the second day of Navaratri

Tuesday, June 16, 2009 at 9:14 AM

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 hve 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 tethree worlds agitated the foes of devas, mobilized all their aries 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 nethr wrlds with the twang of the bowstring, and standing here pervading all the quarters around with her thousand arms. Then began a battle between that Devi and the enemies of the devas, in wich 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.

CHAPTER 3 - The Slaying of Mahisasura - I

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 Hymn to the Devi

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 houlders 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 ofthe 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 Hymn of the Devi" of the Devi-mahatmya in Markandeya-purana during the period of Savarni, the Manu.