Like many other Hindu pujas (prayers), the Maa Durga puja is celebrated by creating an idol for her. But, even though I saw it happen in many movies (Devas, Aanand), I never understood why the soil for such holy rituals are taken from the land of prostitutes.

Is there any divine context for this?

3 Answers 3


As we know, prostitution is considered as taboo in Hindu Religion.

So when a person decides to have sex with a prostitute, he is aware that he is going to do a bad thing, and hence he loses his good deeds/goodness outside the brothel.

As many people visit the brothels, the soil outside holds all the goodness which are lost by those people, think as if the goodness is shed in that soil by the people who visit there and hence that soil is used to create idols as it is considered as pure/filled with good deeds.

To support my answer, I found this, to refer...

The Pujari goes personally to Nishiddho Pallis, Sonagachi to beg for dust from a prostitute. It is believed that a man who enters a brothel leaves all his purity and virtues there. Therefore, making the soil of a brothel pure.


  • I am sorry, but I don't understand this answer. :( Commented Jun 20, 2014 at 15:08
  • @AfzaalAhmadZeeshan We all are good people? Sleeping with prostitutes is considered as taboo in our religion, and hence if one decides to sleep with a prostitute, he loses all his good deeds, and hence those deeds are considered to be mixed in the soil out of the brothel making the soil pure and filled with those lost goodness of the people who went ahead to sleep with the prostitute
    – Mr. Alien
    Commented Jun 20, 2014 at 15:11
  • Its considered bad in my religion too. But, mixing the bad soil with good soil, would only make the good soil impure. Right? Commented Jun 20, 2014 at 15:13
  • @AfzaalAhmadZeeshan Nah, the soil is considered as pure as it holds the good deeds shed by the person who visited the brothel, consider reading the answer once again :)
    – Mr. Alien
    Commented Jun 20, 2014 at 15:13
  • hehehe, Now it makes sense! :) That he leaves his purity there, to get that purity back, they get the soil from there. :) Commented Jun 20, 2014 at 15:25

In Tantras, we find the mention of Navakanyas or Kulanganas, who are generally nine women who come from different backgrounds and represent the total feminine spectrum of the society. This reflects the core essence of a particular verse from Devi Mahatmya, according to which all women are but parts of Parama Prakriti:

Oh Devī! The eighteen doctrines including Vedas arth thine parts. All women, endowed with thine sixty-four Kalās arth thine forms. Thou alone pervadest the universe from inside and outside as the birth-giver. The literal and esoteric description of the praiseworthy is called eulogy. When thou arth the form of all descriptions, then who arth competent of singing thy eulogy? (Devi Mahatmyah 11:6)

Unlike masculine sects like Vaishnavism, where authority is in the hands of puritanical clerics, Tantra is all inclusive and acknowledges the sensual, emotional and mercurial sides of human consciousness. Here, a woman can be Striguru, and if she is one among the Kulanganas, the Sadhaka under her tutelage is considered the most fortunate.

The following verse from Guptasadhana Tantra gives the list of Kulanganas:

Națī (dancer/actress), Kapālikā (skull-bearing Tantric), Veśyā (prostitute), Rajakī (washer woman), Nāpita (barber), Brahmāņī (Brahmin), Śudra, Gopāla (milkmaid) and Mālākāra (gardener); women of these kinds are known as Navakańyās. (Guptasadhana Tantra 1:12)

According to the Puja Paddhatis, the idol of Devi Durga must be made from the clay taken from the courtyard of these women, soil taken from seven holy rivers, soil taken from elephant's tusk, soil taken from wild boar's tusk, soil taken from tiger's claw, soil taken from cow's horns & hooves, and soil taken from 51 Shaktipithas. In those places where stone, metal, wood idols or Yantra are worshiped, the soil collected from these places is scattered under the altar on which Devi Ghot and Navapatrika are placed. Other than that, when Kumari Puja is performed on Maha Ashthami, the Kumari should be the daughter of either of these nine Kulanganas and should be between the age groups of 1-16. A Sadhaka can worship one to nine or sixteen Kumaris at a time.

Now according to the question, why soil from a prostitute's courtyard is taken. The answer to this question would also answer why a prostitute can become a Tantric Guru and why her pubescent daughter is worth of being worshiped as Kumari.

As we know, a prostitute is visited by many men. She has the autonomy to go with any man she desires. She doesn't see if the man visiting her is a Hindu or a Muslim, a teenager or an octogenarian, a saint or a criminal. She is indifferent to the masculine gaze of our male-dominated puritanical society, that shames away from everything sensual and out of anxiety rather blames woman to be the root cause of desire than admitting its own follies and weakness. All that matters to her are money and pleasure.

So a prostitute verily embodies Kali, the primordial form of Adyashakti, who is indifferent to the masculine gaze of puritanical clerics. She drinks wine mixed with blood, dwells in cremation grounds, sits on a throne made of corpses, roams naked, has disheveled hair and copulates with Bhairava in public. She is that Divine light that challenges the dualities that contaminate human consciousness, and enlightens Her worshipers with the fact that his perception of a rope as a snake due to the influence of darkness, is false. Similarly a prostitute enlightens men with the fact that they are humans irrespective of their caste, creed and religion (read perceived identity) and hence is worth of worship and honour.

Kali coupulating with Mahakala Bhairava upon Shiva's corpse

I hope the question has been duly answered.

  • It would have been better had you kept the post-modernist terminologies aside. Commented Nov 30, 2016 at 9:23
  • Good answer.....
    – Vivikta
    Commented Jun 9, 2021 at 2:40

That which becomes God also takes the form of a prostitute. And the place where That resides also becomes a holy place. Which is why the idol of Kali is made from elements which come from the whole of Universe thus that idol representing whole of Universe irrespective of differentiation of moral or immoral, paap or punya. But only the one which has become That can comprehend this philosophy.

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