to draw your attention to the namams from this Vishnu Sahasra namams ; Please read the Naamaams; 127, 128, 129,130 1nd 130.THEY ARE ; 127; ........VEDAAYA NAMAH. 128;..............VEDA VIDEY NAMAH 129;..............AVYANGAAYA NAMAH 130;..............VEDAANGAAYA NAMAH. 131;..............VEDA VIDEY NAMAH. SO THE WORD VEDA WAS THERE WELL BEFORE MAHABHARATA TIMES. Edit contd; I would like to draw your kind attention to the verses 104 and 105; They are like this; ‘’ Bhoorbhuvastaru-staaraah-savitaa- prapritaamahaa Yagno- Yagna patih- ryajvaa-Yagnaango- Yagnavaahanah’ !!!’’….verse 104. Yagnabruk dvagnyakruth Yagnee Yagnabhug Yagnasadhanah, Yagnaantakrutyagnaguhya manna mannaada Evacha.!1…………………..verse 105 So this clearly tells that SRI KRISHNA IS THE SUPREME BRAHMAN. How can you advance the Vedas to 1500 BC , when it is so CLEARLY AND VIVIDLY NARRATED IN MAHABHARATA OF WHICH AS PER YOU IS DATED 3000 BC. Yagna Yagaadi karmaas are part of Rigveda Can you please throw some light on this. Edit Contd; I do not know you are a Hindu and a believer in Vedaas or Not.But I hope you agree Ramayana is the Oldest kavyam and EPIC too.(adi Kavyam). This Ramayana happened long long back in time to Mahabharatata , in Tryta Youga it happened. In Ramayana itself in the first meeting of Hanumaan with sri Ram on Maatanga Parvata, after Hanumaan spoke, Sri Rama Said '' this Person has studied all the Vedas and Vyaakaranam etc and understood them correctly.No other person vcan speak like Hanuman,'' So VEDAS were known by RAMAYANA time itself..RAVANA sang in SAAMA VEDA.Perhaps you know it. So you are unnecessarily trying to push VEDAS TO AS NEAR AS MODERN TIMES.What is the gain you get? By learning by heart the 1000 excellent Recipes , NOTHING IS KNOWN.AT LEAST ONE SHOULD TRY AND MAKE ONE ITEM AT LEAST FOLLOWING THE RECIPE.OTHERWISE THAT IS MEANINGLESS TRASH IN MIND.

    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    He is the God of South West.

    East : Indra

    South East : Agni

    South : Yama (Dharm)

    South West : Nirruti

    West : Varuna

    North West : Vaayu

    North : Soma

    North East : Kubera or Eesaana

    In our daily Sandhya Vandana(which we supposed to do thrice a day, except in Maadhyanikam(noon Sandhya Vandana), in both morning & evening ones, we pray all these Gods of these eight dishaas.

    I do not know much and await for other answers.

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  • 1 decade ago

    nirrti was the name of the female chief of the sangh gana probably rashtri devi vac et al are her other names. the matriarchical and matrilinial society was over run by the forces of varuna in the ancient horrey past of which glimses can be seen in the oldest of the rigveda hymns and some residue in the shrout literature of later dates. her association with death,swamp and wild asses is well known. that is a travestry created by the worshippers of varuna.the same thing happens later to varuna when the warlord god indra takes over. and indra himself becomes a bad god after the advent of vishnu avataras. that explains why nirrti is not being worshiped now.

  • I don't think anyone wants to worship Goddess of death and corruption.

  • 1 decade ago

    Nirrti is a Vedic Goddess of Destruction and Death in Hindu religion as the word means Destruction.

    Dark in complexion, she is also considered to be a proto-Kali. Interestingly, in Hindu literature, she has multiplicity of denotations and connotations.

    Nirrti is one of the dikpāla (guardians of the directions). Her direction is SouthWest though Sanskrit scholar Monier Williams in his Sanskrit-English Dictionary denotes her as guardian of the South direction.

    Nirṛti is mentioned in a few hymns of the Rigveda, mostly to seek protection from her or imploring for her departure as she was seen as mostly as Goddess of Destruction or Misfortune.

    Nirrti as Goddess of Destruction and Death is believed to dwell in desolate places on the look-out for hungry people or aggrieved people in mourning. Her dark complexion covered with dark clothes and her hair is often unkempt. Offerings to Nirrti are often black - black grain and stones, or diseased and malformed animals - with an intention to keep her away from rituals rather than to invite her to join in. In time, Nirrti was endowed through tradition both the male and female attributes thus giving her another manifestation as a Goddess for the “third sex” and transgender people.

    In Atharva Veda, owls and pigeons are associated with Goddess Nirrti as her messengers. Maybe the Hindu tradition of seeing owls as harbingers of death or pigeons as bringers of misfortune could have had its origin with Goddess Nirrti for in Dharmasastras the cry of an owl is considered an inauspicious sign!

    In contemporary portrayals, Goddess Nirrti is demonic linked to Kali, Alakshmi or Dhumavati. But scholar David Kinsley, in his Mahavidyas, contends that there is little evidence to suggest that Kali is related to Nirrti, but opines that Dhumvati is an “amalgamation” of the qualities of Nirrti, Jyestha and Alakshmi - all godessess of negative traits!

    Indologist Arthur Avalon, writing in Shakti and Shakta, does stress that Nirrti is both “goddess of misfortune” and the “remover” of misfortunes. But here her role should be understood in a tantric perspective of Shakti tradition of yoga. Here a bit of semantic ambivalence as to the real traits of Goddess Nirrti is caught up in an etymological dance too: nir-r means “to go out” and rta refers to “that which is right” or “the law” (literally, the course of things or “natural order”) thus yielding the dubious meaning of “(that which is) beyond (i.e. goes against) the order” or “that (which) dissolves the law!

    What can be more apt for our times than Goddess Nirrti? She is also referred in Rig Veda as the Goddess of Corruption!

    Moreover, in the Mahabharata Nirriti is the wife of Adharma (unrighteousness) and the mother of three sons: Bhaya (“fear”); Maha-Bhaya (“great fear”) and Mrityu (“death incarnate”). In Bhagavatam, Nirrti's birth is described as "Nirrti plunked out of his (Brahma) anus."

    Phil Fine in his religious anthropological blog renders that the Mahanirvana Tantra describes Nirriti as a god of dark green hue, seated upon a horse and bearing a sword in a symbolic transformation of sex/gender - a male God. One of my favorite historians Stella Kramrisch equates Goddess Nirrti with Mother Earth in her marvelous book 'The Great Indian Goddess.'

    Anyhow, Goddess Nirrti is seen as a destructive power and bringer of misfortune that people don't worship her like other goddesses.

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