A Blog on Mythology and occasionally on Reality.

This is a Blog on Mythology, both Indian and World and especially the analysis of the myths.

In effect, the interpretation of the inherent Symbolism.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Third Sex - Part 1

Bahucharaji Mataji at Bahucharaji is one of the most sacred and famous Shaktipeeths in Gujarat. Bahucharaji or Becharaji as its better known is located in Bahucharaji taluka of Mehsana district in North Gujarat.

Goddess Bahucharaji is considered to be the primal deity of the Eunuch community of India. It is said that eunuchs from both the Hindu and Muslim communities attend the fairs and functions when held and some of the ceremonies and rituals of their communities are held at Bahucharaji.

Myths Associated with the Goddess
According to one of the folklores, Bahuchara was given in marriage to a prince who never spent time with her. Instead, he would go to the jungle every night on his white horse.

One night Bahuchara decided to follow her husband and find out why he never came to her. To keep up with his riding pace, she took a rooster and followed her husband into the jungle. There she discovered that her husband would change into a women’s dress and spent the whole night in the jungle behaving like a woman.
Bahuchara confronted him by asking him that if he was not interested in women then why did he marry her? To this the prince begged her forgiveness and said his parents had forced him into marriage so that he could father children.

Bahuchara declared that she would forgive him if he and like him worshipped her as a goddess, dressed as a woman. From that day onwards all such people worshipped Bahucharaji to seek redemption from this biological anomaly in the next lives.

In yet another folklore Bahucharaji was a daughter of one Bapal Detha of the Charan community. She and her sister were on journey with a caravan when a marauder named Bapiya attacked their caravan. It was common practice in the Charan’s that if overpowered by their enemies, not to surrender but to kill themselves. Shedding the blood of a Charan was considered a heinous sin. When Bapiya attacked the caravan, Bahuchara and her sister killed themselves by cutting off their breasts. Legend says that Bapiya was cursed and became impotent. The curse was lifted only when he worshiped Bahuchara Mata by dressing and acting like woman.

All these folklores go on to bring out the significance of the deity to the community of eunuchs or the transgendered in India. The significance to the community is such that even the Muslim eunuchs carry a certain interreligious respect for the deity and participate in the celebrations and certain functions held at Bahucharaji.

In Gujarat, the eunuchs are referred to as ‘pavaiya’s’ (a decent word) instead of the derogatory ‘hijda’ in the local language as is prevalent all over the country. They are also colloquially referred to as ‘masi’ which also stands for a maternal aunt.
They are highly respected in and around the town of Becharaji, and blessings are sought of them for the well-being and the welfare of people. Their blessings are supposed to be very beneficial, but then so are their curses, if one antagonises them.                       

During my visit to the town, after recounting the significance of the goddess to their community, Saroja Masi (in the pic) handed over to us a blessed coin which was supposed to be very auspicious. They however make a living out of the money that they get by blessing people for getting their wishes fulfilled.
It is said that since they have not received fulfilment of their primary urge of being of one gender, they have been empowered by the gods to grant wishes to the people of clear gender. They are blessed in a sense. However contradictory this sounds, this is a very important part of the belief system, and the eunuchs are always found singing and dancing at important events in Gujarat like that of marriages and most important at the birth of children and this is considered auspicious. The Gujarati’s do not shy away from seeking their blessings as shown above, rather they have a very strong faith in their blessings.

Before we move on to the other comparative aspects of this subject, mythical references of such instances of third sex in our mythology, I will recount one more very important myth related to Bahucharaji, in the next article in this series of “The Third Sex”. Keep reading.


  1. Interesting information, Utkarsh.
    There is a similar temple/unauthorized shrine next to my building of the same deity.
    It would certainly like gather more info on it after reading your blog.

    with warm wishes and happy blogging

  2. That's interesting...as and when you gather any information, please do post the same....that is the whole idea of blogging....utkarsh