The story of Hariti, simply is the story of a demoness who acquired divine status when she fell under the beneficent spell of the illustrious one, Gautama the Buddha.
Eastern Gods and Goddesses can generally be categorised into those who are benevolent or benign and those inclined to be malevolent or destroyers. Occasionally, some are both. This is particularly so with mother Goddesses. When angered, they can go on a rampage, destroying all in their path right from helpless infants to kingly palaces. When appeased and pleased, they not only grant boons but also restore what they have destroyed. One such ambivalent Mother Goddess is Hariti.
The Buddhist goddess Hariti, comparable to the brahmanical Sitala, has a dramatic life story with many ups and downs. Born to a Yakhsa king, married into another important yaksha family, she turns into a child-eating ogress. Ultimately she is converted by Sakyamuni Buddha himself and attains arhatship. Riding on the Buddhist wave, she becomes a cult figure and travels to Central Asia, Nepal, Tibet, China, Java, and Japan.
This book, researched by Madhurika Maheshwari, has more than 160 photographs and line drawings of Hariti's images from different parts of the world.