Fourth Night: Bherunda Nitya


Bherunda: Molten Gold

Energy: Empowering vulnerability


Bherunda is, uniquely among these and many goddesses, naked. She is wearing all kinds of gold ornamentation, and her smile is lit up. She has more weapons that any of the other Nityas, including the noose and goad, a sword, a discus, a thunderbolt, a bow and arrow and a shield called the kavacha. In Sanskrit, a kavacha is a song or chant that consists of the words that one needs to feel protected (you can look at the Nitya Kavacha here:

Bherunda’s nakedness indicates a vulnerability and openness that is incredibly rare, and her extra weapons signify that this very vulnerability is what gives her power. When we lie about ourselves, when we conceal something true about who we are, we think we are protecting ourselves, but we are actually toxifying our environment. Letting our truths be seen can be terrifying, but in the act of the telling, we open ourselves to the support and love and trust that can come from those we tell.

Sometimes the truth ripples out. Bherunda’s destructive sword, thunderbolt and discus, indicate that honesty can also destroy illusions that may have been carried by–even holding together–whole communities. Bherunda reminds us that the illusions we are trying to maintain by preventing ourselves from being seen are, indeed, illusions, and they may be toxic to our wider communities as well as to ourselves.

Bherunda tells us it’s okay to desire. It’s okay to want change, and that with desire often comes guilt, shame, and fear. Her molten-gold-ness has an alchemical quality that will transform the emotions that cultivate the fear of vulnerability into gold. She teaches us that there is a deep, tough, and beautiful medicine in honesty.


If it’s at all possible for you to do this meditation naked, go for it. One possibility could be to do it in the bath. “Swaha” is a mantra that is traditionally chanted in fire ceremonies, when you throw offerings into the fire. Picture a huge cauldron of molten gold in front of you, capable of totally annihilating any toxic thoughts or emotions that are clogging your ability to think or feel clearly. As you repeat this word to yourself in your mind, allow your desires, emotions, thoughts, and whatever else to arise in the background. Let them get big enough to have a colour or texture, or an image associated with them. Throw them into your imaginary fire. When you are finished your meditation, seal your internal fire ceremony with another word, like “namaste,” “om,” or simply “thanks.”

Writing prompt:

Write your own kavacha: what words make you feel safe? What prayer could you recite like an incantation anytime you were afraid of telling the truth? Who would you call on to protect you? What weapons would you need to wield in the grocery store, at the bar, in a crowd, in conversation with a friend or lover, speaking in public?


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Writer, yoga teacher, studio owner.