In Jainism, Ambika (Sanskrit: अम्बिका, Odia: ଅମ୍ବିକା Ambikā "Mother") or Ambika Devi (अम्बिका देवी Ambikā Devī "the Goddess-Mother") is the Yakṣi "dedicated attendant deity" or Śāsana Devī "protector goddess" of the 22nd Tirthankara, Neminatha. She is also known as Ambai, Amba, Kushmandini and Amra Kushmandini. She is often shown with one or more children and often under a tree. She is frequently represented as a pair (Yaksha Sarvanubhuti on the right and Kushmandini on the left) with a small Tirthankar image on the top. The name ambika literally means mother, hence she is Mother Goddess. The name is also common epithet to with Hindu Goddess Parvati.
An image of Ambika in Cave 34 of the Ellora Caves
According to Jain text, Ambika is said to have been an ordinary woman named Agnila who became a Goddess. She lived with her husband Somasarman and her two children Shubhanakar and Prabhankara in Girinagar. One day, Somasarman invited Brahmins to perform Śrāddha (funeral ceremony) and left Agnila at home. Varadatta, the chief disciple of Neminatha, was passing by and asked for food from Agnila to end his month-long fast. Somasarman and Brahmins were furious at her as they considered the food to be impure now. Somasarman drove her out of the house along with her children; she went up to a hill. She was blessed with power for her virtue, tree she sat down under became a Kalpavriksha, wish granting tree, and dry water tank overflown with water. Gods were angry at the treatment with Angila, and decided to drown everything in her village but her house. After seeing this Somasarman and Brahmins felt this was because of saintliness and went to beg for her forgiveness. Upon looking at her husband afraid of punishment Angila committed suicide by jumping of the cliff but was instantly reborn as Goddess Ambika. Her husband was reborn as a lion and he came to her, licked her feet and became her vehicle. Neminatha initiated her two sons and Ambika became Neminath's yakshi.
Worship of Ambika is very old, a number of images and temples of ambika are found in India. Goddess Ambika along with Padmavati, Chakreshvari are held as esteemed deities and worshipped in Jains along with tirthankaras. Ambika and Padmavati are associated with tantric rituals. These tantric rites involves yantra-vidhi, pitha-sthapana and mantra-puja. Ambika is also called Kalpalata and kamana devi a goddess that fulfils. In Vimal Vasai Ambika is carved kalpalata, a wish fulfilling creeper. Ambika is also associated with childbirth and prosperity. Ambika and Sarvahana is the most favoured yaksha-yakshi pair in western parts of India. Ambika is also worshiped as Kuladevi or gotra-devi. Ambika is the kula-devi of the Porwad(Pragvat) Jain community. While she is worshipped by all murtipujak Jains, she is specially revered by the Porwads.
According to legend, after completing construction of Gommateshwara statue, Chavundaraya organised a mahamastakabhisheka with five liquids, milk, tender coconut, sugar, nectar and water collected in hundreds of pots but liquid could not flow below the navel of the statue. Kushmandini appeared disguised as a poor old woman holding milk in the shell of half of a white Gullikayi fruit and the abhisheka was done from head to toe. Chavundaraya realised his mistake and did abhishek without pride and arrogance and this time abhisheka was done from head to toe. Worship of Kushmandini devi or Ambika is an integral part of Jain rituals in Shravanabelagola.
- Ambika-Kalpa, Ambika-Tadamka, Ambikatatanka, Ambika-stuti, Ambika-devi-stuti and Bhairava-Padmavati-Kalpa are tantric text to worship Ambika.
- Ambika-stavana, is hymn to Ambika, compiled by Vastupala, minister of Chalukyas, in 13th century.
- Ambika-devi-kalpa of Acharya Jinprabha suri, 14th century.
- Aparajita-prccha is hymn to Ambika, complied by Bhuvanadeva, 12th-13th century.
According to the tradition, her colour is golden and her vehicle is lion. She has four arms. In her two right hands she carries a mango and in the other a branch of a mango tree. In one of her left hands, she carries a rein and in the other she has her two sons, Priyankara and Shubhankara. In South India Ambika is shown to have dark blue complexion. Ambika is depicted as sashandevi for other tirthankars as well. Ambika is often represent with Bahubali. Yaksha-Yakshi pair sculptures of Ambika and Sarvahanabhuti are one of the most favoured along with Gomukha-Chakreshwari and Dharanendra-Padmavati.
Ambika has been popular an independent deity as well. It is speculated that the origin of Ambika is attributed to elements of three different deities - first, goddess riding on the lion from Durga; Second, some goddess associated with mangoes and mango trees; Third, Kushmanda.
A sculpture of Ambika was discovered at Karajagi village in Haveri taluk. The sculpture has a two-line Sanskrit inscription in Nagari script about the date of its installation - “Ambikadevi, Shaka 1173, Virodhikrit. Samvatsara, Vaishakha Shuddha 5, Guruvara.” This corresponds to Thursday, April 27, 1251 AD.
Ambika sculpture from Kushan Empire
Ambika with Sarvana, LACMA, 6th century
Image depicting Goddess Ambika in LACMA, 6th-7th century
Carving of Ambikadevi Kalugumalai Jain Beds, 8th century
Image depicting Goddess Ambika from Karnataka, India, c. 900 CE, Norton Simon Museum
Sculpture of Goddess Ambika, 1034 AD, British Museum
Goddess Ambika in Museum Rietberg, 11th century
Sculpture of Gomedh and Ambika at Maharaja Chhatrasal Museum, 11th century
Sarvanubhuti and Kushmandini with Jinas, 11 century, Art Gallery of New South Wales
Goddess Ambika idol, Victoria and Albert Museum, 1150-1200 AD
Modern iconography, Shri Munisuvrata-Nemi-Parshva Jinalaya
The major temples of Shri Ambika Devi include:
- Stele with 'yaksha-yakshini' couple and Jinas, Pratapaditya Pal, ‘Goddess: divine energy’, pg.30., Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2006
- Pal 1986, p. 45.
- Chandraprabha Jain Temple & Chennai museum, p. 48.
- Shah 1987, p. 257.
- Shah 1987, p. 165.
- Tiwari 1989, p. 33.
- Dundas 2002, p. 214.
- Kumar 2001, p. 112.
- Pereira 2001, pp. 62-63.
- Krishna 2014, p. 68.
- Chawdhri 1992, p. 128.
- Tiwari 1989, p. 29.
- Shah 1987, p. 221.
- Kumar 2001, p. 107.
- Tiwari 1989, p. 13.
- Shah 1987, p. 65.
- The Muslim Review - Volumes 1-2, p. 29
- Deccan Chronicle & 2018 Mahamastakabhisheka.
- Gier 2001, p. 83.
- Tiwari 1989, p. 28.
- Jain 2009, p. 63.
- Tiwari 1989, p. 132.
- Dalal 2014, p. 158.
- Shah 1995, p. 17.
- Singh 2008, p. 55.
- Mishra & Ray 2016, p. 168.
- Rare sculpture of Jain Yakshi found in Haveri Taluk, The New Indian Express, 18 October 2013
- Temple of Amba Mata on Girnar Hill, near Junagadh, British Library
- Dalal, Roshen (2010), The Religions of India: A Concise Guide to Nine Major Faiths, Penguin Books India, ISBN 9780143415176
- Pal, Pratapaditya (1986), Indian Sculpture: Circa 500 B.C.-A.D. 700, University of California Press, ISBN 9780520064775
- Chawdhri, L. R. (1992), Secrets of Yantra, Mantra and Tantra, Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd, ISBN 9781845570224
- Shah, Umakant Premanand (1995), Studies in Jaina Art and Iconography and Allied Subjects in Honour of Dr. U.P. Shah, Abhinav Publications, ISBN 9788170173168
- Mishra, Susan Verma; Ray, Himanshu Prabha (2016), The Archaeology of Sacred Spaces: The temple in western India, 2nd century BCE–8th century CE, Routledge, ISBN 9781317194132
- Pereira, José (2001), Monolithic Jinas, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 9788120823976
- Shah, Umakant Premanand (1987), Jaina-rūpa-maṇḍana: Jaina iconography, Abhinav Publications, ISBN 81-7017-208-X
- Tiwari, Dr. Maruti Nandan Prasad (1989), Ambika in Jaina Art and Literature, Bharatiya Jnanpith
- Jain, Arun Kumar (2009), Faith & Philosophy of Jainism, Gyan Publishing House, ISBN 9788178357232, retrieved 8 October 2017
- "MANUAL ON CONSERVATION AND RESTORATION OF MONUMENTS". Department of museums, Government of Tamil Nadu.
- "2018 Mahamastakabhisheka: Bahubali – 1,000 year legend towers on". Deccan Chronicle. 16 February 2018.
- Gier, Nicholas F. (2001), Spiritual Titanism: Indian, Chinese, and Western Perspectives, SUNY Press, ISBN 9780791492826
- Dundas, Paul (2002), The Jains, Psychology Press, ISBN 9780415266055
- Krishna, Nanditha (2014), Sacred Plants of India, Penguin UK, ISBN 9789351186915
- Singh, Ram Bhushan Prasad (2008), Jainism in Early Medieval Karnataka, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 9788120833234
- Kumar, Sehdev (2001), A Thousand Petalled Lotus: Jain Temples of Rajasthan : Architecture & Iconography, Abhinav Publications, ISBN 9788170173489