In Tantra, worship of Devi-Shakti is referred to as a Vidya. Of the hundreds of tantrik
practices, the worship of the ten major Devis is called the Dasa Mahavidya. These major
forms of the goddess are described in the Todala Tantra. They are Kali, Tara, Maha
Tripura Sundari (or Shodasi-Sri Vidya), Bhuvaneshvari, Chinnamasta, Bhairavi,
Dhumavati, Bagalamukhi, Matangi, and Kamala. These ten aspects of Shakti are the
epitome of the entire creation. Chapter 10 also outlines their consorts, although
Dhumavati, the widow form, is not allocated a consort.
There are several “levels” at which these Devis can be worshiped with the prescribed
Mantra and Yantra. Like a simple worship of the yantra with the mantra recitation, as a
remedial astrological measure, elaborate worship with all tantrak rituals for attaining
various siddhis associated with these tantras and for spiritual salvation.
Successful sadhana of these Vidyas gives several boons to the practitioner. The TantrikYogi
who has control over his senses and positively inclined uses the boons to guide
people and for the benefit of mankind. The ones whose head starts spinning with success
use them for the gratification of the senses, gather a bunch of disciples around them and
become fake gurus.
The last chapter of todala Tantra equates Vishnu’s ten incarnations with the ten
Mahavidyas as follows:
“Shri Devi said: Lord of Gods, Guru of the universe, tell me of the ten avatars. Now I want
to hear of this, tell me of their true nature. Paramesvara, reveal to me which avatar goes
with which Devi.