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THE GLORY OF THE GODDESS devi mahatmyam durga saptasati • candi path THIRUGNANAM foreword 3$ sarva mahgala mahgalye sive sarvartha sadhike. Devi Mahatmyam English cittadelmonte.info - Ebook download as PDF File .pdf) , Text File .txt) or view presentation slides online. The Devi Mahatmyam Story Being Retold in Brief (in English) - Free download as PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read online for free. The Devi Mahatmyam tells.


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Bhandasura, the Devi Mahatmyam describes the victory of the Goddess over the . the original hymns in Sanskrit, English transliteration as well as translation. The Devi Māhātmyam is one of the foremost texts in the Worship of the This document contains an English translation with the Sanskrit of the four main. You are the embodiment of the threefold matra, the Om sound. ardha-mātrā sthitā nityā yā an-uccaryā a-visesatah, tvam eva sā tvam sāvitri tvam devi-janani.

Search the history of over billion web pages on the Internet. Books by Language. The I AST transliteration adopted here is relatively easy to master, especially when simultaneously listened with the Devi Mahatmyam audio recitation. Special thanks and acknowledgement to Dr. Their invaluable commentaries sourced from various discussion forums have been incorporated in the notes.

These are commonly recited in two ways. The gita press printed edition assumes that the reciter is splitting the verse into two halves with two pauses. In the gita press edition, there is a "hypen" in all these spots to indicate that you can't pause there without a minor change in the text. Overcoming these subtler demons requires a luminous, benevolent and beautiful manifestation, one that can enlighten and liberate.

This is the manifestation as Maha Sarasvati predominated by Sattva. As mentioned before, Maha Maya is attributed in the form of Maha Saraswati in this section.

Devas, unable to bear this plight, reach Himalayas and pray to Vishnu Maya. They request Her to come to their rescue as promised before. The Devi Kaushiki appears before them and agrees to destroy Nishumbha, Shumba and their army. The Devi is spotted by two Asuras viz. Chanda and Munda who promptly inform the same to Shumbha. They tell him that the Devi is very beautiful and it is apt for Shumbha to get her.

Shumbha sends Sugriva as his envoy to Devi. Sugriva reaches the abode of Devi and conveys Shumbha's message that it will be apt for her to marry Shumbha and enjoy all wealth.

Devi tells Sugriva that She had made a vow long before that she would marry only the one who defeats her in a fight and requests him to convey the same to Shumbha.

Dhumralochana reaches the abode of Devi with an army of 60, Asuras. When Dhumralochana tries to go near Devi, Devi burns him instantly by her Humkara. His army also gets destroyed by Devi's Vahana Vehicle , the Lion. Learning about Dhumralochana's death, Shumba asks Chanda and Munda to accomplish the same task.

On seeing them, Devi's face becomes black in anger. From her face, a fierce and dark colored Devi known as Kali comes out. Maha Kali destroys the army of Chanda and Munda. Later She severs the heads of both of them and Devi assumes the name Chamunda because of this. He also joins the army. The Asura army surrounds Kali Devi. But Asura's army fiercely fights with Devi.

The various forms of Devi fight with the Asura army and destroy them. Seeing this, an Asura known as Raktabija comes and fights with Devi. From every drop of blood that falls from his body on to the ground, another equivalent Asura comes into being and fights with Devi. Devi orders Chamunda to open Her mouth and drink all the blood that falls from the body of Raktabija.

Chamunda drinks all the blood emanating from Raktabija's body and finally Raktabija falls dead devoid of blood. Devas become very happy on the death of Raktabija.

Chapter 9 Nishumba Vadham Nishumbha prepares himself to fight with Devi on seeing that a large portion of their army have been destroyed by Devi. A fierce fight breaks between Nishmbha and Devi and Devi finally kills him by piercing his heart with Shula Trident. Chapter 10 Shumba Vadham Shumbha, on seeing the death of his beloved brother Nishumbha, becomes extremely angry and complains to Devi that She is actually putting up a proxy fight with the help of other Devis.

Devi replies that there is nothing beyond and separate from Her and makes all the Shakti forms to merge back into Her. A fierce fight breaks between the two and finally Devi kills him by piercing Shula Trident into his heart. Upon Shumbha's death the entire universe becomes happy and devoid of any bad omens.

Chapter 1 1 Devi Stuti Immensely pleased with the destruction of Asuras, all Devas assemble in front of Devi and praise Her with a stuti which is known by the name Narayani Stuti. Devi becomes immensely pleased with their praise and describes some of her future incarnations and the names by which She will be known as - e. Her presence will be felt in places where Devi Mahatmyam is chanted. The chanter can look forward all kinds of wealth, pleasure and boons. Upon giving this boon, Devi disappears.

Both of them seek the blessings of the Sage, take leave of him and perform intense Tapas by focusing on Devi. Devi appears before them after 3 years of intense Tapas and grants them boons. The King prays for redemption of his Kingdom and become an indefatigable King in his next birth. Vaishya seeks true knowledge Gyana that liberates one from ego and attachment. Devi grants their wishes and disappears. In this hymn there are more than twenty slokas beginning with 'ya devi sarva bhuteshu', indicating that the devi is present in all creatures as consciousness, as power, as intellect, as memory, as sleep, as delusion, as desire, as activity, as prosperity, as forgiveness, as faith, as loveliness, and so on, reminding us of the Vibhuti Yoga of Gita.

This beautiful hymn is a powerful meditation by itself, a combination of meditation, affirmation and mantra. Each vrtti leads to one more as thoughts multiply in geometric progression. Whenever a drop of blood falls to earth, another demon of identical size and strength springs up.

And for the sake of the well-being of the supreme gods, very valorous and powerful saktis, having sprung forth from the bodies of Brahma, Siva, Skanda, Vishnu and Indra, and having the form of each, approached Candika.

Desire is a mental activity, or thoughts and known as citta vrrtis. The best method is to overcome the first desire, the thought, rather than having to fight a thousand more. Conquering this original desire will release us from this endless cycle of desire, which leads to the cycle of gratification and sorrow when these desires are not fulfilled.

Tantra refers to "Ashta Pasha" or eight nooses. Kalika destroys the eight nooses so that one can be liberated. The eight pashas nooses do not necessarily block all purusharthas, but block one from moksha. For example, aversion ghR A iNA to some things e. Shame and fear of being calling a bad person may make one do good dharmik things in the world.

So shame, fear, aversion etc. However, if any sense of shame or fear or aversion to anything is left, one cannot be liberated. The pashas are strictly in the context of moksha liberation. They are what block one from liberation. They are associated with moksha.

The eight pashas need to be destroyed for one to get there! They stand for these 8 pashas. The shadripus or 6 internal enemies kaama - desires, kridha - anger, lobha - greed, moha - delusion, mada - wantonness, matsarya - jealosy block one from doing one's dharma righteous duty and other purusharthas. They cloud one's judgment and may make one do adharma. The Ashta Pasha One cannot understand liberation without first understanding what binds one.

Liberation is overcoming what binds one. What binds us and what limits our thinking? The six enemies shadripus are what fight us as we try to loosen the nooses. In Chapter 8 of Durga Saptshati, when Demons Chanda and Munda died, Shumbha the demon king becomes angry and ordered his army to start attacking. These 8 types of demons in fact, signify the Ashtapasha which bind a person to Maya. These 8 bondages have been reflected as 8 demon types in Saptshati and when Jiva invokes Mother Shakti, SHE fights these demons in us and breaks the bondages created by these Asuras and makes us free The Chief demon Shumbha depicting our Ego is dependent on 8 demons to win the war and he would cease to be powerful when his army is killed.

Similarly Ego will cease to be once these 8 bondages are removed. Now let us look into details what these chains are. Hate is depicted by demon Udayudha.

Hatered is a double edged sword. It not only forces us not to love someone it also nourishes our Ego telling it that it is better than the subject being hated.

Ego can hate in 86 ways thus there are 86 Udayudha demons. Thus ego has total 56 types of hatered in waking state.

In dream state, organs are missing hence 4 antahkarnas generate this hate for 4 types of living beings These demons keep the ego satisfied and powerful.

Mother shakti when evoked, kills these 86 hates and frees our Ego from one bondage called Hatered. This bondage has been depicted by Kambu demons.

Kambu is also a word for Conch signifying the animal who hides behind the hard shell to protect himself from others. Here Shame or hiding oneself from one's weakness and keeping away from others to save one's self- respect.

This is also a sort of bondage on the soul. Soul hides itself behind 6 bodies and 1 organs and 4 antahkarnas, hence making its number as Here Durga Saptashati very bravely declares that these demons too are manifestations of Mother only, when it sings in 5th chapter Yaa Devi sarva Bhuteshu Lajjaa rupen sansthhitaa Namastasaye namastasaye namstasaye namoh namah The Mother who manifests in all jiva as Lajja please accept my respects But to liberate ourselves into universal consciousness, this bondage has to be removed.

This third bondage is depicted by demon Kautivirya. Fear of death, fear of losing respect or nears and dears keeps the ego busy in Maya and hinders its way towards greater awareness. Durga Saptashati says Kautivirya is numbered All the doubts arise due to distorted or false knowledge. Our 10 organs and 10 mahabhutas earth, water, air, fire, ether - 5 69 in gross and 5 in subtle plane are their solace hence Shumbha calls for 1 00 dhaumra demons to win the war.

Doubt keeps the ego busy thus keeping it entangled in Maya. When due to false knowledge we see others as different from us, we censure others to prove us right. This too is treated as fifth bondage of the Soul, they are also of types as in above para. Dauhadri demon denotes proud of being related to one's birth. Even after listening to Brahma Gyana many times, this bondage of birth pride does not leave us. Only Mother's kindness can kill this demon and free us from this chain.

They are also of 1 00 types. Demon Kalkeya denotes it. Due to false knowledge, Jiva is proud of his body being special e. Human souls is re-born again and again mainly due to this bondage.

They are also of types 8- sheela Modesty and good character: This bondage is denoted by demon Maurya. The modesty means Nature of Jiva, an idea Jiva makes about himself and the universe during the course of his many births. This bondage is also called Rudra-Granthi. Even after attaining the higher stages of spirituality, one is not free from this bondage and only removal of this bondage one is established into Advaita union with god.

An example of shri Ramakrishna paramhansa will further explain this bondage. When Guru Totapuri met paramhansa to teach him about Advaita, and asked him to sit in samadhi, shri Paramhansa saw Mother Kali only.

Then guru Totapuri ordered paramhansa to take an imaginary sword and cut the throat of Mother Kali Paramhansa was so fond of Mother Kali that he could not do it many times and finally when he did that, he was lost into Nirvikalpa samadhi a state of highest consciousness.

So removal of this bondage is not easy. Only god or a god-sent guru can remove this final Bondage from Jiva. Without removing these 8 bondages, Jiva can not know his real self. People may try to do many types of sadhna, but these sadhnas sometimes further strengthen the bondages. We have to remember one thing there that Moksha and bondages both are in fact imaginary. Getting out of bondages, one would find that there was nothing called Moksha or bondage and one was already free.

Then what is the way out to get ourselves free from these pashas? It is not easy to get rid of these Pashas. Geeta Bhagwan Krishna says: Is it easy to remove these 8 chains divided into types so easily? What is the way out then? YES there is one way.

Complete surrender to the Mother. If we, like Paramhansa present our whole being to the Mother, we will see that these demons come forward and present themselves to the Mother for sacrifice on the altar of our Yajna of Bhakti and liberate our soul towards greater truths. To begin with, we have first to leave our cunningness, selfishness and our false pride and surrender unconditionally to the Mother and request her to break our chains.

Mother will not listen to our request if we first not purify ourselves. Lord Rama says in Ramcharitmanas. Nirmal guni jan so mohi pawa Mohi kapat chhal chhidra na bhava Pious and purifed souls reach me Because I do not like cunningness, selfishness and pride So let us begin today on the eve of Durga Ashtami with no prejudice To understand this you must remember the fact that Advaita posits a Nirguna Brahman An attribute- 1 ess Brahman.

That is why even a 'guna' like modesty or good character is an impediment! It may be surprising but the example of Totapuri asking Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa to sever the head of Kali is encouraging him to renounce the last vestiges of saguna bhava worship which he was practicing.

In Tantra the movement from saguna to nirguna for reaching Advaitic Oneness is done with shocking actions. Totapuri might have assessed Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa's ripeness for jlvanmukti which is possible only after you move on to nirguNa-brahman!

So, he has given this "shock-treatment" for from the vantage point of aham-brahmasmi which is the jlvanmukta's state no attributes are to be left. Aren't we talking about the distinction between knower-known-the process of knowing-knowledge. Nishumbha represents the attachment to all its objective attributes; the concept of 'me', 'mine', 'my' children, spouse, or family. This sense of attachment leads to the misidentification of the true Self.

The Self Atman is not the same as non-self anatman. It is ignorance that gives rise to the mistaken identify that the non-self is identical to the Self. Devi kills by piercing the asura with Her spear of knowledge gnana. The death of the limited ego leads to the relinquishing of a limited identity, and gaining the realisation of the true Self. Neither fear from enemies, robbers, kings, nor from weapons, fire and floods. Hence this, my Mahatmyam, must be chanted by those of concentrated minds and listened to constantly with devotion, for it is the supreme way to well-being".

Request Devi to imagine this offering of gandham to fill the size of the earth ham akasatmikayai namah puspaiti kalpayami roll index fingers on thumbs of both hands - offering puspam. She also asserts Her identity as the absolute One - all the Gods are but facets and expressions of Her ultimate divine presence.

She also expresses Her grace, affirming that She sustains not only the sadhaka - one who has accepted a guru with humility and sincerely practices with the goal of liberation - but also those who deny Her or are totally unaware of Her existence. For those who are truly devoted and committed to spiritual discipline, Devi says that She obliterates the obstacles to their progress and spiritual awakening. Finally, Devi proclaims Herself to be the source yoni of all creation, the source of creative power itself, and reveals Herself as both immanent and transcendent being, consciousness as well as manifested reality.

Ultimately, Devi is all that is, both manifest and unmanifest, embracing and surpassing the limits of the limitless universe. See the deity as Self. See that the deity fills everyone and everything. See that the entire universes exists within that deity. Have no desires and just surrender to that deity. Kunjika literally means something overgrown or hidden by growth or growing things.

Siddha means perfection. Stotram is the song. The Song of Perfection which is no longer hidden because of growth. That is, our spiritual growth and understanding of the Chandi exposes the hidden meanings of the bija mantras in the Song. The first three Bijas of the Navarna mantra are written in the centre of the Shatkona.

The rest of the Bijas are written in the Shatkona starting from the east. The Bijas should be written in a clockwise pattern from right to the left. It should be noted that during Akshara Nyasa and Yantra lekhana, all letters should be used along with the Bindu. If after a short vowel it is pronounced like aha, ih like ihi e. Sibilants s: The first is a king by the name of Suratha who protected his people treating them as his own children.

He is defeated in a battle by enemies though they were a small force. On his return to his kingdom he is again attacked by powerful enemies. The king now bereft of strength is further robbed of his treasury and army by his own wicked ministers. Deprived of his kingdom, king Suratha rides alone on horseback into a dense forest.

There he comes to the hermitage of sage Medhas. Graced by the disciples of the sage the hermitage is inhabited by wild beasts tamed of their ferocity. After spending some time at the hermitage, overcome by a deep attachment to what he considered as his own, the king is worried about his kingdom, his chief elephant, his followers and his treasury. Overcome with attachment, he thought, "I do not know whether the capital which was well guarded by my ancestors and recently deserted by me is being guarded righteously or not by my servants of evil conduct.

I do not know what care my chief elephant, heroic and always elated, and now fallen into the hands of my foes, will get. Those who were my constant followers and received favour, riches and food from me, now certainly render service to other kings.

The treasures which I gathered with great difficulty will be squandered by those ceaseless spendthrifts addicted to improper expenditures". Near the hermitage of the sage the king saw a merchant, and asked him: What is the reason for your coming here?

Wherefore do you appear as if afflicted with grief and depressed in mind? I have been cast out by my unworthy sons and wife, through greed for my wealth.

My wife and sons have misappropriated my riches, and made me devoid of wealth. Cast out by my trusted kinsmen, I have come to the forest grief-stricken. Dwelling here, I do not know anything about the welfare of my sons, kinsmen and wife. How are my sons? Are they of good conduct or of or evil ways? But what can I do? Unable to detach my mind bears deep affection to those very persons who have driven me out in their greed for wealth, abandoning love for a father and attachment to one's master and kinsmen.

Although I know it I do not comprehend how the mind is prone to love even towards worthless kinsmen? On account of them I heave heavy sighs and feel dejected. What can I do since my mind does not become harsh towards those unloving ones? The king said: Pray, reply to it. Not being under the control of my intellect, my mind is afflicted with grief.

Though I have lost the kingdom, I have an attachment to all the paraphernalia of my kingdom. Though I know the actuality how is this sense of 'mine' afflicting me like an ignorant man, O best of sages? And this merchant has been disowned by his children, wife and servants, and forsaken by his own people; still he is inordinately affectionate towards them.

Thus both he and I, drawn by attachment towards objects whose defects we do know, are exceedingly unhappy. How is it that even the knowledgeable are deluded?

This delusion besets me as well as him, blinded as we are in our ability to discern. Here knowledge, intelligence and wisdom are not merely intellectual but intuitive and insightful as well. The wise sage does not start advising them directly. Instead he addresses their predicament indirectly as a wise counsellor would in this sort of a situation.

The sage replied to the king's query as follows. Some beings are blind by day, and others are blind by night; some beings have equal sight both by day and night. Human beings are certainly endowed with knowledge, but they are not the only beings to be so endowed, for cattle, birds, animals and other creatures too cognise.

The knowledge that men have, birds and beasts also have; and what they have men also possess; and the rest like eating and sleeping is common to both of them. Look at these birds, though they are themselves afflicted by hunger and are aware of it, because of delusion, they are engaged in feeding grains into the beaks of their young ones. Human beings too are, attached to their children expecting in return.

Devi Mahatmyam v1 by K. Muralidharan - PDF Drive

Do you not see this? Marvel not at this. It is by her the world is deluded. Verily she, the Bhagavati, the Mahamaya entangles humans into delusion forcibly drawing the minds of even the wise.

She creates this entire universe, both moving and unmoving. It is she who, when propitious, grants the best to humans and shows the way for their final liberation. She is the supreme knowledge, the cause of final liberation, and eternal; she is the cause of the bondage of transmigration samsara and the sovereign over all lords". The king said, "Venerable sir, who is that Devi whom you call Mahamaya? How did she come into being, and what is her sphere of action, O sage? What constitutes her nature?

What is her form? Wherefrom did she originate? All that I wish to hear from you, O you supreme among the knowers of Brahman. The entire world is her embodiment. By her all this is pervaded. Nevertheless she incarnates in manifold ways; hear it from me. Though she is eternal, she is said to be born in the world, whenever she manifests herself in order to accomplish the purposes of the devas. Here the Devi is central to the creation myth.

She is the power that induces Lord Vishnu's deep slumber on the waters of the cosmic ocean prior to the manifestation of the Universe, in its continuous cycles of manifestation and dissolution. Each such cycle of creative manifestation, sustenance and dissolution constitutes a Kalpa. At the end of a Kalpa when the universe was one vast stretch of ocean with the waters of the deluge, the adorable Lord Vishnu was in a state of deep mystic sleep yoganidra , stretched out on Adi Sesha the thousand hooded primal serpent of Time.

Two terrible demons Madhu and Kaitabha, sprung into being from the ear wax or waste mala of Vishnu's ears, and sought to slay Brahma, the father of beings. Brahma who is sitting in the lotus at Vishnu's navel, then extols the Great Goddess Yoganidra requesting her to withdraw from Vishnu so he may awaken and slay the demons. This hymn by Brahma Brahma-stuti , also known as the Tantrika Ratri Suktam is the first of the four famous hymns in the Devi Mahatmyam.

The Devi is extolled by Brahma as the incomparable Goddess -Vishnu's Yoganidra, the queen of cosmos, the supporter of the worlds, the cause of the sustenance and dissolution alike. There upon, the Devi who herself causes delusion, withdrew herself from every part of Vishnu's body, and appeared before Brahma, who takes birth from the Unmanifest. Released from the influence of YogaMaya, Lord Vishnu awoke and saw those two evil demons Madhu and Kaitabha, of exceeding power, with eyes red in anger, endeavouring to devour Brahma.

Thereupon the all-pervading Lord Vishnu got up and fought with the two demons for five thousand years, using his own arms as weapons.

The two demons, frenzied with their exceeding power, and deluded by Goddess Mahamaya, exclaimed to Vishnu, "Ask a boon from us". How intoxicating and blinding can power and strength be!

Lord Vishnu said "If you are satisfied with me, you must both be slain by me now. What need is there of any other boon here? Saying "Be it so", Lord Vishnu, the great wielder of conch, discus and mace, took them on His loins and there severed their heads with His discus. Thus Mahamaya herself appeared when praised by Brahma. The first chapter is the only chapter of the first episode. In this chapter the stage is set for the narration of the glory of the Goddess through another story, that of two losers-namely the king and the merchant.

The slaying of Madhu and Kaitabha is also narrated in the same chapter by sage Medhas to the deposed king Suratha and the ruined merchant Samadhi.

Section 2 Second Episode Mahishasuramardhini myth This is the second episode where the same Adi Sakti manifests Herself as Durga and overcomes Mahishasura the buffalo headed demon who is half human and half beast. The demon is partly a pasu animal or beast and partly a human and thus has the dangerous ability to disrupt cosmic order and harmony. Overcoming this powerful combination of beastly nature and human competence requires a fiery and dynamic form of Shakti, one that can combat worldly rajas through divine rajas.

Technically the Primal form of the Mother that presides over Rajas is referred to as Maha Lakshmi whose coral complexion identifies Her clearly as the Devi's Rajasic vyashti. Mahishasura too is the epitome of Rajas. But unlike the Devi's divine rajas, Mahishasura's rajas is of a negative nature. His rajasic energy controls him and impels him to destructive acts, whereas Durga controls her own fiery splendor.

She is an embodiment of the wrath of all the gods. Her rajas is protective of her devotees and intent on destroying evil. Her anger is divine anger that fights the demons. Of the three gunas only Rajas has two faces or two dimensions to it. One is a purely negative and gross expression that seeks material pleasures while the other is a divine and subtle expression that takes the individual inward, closer to the Supreme Being. Both are goal oriented except that demoniac rajas seeks only kama desire or craving and artha material prosperity while divine rajas seeks the fulfilment of righteous desires, all round divine prosperity and eventually moksha the reference here is to the four goals of life.

This difference in the direction of focus or goal is the main difference between the two types of rajas. Rajas can bridge Tamas and Sattva. Lower order Rajas is closer to Tamas, while higher order Rajas is closer to Sattva.

Lower order Rajas serves the purpose of Tamas and is potentially in danger of pulling us into the quagmire of Tamas. Higher order Rajas serves the purpose of enabling Sattvavajaya or enabling Sattva to take over the other gunas.

First let us examine the theme of the battles between the gods and the demons as revealed in the Bhagavad Gita, the Upanishads and Adi Shankara's commentary.

The word Sanskrit word for gods is 'devah', which denotes light or the function of illumining. Commenting on the verse "dev. The demons or asuras who are opposed to the gods, stand for tendencies that are opposite to the illumining functions, and are of the nature of darkness.

Thus the war between the gods and the demons actually refers to the perpetual conflict between the forces of light and darkness, between righteous and unrighteous urges. Thus there are two opposing psychic forces within all of us. The roots of these two types of urges are traced to the Sanchita karmas of innumerable lives. While we experience only Prarabdha karmas allotted for a particular lifetime, the Sanchita karmas indirectly influence us as our samskaras.

Esoterically speaking the gods symbolise the positive samskaras of innumerable lifetimes resulting from all the righteous karmas that are oriented towards the Supreme Self, while the demons symbolise the negative samskaras of innumerable lifetimes resulting from all the unrighteous karmas that are contrary and in conducive to our orientation to the Supreme Self.

Thus interpreting the battles between the gods and demons on these lines is in order wherever references to the battles between the gods and the demons occur in the Vedas and the Puranas. The righteous and unrighteous samskaras have also been referred to as daiva sampada divine wealth or divine tendencies and asura sampada demoniac wealth or demoniac tendencies in the Bhagavad Gita in the sixteenth chapter titled 'daivasura sampdvibhaga yogah'.

Here Divine tendencies have been referred to as Divine wealth sampada: Elaborating this idea further the Bhagavad Gita declares that the Divine are deemed for liberation or Self-realization and the demoniac for bondage. Returning back to Mahishasura's myth, the Devi Mahatmyam tells us that long back when Mahishasura was the lord of asuras and Indra the lord of devas, there was a war between the devas and asuras for a full hundred years.

Now that we know who the gods and demons are, it is not difficult to understand why the span of the war is for hundred years. This is the approximate upper limit of human life span. Thus the conflict between the righteous and unrighteous samskaras goes on as long as we are alive.

And in that war, as the Devi Mahatmyam tells us, the army of the gods is vanquished by the mighty demons and Mahisasura becomes the lord of heaven. Now what does this mean? The gods stand for the respective indriya vrttis.

All these senses and their functions are hijacked by Rajo-guna serving the purpose of nourishing asuric tendencies. This is the meaning of Mahishasura assuming lordship over all jurisdictions of the gods. Under the influence of Rajo-guna all psychological and sensory functions are focused only on the gross and the material, having lost the original orientation to the Supreme Being. The task, therefore, is to once again reclaim the original state.

But this can be achieved only by uniting together all the powers of the gods and orienting them back to the Supreme Being. This is exactly what happens in the story. The vanquished gods collectively surrendering to the Devi The gods first approach Brahma who leads them to Vishnu and Shiva.

There is a significance in the gods first approaching Brahma. As per Hindu mythology Brahma was born from a lotus that grew at Lord Vishnu's navel. Here Vishnu signifies Consciousness while the lotus signifies flowering or blossoming of Consciousness. Brahma being born from the nabhikamala navel chakra of Vishnu is clearly a Puranic allusion to Kundalini and the Chakras.

The nabhi is the vedic equivalent to what is known as known as the Manipura chakra in the tantric system.

Below the manipura chakra is asura kshetra field of demoniac consciousness , while daiva kshetra field of divine consciousness starts from manipura. Thus the very awareness of the conflict between the righteous and unrighteous samskaras and the need to overcome asuric samskaras, starts with the manipura. Now that spiritual awareness has started blossoming it will lead to the coming together of all the spiritual samskaras, the coming together of the powers of the gods.

Brahma leads the gods to Vishnu and Shiva. Vishnu and Shiva too symbolise specific psychological functions like the other gods. In the symbolism of Devi Mahatmyam, the Devi is obviously the Supreme Being or Supreme Self, whereas Vishnu and Shiva symbolise prana shakti and gnana shakti respectively. What happens when all the powers of all the gods come together? As the Devi Mahatmyam reveals, all the radiance from all the gods coalesced into the auspicious form of the Goddess.

The tejas that emerges from the gods is not their creation but the Devi's natural indwelling presence. Thus what coalesces into the Devi's auspicious form is actually Her own power. The gods do not relinquish their power or weapons, even as their varied powers reunite in the Devi. This is a sublime philosophical abstraction of simultaneous divine immanence and transcendence.

Now that the collective power of the gods is united against Mahishasura and his armies, the gods can be assured of their inevitable victory. Mahishasura and his Generals-Rajo-guna and its Asura sampada Mahishasura symbolises the powerful combination of human competence and beastly nature. As already stated he stands for Rajo-guna. While Kaitabha is also rajas, he comes as a twin of Madhu tamas , at the level of origination.

Unlike Kaitabha who is of the nature of rajas, Mahishasura is the epitome of Rajo-guna. He has sixteen asuras who lead various battalions of armies. They stand for various demoniac traits or tendencies and are Mahishasura's assets or wealth. Together they are all asura sampada or demoniac wealth or assets see the chapter on Daiva sampada and Asura sampada for more. If Mahishasura has to be subdued his generals have to be eliminated first, his demoniac wealth has to be destroyed first.

But the asura armies vastly outnumber the gods. Commenting on the Brhadaranyaka Upanishad's l, 3 account of a similar conflict between the gods and the demons Adi Shankara tells us that the gods are always less in number while the demons are more.

So what to do? There is only one way out-absolute surrender to the Supreme Goddess. Nothing less than total surrender will bail them out of their difficulty. And this is precisely what the gods do. As already stated if Mahishasura has to be subdued his generals have to be eliminated first, his demoniac wealth has to be destroyed first. Hence the Goddess and her lion start destroying these asuras one by one.

While each of the sixteen asura generals and their esoteric significance is important in its own way, two among them deserve special mention- Durdhara and Durmukha who fight till the last. Only after Durdhara and Durmukha are destroyed can the Goddess finally fight the asura lord Mahishasura.

In fact they find place even in the Mahishasuramardhini stotram 'durdharadharii durmukhamarii hararate'. Such is their negative significance for spiritual life. If Mahishasura is Rajas, Durdhara and Durmukha are 'desire' and 'anger'.

As the Bhagavad Gita 3. In fact most often anger is related to desire. When the fulfilment of desire Kama is frustrated by an obstacle, frustration turns into anger Krodha. Desire itself is rooted in Rajas and aggravates it further. In fact 'Durdhara' literally means 'irresistible' while 'Durmukha' means ugly or hideous or bad faced. True enough it is very difficult to resist desire, while anger transforms the most beautiful face into a hideous one!

Since Rajas begets desire and anger, they are the last to go before Rajas. That is why they fight till the last. Once desire is eliminated, Sattva guna the Divine forces of Light can easily prevail over Rajo guna. However do not underestimate Mahishasura Rajo-guna and his army. Rajo guna Mahishasura and its associated vrttis Mahishasura's armies wield great power over the psyche. They are the result of the impressions of innumerable lifetimes and choices made in those lives, choices that have become embedded in our psyche as stubborn psychological traits.

To make matters worse most of us waste away this precious life without any conscious awareness of what is happening within. As the Bhagavad Gita 7. And rare is such a great soul. Most of us carry on with our deluded lives without realising that life is not just about relationships, money, power and material pursuits.

For the majority spiritual life is only an extension of the deep-rooted material approach. Even those who are interested have only a shallow interest, quite often it being a mere coping mechanism for the stress of daily living. For some spirituality is a pursuit that they reserve for their old age, for their retired lives. Compelled by our asuric tendencies we waste the best time of our lives pursuing purely material goals, wasting away our greatest potential, postponing it continually.

It is only a few wise ones who awaken to the truth that the Supreme Being is all that is, that have a conscious awareness of the war between the gods and the demons. Bringing this inner conflict into conscious awareness, the serious practitioner surrenders completely to the Supreme Goddess just as the gods did in the Devi Mahatmyam. Progressively the gods are reinstated in their rightful place by the replacement of asuric wealth with divine wealth.

This needs the grace of Mahalakshmi who can bestow daiva sampada or divine wealth to Her devotee. The practitioner who is endowed with divine wealth is now fit for attaining liberation. Even if one does not attain liberation in this birth, the samskaras and the merit acquired during this lifetime are carried in a potential form into the next lives when they shall bear fruit automatically.

However for those who are unwavering from the goal the accumulation of divine wealth shall set them free in this very life. Spiritual victory is in sight. Mahishasura's eightfold fury Returning back to Mahishasura's myth, seeing his armies destroyed by the Devi an enraged Mahishasura starts terrifying the Devi's hosts. And how does Mahishasura destroy the Devi's forces-in eight ways. These eight ways are the purely negative expression of rajas. Hitting some by muzzle, trampling some by the hooves, lashing at some with his tail, tearing others with his horns, by sheer speed, by bellowing, by wheeling, and by the blast of his breath, Mahishasura destroyed the Devi's forces.

This eightfold unleashing of Mahishasura's rajas is comparable to eightfold maithuna or eightfold sexual union, which a Brahmachari is strictly advised to avoid. Here a word on Brahmacharya is in order. Brahmacharya means to move, learn and live in the 'Way of Brahman or higher Awareness'. Among other things it is also largely about bringing the indriyas senses under effortless control. Thus one of the goals of Brahmacharya is reaching a state where one is not troubled by the indriyas anymore.

However this state of freedom from the indriyas comes effortlessly only after intense practice or abhyasa. Till one achieves effortless mastery over the indriyas one has to make intense efforts.

Hence initially we are advised to avoid eightfold indulgence of the indriyas. The eight ways of sensual indulgence: Smaranam thinking of it , Kirtanam talking of it , Keli playing around , Prekshanam seeing , Guhya-bhashanam talking in secrecy , Sankalpa wishing for , Adhyavasaya determination towards , Kriyanishpatti actual accomplishment.

These are the eight ways in which Rajas destroys the divine forces before one can even gauge its destructive influence. That is why the unleashing of Mahishasura's rajas too has eightfold fury. After destroying the Devi's forces by his eightfold rajas, Mahishasura rushes forward to slay her lion.

The Goddess Ambika becomes enraged at this. It is none other than the practitioner, the jiva, you and me. Since the devotee has already surrendered to the Goddess and is on the path of dharma, the Mother will protect him as her own child. Now starts the real fight between the Devi and the lord of the asuras. To meet the challenge the Goddess heightens Her own rajas. However unlike Mahishasura's destructive and egoistic rage Her anger is divine or righteous anger that counters demoniac or unrighteous anger.

Initially the practitioner counters lower order material rajas through higher order spiritual rajas. One has to remove a thorn with the help of another thorn, as the adage goes. We come across instances of the lion's fury too, in both the second and third episodes though more elaborately in the third episode. This is the sadhaka's spiritualized higher order rajas or sattvic rajas which counters the destructive influence of material lower order rajas of the asuras.

The two faces of rajas is an interesting theme that the Devi Mahatmyam portrays time and again through powerful metaphors. This is the very nature of desire, of rajas. We think that we have rooted out a particular psychological compulsion only to discover that it still existent albeit in a different form.

We move from one addiction to another, from one compulsive behaviour to another, as long as the original inner emotional issue is not resolved. The Devi's weapons appear ineffectual as long as Mahishasura keeps changing forms.

She triumphs over him only when he emerges in his original form, as She pins him down under her foot. Only then does She behead him finally with Her sword, destroying the deadly combination of human competence and beastly nature.

Mahishasura's episode reveals that through active struggle, through divine rajas, we can overcome enslavement to the indriyas, and live righteously in harmony with the world. It also reveals to us the two faces of rajas and the two kinds of wealth that we may seek in our lives.

One is divine while the other is demoniac. Those who seek demoniac wealth take to the purely negative and demoniac expression of rajas and are deemed to be bound further and to suffer in the quagmire of perpetual desire, while those who take to a positive expression of rajas seek divine wealth and are eventually deemed for liberation from suffering of all kinds. Section 3 Third Episode By the time we come to the third episode the demons are more complex and subtler.

This time the chief demons are Sumbha Asmita: This myth too has a familiar beginning. Two demons, named Shumbha and Nishumbha, have dispossessed the gods, stripped them of their powers and appropriated their wealth and privilege.

Then the gods go to mount Himalaya and extol the Unvanquished Aparajita Devi recalling Her assurance that She would intervene whenever remembered in times of misfortune. Synchronistically Parvati devi comes there at the same time to bathe in the waters of Ganga and enquires innocently as to whom the gods are extolling. An auspicious form of the Goddess, Kaushiki, emanates from the selfsame Parvati and answers that the hymn is addressed to her.

Parvati becomes dark and is henceforth known as Kalika or Kali. She will play major role in the future course of events along with the auspicious form of Ambika. Thus the Goddess has two forms-one auspicious and the other terrible. Parvati's two forms remind us of Shiva who too has a terrible form as Rudra apart from his usual auspicious form.

This twofold complementary nature of Divinity as both the auspicious and the terrible highlights the play of light and dark. Both are aspects of the Supreme Being.

There are two other interesting phenomenon at work here. First is the phenomenon of Synchronicity. Parvati seems to come there by coincidence. Though seemingly a coincidence her arrival then and there is very meaningful. Meaningful coincidences are what Synchronicity is about.

Synchronicity is behind not only oracular prognostication but also how prayers work. At times Divine intervention can be direct, displaying a seemingly causal relation to prayers and mantras.

At other times Divine intervention occurs in a non-causal synchronistic manner. Either ways prayers work. Most importantly we are connected to everything else around us. Our minds and lives are not separate from the minds and lives of others in the universe. There is underlying indivisible holistic unity. Secondly Parvati's innocent query suggests that she is not aware of what is happening, at least consciously. But surely, as an embodiment of the Supreme Goddess, wouldn't She be consciously aware?

Though not conscious, the emanation of Kaushiki who answers Parvati is Her own Shakti, a projection of Her own unconscious powers. At an individual conscious level we have limited powers, limited by embodiment in a mind-body that constrain the otherwise unbounded and limitless reservoir of all powers.

At an unconscious level we are potentially connected to the collective. There is oneness and abundant potential at this level. But in our normal waking state of consciousness we are largely unaware of our unbounded potential and our connection to the collective. In other states of consciousness such as dream, deep sleep and meditation we are better connected to this level.

One may argue that this particular context in the Devi Mahatmyam involves the Goddess not a human being. However remember that everything about the gods and demons has relevance for us, for what happens in our own psyche.

But this is at the transcendental level. At the relative and phenomenal level, where there is awareness of one's own individual personality or ego, even Her manifestations follow the same law, the same order that is seen in the rest of the universe. The various emanations of the Goddess combine both the transcendental and phenomenal levels of truth to varying degrees.

It may not be inappropriate to suggest that while ultimately at the transcendental level She is the Supreme Self or Brahman, in her manifestations as other goddesses She is also the Transcendental in the Phenomenal. This is the uniqueness of the Shakta world-view. Sri Ramakrishna describes how the relative or phenomenal emerges from the absolute or transcendental and falls back into it. Brahman may be compared to an infinite ocean, without beginning or end. Just as, some portions of the ocean freeze into ice through intense cold, and formless water appears to have form, so through intense love or faith of the devotee, Brahman appears to take on form and personality.

But the form melts away again as the sun of Knowledge rises. Then the universe also disappears, and there is nothing but Brahman. The beautiful and auspicious Kaushiki form of the Goddess is all Sattva. Unlike the slayer of Mahishasura who is the collective embodiment of the divine anger or divine rajas of all the gods, Kaushiki is a Sattvic manifestation.

This time the demons are even more sophisticated. Action, contemplation and knowledge are the three stages through which we have to pierce through the veil of Prakriti or three Gunas. Madhu- Kaitabha are the mala dirt or waste from Vishnu's ears and thereby predominantly represent Tamas.

Mahishasura and his generals represent Rajo-guna. But Shumbha-Nishumbha and their generals represent the limitation of buddhi, which is another name for sattva. The word sattva also denotes the mind apart from the guna of sattva. It is easy to understand why one has to overcome tamas and rajas as it is accepted that they are manasika doshas. But why is there a need to transcend even Sattva, one might ask. As described in the commentary on the first episode, the three gunas are part of the same cosmic process of manifestation, they are part of the same veiling power of Prakrti or Maha Maya.

Together they form the three strands that bind us to ignorance. Since Sattva is potentially akin to a burnt rope, since it brings knowledge, initially the ascendancy of sattva is preferred over tamas and rajas.

A rope that will sooner or later be burnt cannot bind us for long. But till it is fully burnt even this rope can be binding. We will examine this further using another analogy-that of a lantern.

But first let us understand Shumbha and Nishumbha. The root word 'bha' in the names of Shumbha and Nishumbha means 'light'. However their light is not real like the light from the sun.

It is merely reflected light. Just as Sun represents the self and light in astrological language, Moon represents the mind and reflected light. Sattva is another name for the mind. Buddhi is the highest function of the mind. However buddhi is not the same as the Self or Atman.

Shumbha is none other than 'Asmita' sense of T or 'Me' , the pseudo-self that identifies the self with non-self whereas Nisumbha represents Mamata sense of 'Mine' , or the attachment to things that the false self clings to through identification with other objects.

Nishumbha is the brother of Shumbha. One follows the other closely. Where there is this sense of T automatically there will be a sense of 'mine' as an extension of the false sense of selfhood. That is why Shumbha and Nishumbha are inseparable brothers. Patanjali Yogasutra, 2. In other words 'Asmita' is the ignorance or mistake of identifying Buddhi as Purusha or Atman. In other words misidentification of the mind as the Self gives rise to a false sense of self.

This false sense of self is 'Asmita'. Although it may seem that buddhi and purusha are identical, in reality they are not. This can be illustrated using the analogy of a lantern.

If the Self is the wick or the source of light, buddhi is the glass chimney. From a distance though it appears as if the glass chimney is the source of the light, close observation will reveal the burning wick as the true source of light.

Likewise a yogi whose consciousness is functioning beyond the manomaya kosha, knows that the mind is not identical with the Self as his consciousness has awakened to the level of the vignanamaya kosha. Buddhi is the instrument of intelligence that discerns, questions, reasons, determines and wills.

Though buddhi is the highest faculty of the human mind and possesses the potential power of divine revelation, it is still a limited manifestation of consciousness. Buddhi is also an evolute of Prakrti and thus cannot be identical to Purusha or Consciousness. The mind when viewed through the distorting lens of Avidya or ignorance, becomes the basis for a false sense of identity.

This pseudo selfhood is 'Asmita'. The basis for 'asmita' is a false notion that buddhi is identical to the Atman. Since sattvic intellect can reflect the light of Consciousness clearly, it also poses the danger of an aspirant falsely thinking that he has attained the Atman, that he is Self-realized. A sattvic and refined intellect is undoubtedly very important for reflective thinking and discernment. However that is not the end of the path. Such a sattvic buddhi is of tremendous value in overcoming the tyranny of tamas and rajas.

So in the earlier stages sattva is glorified. That which was desirable in the earlier stages in the past is detrimental in the present. Now even Sattva is an obstacle.

If tamas can be compared to a brick wall and rajas to stormy winds that toss about the mind in a tempest, sattva is like a glass wall. While Ambika cut off the head of his lion form , he took the appearance of a man with sword in hand.

Immediately then the Devi with her arrows chopped off the man together with his sword and shield. Then he became a big elephant. The elephant tugged at her great lion with his trunk and roared loudly, but as he was dragging, the Devi cut off his trunk with her sword. The great asura then resumed his buffalo shape and shook the three worlds with their movable and immovable objects. Enraged threat, Chandika, the Mother of the worlds, quaffed a divine drink again and again, and laughed, her eyes becoming red.

And she with showers of arrows pulverized those mountains hurled at her, and spoke to him in flurried words, the colour of her face accentuated with the intoxication of the divine drink.

The Devi said: When you sill be slain by me, the devas will soon roar in this very place. Having exclaimed thus, she jumped and landed herself on that great asura, pressed him on the neck with her foot and struck him with her spear. And thereupon, caught up under her foot.

Mahis h asura half issued forth in his real form from his own buffalo mouth, being completely overcome by the valour of the Devi. Fighting thus with his half-revealed form, the great asura was laid by the Devi who struck off his head with her great sword. Then, crying in consternation, the whole asura army perished; and all the hosts of deva were in exultation.

With the great sages of heaven, the devas praised the Devi. The Gandharva chiefs sang and the bevies of apsaras danced. Here ends the third chapter called 'The Slaying of Mahis h asura' of Devi-mahatmya in Markandeya-purana during the period of Savarni, the Manu. The Devi Stuti. When that most valiant but evil-natured Mahis h asura and the army of that foe of the devas were destroyed by the Devi, Indra and the hosts of devas uttered their words of praise, their necks and shoulders reverently bent, and bodies rendered beautiful with horripilation and exultation.

May she grant us auspicious things! May you protect the universe! Though you are possessed of the three gunas you are not known to have any of their attendant defects like passion! You are incomprehensible even to Vishnu, Shiva and others!

You are the resort of all! You are verily the supreme primordial Prakriti untransformed. You are the Svadha which gives satisfaction to the manes. Therefore you are chanted as Svaha and Svadha in Sacrifices by people. You the supreme knowledge are cultivated by sages desiring liberation, whose senses are well restrained, who are devoted to Reality, and have shed all the blemishes.

You are the repository of the very pure Rig-veda and Yajus hymns, and of Samans, the recital of whose words is beautiful sith the Udgitha! You are Bhagavati embodying the three Vedas. And you are the sustenance whereby life is maintained. You are the supreme destroyer of the pain of al the worlds.

You are Durga, the boat that takes men across the difficult ocean of worldly existence, devoid of attachments. You are Shri who has invariably taken her abode in the heart of Vishnu. You are indeed Gauri who has established herself with Shiva. Yet it was very strange that, being swayed by anger, Mahis h asura suddenly struck your face when he saw it.

For, who can live after beholding the enraged Destroyer? You are Supreme. If enraged, you forthwith destroy the asura families for the welfare of the world. This was known the very moment when the extensive forces of Mahis h asura were brought to their end. Are you not, therefore O Devi, the bestower of reward in all the three worlds? When called to mind by those in happiness, you bestow a mind still further pious.

Which goddess but you, O Dispeller of poverty, pain and fear, has an ever sympathetic heart for helping everyone? But you direct your weapons against them so that even the inimical ones, purified by the missiles, may attain the higher worlds. Such is your most kindly intention towards them. Where can one find this beauty of yours most charming, yet striking fear in enemies?

Compassion in heart and relentlessness in battle are een, O Devi, O Bestower of boons, only in you in all the three worlds!

Having killed them in the battle-front, you have led even those hosts of enemies to heaven, and you have dispelled our fear from the frenzied enemies of the devas. Salutation to you! O Ambika, protect us with your sword, protect us by the sound of your bell and by the twang of your bow-string. O Iswari! Thus the supporter of the worlds was praised by the devas, worshipped with celestial flowers that blossomed in Nandana and with perfumes and unguents; and with devotion all of them offered her - heavenly incense.

Benignly serene in countenance she spoke to all obeisant devas. Gratified immensely with these hymns, I grant it with great pleasure ' The devas said: O King, being thus propitiated by the devas for the sake of the world and for their own sake, Bhadrakali said, 'Be it so' and vanished from their sight.

Thus have I narrated, O King, how the Devi who desires the good of all the three worlds made her appearance of yore out of the bodies of the devas. And again how, as a benefactress of the devas, she appeared in the form of Gauri for the slaying of wicked asuras as well as S h umbha and Nis h umbha, and for the protection of worlds, listen as I relate it. I shall tell it to you as it happened. Here ends the fourth chapter called "The Devi Stuti " of the Devi-mahatmya in Markandeya-purana during the period of Savarni, the Manu.

Devi's conversation with the messenger. Meditation of Mahasaraswati I meditate on the incomparable Mahasaraswati who holds in her eight lotus-like hands bell, trident, plough, conch, mace, discus, bow and arrow; who is effulgent like destroyer of Sumbha and other asuras, who issued forth from Parvati's body and is the substratum of the three worlds. Of yore Indra's sovereignty over the three worlds and his portions of the sacrifices were taken away by the asuras, Sumbha and Nisumbha, by force of their pride and strength.

The two, themselves, took over likewise, the offices of the sun, the moon, Kubera, Yama, and Varuna. They themselves exercised Vayu's authority and Agni's duty. Deprived of their lordships and sovereignties, the devas were defeated. Deprived of their functions and expelled by these two great asuras, all the devas thought of the invincible Devi.

Resolving thus, the devas went to Himavat, lord of the mountains, and there extolled the Devi, who is the illusive power of Vishnu. The devas said: Salutation always to her who is ever auspicious.

Salutation to her who is the primordial cause and the sustaining power. With attention, we have made obeisance to her. Salutation to Gauri, the supporter of the Universe. Salutation to the consort of Shiva who is herself the good fortune as well as misfortune of kings. Salutation to her who is the support of the world. Salutation to the devi who is the form of volition. O Prince, while the devas were thus engaged in praises and other acts of adoration , Parvathi came there to bathe in the waters of the Ganga.

She, the lovely-browed, said to those devas, 'Who is praised by you here? Because that Ambika came out of Parvati's physical sheath Kosa , she is glorified as Kaushiki in all the worlds. After she had issued forth, Parvati became dark and was called Kalika and stationed on mount Himalaya. Then, C h anda, and Munda, two servants of S h umbha and Nis h umbha, saw that Ambika Kausiki bearing a surpassingly charming form. They both told S h umbha: Ascertain who that Goddess is and take possession of her, O Lord of the asuras!

You should see her. It has been brought here from Brahma to whom it originally belonged. And the ocean gave a garland named Kinjalkini made of unfading lotus flowers. And here is the excellent chariot that was formerly Prajapati's. By you, O Lord, Death's shakti weapon named Utkrantida has been carried off. Fire also gave you two garments which are purified by fire. Why this beautiful lady-jewel is not seized by you? On hearing these words of Chanda and Munda, S h umbha sent the great asura Sugriva as messenger to the Devi.

He said: He went there where the Devi was staying in a very beautiful spot on the mountain and spoke to her in fine and sweet words. The messenger said: Sent by him as messenger, I have come here to your presence. I enjoy all their hares in sacrifices separately. The devas themselves offered to me with salutations that gem of horses named Uccaisravas which arose at the churning of milk-ocean.

You who are such, come to me, since we are the enjoyers of the best objects. Think over this in your mind, and become my wife. Thus told, Durga the adorable and auspicious, by whom this universe is supported, then became serene and said. You have spoken truth; nothing false has been uttered by you in this matter.

S h umbha is indeed the sovereign of the three worlds an likewise is also Nis h umbha. Hear what promise I had made already out of foolishness. Vanquishing me here, let him soon take my hand in marriage.

Why delay? Talk not so before me. Which man in the three worlds will stand before S h umbha and Nis h umbha? Why mention you, O Devi, a single woman? Let it not be that you go to them with your dignity lost be being dragged by your hair. What can I do since there stands my ill-considered vow taken long ago? The Slaying of Dhumraloc h ana. The messenger, filled with indignation on hearing the words the Devi, returned and related them in detail to the king of the daityas.

Then the asura monarch, enraged on hearing that report from his messenger, told Dhumralocana, a chieftain of the daityas: Then the asura Dhuralocana, commanded thus by S h umbha, went forth quickly, accompanied by sixty thousand asuras.

On seeing the Devi stationed on the snowy mountain, he asked her aloud, 'Come to the presence of S h umbha and Nis h umbha. If you thus take me by force, then what can I do to you?

Thus told, the asura Dhumralocana rushed towards her and thereupon Ambika reduced him to ashes with a mere heave of the sound 'hum'.

Then the great army of asuras became enraged and showered on Ambika sharp arrows, javelins, and axes. Then the lion, vehicle of the Devi, shaking its mane in anger, and making the most terrific roar, fell on the army of the asuras. Some asuras, it slaughtered with a blow of its fore paw, others with its mouth, and other great asuras, by treading over with its hind legs.

The lion, with its claws, tore out the hearts of some and severed heads with a blow of the paw. And it severed arms and heads from others, and shaking its mane drank the blood from the hearts of others. In a moment all that army was destroyed by that high-spirited and exceedingly enraged lion who bore the Devi.

When S h umbha, the lord of asuras, heard that asura Dhumralocana was slain by the Devi and all his army was destroyed by the lion of the Devi, he was infuriated, his lip quivered and he commanded the two mighty asuras Chanda and Munda: But if you have any doubt about doing that, then let the asuras strike her in the fight with all their weapons.

The slaying of Chanda and Munda. Then at his command the asuras, fully armed, and with Chanda and Munda at their head, marched in fourfold array. They saw the Devi, smiling gently, seated upon the lion on a huge golden peak of the great mountain. On seeing her, some of them excited themselves and made an effort to capture her, and others approached her, with their bows bent and swords drawn.

Thereupon Ambika became terribly angry with those foes, and in her anger her countenance then became dark as ink. Out from the surface of her forehead, fierce with frown, issued suddenly Kali of terrible countenance, armed with a sword and noose.

Bearing the strange skull-topped staff, decorated with a garland of skull, clad in a tiger's skin, very appalling owing to her emaciated flesh, with gaping mouth, fearful with her tongue lolling out, having deep-sunk reddish eyes and filling the regions of the sky with her roars, and falling upon impetuously and slaughtering the great asuras in that army, she devoured those hosts of the foes of the devas. Snatching the elephants with one hand she flung them into her mouth together with their rear men and drivers and their warrior-riders and bells.

Taking likewise into her mouth the cavalry with the horses, and chariot with its driver, she ground them most frightfully with her teeth. She seized one by the hair and another by the neck; one she crushed by the weight of the foot, and another of her body. And she caught with her mouth the weapons and the great arms shot by those asuras and crunched them up with her teeth in her fury.

She destroyed all that host of mighty and evil-natured asuras, devoured some and battered others. Some were killed with her word, some were beaten with her skull-topped staff, and other asuras met their death being ground with the edge of her teeth.

On seeing all the hosts of asuras laid low in a moment, Chanda rushed against that Kali, who was exceedingly terrible. The great asura Chanda with very terrible showers of arrows, and Munda with discuses hurled in thousands covered that terrible-eyed Devi. Those numerous discuses, disappearing into her mouth, looked like numerous solar orbs disappearing into the midst of a cloud. Thereat Kali, who was roaring frightfully, whose fearful teeth were gleaming within her dreadful mouth, laughed terribly with exceeding fury.

Then the Devi, mounting upon her great lion, rushed at Chanda, and seizing him by his hair, severed his head with her sword. Seeing Chanda laid low, Munda also rushed at her. She felled him also the ground, striking him with her sword in her fury. Seeing the most valiant Chanda and Munda laid low, the remaining army there became panicky and fled in all directions. And Kali, holding the heads of Chanda and Munda in her hands, approached Chandika and said, her words mingled with very loud laughter.

Thereupon seeing those asuras, Chanda and Munda brought to her, the auspicious Chandika said to Kali these playful words: Here ends the seventh chapter called 'The slaying of Chanda and Munda' of Devi-mahatmya in Markandeya purana, during the period of Savarni, the Manu.

The Slaying of Raktabija. After the daitya Chanda was slain and Munda was laid low, and many of the battalions were destroyed, the lord of the asuras, powerful Sumbha, with mid overcome by anger, commanded then the mobilization of all the daitya hosts: After issuing these orders, Sumbha, the lord of the asuras and a ferocious ruler, went forth, attended by many thousands of big forces.

Seeing that most terrible army coming, Chandika filled into space between the earth and the sky with the twang of her bow-string. Thereon her lion made an exceedingly loud roar, O King, and Ambika magnified those roars with the clanging of the bell. Kali, expanding her mouth wide and filling the quarters with the sound hum overwhelmed the noises of her bow-string, lion and bell by her terrific roars. On hearing that roar the enraged asura battalions surrounded the lion, the Devi Chandika and Kali on all the four sides.

At this moment, O King, in order to annihilate the enemies of devas and for the well-being of the supreme devas, there issued forth, endowed with exceeding vigour and strength, Shaktis from the bodies of Brahma, Shiva, Guha, Vishnu and Indra, and with the form of those devas went to Chandika.

Whatever was the form of each deva, whatever his ornaments and vehicle, in that very form his Shakti advanced to fight with the asuras. In a heavenly chariot drawn by swans advanced Brahma's Shakti carrying a rosary and Kamandalu. She is called Brahmani. Maheshvari arrived, seated on a bull, holding a fine trident, wearing bracelets of great snakes and adorned with a digit of the moon.

Ambika Kaumari, in the form of Guha, holding a spear in hand riding on a fine peacock, advanced to attack the asuras. Likewise the Shakti of Vishnu came, seated upon Garuda, holding conch, club, bow and sword in hand. The Shakti of Hari, who assumed the incomparable form of a sacrificial boar, she also advanced there in a boar-like form.

Naras i mhi arrived there, assuming a body like that of a Narasimha, bringing down the constellations by the toss of her mane.

Devi Mahatmyam v1

Likewise the thousand-eyed Aindri, holding a thunderbolt in hand and riding on the lord of elephants arrive just like Sakra Indra.

Then Shiva, surrounded by those shaktis of the devas, said to Chandika, 'Let the asuras be killed forthwith by you for my gratification. Thereupon from the body of Devi issued forth the Shakti of Chandika, most terrific, exceedingly fierce and yelling like a hundred jackals.

And that invincible Shakti told Shiva, of dark coloured matted locks, 'Go, my lord, as ambassador to the presence of S h umbha and Nis umbha. You go to the nether world, if you wish to live. Let my jackals be satiated with your flesh. Because that Devi appointed "Shiva" himself as ambassador thenceforth she became renowned in this world as Shiva-duti.

Those great asuras, on their part, hearing the words of the Devi communicated by Shiva, were filled with indignation and went where Katyayani stood. Then in the very beginning, the enraged foes of the devas poured in front on the Devi showers of arrows, javelins and spears.

And lightly, with the huge arrows shot from her full-drawn bow, she clove those arrows, spears, darts and axes hurled by them. Then, in front of him S h umbha , stalked Kali, piercing the enemies to pieces with her spear and crushing them with her skull-topped staff. And Brahmani, wherever she moved, made the enemies bereft of valour and prowess by sprinkling on them the water from her Kamandalu.

The very wrathful Maheshvari slew the daityas with her trident, and Vaisnavi, with her discus and Kaumari, with her javelin. Torn to pieces by the thunderbolt which come down upon them, hurled by Aindri, daityas and danavas fell on the earth in hundreds, streams of blood flowing out of them. Shattered by the boar-formed goddess Varahi with blows of her snout, wounded in their chests by the point of her tusk and torn by her discus, the asuras fell down.

Naras i mhi filling all the quarters and the sky with her roars, roamed about in the battle, devouring other great asuras torn by her claws. Demoralised by the violent laughter of Shivaduti, the asuras fell down on the earth; she then devoured them who had fallen down. Seeing the enraged band of Matrs crushing the great asuras thus by various means, the troops of the enemies of devas took to their heels.

Seeing the asuras harassed by the band of Matrs and fleeing, the great asura Raktabija strode forward to fight in wrath.

Whenever from his body there fell to the ground a drop of blood, at that moment rose up from the earth asura of his stature. The great asura fought with Indra's shakti with club in his hand; then Aindri also struck Ranktabija with her thunderbolt.

Blood flowed quickly and profusely from him who was wounded by the thunderbolt. From the blood rose up fresh combatants of his form and valour. As many drops of blood fell from his body, so may persons came into being, with his courage, strength and valour.

And those persons also sprung up from his blood fought there with the Matrs in a more dreadful manner hurling the very formidable weapons. And again when his head was wounded by the fall of her thunder-bolt, his blood flowed and there from were born persons in thousands.

Vaisnavi struck him with her discus in the battle, Aindri beat that lord of asuras with her club. The world was pervaded by thousands of great asuras who were of his stature and who rose up from the blood that flowed from him when cloven by the discus of Vaisnavi. Kaumari struck the great asura Raktabija with her spear, Varahi with her sword, and Mahesvari with her trident. And Raktabija, that great asura also, filled with wrath, struck everyone of the Matrs severally with his club.

From the stream of blood which fell on the earth from him when he received multiple wounds by the spears, darts and other weapons, hundreds of asuras came into being. And those asuras that were born from the blood of Raktabija pervaded the whole world; the devas got intensely alarmed at this.

Seeing the devas dejected, Chandika laughed and said to Kali, 'O Chamunda, open out your mouth wide; with this mouth quickly take in the drops of blood generated by the blow of my weapon and also the great asuras born of the drops of blood of Raktabija. So shall this daitya, with his blood emptied, perish. Then Kali drank Raktabija's blood with her mouth. Then and there he struck Chandika with his club.

The blow of his club caused her not even the slightest pain. And from his stricken body wherever blood flowed copiously, there Chamunda swallowed it with her mouth. The Chamunda devoured those great asuras who sprang up from the flow of blood in her mouth, and drank his Raktabija's blood.

The Devi Kausiki smote Raktabija with her dart, thunderbolt, arrows, swords, and spears, when Chamunda went on drinking his book. Stricken with a multitude of weapons and bloodless, the great asura Raktabija fell on the ground, O King.

Thereupon the devas attained great joy, O King. The band of Matrs who sprang from them dance, being intoxicated with blood. Here ends the eighth chapter called 'The Slaying of Raktabija' of Devi-mahatmya in Markandeya-purana, during the period of Savarni, the Manu.

The Slaying of Nis h umbha. The king Suratha said: After Raktabija was slain and other asuras were killed in the fight, the asura S h umbha and Nis h umbha gave way to unbounded wrath. Enraged on seeing his great army slaughtered, Nis h umbha then rushed forward with the chief forces of the asuras. In front of him behind him and on both sides of him, great asuras, enraged and biting their lips, advanced to slay the Devi. S h umbha also, mighty in valour, went forward, surrounded, with his own troops to slay Chandika in this rage, after fighting with the Matrs.

Then commenced severe combat between the Devi on one side and on the other, S h umbha and Nis h umbha who, like two thunder-clouds, rained a most tempestuous shower of arrows on her.

Chandika with numerous arrows quickly split the arrows shot by the two asuras and smote the two lords of asuras on their limbs with her mass of weapons. Nis h umbha, grasping a sharp sword and a shining shield, struck the lion, the great carrier of the Devi on the head.

When her carrier was struck, the Devi quickly cut Nis h umbha's superb sword with a sharp-edged arrow and also his shield on which eight moons were figured.

When his shield was slit and his sword too broken, the asura hurled his spear; and that missile also, as it advanced towards her, was split into two by her discus. Then the danava Nis h umbha, swelling with wrath, seized a dart; and that also, as it came, the Devi powdered with a blow of her fist.

The Devi Mahatmyam Story Being Retold in Brief (in English)

Then brandishing his club, he flung it against Chandika; cleft by the trident of the Devi, it also turned to ashes. Then the Devi assailed the heroic danava advancing with battle-axe in hand, and laid him low on the ground.

When his brother Nis h umbha of terrific prowess fell to the ground, S h umbha got infuriated in the extreme, and strode forward to slay Ambika. Standing in his chariot and grasping excellent weapons in his long and incomparable eight arms, he shone by pervading the entire sky. Seeing him approaching, the Devi blew her conch, and made a twang of her bow-string, which was unbearable in the extreme. And the Devi filled all directions with the ringing of her bell, which destroys the strength of all the daitya hosts.

The lion filled the heaven, the earth and the ten quarters of the sky with loud roars, which made the elephants give up their violent rut. Then Kali, springing upwards in the sky, came down and struck the earth with both her hands; by its noise all the previous sounds were drowned. S h ivaduti made a loud ominous peal of laughter, the asuras were frightened by those sounds, and S h umbha flew into an utmost rage.

As Ambika said, 'O evil-natured one, stop, stop', the devas stationed in the sky cheered her with the words, 'Be victorious'. The spear, flaming most terribly and shining like a mass of fire, which S h umbha approaching hurled was, as it was coming along, put out by a great firebrand from the Devi. The interspace between the three worlds was pervaded by S h umbha's lion-like roar, but the dreadful thunder-clap of the Devi smothered that, O King. The Devi split the arrows shot by S h umbha, and S h umbha also split the arrows discharged by her, each with her and his sharp arrows in hundreds and thousands.

Then Chandika became angry and smote him with a trident. Wounded therewith, he fainted and fell to the ground. Then Nis h umbha, regaining consciousness seized his bow and struck with arrows the Devi and Kali and the lion. And the danuja-lord, the son of Diti, putting forth a myriad arms, covered Chandika with myriad discuses. Then Bhagavati Durga, the destroyer of difficulties and afflictions, became angry and split those discuses and those arrows with her own arrows.

Thereupon Nis h umbha, surrounded by the daitya host, swiftly seizing his club, rushed at Chandika to sly her. As he was just rushing at her, Chandika colve his club with her sharp-edged sword; and her took hold of a dart. As Nis h umbha, the afflicter of the devas, was advancing with the dart in hand, Chandika pierced him in the heart with a swiftly hurled dart. From his Nis h umbha's heart that was pierced by the dart, issued forth another person of great strength and valour, exclaiming at the Devi 'Stop.

Then the Devi, laughing aloud, severed the head of him, who issued forth, with her sword. Thereupon he fell to the ground. The lion then devoured those asuras whose necks he had crushed with his fierce teeth, and Kali and S h ivaduti devoured others. Some great asuras perished, being pierced through by the spear if Kaumari. Others were repulsed by sprinkling of the water purified by the incantation of Brahmani.

Others fell, pierced by a trident wielded by Mahesvari; some were powdered on the ground by the blows from the snout of Varahi. Some danavas were cut to pieces by the discus of Vaisnavi, and others again by the thunderbolt discharged from the palm of Aindri. Some asuras perished themselves , some fled from the great battle, and others were devoured by Kali, Sivaduti and the lion. Here ends the ninth chapter called 'the Slaying of Nis h umbha' of Devi mahatmya in Markandeya-purana during the period of Savarni, the Manu.

The Slaying of S h umbha. Seeing his brother Nisumbha slain, who was dear to him as his life, and his army being slaughter, S h umbha angrily said. Though you are exceedingly haughty, you, resorting to the strength of others, fight. Who else is there besides me? See, O vile one, these Goddesses, who are but my own powers, entering into my own self!

Then all those, Brahmani and the rest, were absorbed in the body of the Devi. Ambika alone then remained. Be steadfast in combat. Then began a dreadful battle between them both, the Devi and S h umbha, while all the devas and asuras looked on.

With showers of arrows, with sharp weapons and frightful missiles, both engaged again in a combat that frightened all the worlds. Then the lord of daityas broke the divine missiles, which Ambika discharged in hundreds, with weapons that repulsed them. With fierce shout of hum and the like, the Paramesvari playfully broke the excellent missiles that he discharged. Then the asura covered the Devi with hundreds of arrows, and the Devi in wrath split his bow with her arrows. And when the bow was split the lord of the daityas took up his spear.

With a discus, the Devi split that spear also in this hand. Next the supreme monarch of the daityas, taking his sword bright like the sun and shining shield bearing the images of a hundred moons, rushed at the Devi at that moment. Just as he was rushing forward, Chandika split his sword with sharp arrows shot from her bow, as also his shield as bright as the solar rays.

With his steeds slain, with his bow broken, without a charioteer, the daitya then grasped his terrible mace, being ready to kill Ambika. With sharp arrows, she split the mace of S h umbha, who was rushing at her. Even then, raising his fist, he rushed swiftly at her. The daitya-king brought his fist down on the heart of the Devi, and the Devi also with her palm smote him on his chest. The daitya-king, wounded by the blow of her palm fell on the earth, but immediately he rose up again.

Seizing the Devi, he sprang up and mounted on high into the sky. There also Chandika, without any support, fought with him. Then the daitya S h umbha and Chandika fought, a never before, with each other in the sky in a close contact, which wrought surprise to the Siddhas and sages. Ambika then, after carrying on a close fight for a vary long time with him, lifted him up, whirled him around and flung him down on the earth. Flung thus, the evil-natured S h umbha reaching the earth and raising his fist, hastily rushed forward desiring to kill Chandika.

Seeing that lord of all the daitya-folk approaching, the Devi, piercing him on the chest with a dart, threw him down on the earth. Pierced by the pointed dart of the Devi he fell lifeless on the ground, shaking the entire earth with its seas, islands and mountains. When that evil-natured asura was slain, the universe became happy and regained perfect peace, and the sky grew clear.

Flaming portent-clouds that were in evidence before became tranquil, and the rivers kept within their courses when S h umbha was stricken down there. When he had been slain, the minds of all the bands of devas became overjoyed, and the Gandharvas sang sweetly. Others sounded their instruments , and the bands of nymphs danced; likewise favourable winds blew; the sun became very brilliant; the sacred fires blazed peacefully and tranquil became the strange sounds that had risen in different quarters.

Here ends the tenth chapter called 'The Slaying of S h umbha' of Devi-mahatmya in Markandeya-purana, during the period of Savarni, the Manu. Hymn to Narayani. When the great lord of asuras was slain there by the Devi, Indra and other devas led by Agni, with their object fulfilled and their cheerful faces illumining the quarters, praised her, Katyayani: Be propitious, O Mother of the whole world. Be gracious, O Mother of the universe. Protect the universe. You are, O Devi, the ruler of all that is moving and unmoving.

By you, who exist in the shape of water, all this universe is gratified, O Devi of inviolable valour! You are the primeval maya, which is the source of the universe; by you all this universe has been thrown into an illusion. O Devi. If you become gracious, you become the cause of final emancipation in this world.

SHARILYN from Massachusetts
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