‘Dasamukhi’ means ten headed. This image represents Dasa Mahavidya Mahakali and stands for the ten Mahavidya of Great Wisdom Goddesses. In this form, Mother has ten heads, ten arms, ten legs. Each of her hands carry various weapons representing the power of Devas and male Gods. Thus as Prakriti, the female of Purusha or Consciousness, she has the powers identical with the Ultimate Reality or Brahman.
Otherwise Mother Mahakali displays ‘Ekhamukha’ or single headed. Ekhamukhi also shares the ten-hand concept and the powers of the Gods to shower Her Grace. The Ekhamukhi depiction does not in any way compromise Mother's role as the manifestation of Adi Parashakti.
Both as Dasamukhi or Ekhamukhi, Mother is always depicted standing on inert or shava of Shiva. In that Mother represents Shakti, the power of pure creation in the universe and Shiva represents pure Consciousness. Shava means corpse, hardly a representation of Lord Shiva, the Supreme Godhead in Shaiva Siddhanta. What is represented here is Mother balancing prakriti, nature by stepping on to the Lord’s unlimited spiritual energy or ego. It is the killing of the ego that She depicts symbolically so that balance of life is not run over by wild nature. Mahakali means maha-prema, greatest Love. Jai Maa Maha Kali.
by Yogi Ananda Saraswathi