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The Goddess Ambika Leading the Eight Matrikas in Battle Against the Demon Raktabija

Raktabīja was an asura who fought together with Shumbha and Nishumbha against Durga and Kali or Chamunda. Raktabija had a boon that whenever a drop of his blood fell on the ground, a duplicate raktabija would be born at that spot.


From Rakta, blood, and Bīja, seed, a bahuvrihi or exocentric compound of "he for whom each drop of blood is a seed". In South Indian texts, the name is sometimes written raktabhija, and in the East, it is sometimes written raktabIj.


The eighth chapter of the Devi Mahatmya, raktabIja-vadh focuses on Durgas battle with Raktabīja as part of her battle against the asuras Shumbha and Nishumbha who had disenfranchised the gods from heaven. Raktabīja was wounded, but drops of blood falling on the ground created innumerable other Raktabījas resulting to difficulty on Durga’s part. Then, the goddess created Kali who made her tongue onto the earth and sucked off the blood pouring from the body of Raktabīja and devoured his duplicates with her gaping mouth. Ultimately, Raktabīja was annihilated.


  • Dictionary of Hindu Lore and Legend by Anna Dhallapiccola, ISBN 0-500-51088-1.
  • Devi Mahatmya Chapter Eight.