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Title: Nirṛti  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Guardians of the directions, Chhinnamasta, Devi, Death goddesses, Rigvedic deities
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Affiliation Goddess devi
Abode Nairhit loka
Weapon Scimitar, Broom
Consort Adharma
Mount Donkey

Nirṛti निरृति is the goddess of poverty and corruption, one of the dikpāla (Guardians of the directions), representing the southwest (or—according Monier-Williams’s Sanskrit-English Dictionary—the south). The name nirhti has the meaning of "absence of ṛta, lawless". The masculine form of the name, Nirhita, is a name of Adharma.

Nirṛti is mentioned in a few hymns of the Rigveda, mostly to seek protection from her or imploring for her departure. In one hymn (X.59), she is mentioned several times. This hymn, after summing up her nature, also asks for her departure from the sacrificial site. In the Atharva Veda (V.7.9), she is described as having golden locks. In the Taittiriya Brahmana (I.6.1.4), Nirṛti is described as dark, dressed in dark clothes and her sacrificial shares are dark husks. In the Shatapatha Brahmana (X.1.2.9), she is associated with pain and as the southwest quarter is her region, pain is associated with the southwest. But elsewhere in the same text (V.2.3.3.) she is mentioned as living in the south, the direction of the kingdom of the dead.[1][2]


  • Meditative mantra or Dhyana 1
  • Iconography 2
  • Story 3
  • Pronunciation 4
  • In popular culture 5
  • Notes 6
  • References 7

Meditative mantra or Dhyana

" Alakshmim krishnavarnamcha krodhanam kalahapriyam . Krishnavastram paridhanam lauhavaranabhushitam. Vagnasanasham dwibhujam sharkaraghrishtachandanam samarjanisabyastahastam dakshina hastasurpakam. Tailavyangitagatramcha gardhavaroham bhaje."


Goddess has dark black complexion. She is also named Alakshmi, she wears black dress and iron ornaments. She uses ass as her vehicle. She holds scimitar and broom.


In puranic story Nirrhiti is known as Alakshmi. When the ocean was churned to get ambrosia, the venom kalkuta released from that a goddess was born known as Nirrhiti . After that goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. So Nirrhiti is considered as elder sister of Lakshmi. Lakshmi presides on wealth, and Nirriti presides on proverty that is why she is called Alakshmi(Non lakshmi). She is consort of lord Adharma the god of sin.


Her name's correct original pronunciation is three syllables with all vowels short: "Ni-rṛ-ti"; the first 'r' is a consonant, and the second 'r' is a vowel as in "grrr". (In the Stargate series the 'irr' in her name is pronounced like British English "er" in "fern".) A common modern Indian pronunciation is "Nir-ri-ti".

In popular culture

Nirrti is a character in the television series Stargate SG-1. She is one of the Goa'uld System Lords, portrayed by actress Jacqueline Samuda.

In the video game Ninja Gaiden 2, the dual-wielded swords have a technique called Blade of Nirrti.

In Roger Zelazny's novel Lord of Light, set on a world where humans with vastly advanced technology have set themselves up as the gods of Hinduism, Nirriti the Black is one of their enemies. In that work, Nirrti is male, and actually a Christian clergyman.

In a 2013 novel The wordkeepers, based on Hindu mythology of 10 avatars of Lord Vishnu, Nirriti is a character allied with the antagonist 'Lord Kali'.


  1. ^ Kinsley, David (1987, reprint 2005). Hindu Goddesses: Visions of the Divine Faminine in the Hindu Religious Tradition, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 81-208-0394-9, p.13
  2. ^ Bhattacharji, Sukumari (2000). The Indian Theogony: Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Śiva, New Delhi: Penguin, ISBN 0-14-029570-4, pp.80-1


  • Dallapiccola, Anna L. (December 2002). Dictionary of Hindu Lore and Legend.  
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