Hindu Mythology is filled with fascinating stories about Goddess's and their happy or sad endings. But the best part is, the ones that have a sad story surely have the strength to face their reality and transform it into a happy one. Come join me in exploring the lesser known Hindu Goddesses and their life stories.
1) Madira Devi - Hindu Goddess of Wine
Did you, in your wildest dreams IMAGINE there would be a Hindu Goddess of wine and alcohol?! Well then I guess even the gods took indulgence seriously.
In Sanskrit sura would appear to mean ‘wine’, hence Varuni/Madira/Suradevi
also known as Varunani or Jaldevi, is the consort of Varuna (Water god). She is
the goddess of wine. She is described in Rigveda as married to Varuna after she
came out of the Samudra manthan, during the churning of the amrita. She is also
one of the 64 yogini(s). She resides in the Varuna Loka, which is situated in the
bottom of the ocean. Both of them are controlled by Lord Indra Bhagawan.
There is one Varuna Dev temple in Karachi at Pakistan, and it is considered as
the only temple dedicated to Lord Varuna and Mata Varuni Devi.
According to the Vishnu Purana, during the Samudra manthan or "churning of
the ocean", the daityas came to be known as asuras because they rejected Varuni, the goddess of sura "wine", while the devas accepted her and came to be known suras.
2) Riddhi & Siddhi - Twin Sister Goddesses & Wives to Lord Ganesha
Ever heard of a pair of twins in Hindu Mythology except Nakul and Sahadev? Well yes, we've got Riddhi and Siddhi who are wives to Lord Ganesha. Riddhi represents material abundance, prosperity and Siddhi represents talents and spiritual prowess.
What led to Ganesha having two wives? Once, Lord Ganesha refused to marry Tulsi Devi, who in turn cursed him saying that he will marry twice. This led to him marry both of Brahmas daughter's Riddhi and Siddhi but this din't come to him easy. He too had to obstacles before his happy marriage to the twin sisters.
As Ganesha has an elephant head, no girl was ready to marry him and the absence of a consort made him really angry. Out of frustration Ganesha started to create problems in the marriages of other demigods. The demigods ultimately complained to Brahma who took the responsibility of solving the problem. To bring the situation under control Brahma created two beautiful women Riddhi and Siddhi to accompany Ganesha as his consorts and Ganesha was ultimately satisfied with the offerings.
3) Devi Asavari - Lord Shiva's Sister
Lord Shiva had a sister too. Devi Asavari was created by Shiva on his
wife's insistence. As she used to miss her family madly when her children Kartikeya went south, Ashokasundari got married and Ganesh were away. She demanded this, as she was the only woman in the entire clan in Kailasha which was filled with men. Hence, Lord Shiva followed his wife's plea on one condition that she would take care of her 'sister -in law" very happily. To which, Parvati agreed.
Lord Shiva din't know what version of a woman to create, so he created someone like himself, just in a female version. At first Parvati was very happy until she realised Devi Asavari had a HUGE food appetite, she was plump and couldn't fit into any clothes hence she wore an animal's skin. She also started behaving rudely with Parvati, because of which Parvati had to break the promise she'd made to her husband Shiva of taking care of Asavari, as she grew depressed and tired.
Parvati asked Shiva to have his sister sent away from Kailash, after which Shiva got a brilliant idea of instilling his sister Asavari with good etiquettes and getting her married off. Parvati argued that had Asavari been well behaved, she wouldn't mind having her around. After which Shiva responded to Parvati that if you cannot have someone at their worst you definitely don't deserve to have them at their best.
4) Devi Rohini - Chandra Dev's Wife (Hindu God of Moon)
Rohini is goddess of the star and Chandra Dev’s chief consort. She is the daughter of Lord Brahma’s son King Daksha and elder sister to Shiva’s former consort ‘Sati’ and the 26 other Nakshatras. Chandra Dev (Moon God) spent most of his time with Rohini since he was madly in love with her. This enraged his other wives and they complained to their father. Seeing his daughters unhappy, King Daksha cursed Chandra Dev to lose his glory. But since Chandra Dev was an ardent devotee of Shiva, so he performed penance and his glory was restored back. Only one day would come in alternate intervals during which his light would diminish.
✅ Lord Krishna's birth star is Rohini and there is a significance to his choosing to be born in this star.
✅ Rohiniʻs name means “the red one”.
✅ Among all the nakshatras, Krithika, Revati and Rohini are often described as deified beings and “mothers”.
5) Goddess of Love Rati (Hindu God of Love - Kamdev's Wife)
Rati is (God of Love) Kamdev’s wife, she is the goddess of love, lust, passion and sexual pleasure. She is Prajapati Daksh’s daughter and sister to Shiva’s former wife Sati. Rati is said to be a very beautiful goddess and loving wife to Kamdev, however their love was put to the test when Lord Shiva destroyed Kamdev, who interupped his penance. Rati was furious and cursed Goddess Parvati that she shall never be able to bear a child in her womb, since she lost her husband Kamdev who was given the task by devas of uniting Shiva & Parvati by shooting love arrows on Shiva. Rati also begged Shiva to bring her husband Kamdev back to life, so he blessed her that Kamdev would be reborn as Krishna’s son Pradyumna in the future.
✅ Fun Fact: Pradyumna was kidnapped by an asura when he was just born, so Rati (his wife) disguised herself as a maid so she could live with Kamdev (Who was re-born as Pradyumna) and raise him. Pradyumna grows up, kills the asura and discovers that the maid who raised him was his wife Rati when he was Kamdev in his previous birth. They reunite and proceed to Lord Brahma's abode.
✅How was Rati born?
Bramha's son - Kamdev was mischievous and shot love arrows on all his brothers, who started getting attracted to their sister Sandhya. Amongst his brothers was Prajapati Daksha (Goddess Sati's father) who started sweating out of embarrassment and from his sweat a gorgeous woman was born and her name was Rati, since Kamdev was unmarried - Prajapati Daksha proposed that the two get married to one another.
Before their marriage Lord Brahma cursed Kamdev that one day Lord Shiva will destroy him with his third eye, since he was very angry when Kamdev shot love arrows on all his sons who then fell in love with their own sister Sandhya, who suicided later.
6) Urmila Devi - Lakshman's Wife
Urmila is the younger sister of Sita and wife to Lakshmana. She is described to
be as dedicated to Sita as Lakshmana was to Rama. When Lakshmana joined
Rama and Sita in their exile, he asked Urmila to stay back in Ayodhya and care
for his aging parents. According to a legend, Urmila slept continuously for
fourteen years. It is believed that during these fourteen years of exile, Lakshmana
also never slept to protect Ram & Sita. On the first night of exile, when Rama
and Sita were sleeping, the deity Nidra appeared to Lakshmana, and he requested
her to offer him the boon of not requiring sleep. The goddess asked him that she
could grant his wish, but someone else would have to take his place asleep.
Lakshmana wondered if his wife could sleep instead of him. After hearing this,
Nidra asked Urmila regarding this, who happily accepted the task. Urmila is notable for this unparalleled sacrifice, which is called Urmila Nidra.
7) Devi Tulasi
Once Tulasi Devi descended on earth as the daughter of King Kushadvaja, he named her Vrinda. Vrinda was married to a great mighty demon named Jalandhar. Jalandhar is said to have originated from the glory of Lord Shiva. Jalandhar was so powerful that he had conquered all the other demons as well. He took away the authority of the Devas and established a kingdom of demons.
The power of Jalandhar increased further after his marriage to Vrinda. The reason for this was that Vrinda was a very dedicated wife and a devotee of Lord Vishnu. He was already powerful and after his marriage he became invincible, no one was able to defeat him. Finally, the Devas seek shelter under Lord Vishnu. They ask Lord Vishnu to destroy Jalandhar in some way.
No one had the ability to break Vrinda's commitment to her husband. Once when Jalandhar goes out for war, Lord Shri Vishnu assumes the form of Jalandhar. He goes to Vrinda, seeing her husband's form, Vrinda does not recognise Shri Vishnu and touches his feet. This leads to the end of Vrinda's purity as Jalandar’s wife. The power of Jalandhar also ends as soon as the sanctity of his beloved woman Vrinda is destroyed.
As Jalandar’s power weakens, Lord Shiva slaughters Jalandar. This is how Jalandhar meets his end. When Vrinda learns about the death of her husband Jalandhar and the illusion of Shri Vishnu she becomes extremely angry. She curses Lord Vishnu to turn into a stone known as Shaligram. Honouring His pure devotee Tulsi/Vrinda, Lord Vishnu accepted this curse and promised to appear as the Saligrama shila in the Gandika river (now in Nepal).
On seeing Shri Vishnu turn into a stone, all the Gods and Goddesses get frightened. Goddess Lakshmi, seeing this form of Shri Vishnu, asks Vrinda for forgiveness. On Lakshmi ji’s request, Vrinda frees God from the curse and becomes Sati.
On being freed from the curse, Shri Vishnu names Vrinda as Tulsi. Sati Vrinda receives the form of Tulsi. Tulsi plant emerges from Vrinda's ashes, Shri Vishnu places his stone form i.e. Shaligram along with Tulsi and gives a boon that she will eternally reside with him as His consort in Vaikuntha and that Vishnu Puja would be considered incomplete without Tulsi.
8) Alakshmi - Goddess Lakshmi's Jealous Sister
Alakshmi is the goddess of misfortune, literally the opposite of her sister Lakshmi. She can never be in the same place as Lakshmi, who represents harmony and abundance.
Alakshmi emerged out during Samudra Manthan BEFORE her sister Lakshmi, making Alakshmi - the elder one. When Lord Vishnu expressed interest in marrying Lakshmi, Lakshmi asked him, “O Lord, how do you desire to marry me? the younger sister, without marrying the elder sister, Alakṣmī? Does the younger sister get married when the elder remains unmarried?”
After which, Lord Vishnu got Alakshmi married to Sage Uddalaka. After their marriage sage Uaddalaka took his new bride Alakshmi to his ashram which was beautiful, calm, happy and sounds of chats that disrupted Alakshmi's mind. She ran away from the ashram out of high discomfort, that got sage Uddalaka curious and he ran after her and asked her what the matter was? She responded to him saying," I shall not stay there where the sound of (the recital of) the Vedas is heard and guests are honoured. I love a place where there are men engaged in gambling and taking away others’ wealth, and where there live adulterers. I am interested in that place where cow slaughter takes place, drinking is indulged in, so also where sins like the killing of a brāhmaṇa take place.”
After hearing this Sage Uddalaka was mentally disturbed and took a conscious decision of abandoning Alakshmi. So one day he told her to follow him in a forrest and remain under the Ashvattha tree (a form of Lord Vishnu) till he found them another place to stay, he had no plans of returning back. A few days passed by after which his wife Alakshmi realised that she had been abandoned by her husband. This saddened her to such an extent that she started crying and screeching so loudly that her painful screams travelled different realms and finally were also heard by her sister Lakshmi. Lakshmi got concerned and sent her husband Vishnu to help her sister at once. Vishnu offered Alakshmi to live in Vaikuntha alongside her own sister Lakshmi, but Alakshmi refused at she couldn't live in a beautiful and harmonious place beside her beautiful and divine sister whom she so envied.
Hence Vishnu asked her to live in houses where men don't respect their women, where people indulge in bad habits and mischief, theft and disloyalty. Additionally he also blessed her to be worshipped alongside his Ashvattha tree form every Saturday.