Devi Mahatmyam or Durga Saptashati or Chandi Path

 

The Devi Mahatmyam is a collection of 700 Slokas on Sri Durga from Markandeya Purana
Navaratri is celebrated four times a year. They are Ashada Navaratri, the Sharada Navaratri, the Maha Navaratri and the Vasantha Navaratri. Of these, the Sharada Navaratri of the month of Puratashi and the Vasantha Navaratri of the Vasantha kala are very important. If you refer to the agni purana, then it is said that the Puratashi and Panguni (in Tamil months) i.e. Asvin and Chaitra are like the two jaws of Lord Yama. If one wants to escape the mouth of Yama, then one should celebrate Navaratri on these two occasions. A similar analogy is presented in the devi bhagavatam. Devi bhagavatam also talks in detail on how one should observe fasts, and how one should meditate/work on these days. According to legend, Durga sat on the tip of a needle for nine days, doing a severe penance to destroy the evil Asura Mahisha. On the first three days, she meditated as Herself, the next three days as Mahalakshmi and the last three days as Sarasvati. This signifies progression from tamsik, to rajasik to satvik and eventually obtaining liberation. The tenth day during Sharada Navaratri is called vijayadashami to signify the victory on the day of dashami. It is, however, a long tradition that one reads the devi-bhagavatam or the devi mahatmyam (Durga saptashati, 700 verses on Durga) during this period. Devi bhagavatam notes that Rama meditated and fasted for nine days after Sita was kidnapped by Ravana.
CHAPTER 1:****The slaying of Madhu and Kaitabha:
Meditation of Mahakali I resort to Mahakali, who has ten faces, ten legs and holds in her hands the sword, disc, mace, arrows, bow, club, spear, missile, human head and conch, who is three-eyed, adorned with ornaments on all her limbs, and luminous like a blue jewel, and whom Brahma extolled in order to destroy Madhu and Kaitabha, when Vishnu was in (mystic) sleep.
Markandeya said ( to his disciple Krasustuki Bhaguri):
1-3. Savarni, {Savarni was so called because he was the son of Savarna, Surya’s wife. He became King Suratha in the second (Svarocisa) manvantara.} son of Surya, is called the eighth Manu. Listen , while I describe in detail about his birth, how Savarni, illustrious son of Surya, became the lord of the (eighth)Manvantara {One cycle of creation is divided into fourteen manvantaras. The period ruled over by one Manu is called a Manvantara. There are, therefore, fourteen Manus as follows: Svayambhuva, Svarocisa, Uttama, Tamasa, Raivata, Caksusa, Vaivasvata, Savarni, Daksha-savarni, Brahma-savarni, Dharma-savarni, Rudra-savarni, Deva-savarni, and Indra-savarni. } by the grace of Mahamaya {One of the names of the Divine Mother. }.
4-5. In former times there was a king named Suratha, born of the Chitra dynasty, ruling over the whole world in the period of Svarocisa. He protected his subjects duly like his own children. At that time the kings, who were the destroyers of the c, became his enemies.
6-7. He, the wielder of powerful weapons, fought a battle with the destroyers of Kolas, but was defeated by them though they were a small force. Then he returned to his own city, and ruled over his won country. Then that illustrious king was attacked by those powerful enemies.
8-9. Even in his own city, the king, (now) bereft of strength, was robbed of his treasury and army by his own powerful, vicious and evil-disposed ministers. Thereafter, deprived of this sovereignty, the king left alone on horse-back for a dense forest, under the pretext of hunting.
10-11. He saw there the hermitage of Medhas- the supreme among the twice-born – inhabited by wild animals which were peaceful, and graced by the disciples of the sage. Entertained by the sage, Suratha spent some time moving about in the hermitage of the great sage.
12-16. There then overcome with attachment, he fell into the 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 enjoyments 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 favor, riches and food from me, now certainly pay homage to other kings. The treasure which I gathered with great care will be squandered by those constant spendthrifts, who are addicted to improper expenditures.’
17-19. The king was continually thinking of these and other things. Near the hermitage of the Brahamana he saw a merchant, and asked him: ‘Ho! Who are you? What is the reason for your coming here? Wherefore do you appear as if afflicted with grief and depressed in mind?’ Hearing this speech of the king, uttered in a friendly spirit, the merchant bowed respectfully and replied to the king. The merchant said:
20-25. ‘I am a merchant named Samadhi, born in a wealthy family. I have been cast out by my sons and wife, who are wicked through greed of 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 as regards good of bad of my sons, kinsmen and wife. At present is welfare or ill-luck theirs at home? How are they? Are my sons living good or evil lives?’ The king said:
26-28. ‘Why is your mind affectionately attached to those covetous folk, your sons, wife and others, who have deprived you of your wealth?’ The merchant said:
29-34. ‘This very thought has occurred to me, just as you have uttered it. What can I do? My mind does not become hard; it 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. I do not comprehend although, I know it. O noble hearted king, how it is that 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 hard towards those unloving ones? Markandeya said:
35-38. Then O Brahmana, the merchant Samadhi and the noble king together approached the sage (Medhas); and after observing the etiquette worthy of him and as was proper, they sat down and conversed (with him ) on some topics. The king said:


Devi Mahatmyam or Durga Saptashati or Chandi Path

39-45. ‘Sir, I wish to ask you one thing. Be pleased to reply to it. Without the control of my intellect, my mind is afflicted with sorrow. Though I have lost the kingdom, like an ignorant man- though I know it- I have an attachment to all the paraphernalia of my kingdom. How is this, O best of sages? And this merchant has been disowned by this 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 this happens, then, sir, that though we are aware of it, this delusion comes? This delusion besets me as well as him, blinded as we are in respect of discrimination.’ The Rishi said:
46-49. Sir, every being has the knowledge of objects perceivable by the senses. And object of sense reaches it in various ways. 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 also cognize (objects of senses).
50-58. The knowledge that men have, birds and beasts too 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, which though they possess knowledge, and are themselves distressed by hunger are yet, because of the delusion, engaged in dropping grains into the beaks of their young ones. Human beings are, O tiger among men, attached to their children because of greed for return help. Do you not see this? Even so men are hurled into the whirlpool of attachment, the pit of delusion, through the power of Mahamaya ( the Great Illusion), who makes the existence of the world possible. Marvel not at this. this Mahamaya is the Yoganidra, of Vishnu, the Lord of the world. It is by her the world is deluded. Verily she, the Bhagavati, the Mahamaya forcibly drawing the minds of even the wise, throws them into delusion. She creates this entire universe, both moving and unmoving. It is she who, when propitious, becomes a boon-giver to human beings 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 and the sovereign over all lords. The king said:
59-62. ‘Venerable sir, who is that Devi whom you call Mahamaya? How did she come into being, and what is her sphere of action, O Brahmana? 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 Rishi said:
63-71. She is eternal, embodied as the universe. By her all this is pervaded. Nevertheless she incarnates in manifold ways; hear it from me. When she manifests herself in order to accomplish the purposes of the devas, she is said to be born in the world, though she is eternal. At the end of a kalpa when the universe was one ocean( with the waters of the deluge) and the adorable Lord Vishnu stretched out on Sesa and took the mystic slumber, tow terrible asuras, the well-known Madhu and Kaitabha, sprung into being from the dirt of Vishnu’s ears, sought to slay Brahma; Brahma, the father of beings, was sitting in the lotus( that came out) from Vishnu’s navel. Seeing these two fierce asuras and Janardhana asleep, and with a view to awakening Hari, (Brahma) with concentrated mind extolled Yoganidra, dwelling in Hari’s eyes. The resplendent Lord Brahma extolled the incomparable Goddess of Vishnu, Yoganidra, the queen of cosmos, the supporter of the worlds, the cause of the sustentation and dissolution alike (of the universe).
72-74. Brahma said: ‘You are Svaha and Svadha. You are verily the Vasatkara and embodiment of Svara. You are the nectar. O eternal and imperishable One, you are the embodiment of the threefold mantra. You are half a matra, though eternal. You are verily that which cannot be uttered specifically. You are Savitri and the supreme Mother of the devas.
75-77. ‘By you this universe is borne, by you this world is created. By you it is protected, O Devi and you always consume it at the end. O you who are (always) of the form of the whole world, at the time of creation you are of the form of the creative force, at the time of sustentation you are of the form of the protective power, and at the time of the dissolution of the world, you are of the form of the destructive power. You are the supreme knowledge as well as the great nescience, the great intellect and contemplation, as also the great delusion, the great devi as also the great asuri.
78-81. ‘ You are the primordial cause of everything, bringing into force the three qualities. You are the dark night of periodic dissolution. You are the great night of final dissolution, and the terrible night of delusion. You are the goddess of good fortune, the ruler, modesty, intelligence characterized by knowledge, bashfulness, nourishment, contentment, tranquility and forbearance. Armed with sword, spear, club, discus, conch , bow, arrows, slings and iron mace, you are terrible( and at the same time) you are pleasing, yea more pleasing than all the pleasing things and exceedingly beautiful. You are indeed the supreme Isvari, beyond the high and low.
82-87. ‘And whatever of wherever a thing exists, conscient( real) or non-conscient (unreal), whatever power all that possesses is yourself. O you who are the soul of everything, how can I extol you (more than this)? By you, even he who creates, sustains and devours the world, is put to sleep. Who is here capable of extolling you? Who is capable of praising you, who have made all of us- Vishnu, myself and Shiva- take our embodied forms? O Devi, being lauded thus, bewitch these two unassailable asuras Madhu and Kaitabha with your superior powers. Let Vishnu, the Master of the world, be quickly awakened from sleep and rouse up his nature to slay these two great asuras.’ The Rishi said:
88-95. There, the Devi of delusion extolled thus by Brahma, the creator, in order to awaken Vishnu for the destruction of Madhu and Kaitabha, drew herself out from His eyes, mouth, nostrils, arms, heart and breast, and appeared in the sight of Brahma of inscrutable birth. Janardana, Lord of the universe, quitted by her, rose up from His couch on the universal ocean, and saw those two evil(asuras), Madhu and Kaitabha, of exceeding heroism and power, with eyes red in anger, endeavoring to devour Brahma. Thereupon the all-pervading Bhagavan Vishnu got up and fought with the asuras for five thousand years, using his own arms as weapons. And they, frenzied with their exceeding power, and deluded by Mahamaya, exclaimed to Vishnu, ‘ Ask a boon from us.’ Bhagavan(Vishnu) said:
96-98. ‘If you are satisfied with me, you must both be slain by me now. What need is there of any other boon here? My choice is this much indeed.’ The Rishi said:
99-101. Those two(asuras), thus bewitched (by Mahamaya), gazing then at the entire world turned into water, told Bhagavan, the lotus eyed One, ‘Slay us at the spot where the earth is not flooded with water.’ The Rishi said:
102-104. Saying ‘Be it so’, Bhagavan(Vishnu), the great wielder of conch, discus and mace, took them on His loins and there severed their heads with His discus. Thus she (Mahamaya) herself appeared when praised by Brahma. Now listen again the glory of this Devi. I tell you. Here ends the first chapter called ‘The slaying of Madhu and Kaitabha’ of Devi mahatmya in Markandeya purana, during the period of Savarni, the Manu.


Devi Mahatmyam or Durga Saptashati or Chandi Path

{CHAPTER 2} *****{Slaughter of the armies of Mahisasura}
Meditation of Mahalakshmi I resort to Mahalakshmi, the destroyer of Mahisasura, who is seated on the lotus, is of the complexion of coral and who holds in her (eighteen ) hands rosary, axe, mace, arrow, thunderbolt, lotus, bow, pitcher, rod, sakti, sword, shield, conch, bell, wine-cup, trident, noose and the discus Sudarsana. The Rishi said:
1-3. Of yore when Mahisasura 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. In that the army of the devas was vanquished by the valorous asuras. After conquering all the devas, Mahisasura became the lord of heaven( Indra).
4-5. Then the vanquished devas headed by Brahma, the lord of beings, went to the place where Siva and Vishnu were. The devas described to them in detail, as it had happened, the story of their defeat wrought by Mahisasura.
6-8. ‘He(Mahisasura) himself has assumed the jurisdictions of Surya, Indra, Agni, Vayu, Candra, Yama and Varuna and other (devas). Thrown out from heaven by that evil-natured Mahisa, the hosts of devas wander on the earth like mortals. All that has been done by the enemy of the devas, has been related to you both, and we have sought shelter under you both. May both of you be pleased to think out the means of his destruction.’
9. Having thus heard the words of the devas, Vishnu was angry and also Siva, and their faces became fierce with frowns.
10-11. The issued forth a great light from the face of Vishnu who was full of intense anger, and from that of Brahma and Siva too. From the bodies of Indra and other devas also sprang forth a very great light. And (all) this light united together.
12-13. The devas saw there a concentration of light like a mountain blazing excessively, pervading all the quarters with its flames. Then that unique light, produced from the bodies of all the devas, pervading the three worlds with its lustre, combined into one and became a female form.
14-15. By that which was Siva’s light, her face came into being; by Yama’s (light) her hair, by Vishnu’s light her arms; and by Candra’s (light) her two breasts. By Indra’s light her waist, by Varuna’s (light) her shanks and thighs and by earth’s light her hips.
16-18. By Brahma’s light her feet came into being; by Surya’s light her toes, by Vasus (light) her fingers, by Kubera’s (light) her nose; by Prajapati’s light her teeth came into being and similarly by Agni’s light her three eyes were formed. The light of the two sandhyas became her eye-brows, the light of Vayu her ears; the manifestation of the lights of other devas too (contributed to the being of the ) auspicious Devi.
19. Then looking at her, who had come into being from the assembled lights of all the devas, the immortals who were oppressed by Mahisasura experienced joy.
20-21. The bearer of Pinaka (Siva) drawing forth a trident from his own trident presented it to her; and Vishnu bringing forth a discus out of his own discus gave her. Varuna gave her a conch, Agni a spear; and Maruta gave a bow as well as two quivers full of arrows.
22-23. Indra, lord of devas, bringing forth a thunderbolt out of (his own) thunderbolt and a bell from that of his elephant Airavata, gave her. Yama gave a staff from his own staff of Death and Varuna, the lord of waters, a noose; and Brahma, the lord of beings, gave a string of beads and a water-pot.
24. Surya bestowed his own rays on al the pores of her skin and Kala (Time) gave a spotless sword and a shield.
25-29. The milk-ocean gave a pure necklace, a pair of un-decaying garments, a divine crest-jewel, a pair of ear-rings, bracelets, a brilliant half-moon(ornament), armlets on all arms, a pair of shining anklets, a unique necklace and excellent rings on all the fingers. Visvakarman gave her a very brilliant axe, weapons of various forms and also an impenetrable armour. The ocean gave her a garland of unfading lotuses for her head and another for her breast, besides a very beautiful lotus in her hand. The (mountain) Himavat gave her a lion to ride on a various jewels.
30-33. The lord of wealth (Kubera) gave her a drinking cup, ever full of wine. Sesa, the lord of all serpents, who supports this earth, gave her a serpent-necklace bedecked with best jewels. Honoured likewise by other devas also with ornaments and weapons, she (the Devi) gave out a loud roar with a decrying laugh again and again. By her unending, exceedingly great, terrible roar the entire sky was filled, and there was great reverberation. All worlds shook, the seas trembled.
34-46. The earth quaked and all the mountains rocked. ‘Victory to you,’ exclaimed the devas in joy to her, the lion-rider. the sages, who bowed their bodies in devotion, extolled her. Seeing the three worlds agitated the foes of devas, mobilized all their armies and rose up together with uplifted weapons. Mahisasura, exclaiming in wrath, ‘Ha! What is this?’ rushed towards that roar, surrounded by innumerable asuras. Then he saw the Devi pervading the three worlds with her lustre. Making the earth bend with her footstep, scraping the sky with her diadem, shaking the nether worlds with the twang of the bowstring, and standing there pervading all the quarters around with her thousand arms. Then began a battle between that Devi and the enemies of the devas, in which the quarters of the sky were illumined by the weapons and arms hurled diversely. Mahisasura’s general, a great asura named Ciksura and Camara, attended by forces comprising four parts, and other (asuras) fought. A great asura named Udagra with sixty thousand chariots, and Mahahanu with ten millions (of chariots) gave battle. Asiloman, another great asura, with fifteen millions (of chariots), and Baskala with six millions fought in that battle. Privarita with many thousands of elephants and horses, and surrounded by ten millions of chariots, fought in that battle. An asura named Bidala fought in that battle surrounded with five hundred crores of chariots. And other great asuras, thousands in number, surrounded with chariots, elephants and horses fought with the Devi in that battle.
47-48. Mahisasura was surrounded in that battle with thousands of crores of horses, elephants and chariots. Others (asuras) fought in the battle against the Devi with iron maces and javelins, with spears and clubs, with swords, axes and halberds. Some hurled spears and others nooses.
49-58. They began to strike her with swords in order to kill her. Showering her own weapons and arms, that Devi Chandika very easily cut into pieces all those weapons and arms. Without any strain on her face, and with gods and sages extolling her, the Isvari threw her weapons and arms at the bodies of the asuras. And the lion also which carried the Devi, shaking its mane in rage, stalked among the hosts of the asuras like a conflagration amidst the forests. The sighs which Ambika, engaged in the battle, heaved became at once her battalions by hundreds and thousands. Energized by the power of the Devi, these (battalions) fought with axes, javelins, swords, halberds, and destroyed the asuras. Of these battalions, some beat drums, some blew conches and others played on tabors in that great martial festival. Then the Devi killed hundreds of asuras with her trident, club, showers of spears, swords and the like, and threw down others who were stupefied by the noise of her bell; and binding others with her noose, she dragged them on the ground. Some were split into two by the sharp slashes of her sword, and others, smashed by the blows of her mace, lay down on the ground; and some severely hammered by club vomited forth blood.
59-61. Pierced in the breast by her trident, some fell on the ground. Pierced all over by her arrows and resembling porcupines, some of the enemies of devas gave up their lives on that field of battle. Some had their arms cut off, some, their necks broken the heads of others rolled down; some others were torn asunder in the middle of their trunks, and some great asuras fell on the ground with their legs severed.
62. Some rendered one-armed, one-eyed, and one-legged were again clove in twain by the Devi. And others, though rendered headless, fell and rose again.
63. Headless trunks fought with the Devi with best weapons in their hands. Some of these headless trunks danced there in the battle to the rhythm of the musical instruments.
64-65. The trunks of some other great asuras, with their swords, spears and lances still in their hands, shouted at the Devi with their just severed heads, ‘Stop, stop’. That part of earth where the battle was fought became impassable with the asuras, elephants and horses and chariots that had been felled.
66-67. The profuse blood from the asuras, elephants and horses flowed immediately like large rivers amidst that army of the asuras. As fire consumes a huge heap of straw and wood, so did Ambika destroy that vast army of asuras in no time.
68-69. And her carrier-lion, thundering aloud with quivering mane, prowled about in the battlefield, appearing to search out the vital breaths from the bodies of the enemies of devas. In that battlefield the battalions of the Devi fought in such a manner with the asuras that the devas in heaven, showering flowers, extolled them. Here ends the second chapter called ‘Slaughter of the armies of Mahisasura’ of Devi-mahatmya in Markandeya-purana, during the period of Savarni, the Manu.


Devi Mahatmyam or Durga Saptashati or Chandi Path

CHAPTER 3} *****{The Slaying of Mahisasura}

The Rishi said:
1-2. Then Ciksura, the great asura general, seeing that army being slain(by the Devi), advanced in anger to fight with Ambika.
3. That asura rained showers of arrows on the Devi in the battle, even as a cloud (showers) rain on the summit of Mount Meru.
4. Then the Devi, easily cutting asunder the masses of his arrows, killed his horses and their controller with her arrows.
5. Forthwith she split his bow and lofty banner, and with her arrows pierced the body of that(asura) whose bow had been cut.
6. His bow shattered, his chariot broken, his horses killed and his charioteer slain, the asura armed with sword and shield rushed at the Devi.
7. Swiftly he smote the lion on the head with his sharp-edged sword and struck the Devi also on her left arm.
8. O king, his sword broke into pieces as it touched her arm. Thereon his eyes turning red with anger, he grasped his pike.
9. Then the great asura flung at Bhandrakali the pike, blazing with lustre, as if he was hurling the very sun from the skies.
10. Seeing that pike coming upon her, the Devi hurled her pike that shattered his pike into a hundred fragments and the great asura himself.
11. Mahisasura’s very valiant general having been killed, Camara, the afflictor of devas, mounted on an elephant, advanced.
12. He also hurled his spear at the Devi. Ambika quickly assailed it with a whoop, made it lustreless and fall to the ground.
13. Seeing his spear broken and fallen, Camara, full of rage, flung a pike, and she split that also with her arrows.
14. Then the lion, leaping up and seating itself at the centre of the elephant’s forehead, engaged itself in a hand to hand fight with that foe of the devas.
15. Fighting, the two then came down to the earth from the back of the elephant, and fought very impetuously, dealing the most terrible blows at each other.
16. Then the lion, springing up quickly to the sky, and descending, severed Camara’s head with a blow from its paw.
17. And Udagra was killed in the battle by the Devi with stones, trees and the like, and Karala also stricken down by her teeth and fists and slaps.
18. Enraged, the Devi ground Uddhata to powder with the blows of her club, and killed Baskala with a dart and destroyed Tamra and Andhaka with arrows.
19. The three-eyed Supreme Isvari killed Ugrasya and Ugravirya and Mahahanu also with her trident.
20. With her sword she struck down Bidala’s head from his body, and dispatched both Durdhara and Durmudha to the abode of Death with her arrows.
21. As his army was thus being destroyed, Mahisasura terrified the troops of the Devi with his own buffalo form.
22. Some ( he laid low) by a blow of his muzzle, some by stamping with his hooves, some by the lashes of his tail, and others by the pokes of his horns.
23. Some he laid low on the face of the earth by his impetuous speed, some by his bellowing and wheeling movement, and others by the blast of his breath.
24. Having laid low her army, Mahisasura rushed to slay the lion of the Mahadevi. This enraged Ambika.
25. Mahisasura, great in valour, pounded the surface of the earth with his hooves in rage, tossed up the high mountains with his horns, and bellowed terribly.
26. Crushed by the velocity of his wheeling, the earth disintegrated, and lashed by his tail, the sea overflowed all around.
27. Pierced by his swaying horns, the clouds went into fragments. Cast up by the blast of his breath, mountains fell down from the sky in hundreds.
28. Seeing the great asura swollen with rage and advancing towards her, Chandika displayed her wrath in order to slay him.
29. She flung her noose over him and bound the great asura. Thus bound in the great battle, he quitted his buffalo form.
30. Then he became a lion suddenly. While Ambika cut off the head (of his lion form), he took the appearance of a man with sword in hand.
31. Immediately then the Devi with her arrows chopped off the man together with his sword and shield. Then he became a big elephant.
32. (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.
33. The great asura then resumed his buffalo shape and shook the three worlds with their movable and immovable objects.
34. Enraged threat, Chandika, the Mother of the worlds, quaffed a divine drink again and again, and laughed, her eyes becoming red.
35, And the asura, also roared intoxicated with his strength and valour, and hurled mountains against Chandika with his horns.
36. 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:
37-38. ‘Roar, roar, O fool, for a moment while I drink this wine. When you sill be slain by me, the devas will soon roar in this very place.’ The Rishi said:
39-40. 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.
41. And thereupon, caught up under her foot. Mahisasura half issued forth ( in his real form) from his own (buffalo) mouth, being completely overcome by the valour of the Devi.
42. Fighting thus with his half-revealed form, the great asura was laid by the Devi who struck off his head with her great sword.
43. Then, crying in consternation, the whole asura army perished; and all the hosts of deva were in exultation. 44. 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 Mahisasura’ of Devi-mahatmya in Markandeya-purana during the period of Savarni, the Manu.


{CHAPTER 4 } The Devi Stuti
The Rishi said:
1-2. When that most valiant but evil-natured Mahisasura 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.
3. ‘To that Ambika who is worthy of worship by all devas and sages and pervades this world by her power and who is the embodiment of the entire powers of all the hosts of devas, we bow in devotion. May she grant us auspicious things!
4. ‘May Chandika, whose incomparable greatness and power Bhagavan Vishnu, Brahma and Hara are unable to describe, bestow her mind on protecting the entire world and on destroying the fear of evil.
5. ‘ O Devi, we bow before you, who are yourself good fortune in the dwellings of the virtuous, and ill-fortune in those of the vicious, intelligence in the hearts of the learned, faith in the hearts of the good, and modesty in the hearts of the high-born. May you protect the universe!
6. ‘O Devi, how can we describe your inconceivable form, or your abundant surpassing valour that destroys the asuras, or your wonderful feats displayed in battles among all the hosts of gods, asuras and others?
7. ‘You are the origin of all the worlds! 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! this entire world is composed of an infinitesimal portion of yourself! You are verily the supreme primordial Prakriti untransformed.
8. ‘O Devi, you are Svaha at whose utterance the whole assemblage of gods attains satisfaction in all the sacrifices. You are the Svadha which gives satisfaction to the manes. Therefore you are chanted (as Svaha and Svadha in Sacrifices) by people.
9. ‘O Devi, you are Bhagavati, the supreme Vidya which is the cause of liberation, and great inconceivable penance (are the means for your realization). 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.
10. ‘You are the soul of Sabda-Brahman. 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.
11. ‘O Devi, you are the Intellect, by which the essence of all scriptures is comprehended. 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.
12. ‘Gently smiling, pure, resembling the full moon’s orb, beautiful like the splendour of excellent gold was your face! Yet it was very strange that, being swayed by anger, Mahisasura suddenly struck your face when he saw it.
13. ‘Far strange it is that after seeing your wrathful face, O Devi, terrible with its frowns and red in hue like the rising moon, that Mahisasura did not forthwith give up his life! For, who can live after beholding the enraged Destroyer?
14. ‘O Devi, be propitious. 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 Mahisasura were brought to their end.
15. ‘You who are always bounteous, with whom you are well pleased, those (fortunate ones) are indeed the object of esteem in the country, theirs are riches, theirs are glories, and their acts of righteousness perish not; they are indeed blessed and possessed of devoted children, servants and wives.
16. ‘By your grace, O Devi, the blessed individual does daily all righteous deeds with utmost care and thereby attains to heaven. Are you not, therefore O Devi, the bestower of reward in all the three worlds?
17. ‘When called to mind in a difficult pass, you remove fear for eve3ry person. 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?
18. ‘The world attains happiness by the killing of these (foes) and though these (asuras) have committed sins to keep them long in hell, let them reach heaven by meeting death eventually at he battle (with me)- thinking thus, that you, O Devi, certainly destroy our enemies.
19. ‘Don’t’ you reduce to ashes all asuras by mere sight? 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.
20. ‘If the eyes of the asuras had not been put out by the terrible flashes of the mass of light issuing from your sword or by the copious lustre of your spearpoint, it is because they saw also your face resembling the moon, giving out (cool) rays.
21. ‘O Devi, your nature is to subdue the conduct of the wicked; this your peerless beauty is inconceivable for others; your power destroys those who have robbed the devas of their prowess, and you have thus manifested your compassion even towards the enemies.
22. ‘What is your prowess to be compared to? 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!
23. ‘Through the destruction of the enemies all these three worlds have been saved by you. 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!
24. ‘O Devi, protect us with your spear. O Ambika, protect us with your sword, protect us by the sound of your bell and by the twang of your bow-string.
25. ‘O Chandika, guard us in the east, in the west, in the north and in the south by the brandishing of your spear. O Iswari!
26. ‘Protect us and the earth with those lovely forms of yours moving about in the three worlds, as also with your excludingly terrible forms.
27. ‘O Ambika, protect us on every side with your sword, spear and club and whatever other weapons your sprout-like (soft) hand has touched.’ The Rishi said:
28-30. 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. The Devi said:
31-32. ‘Choose all of you, O devas, whatever you desire of me. (Gratified immensely with these hymns, I grant it with great pleasure)’ The devas said:
33-34. ‘Since our enemy, this Mahisasura, has been slain by Bhagavati (i.e you) everything has been accomplished, and nothing remains to be done. 35. ‘And if a boon is to be granted to us by you, O Mahesvari, whenever we think of you again, destroy our direct calamities.
36-37. ‘O Mother of spotless countenance, and whatever mortal shall praise you with these hymns, may you, who have become gracious towards us, be also for his increase in this wealth, wife, and other fortunes together with riches, prosperity and life, O Ambika!’ The Rishi said:
38-39. 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.
40. 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.
41-42. 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 Sumbha and Nisumbha, 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.


{CHAPTER 5} *****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. The Rishi said:
1-2. 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.
3. The two, themselves, took over likewise, the offices of the sun, the moon, Kubera, Yama, and Varuna.
4. They themselves exercised Vayu’s authority and Agni’s duty. Deprived of their lordships and sovereignties, the devas were defeated.
5. Deprived of their functions and expelled by these two great asuras, all the devas thought of the invincible Devi.
6. ‘She had granted us the boon, “Whenever in calamities you think of me, that very moment I will put an end to all your worst calamities.”‘
7. 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:
8-9. ‘Salutation to the Devi, to the Mahadevi. 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.
10. ‘Salutation to her who is terrible, to her who is eternal. Salutation to Gauri, the supporter(of the Universe). salutation always to her who’s is of the form of the moon and moon-light and happiness itself.
11. ‘We bow to her who is welfare; we make salutations to her who is prosperity and success. Salutation to the consort of Shiva who is herself the good fortune as well as misfortune of kings.
12. ‘Salutations always to Durga who takes one across in difficulties, who is essence, who is the authority of everything; who is knowledge of discrimination and who is blue-black as also smoke-like in complexion.
13. ‘We prostrate before her who is at once most gentle and most terrible; we salute her again and again. Salutation to her who is the support of the world. Salutation to the devi who is the form of volition.
14-16. ‘Salutations again and again to the Devi who in all beings is called Vishnumaya.
17-19. ‘Salutations again and again to the Devi who abides in all beings as consciousness;
20-22. ‘Salutations again and again to the Devi who abides in all beings in the form of intelligence;
23-25. ‘Salutations again and again to the Devi who abides in all beings in the form of sleep;
26-28. ‘Salutations again and again to the Devi who abides in all beings in the form of hunger:
29-31. ‘Salutations again and again to the Devi who abides in all beings in the form of reflection;
32-34. ‘Salutations again and again to the Devi who abides in all beings in the form of power.
35-37. ‘Salutations again and again to the Devi who abides in all beings in the form of thirst;
38-40. ‘Salutations again and again to the Devi who abides in all beings in the form of forgiveness;
41-43. ‘Salutations again and again to the Devi who abides in all beings in the form of genus;
44-46. ‘Salutations again and again to the Devi who abides in all beings in the form of modesty;
47-49. ‘Salutations again and again to the Devi who abides in all beings in the form of peace;
50-52. ‘Salutations again and again to the Devi who abides in all beings in the form of faith;
53-55. ‘Salutations again and again to the Devi who abides in all beings in the form of loveliness;
56-58. ‘Salutations again and again to the Devi who abides in all beings in the form of good fortune;
59-61. ‘Salutations again and again to the Devi who abides in all beings in the form of activity;
62-64. ‘Salutations again and again to the Devi who abides in all beings in the form of memory;
65-67. ‘Salutations again and again to the Devi who abides in all beings in the form of compassion;
68-70. ‘Salutations again and again to the Devi who abides in all beings in the form of contentment;
71-73. ‘Salutations again and again to the Devi who abides in all beings in the form of mother;
74-76. ‘Salutations again and again to the Devi who abides in all beings in the form of error;
77. ‘Salutations again and again to the all-pervading Devi who constantly presides over the senses of all beings and (governs) all the elements;
78-80. ‘Salutations again and again to her who, pervading the entire world, abides in the form of consciousness.
81. ‘Invoked of yore by the devas for the sake of their desired object, and adored by the lord of the devas every day, may she, the Isvari, the source of all good, accomplish for us all auspicious things and put an end to our calamities!
82. ‘And who is now again, reverenced by us, devas, tormented by arrogant asuras and who, called to mind by us obeisant with devotion, destroys this very moment all our calamities.’ The Rishi said:
83-84. 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.
85. She, the lovely-browed, said to those devas, ‘Who is praised by you here?’ An auspicious goddess, sprung forth from her physical sheath, gave the reply:
86. ‘This hymn is addressed to me by the assembled devas set at naught by the asura Sumbha and routed in battle by Nisumbha.
87. Because that Ambika came out of Parvati’s physical sheath (Kosa), she is glorified as Kaushiki in all the worlds.
88. After she had issued forth, Parvati became dark and was called Kalika and stationed on mount Himalaya.
89. Then, Canda, and Munda, two servants of Sumbha and Nisumbha, saw that Ambika (Kausiki) bearing a surpassingly charming form. They both told Sumbha:
90. ‘O King, a certain woman, most surpassingly beautiful, dwells there shedding lustre on mount Himalaya.
91. ‘Such supreme beauty was never seen by any one anywhere. Ascertain who that Goddess is and take possession of her, O Lord of the asuras!
92. ‘A gem among women, of exquisitely beautiful limbs, illuminating the quarters with her lustre there she is, O Lord of the daityas. You should see her.
93. ‘O Lord, whatever jewels, precious stones, elephants, horses and others there are in the three worlds, they are all now in your house.
94. ‘Airavata, gem among elephants, has been brought away from Indra and so also this Parijata tree and the horse Uccaihsravas.
95. ‘Here stands in your courtyard the wonderful chariot yoked with swans, a wonderful gem (of its class). It has been brought here from Brahma to whom it originally belonged.
96. ‘Here is the treasure named Mahapadma brought from the lord of wealth. And the ocean gave a garland named Kinjalkini made of unfading lotus flowers.
97. ‘In your house stands the gold-showering umbrella of Varuna. And here is the excellent chariot that was formerly Prajapati’s.
98. By you, O Lord, Death’s shakti weapon named Utkrantida has been carried off. the noose of the ocean-king is among your brother’s possessions.
99. ‘Nishumbha has every kind of gem produced in the sea. Fire also gave you two garments which are purified by fire.
100. ‘Thus, O Lord of asuras, all gems have been brought by you. Why this beautiful lady-jewel is not seized by you? The Rishi said:
101-102. On hearing these words of Chanda and Munda, Sumbha sent the great asura Sugriva as messenger to the Devi. He said:
103. ‘Go and tell her thus in my words and do the thing in such a manner that she may quickly come to me in love.’
104. 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:
105-106. ‘O Devi, Sumbha, lord of asuras, is the supreme sovereign of three worlds. Sent by him as messenger, I have come here to your presence.
107. ‘Hearken to what has been said by him whose command is never resisted among the devas and who has vanquished all the foes of the asuras:
108. ‘(He says), “All the three worlds are mine and the devas are obedient to me. I enjoy all their hares in sacrifices separately.
109-110. “All the choicest gems in the three worlds are in my possession; and so is the gem of elephants, Airavata, the vehicle of the king of devas carried away be me. The devas themselves offered to me with salutations that gem of horses named Uccaisravas which arose at the churning of milk-ocean.
111. “O beautiful lady, whatever other rare objects there existed among the devas, the gandharvas and nagas are now with me.
112. “We look upon you, O Devi, as the jewel of womankind in the world. You who are such, come to me, since we are the enjoyers of the best objects.
113. “Take to me or to my younger brother Nisumbha of great prowess, O unsteady-eyed lady, for you are in truth a jewel.
114. “Wealth, great and beyond compare, you will get by marrying me. Think over this in your mind, and become my wife.”‘ The Rishi said:
115-116. Thus told, Durga the adorable and auspicious, by whom this universe is supported, then became serene and said. The Devi said:
117-118. You have spoken truth; nothing false has been uttered by you in this matter. Sumbha is indeed the sovereign of the three worlds an likewise is also Nisumbha.
119. ‘But in this matter, how can that which has been promised be made false? Hear what promise I had made already out of foolishness.
120. “He who conquers me in battle, removes my pride and is my match is strength in the world shall be my husband.”
121. ‘So let Sumbha come here then, or Nisumbha the great asura. Vanquishing me here, let him soon take my hand in marriage. Why delay?’ The messenger said:
122-123. ‘O Devi, you are haughty. Talk not so before me. Which man in the three worlds will stand before Sumbha and Nisumbha?
124. ‘All the devas verily cannot stand face to face with even the other asuras in battle. Why mention you, O Devi, a single woman?
125. ‘Indra and all other devas could not stand in battle against Sumbha and other demons, how will you, a woman, face them?
126. ‘On my word itself, you go to Sumbha and Nisumbha. Let it not be that you go to them with your dignity lost be being dragged by your hair.’ The Devi said:
127-128. ‘Yes, it is; Sumbha is strong and so is Nisumbha exceedingly heroic! What can I do since there stands my ill-considered vow taken long ago?
129. ‘Go back, and tell the lord of asuras carefully all this that I have said; let him do whatever he considers proper.’ Here ends the fifth chapter called ‘Devi’s conversation with the messenger’ of the Devi-mahatmya in Markandeya-purana during the period of Savarni, the Manu.


 

1 (My humble salutations to Swamyjis , Philosophic Scholars, Knowledge seekers for the collection)






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