As far as I know, Yoginis are Devi's attendants. I have no clear idea about Dakinis. On many occasions, Dakinis and Yoginis are mentioned together. What are the differences between these two creatures?

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Dakinis are female spirits attending to major goddesses. Yoginis could be women with yogic powers or could be goddesses.


Ḍākinīs are—according to the tantras, texts of the Mother cult—a class of female spirits attending on the major goddesses in their fierce aspect, like Kālī. Their function is to assume terrible forms to instil fear in the hearts of people who are inimical to the devotees. They can also be benevolent spirits and guide the devotees, along the right path.

These ḍākinīs are supposed to have burst forth from the derisive laughter of Śivadūtī (an aspect of Durgā) and fought with the rākṣasas or the demons in the armies of the demon king Ruru.

A ḍākinī is shown as a goddess seated on a lotus pedestal with sixteen petals. She has four hands holding triśūla (trident), pātra (vessel), khaṭvāṅga (magical wand) and carma (shield). The vessel is filled with pudding if she is pictured as a benevolent goddess or with blood, if malevolent.

Sometimes they are described as the guardian deities of dharma, and of their devotees, akin to the angels in Christian belief.

A Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism by Swami Harshananda

yoginīs (‘women with yogic powers,’ ‘goddesses’)

In the tāntrik practices, the male sādhaka, called a yogi, needs the help of a mate in certain occult rites. Such women, ceremonially infilled with great powers, are designated as yoginīs.

The word is also used to indicate the goddesses emanating out of the effulgence of Ādiśakti or the Primeval Goddess. Their number may be 8 or 62 or 64. Their names have been mentioned in some of the purāṇas and other works like the Bṛhan-nandikeśvarapurāṇa, Skandapurāṇa and the Mantramahodadhi.

A few of these names may be mentioned here: Nārāyaṇī, Śākambharī, Bhīmā, Caṇḍaghaṇṭā, Bhadrakālī, Kṛṣṇa-piṅgalā, Jalodarī, Śākinī, Kuleśī, Nakulī, Ḍākinī and Hākinī.

During worship, sometimes, a group of eight yoginīs is selected. They are: Maṅgalā, Piṅgalā, Dhanyā, Bhrāmarī, Bhadrikā, Ulkā, Siddhā, Saṅkaṭā.

According to another view, the yoginīs are divinities associated with the eight vargas or groups of letters of the alphabets such as a-varga, ka-varga and ca-varga.

A Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism by Swami Harshananda

  • The list of Yoginis you mentioned also includes Dakini. So Dakinis are also a specific kind of Yogini. Right? Nov 29, 2021 at 14:00
  • Dakini is also a specific kind of yogini when yogini indicates a goddess. Nov 30, 2021 at 12:05

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