According to a mythological story in DEVI PURAN {Maha-Bhagwat}, Daksha Prajapati invited all deities except his son-in-law Lord Shiva, on the occasion of performing Brihaspati Yajna at Kandhal near Haridwar. Sati sought permission for participating in the yajna, but Lord Shiva turned down the request, since He himself was not invited by Prajapati Daksha. This enraged Maa Sati and she began to stare Lord Shiva ferociously. At this time, her divine face shone like millions of midday Suns. Having seen Sati in such ferocious mood, Shiva started running in all directions out of fear. In order to stop the running of Lord Shiva, Devi created ten Devis out of her body. These self-created Shaktis are known as ten Mahavidya (Das Mahavidya). In chapter {8/62-63} of Devi Puran, it is described as -

"Na pashyashi mahadev sateem maam purtah isthtaam
kali, tara cha lokeshee kamla bhuvneshwari
chinnmasta shodshi cha sundari baglamukhi
dhumavati cha matangi, namanyasamimani cha."

In Devi Puran, the location of ten Mahavidyas has been described. Bhagwati "Kali Devi" stands in front of Lord Shiva, Mahavidya "Tara" in the upper part, Bhagwati "Chhinnamasta" on the right side, Bhagwati "Bhuvneshwari" on the left, Devi "Bagla" in the back, Mahavidya "Dhoomavati" in the Agnikon, "Tripusundari" in Nairityakon, MatangKanya Mahavidya "Matangi" in Vayavyakon, Mahavidya "Shodshi" in Ishankon. "Kamla" is seated on lotus and Bhagwati herself in ferocious "Bhairavi". Thus Mahakali is the main deity and the ten Mahavidyas are her own creations with ferocious and gentle nature. In other workds, the ten main creations of Mahakali are known as ten Mahavidyas. Of these ten Mahavidya, Kali, Tara, Chhinnamasta, Bagla & Bhoomavati are apparently harsh but internally kind, whereas Bhuvneshwari, Shodshi (Lalita), Tripurbhairvi, Matangi and Kamla are Her gentle creations.

Mathematically, the number of ten Mahavidyas indicates the primacy of the number of ten. However there are only nine numbers. Tenth number indicates perfection which is synonymous with zero. The conversion of zero to one and vice-versa is a spiritual journey from perfection to perfection and re-perfection.

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