It is a term used to refer to feminine deities in their benevolent, beneficent and gentle manifestation as opposed to ‘ghora’ – terrifying manifestations.
This distinction is particularly applicable to Shaivite goddesses, both of whom can appear in either form and whose worship can focus on either aspects. For a time, while forest dwelling ascetics and yogis attempted to break their attachments to the world. This belief flourished unbroken from the Vedic period. Goddesses played a minor role in the Vedic rituals. But as temples and devotional Hinduism underwent a dramatic growth in response to Buddhist and Jain challenge, powerful and appealing Shaktam female divinities surfaced as an equal partner to chase the intruder.
Indeed, they had already grown independent in Tantric rituals. In her life-perpetuating form, the auspiciousness of Mother Goddess Devi was depicted as Saumya - beautiful, benevolent, fertile, motherly, knowledgeable and compassionate. Saumya was also the object of desire and appropriate consort to a male God. Brahma’s Saraswati, Vishnu’s Lakshmi, Shiva’s Parvati, Rama’s Sita were all depicted as mild. Sri Krishna’s Radha transcended forms of desire to witness pleasure potency of the male gods. In Radha, Saumya’s desire saw a spiritual dimension.
Hara Hara Mahadeva