Bearded Vulture

Bheruṇḍā is an old, now obscure Gāruḍa goddess invoked to cure snakebite. She is part of a family of female deities with avian associations whose worship was widespread. Some “sisters” in this family are Tvaritā/Troṭalā, Kurukullā (Śaiva and Buddhist versions), Jāṅgulī, and Mahāmāyūrī. The history of this now obscure family remains an open question. Bheruṇḍā, Tvaritā, and Kurukullā’s names often come up in lists of the (usually) nine Nityā goddesses, a cult which also is practically unstudied but the scriptures of which survive in several Nepalese manuscripts.
The word Bheruṇḍā also refers to a type of bird, which Dave (1985: Birds in Sanskrit Literature) identifies as either a Bearded Vulture, Adjutant Stork, or Dodo (397–399). The first two are pictured above and both seem quite possible.

Adjutant Stork

Some Sanskrit texts that have passages on Bheruṇḍā include Saṃhitāsāra (unpublished Nepalese manuscripts), Gāruḍapurāṇa, Nāradamahāpurāṇa, Brahmāṇḍapurāṇa, Yogaratnāvalī (unpublished, but manuscripts widespread), Mahāyāgakrama (Muktabodha etext), the commentary to Bhairavapadmāvatīkalpa (Jhavery 1944), and Svacchandapaddhati (Muktabodha etext). Sanderson 2009: 48fn15 has a few useful comments and references on the Nityā cult.

7 thoughts on “Bheruṇḍā

  1. I have now written an article on Bheruṇḍā, Tvaritā, and Kurukullā called “Snakebite Goddesses in the Shakta Traditions.” We still don’t have a lot of information about Bheruṇḍā, but there is more in the article than our meager post here. It is forthcoming in Flood and Olesen’s Shakta Traditions volume, but I can send an offprint to those who may be interested.

    • I am a devi upasaka and have published some books on prathyinkira, vanadurga, sambasadasiva ayutha namavali, sarabha kalpam and srividhya pooja paddathi in sanskrit/tamil. I would request you to kindly send me the details on Bherunda and also other tithi nithyas. Is there any possibility of obtaining sahasranama on tithi nithyas as also trisathi, if available in sanskrit.

  2. i would like to have your article on Twarita. kindly send the same to my email id. thanks and regards

  3. Dear Sir
    Can you please share your paper and any other new papers on Garuda etc. I enjoyed reading your manuscript. I have attempted Garuda upasana before

  4. Hello Michael!, i have a small request. can you please send me all the texts related to ashtamukha gandabherunda narasimha(the 8 faced lord narasimha). i am really keen in having any such info on the lord. please help me…and also it is said that the description of ashtamukha gandabherunda narasimha is give in a few scriptures like atharvana veda mantrasaara, Stambodhbhava Kalpam, Gandabherunda Tantram, Gandabherunda Kalpam, Narasimha Prasadam, Narasimha Kalpam etc. please check it and reply me through my email( asap. thank you!

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