MATA, or mother, is a term applied to the sakti of the god Siva. It is said that Mylitta of the Babylonians, a name of Snccoth-.Benoth, also meant mother. The sakti of Siva is also called Vali or Bali, under which appellation she assumed the form of a girl twelve years of age. In Madura, at Balane, and other places, virgins used to go to the temple once in their lives to offer themselves in honour of the goddess. The story was that a god had intercourse with them. In all the temples of Siva and his consort, women are kept to dance and sing before the idols.
Mato is the Hindu goddess who presides over smallpox, also styled Sitla.
Mate Janavi, the mother of births, is the analogue of the Juno Lucina of the Rajputs. Mata-ji is the universal mother, worshipped in India from the most ancient times. In a temple to Mata-ji, the universal mother, in Rajputana, is an inscription to the purport that Komarpal Solanki and his son Sohunpal, in the month of Pos (the precise day illegible), (S. 1207, winter of A.D. 1151), came to worship the universal mother in her shrine at Palode.
About the beginning of August 1882, a terrible tragedy occurred in the village of Khera, close to Wudhwan. The corpses of five Koli father, mother, and three grown-up sons—were discovered, in each case the head being nearly severed from the body by a sword-cut at the back of the neck. The fourth and eldest son was missing. On search being made, his dead body was found in a neighbouring well. The whole family was thus accounted for. The bodies of the parents and one son were found in their own house, those of two other sons laid out on either side of the entrance of the temple of Khodiar Mata close by. It is supposed that the whole family devoted themselves as willing victims in sacrifice to the Khodiar Mate, an incarnation of the bloodthirsty Kali, and that the eldest son, after slaying his parents and brothers with the sword, threw himself into the well where his corpse was found.—Tod's Rajasthan, i. p. 357, ii. p. 618 ; Roberts, Or. I11. p. ix.