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3rd century BCE. Indian Sculpture of a yakshini

Yakshinis (Sanskrit: याक्षिणि, also called yaksinis or yaksis and yakkhini in Pali) are mythical beings of Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain mythology.


Role

A yakshini is the female counterpart of the male yaksha, and they both attend on Kubera (also called Kuber), the Hindu god of wealth who rules in the mythical Himalayan kingdom of Alaka. They both look after treasure hidden in the earth and resemble that of fairies.


Description

Yakshinis are often depicted as beautiful and voluptuous, with wide hips, narrow waists, broad shoulders, and exaggerated, spherical breasts.


Behavior

Although Yakshinis are usually benevolent, there are also yakshinis with malevolent characteristics in Indian folklore.


Their number

In the Uddamareshvara Tantra, thirty-six yakshinis are described, including their mantras and ritual prescriptions. A similar list of yakshas and yakshinis is given in the Tantraraja Tantra, where it says that these beings are givers of whatever is desired. The list of thirty-six yakshinis given in the Uddamareshvara Tantra is as follows:

  1. Vichitra (The Lovely One)
  2. Vibhrama (Amorous One)
  3. Hamsi (Swan)
  4. Bhishani (Terrifying),
  5. Janaranjika (Delighting Men)
  6. Vishala (Large Eyed)
  7. Madana (Lustful)
  8. Ghanta (Bell)
  9. Kalakarni (Ears Adorned with Kalas)
  10. Mahabhaya (Greatly Fearful)
  11. Mahendri (Greatly Powerful)
  12. Shankhini (Conch Girl)
  13. Chandri (Moon Girl)
  14. Shmashana (Cremation Ground Girl)
  15. Vatayakshini, Mekhala (Love Girdle)
  16. Vikala, Lakshmi (Wealth)
  17. Malini (Flower Girl)
  18. Shatapatrika (100 Flowers)
  19. Sulochana (Lovely Eyed)
  20. Shobha
  21. Kapalini (Skull Girl)
  22. Varayakshini
  23. Nati (Actress)
  24. Kameshvari
  25. Manohara (Fascinating)
  26. Pramoda (Fragrant)
  27. Anuragini (Very Passionate)
  28. Nakhakeshi
  29. Bhamini
  30. Padmini
  31. Svarnavati
  32. Ratipriya (Fond of Love)