Bagalamukhi – one of the ten Mahavidyas
The name Bagalamukhi can be translated as the “crane-headed one”. According to Mike Magee, the crane is thought to be “the essence of deceit.” David Kinsley finds this association problematic – he notes that Bagalamukhi is rarely depicted as being crane-headed or crane-faced, although she is sometimes shown seated upon a crane.
Bagalamukhi has a strong connection to the acquistion of magical powers – in particular, the ability to control and paralyse one’s enemies and specifically, to bind the speech of enemies, although this may equally apply to the sadhaka’s uncontrolled speech (possibly the internal dialogue) as it might to the gossip of others. She may grant the siddhi of eloquence to favoured devotees.
Yellow is the colour particularly associated with Bagalamukhi. She is often described as Yellow in complexion, wearing yellow garlands, yellow dress, and yellow ornaments. On her forehead is a yellow crescent moon. One of her epithets is Pitambaradevi – “she who is dressed in Yellow”. She is often depicted holding a hammer, with which she pegs the tongues of enemies.
Bagalamukhi is decribed in the Todala Tantra (transl. Mike Magee) as:
“Bagalamukhi. Three eyes, wearing yellow clothes and gems, moon as her diadem, wearing champaka blossoms, with one hand holding the tongue of an enemy and with the left hand spiking him, thus should you meditate on the paralyser of the three worlds.”