Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Kojāgirī Lakşmī Pūjā Vrata Kathā


Once Nārada Muni was roaming happily, playing on his Vīnā and singing the gliries of Lord Vişņu. He was so immersed in the sentiments of devotion that he did not realise when he arrived at Vaikuņțha. There he saw Śrīman Nārāyaņa seated on a throne, with Devī Lakşmī by His side. Overcome with the devotion, the sage circumbulated Lakşmī-Nārāyana and saluted them again and again.

While Nārada Muni was gazing at Devī Lakşmī with devotion, a sudden thought stuck his mind and he said “Mātā! Why is it so that you are so whimsical? Unlike Bhagavatī Girijā, why don’t you stay at a place permanently? I have seen homes where the family is starving due to shortage of food supply and are extremely malnutritioned.”

Devī Lakşmī turned to Śrīman Nārāyana and gazed at Him mirthfully. Then turning to Nārada, She exhaled and spoke thus “Devarşi! It is not that I am partial or that I despise certain people; it is solely the Karma of the people on the basis of which I either reward or abandon them. Hey Brahmanańdana! I wish to speak to The Lord in private. Why don’t you go and take a round of Trilokas?”

Nārada bowed reverently and took his leave.

Devī Lakşmī turned to Mahāvişņu & asked “Is there any way to grace humans? What should I do?”

The Lord said “Hey Kamale! You should preach your worship on earth so that humans may attain your grace by serving you. On the night of Śarada Pūrņimā, let people worship you in the evening after fasting for the entire day. One who will undertake this Vrata will be bestowed with peace & prosperity, and his sorrows will vanish by your blessings.”

Hearing these words of Madhusūdana, Devī Lakşmī happily appeared at the city of Avańtī, which was the capital of King Dhaneśvara. Purported to be equal to Kubera in riches, he was a just king who would rule his kingdom peacefully. With passage of time, the pious king attained heavenly abode, leaving behind his widowed wife and seven sons. The princes had no unity among them and after an indicisive battle, chose to split the kingdom into seven parts. However, none of them bothered to take in their aged mother; hence the old queen went deep into the forest with the intention of committing suicide.

The moment the queen was about to end her life, Devī Lakşmī arrived there in dusguise of a villager woman and asked “Mother! Who are you? Why have you come to this dense forest?”

The Queen started weeping and narrated her story to Devī.

Upon hearing the voeful tale of that poor woman, Devī Lakşmī said “My Lady, you should observe Lakşmī Vrata on Śarada Pūrņimā. You will see that the sun of sorrows will set soon. Suicide is not a solution, for it causes one to fall into the pits of hell. The houses where Kojāgiri Lakşmī Vrata is observed, Devī Kamalā resides there permenantly.”

After speaking thus, Devī Lakşmī stood up and assumed real form. When the pious queen beheld The Daughter of Ocean before her, she prostrated before Sińdhujā and saluted Her again and again. When she rose her head to see Haripriyā once again, she saw that Devī has vanished. As directed, the queen returned to her home, gathered her family and described to them how she had the vision of Devī Lakşmī and how she was directed to observe Lakşmī Vrata.

In the evening, the old queen and her curious daughter-in-laws worshiped duly Devī Lakşmī and listened to Her Vrata Kathā. To the queen’s surprise, there came a change in the behaviour of her daughter-in-laws, and the unity, peace & prosperity of the household returned.

They began to live happily and following the lead of the pious queen, many more women started observing Kojāgiri Lakşmī Vrata. The households where this Vrata of Mātā Sińdhusutā is observed, never faces shortage of food, remains prosperous and the inmates become righteous. The house where Lakşmī is worshiped maintains high standards of hygine and peace & prosperity never leaves them.

विश्वरूपस्य भार्यासि पद्मे पद्मालये शुभे ।
सर्वतौ पाहि मां देवी महालक्ष्मी नमोस्तुते ।।

Friday, 19 October 2018

"जय जय हे महिषासुरमर्दिनी"- Biblography

Here is the list of texts that were referred for adapting the stories of the five forms of Devī Mahişāsuramardinī:-

  1. Ugracaņđā- Śākta Mahābhāgavatam, Kālikā Purāņa, Vāyu Purāņa and Břhaddharma Purāņa.
  2. Mahālakşmī- Vāmana Purāņa
  3. Kauşikī- Vāmana Purāņa, Harivamśa Purāņa, Vişņu Purāņa, Kālikā Purāņa, Mārkaņđeya Purāņa and Kulacūďāmaņi Tańtra
  4. Bhadrakālī- Lińga Purāņa and Skanda Purāņa
  5. Kātyāyanī- Devī Purāņa, Varāha Purāņa and Kālikā Purāņa Yogini Tańtra, Kubjikā Tańtra and Kātyāyanī Tańtra

Durgā Pujā at my home

At the end of both Durgotsava as well as the series, I convey my best wishes of Vijayā Daśamī to all.

Shubho Bijoya _/|\_

Aschhe bochhor, abar hobe.

"जय जय हे महिषासुरमर्दिनी"- Durgā Durgatināśinī [Part IV (Final Post)]


There were no survivors; all those demons who had ignored Suşeņa’s warning and ad come to abduct Gaurī were now feast for scavengers.

Upon receiving the news of the total destruction of a large part of their army and brutal deaths of Kāla, Vajra, Bhairava, Cāmuņđa, Pingalākşa and Yamāńtaka by Jayā Devī & Vijayā Devī, the remaining army of demons got demoralised and some of them even fled secretly to save their lives. 

At evening, all dead Asuras were being cremated at the battlefield, which had become a large cremation ground by then; the mangled & mutilated corpses that were being cremated included the mortal remains of Ghora Daitya’s sons, prominent warriors, ministers and advisors. Shocked by the news of his sons’ death, Ghora became like a stone that did not utter a word or shed a single tear. The sons whom he raised with utmost care and for whom he secured the three worlds as jurisdiction, were getting consumed by a giant blazing funeral pyre. But Ghora had his face turned away from the pyre, staring towards the groove from where that formidable army of goddesses had emerged that morning. Though no one could be seen, but Ghora knew well that the daughter of Himalaya, Girijā was stationed right there. He vowed to himself that he will not spare Devī Pārvatī and to avenge the murder of his sons, he will abduct Umā, enjoy Her forcibly and then kill Her. It was still Śuklāşțamī Tithi, very much dear to Lord Vişņu; and Ghora intended to slay Devī by the end of that Aşțamī of Aśvina month.

Suşeņa, however, was still in his senses and decided that moment to be an opportunity to coax Ghora.

Suşeņa said thus “Your Majesty! You are wiser than gods and a great devotee of Śrīman Nārāyaņa. Ruler of a prosperous realm, you were once flawless and would view all women except your wife as your daughter. I don’t know what changed you to an extent when you are not ready to pat heed to any wise counsel.”

Ghora turned to Suşeņa and asked “Prime minister! Whom are you loyal to, me or that Pārvatī? Don’t you feel ashamed while advocating that enemy of Asuras who murdered sons of your daughter?”

Suşeņa was speechless.

“I doubt whether you are even an Asura or not. Who knows, your mother might have served a Deva which is why you are so much inclined towards them.”

Suşeņa lost his mind and with his clenched fist raised, he leapt to punch Ghora. But Daityaraja transformed into a buffalo and kicked Susena with his hind-legs. Felling his father-in-law, Mahişāsura reverted back to his real form and crouched down to spit on Suşeņa’s face. Then Ghora stepped over Suşeņa as if he was a piece of trash and went away to his camp. Stunned by this humiliation, Suşeņa boiled with rage and thought “All this happened because of Pārvatī. I will not spare her. I will drag her by her hair to the bed-chamber of Ghora and prove my loyalty towards Asuras.”

After returning to their camp, Ghora quickly prepared for battle and mobilised his army consisting of millions of chariots, cavalry, elephants and foot-soldiers. Asuras first went to the place where Devas were hiding and they began to torture them. Meanwhile Brahmā, Vişņu & Maheśvara reached the groove and bowed reverently to Devī Daśabhujā, who was armed with various weapons and was seated on a throne. On both sides She was flanked by Jayā & Vijayā, who were fanning Kātyāyanī with chowries while Ajitā held an umbrella above Devī Durgā.

Mahādeva said “Hey Smaśānavāsinī! Ghora is coming here to slay you. That son of Řşi Sińdhudvīpa was born from womb of a she-buffalo and is my partial incarnation. Oh Ādya Kālī! That Mahişāsura inherited the throne of his maternal grandfather Daitya Vipracitti and out of greed has also usurped Svarga, Martya & Pātāla Lokas. Hey Gaurī! Your mount the great lion is a partial incarnation of Hari and is not capable of bearing you for long. Therefore hey Sińhavāhinī! Accept that Mahişāsura as your second mount and give him an opportunity to serve you as your pedestal.”

Kātyāyanī, who had sportily manifested from the collective splendour of all deities at the Āśrama of Řşi Kātyāyana on Mahālayā Amāvasyā before arriving at Vińdhyāńcala, smiled and addressed Śūlapāni thus “Oh Sadāśiva! You are my beloved and I cannot deny your request. Therefore I will definitely fulfil it. Before Nārada deluded him, one night Ghora Daitya witnessed a nightmare in which I was in the same form in which I slew Rākşasa Dāruka and after beheading him, I was drinking his blood. Afraid, Mahişāsura propitiated me and secured Sāyujya Mokşa as a boon from my Bhadrakālī form. However, e forgot everything due to my Māyā and is now determined to kill me. But have no worries; by blessings of you three, I will definitely slay Ghora and become renowned as Mahişāsuramardinī.”

It was late night. Around the time of the transition from Aşțamī to Navamī Tithis, Ghora and his army arrived at the place where the battle had occurred that morning. The portion of army that was left with Daityeńdra was half of the army that was slain by Jayā Devī and Vijayā Devī; so to make up for the slain soldiers, Mahişāsura had created more soldiers and as a result the remnant army got multiplied by eight times. The army was stationed in a defensive Padmavyūha formation with Ghoradaitya in the centre. To declare war, the demons began to beat war-drums and blow trumpets. Suddenly the noise made by Asuras got drowned in eerie sounds that erupted from the grove of Daśapraharaņadhārinī. Yoginis made eerie sounds by their tongues & cheeks, some played on war-drums, some Mřdańgas, some played Đamarus, some played Vīņās, some blew conch-shell, some laughed, some screamed while others blew trumpets. The army of goddesses soon emerged from the groove and stationed themselves in Maņđalavyūha formation with Bhagavatī Durgā in the centre. Devī Haimavatī was flanked on four sides by the four Vedas, the eight Śaktis surrounded Umā, guarding Her while the nine Mātřkās formed the second line of guards. The rest of the Vyūha consisted of lines of Catuşaşțī Yoginis & Koțiyoginis, who were armed with celestial weapons and were eager to fight. Both sides of the Vyūha were flanked by Jayā Devī & Vijayā Devī, while Ajitā Devī was guarding from behind.
Following a formality of war times, Prime Minister Suşeņa acting as Ghora’s emissary broke out of the formation and rode on his horse towards the Maņđalavyūha of Bhagavatī Kātyāyanī. The initial lines of warriors parted aside to let Suşeņa reach the centre of the Vyūha, where Sińhavāhinī was astride on Her lion, illuminating the area around Her like the sun.

Suşeņa said “Hey Lady! My king Daityarāja Ghora has sent you a proposal. He is prosperous and the sole ruler of the three worlds. He can even make Tridevas bow before him in reverence and cause creation, preservation and dissolution at his will. If you choose to become his mistress, your fortune will bless you forever. So accept my lord’s proposal and come with me.”

Durgatināśinī Knit Her brows in anger and said “The Supreme Sovereign of millions of universes, Lord Viśvanātha is my husband. At the behest of Lord Pańcānana three forms of Him rose as Tridevas and are responsible for creation, sustenance and dissolution. Where is Devadeva Mahādeva, and where is your son of a she-buffalo. Asking me to abandon Maheśvara and resort to Ghora is same as expecting a tigress to abandon her tiger and mate with a hare. Go away, and tell your king to vacate Svarga & Martya and return back to Pātāla; or else he should get ready to get slain today.”

Suşeņa yelled “Foolish woman! My king Daityarāja Ghorāsura has secured invulnerability to all deities as a boon from Śrīman Nārāyaņa. You cannot kill him!”

Kātyāyanī replied “You scoundrel! Nārāyaņa’s boon protects Ghora from death at the hands of deities; but I am Sivā, I am Mahākālī, the one who devours even Mahākāla at the time of dissolution. Vişņu’s boon to Mahişāsura cannot bind me, because I am beyond Tridevas.”

Suşeņa said “You will pay for this dearly.”

He prodded his horse backwards and then rode away into the Cakravyūha formation.

Impressed by the work of Suşeņa, Mahişāsura patted his back and said “Well done, prime minister. Proceed with your next course of action.”

Both parties now waited for the other to attack. When the demons did not attack, the frontline of Koțiyoginis broke out of the formation in the shape of crescent moon and rode towards the army of demons. As they neared the Asuras by riding down the slope, Suşeņa suddenly re-emerged from the centre of Cakravyūha and rose both his hands up in the sky. As he chanted an occult Mańtra, thousands of wild elephants appeared and charged towards the line of Koțiyoginis. Those goddesses stopped immediately on their tracks, turned back and rushed towards Maņđalavyūha. Bhagavatī Durgā relayed Her orders to Ajitā, who in turn informed Jayā & Vijayā to wait till the line of Yoginis returns. The moment those Yoginis came near Devī’s Vyūha, Jayā & Vijayā screamed “Arrows!”

Each and every goddess present there dropped the weapon they were holding, took a bow and released a volley of arrows that flew above the heads of the retreating Yoginis and shot down the first line of charging elephants. Those that were behind the frontline stopped surprisingly and waited for the volley to end. Suşeņa was chanting the occult Mańtra continuously and hence more and more elephants kept pouring in. The elephants began their charge again, and this time a line of Yoginis broke out once again, slashing at the fore-legs of the elephants with their swords. They began with the nearest elephant and went upto the place where Suşeņa was present. Suşeņa suddenly pulled out his shield and covered himself with it; taking the cue, Yoginis too hid themselves with their shields as a shower of arrows descended upon them. Seeing his strategy fail, Suşeņa commanded the frontline of demon cavalry to ride out and fight the Yoginis who were now isolated between the corpses of elephants. To make the things worse, Suşeņa continued producing more elephants. Seeing this, Devī Durgā immediately beheaded him with Her discus and unleashed all Koțiyoginis who began to toss dead elephants out of the way. They reached Yoginis who were already fighting and assisted them to kill a large number of demon soldiers, destroying many defensive lines of the Cakravyūha in the process.
Seeing Suşeņa dead and many of his soldiers demoralised, Ghora created many more demons having faces of goat, sheep, lion, boar, elephant and horse; they were all armed with sword & shield and began to rush towards Kātyāyanī. Gaurī immediately instructed Ajitā, who took a staff, rode on a crocodile and charged towards those animal-faced demons as she was followed by Catuşaşțī Yoginis now. They began to kill those demons with their weapons and make eerie noises with their tongues & cheeks.
Seeing Koțiyoginis, Catuşaşțī Yoginis & Ajitā Devī killing all his soldiers, Mahişāsura now created soldiers who were doppelgangers of different deities. There were demons who looked like Ińdra, Caņdra, Sūrya, Vişņu, Śiva, Pārvatī etc., who charged towards goddesses to confuse them. Seeing Yoginis confused, Girijā instructed Mātřkās to proceed now, who began to kill those demons in disguise of deities.

Seeing all his attempts nullified, Ghorāsura now charged towards Kātyāyanī himself, along with a brigade of demon soldiers. Surrounded by the Aşțaśaktis, Bhagavatī Durgā rushed to kill Ghora as well, while Jayā & Vijayā guarded Her. Jayā, Vijayā & Aşțaśaktis began to kill the last soldiers of Ghora, whose anger now knew no bounds. A furious Ghora uttered a terrible groan and transformed into a buffalo. He was dark like a rain cloud and had eyes resembling red-hot burning charcoal. As he rushed towards Devī Aparājitā, his hooves created craters on earth. Exhaling fire from his nostrils, that Mahişāsura groaned upon seeing Umā and began to uproot mountains with his hooves and hurling them towards Bhagavatī Durgā. With the intention of killing Daśapraharaņadhārinī’s lion, that Mahişāsura charged, unleashing a dust storm with the thuds of his hooves and with horns pointed towards the king of beasts. The lion too shook his mane and unleashing a blood-curdling roar, ran towards the buffalo with claws unsheathed. While the two beasts fought fiercely, the lion on multiple occasions smote the buffalo Ghora with his claws; groaning with pain, Daityeńdra attacked the lion with his horns, lifted him up and after rotating the lion, he dashed the king of beasts on ground. Then Ghorāsura turned towards Kātyāyanī and charged towards Her with full speed. When the demon soldiers tried to attack Devī Aparājitā, Jayā & Vijayā came in between and began to counter those Asuras. Seeing total destruction of his army, Ghora now turned towards Bhagavatī Durgā and charged toward Her, pointing his horns to smite Her. Mřdānī quickly grabbed the buffalo by his horn and dashed him on the ground with a large thud; but the buffalo began to groan and flay his legs to get himself back on his hooves. Durgā Durgatināśinī glared at that Mahişāsura and taking a sword in Her hand, She leapt in the sky. As She descended, Bhagavatī Durgā beheaded the buffalo in a single stroke. But Ghoradaitya did not die; rather he began to emerge from the gaping neck of the beheaded buffalo and armed with a sword & a shield, he glared at the face of Girijā and spoke profanities against Her. Furious, Kātyāyanī pressed Mahişāsura down with Her left foot, bound him by a snake-noose and then Daśapraharaņadhārinī Daśabhuja Durgā Durgatināśinī uttered a blood-curdling Humkāra as She drove the trident of Mahādeva into the heart of Ghoradaitya Mahişāsura. As the sun rose to mark the beginning of a new morning, the king of demons died while the army of goddesses after having tasted victory as well, cheered in joy upon seeing Ghorāsura dead.

To celebrate the death of Mahişāsura, Brahmā, Vişņu, Rudra, Ińdra, Cańdra, Vāyu, Yama, Ādityas, Vasus, Gřhas, Nāgas, Sādhus, Guhyakas and Rākşasas appeared on the battlefield and showered flowers on Bhagavatī Mahişāsuramardinī. On that auspicious Mahānavamī, they propitiated Devī Durgā duly with offerings of buffalo & goat sacrifices, blowing of conch-shells & trumpets, beating of drums and dancing. They worshiped Her with the offerings of flags, banners, chowries, incense, food items, drinks, clothes, ornaments, flowers, Bilva leaves and bells.

They eulogised Devī Aparājitā with hymns thus “She who is origin of even Brahmā, Vişņu & Rudra and redeemer of Munis; we salute that Bhagavatī who is peace personified. You are the presiding deity of Śambhu and by occupying half of his body, you control the acts of creation, preservation & annihilation. Oh omnipresent mother, bestower of boons, you are renowned as Śańkarī! You are Durgā, Śākambharī, Gaurī, Vińdhyavāsinī, Kātyāyanī, Suprasādā, Kauşikī, Kaițabheśvarī, Mahādevī, Mahābhāgā, Mahāśvetā, Māheśvarī, Tridaśanańdinī, Bhavānī, Īśvarī, Bhūtabhāvanī, Jyeşțhā, Şaşțhī, Tamonişțhā, Brahmişțhā, Brahmavādinī, Aparņā, Kapālinī, Suvarņā, Ekapāțalā, Trilokadhātrī, Sāvitrī, Gāyatrī, Tridaśacarcitā, Triśūlinī, Trinayanā, Tripadā, Triguņātmikā, Nirguņā, Śraddhā, Svāhā, Medhā, Lakşmī, Kāńti, Kşamāvatī, Řddhi, Samřddhi, Buddhi, Śuddhi, Sańśuddhi, Sarvajnā, Sarvatohākşiśiromukhā, Sarvatobhadrā, Sarvabhūtādimadhyańtā, Sarvalokeśvarī, Mānavī, Yādavī, Devī, Yoganidrā, Vaişņavī, Arūpā, Bahurūpā, Surūpā, Kāmarūpinī, Śailarājasutū, Sādhvi, Skandamātrī, Acyutāśvāsā, Jayā, Vijayā, Ajitā, Aparājitā, Śruti, Smřti, Dhřti, Śakti, Śāńti, Unnati, Prakřti, Vikřti, Kīrti, Sthiti, Santati, Kālarātrī, Mahāratrī, Bhadrakālī, Kapālinī, Caņđamuņđavināśinī, Cāmuņđā, Caņđī, Caņđīni, Rudrānī, Pārvatī, Ińdrānī, Śańkarārdhadhārinī, Dākşāyanī, Dīkşā, Nārī, Nārāyaņī, Mahişāsuraghātinī, Niśumbhaśumbhadamanī, Sińhavāhinī, Sahasranayanā, Revatī, Dhīrā, Viśvavatī, Vīryavatī, Vedaprasavinī, Sarasvatī, Māyāvatī, Bhogavatī, Satī, Satyavatī, Ipşārthaprasādhanī, Smaśānavāsinī, Bhīmā, Ugrā, Dhumrā, Ambikā, Trayambakapriyā and Durgā. You reside in the minds of those who contemplate about you and cleanse their sins ; by thinking about you one gains victory, wisdom, longevity, energy, desires and offspring. Oh Devī! You are the sole refuge; there is nothing which cannot be gained by propitiating you. Therefore, kindly receive our worship and be graceful to us forever.”

Bhagavatī Durgā said “Those who propitiate me in the midnight at the conjunction of Śukla Aşțamī and Śukla Navamī in the month of Aśvina with animal sacrifice, I bestow strength upon them. Those who propitiate me as per the injunctions of Śaiva Tańtras, I remain graceful to them forever. Those people enjoy rewards during lifetime and attain liberation upon death. Those who worship me have no fear of ailments & enemies, and all other deities shower upon him their benedictions. As long as there exists ether, air, space, water, fire, moon, sun and other celestial bodies, till then people will worship me. This ten-armed form of mine is momentary, which I assumed to vanquish Ghoradaitya Mahişāsura. At the root of this form is my eternal four-armed form, which is astride on the back of a lion and is armed with conch, discus, bow & arrow. That eternal Mūla Durgā form of mine has three sub-forms known as Ugracaņđā, Bhadrakālī and Kātyāyanī. Those who worship as per the rules of Paśvācāra are incapable of worshiping the other two forms, who respond only to Vīra Sādhanā and Divya Bhāva of Kulācāra. But the current form of mine accepts all kinds of worship- Śrauta, Smārta, Dakşiņa, Vāma, Paśu, Vīra, Divya and Kaula. Therefore in the month of Aśvina one must definitely propitiate this form of mine with great efforts. Those who do so attain Caturvargas and Nirvāņa, depending upon their choices. The place where I am worshiped becomes a Holy site, where all places pilgrimage and all deities reside. My worshipers do not fear the king, wild animals, ghosts, ghouls, evil spirits, demons, wicked deities and foes. The great narratives of my advent should be narrated before pregnant women, in weddings & other auspicious occasions, festivals and funerals to attain my grace. One who narrates my anecdotes, one who hears them, one who arranges their narration and one who contemplate upon them get freed of their sins. Therefore, everyone should invoke & worship me under a Bilva tree with great devotion, dedication and efforts for the welfare of the entire world & to attain my grace."

Speaking thus, Daśapraharaņadhārinī Daśabhuja Durgā Durgatināśinī Bhagavatī Kātyāyanī vanished even as all the deities watched.

With this ends the narratives of five Mahişāsuras and the five incarnations of Mahişāsuramardinī. Everytime there arise problems due to advent of Asuras, Bhagavatī Kālikā redeems Her devotees from the clutches of the wicked.

On the occasion of Vijayādaśamī, let us pray to Bhagavatī Mahişāsuramardinī to take away all the negativity from us and vanquish the Mahişāsura that resides within all of us. May Her trident always protect us and do what is in the interest of our welfere.

Dakşayajnavināśinyē Mahāghorāyē Yoginikoțiparivřtāyē Bhadrakālyē Om Śrī Śrī Durgā Devyē Nama: _/|\_

Jaya Jaya He Mahişāsuramardinī Ramyakapardinī Śailasute _/|\_

Thursday, 18 October 2018

"जय जय हे महिषासुरमर्दिनी"- Durgā Durgatināśinī (Part III)


Ghora shivered in fear when Padamālinī Vidyā placed a loop of Her lasso around his neck and began to drag him towards south, the direction of Yama Dharmarāja.

As Bhairava Vidyā Padamālā was about to cross the dreadful Vaitāriņī river in order to enter Yamaloka, Ghora jerked his body to set himself free and realised that it was a nightmare. Upset after witnessing such frightening nightmare, Ghora fell sick for five days and remained isolated inside his tent. He tried to recall the Mańtra of Lakşmī-Nārāyaņa but failed to do so. On the sixth day when the lord of Daityas recovered from his illness, he was visited by his son Kāla, who informed Ghora about death of Durmukha. He addressed the demon king thus ”Father, we will find that woman who killed Durmukha. Even if Mahādeva and Nārāyaņa come to her rescue today, we will still kill her.”

Ghora said “No. Keep her alive and bring her in my presence. I will then handle that woman my way.”

Kālāsura nodded and walked out of Ghorāsura’s tent; he was joined by his brother Vajradaņđa, commander Bhairava, Cāmuņđa, Yamāńtaka and general Pingalākşa. Prime Minister Suşeņa tried to stop them but they paid no heed to his advice. Taking a regiment of the army of Ghora, they marched out of the camp early in the morning towards the groove where Devī Aparājitā was residing. Some of them rode chariots, some rode horses while others rode camels.

The morning mist of Vińdhyā Mountains cleared to reveal two female warriors armed with swords & shields seated on the back of horses, with a an endless army of many female warriors trouped in Ardhacańdravyūha (crescent-shaped military formation). The element of surpruse of the demonic ambush was lost.
Those two beautiful damsels, of black and red complexions were surveying the army of Asuras like a pair of hawks scouring a forest to spot their prey. These two women leading the army of Koțiyoginis were Jayā & Vijayā, and they were accompanied by another warrior known as Ajitā. Vijayā Devī saw the Asura archers loading their bows with arrows, ready to shower a volley of arrows upon the army of Devī Aparājitā.

She signalled Ajitā, who screamed “Shields!”

Immediately all those female warriors held their shields high, nullifying the arrows of Asuras. Furious, demons shot another volley of arrows, which was also failed due to the strategy of Jayā & Vijayā. After some more volleys of arrows when the quivers of demons got exhausted, they drew out their spears and lances. As Jayā witnessed the sky turning dark due to the shower of spears, She signalled Ajitā who commanded all Yoginis to shoot crescent-shaped arrows. The invincible arrows of Yoginis split the spears of Asuras in no time. Demons now hurled discuses which were also nullified by the arrows of Yoginis.

Left with no long-distance weapons, an enraged Kālāsura decided to unleash a close one-to-one battle. Demons drew their swords, axes, shields, maces, cudgels, clubs, scimitars, staves & hammers and charged up the mountain, towards the army of Yoginis who would never let Asuras enter the sacred groove where Durgatināśinī was residing; a big mistake on the part of demons due to miscalculation of Kālāsura. At the command of Ajitā, Yoginis diverted their bows towards the charging Asuras and released arrows indiscriminately. Horses, camels & charioteers were shot, soldiers charging from behind stampeded, chariots rolled down the slopes backwards, crushed many demons under their wheels and many Asuras tumbled down the slope. Even the shields of demons were penetrated by arrows of Yoginis but still many valiant demon warriors passed through the volley of arrows and charged towards goddesses anyways.

Ajitā screamed “Charge!” and pointed Her sword towards Asuras. Other Yoginis too drew out their weapons and under the leadership of Jayā & Vijayā, the goddess army arranged in crescent-shaped formation charged down the slope like lionesses pursuing prey.

And the weapons clashed.

The army of goddesses quickly surrounded the army of demons by changing their formation from crescent-shaped to a circle and began to kill demons with utmost brutality. Kāla dismounted from his broken chariot and charged towards Jayā with sword drawn. Seeing this, Jayā hurled a spear which was split by Kāla’s sword. Seeing this, a furious Jayā Devī shot a hundred arrows that pinned down Kāla.

On the other side, Vajradaņđa saw Vijayā Devī shooting demons down with her arrows; therefore, a furious Vajra shot an arrow and snapped the string of Vijayā’s bow. Enraged, Vijayā employed Varuņāstra towards Vajradaņđa, which began to shower a great torrent that was unbearable for the demons.

Meanwhile Vijayā Devī was fighting Vajradaņđa, Kālāsura regained his consciousness and with the intention of killing Jayā Devī, he took a club and leapt in the air to hit Jayā with the club. Seeing the demon approaching her, Jayā hurled a discus and beheaded Kāla, sending his severed head flying far away. Seeing his leader dead, Bhairava charged towards Jayā Devī, holding a mace high. Jayā caught hold of Bhairava’s hand and lodged a dagger deep into the Asura’s belly, giving him a slow and painful death. Enraged, Cāmuņđa & Pingalākşa tried to smite Jayā Devī with their swords; but she avoided their blows and taking a pair of scimitars in both her hands, began to fight with both demons simultaneously. With the frightening blows of her heavy blades, Jayā Devī quickly shattered the shields of Cāmuņđa & Pingalākşa, boggling them; then dropping on her knees, Jayā Devī stabbed both the demons brutally, ripping their innards and killed them instantly.

On the other side, Vajra employed Pavanāstra to counter Vijayā’s Varuņāstra, because of which the terrible clouds released by Varuņāstra were blown away by the winds. Seeing this, Vijayā Devī countered Vajradaņđa’s Pavanāstra with her thunderbolt and leapt in the air with intentions of killing Vajra. She uprooted a great mountain and rotating it like a ball, tossed it towards Vajra. Before he could do anything, the mountain fell on Vajradaņđa and crushed him to his death. Seeing Vajra dead, his friend Yamāńtaka decided to kill Vijayā Devī and began to shot poisonous arrows towards her direction. Without caring much, an unarmed Vijayā strode towards Yamāńtaka, taking many arrows on her chest in the process. As she reached Yamāńtaka, she grabbed him by his throat, lifted him off the ground and tossed him into gorge. Yamāńtaka crashed on the rocky ground and got badly injured, but instead of sparing him, Vijayā Devī jumped into the gorge after him and pressing his chest by her foot, she began to pull out every arrow shot by Yamāńtaka and piercing his palms, elbows, under-arms, both ears, both eyes, both nostrils, tongue, neck, navel, knees and feet with those arrows. Unable to bear more pain, Yamāńtaka died.

Seeing their prominent leaders dead, the demon army lost its morale and began to flee. But the combined forces of Jayā, Vijayā, Ajitā and Kotiyoginis surrounded those Asuras from all sides and butchered them one by one with utmost cruelty.

There were no survivors; all those demons who had ignored Suşeņa’s warning and ad come to abduct Gaurī were now feast for scavengers.

To be continued........

Suşeņa: Foolish woman! My king Daityarāja Ghorāsura has secured invulnerability to all deities as a boon from Śrīman Nārāyaņa. You cannot kill him!

Kātyāyanī: You scoundrel! Nārāyaņa’s boon protects Ghora from death at the hands of deities; but I am Śivā, I am Mahākālī, the one who devours even Mahākāla at the time of dissolution. Vişņu’s boon to Mahişāsura cannot bind me, because I am beyond Tridevas.

A furious Ghora uttered a terrible groan and transformed into a buffalo. With the intention of killing Daśapraharaņadhārini’s lion, that Mahişāsura charged, unleashing a dust storm with the thuds of his hooves and with horns pointed towards the king of beasts. The lion too shook his mane and unleashing a blood-curdling roar, ran towards the buffalo with claws unsheathed.

Sińhavāhinī glared at that Mahişāsura charging towards Her and taking a sword in Her hand, She leapt in the sky. 

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

"जय जय हे महिषासुरमर्दिनी"- Durgā Durgatināśinī (Part II)


Ghora gazed at Nārada without saying anything.

Narada asked “So tell me, what you should do?”

Ghora now started speaking and repeated everything that Nārada asked him to do.

Pleased with his work, Nārada left Kuśadvīpa. 

Advised by Nārada, demon king Ghora gave up piety. He gave up worshiping Lord Vişņu, honouring the wise and respecting Vedas. He would pay no heed to the advice of his ministers, stopped cohabiting with his wife Cańdrāvatī, abandoned the path of righteousness, forsook his army and would indulge himself in gambling, drinking, sodomy and dancing & singing of whores. He despised Cańdrāvatī, enjoyed eighteen-year old virgins everyday and would seduce wives of others.

Seeing Ghora following the instructions of Nārada perfectly, Cańdrāvatī summoned her father, the Prime Minister Suşeņa to her quarters and addressed him thus “Father! My husband is the king of Kuśadvīpa and you are his advisor. You are a wise man and thus I believe that you can never become corrupt. A king should rule his jurisdiction with the help of his minister, or else the kingdom gets damned! Father, His Majesty has acquired kingship of Svarga, Martya & Pātāla with your help; but if he remains indulged in illicit sense-gratification then he will soon meet his doom. Please do something and stop your son-in-law from ruining himself.”

Suşeņa bowed before his daughter and said “Your Highness! You are dear to the deities and also well-versed in laws. Yet I must say that you are mistaken this time. I am not greater than our king, Daityeńdra Ghorāsura who is of lawful conduct, honourable to deities & Dvijas and fountainhead of wisdom. It is impossible for him to be wrong. But I too have noticed that ever since he met Devarşi Nārada, he is behaving strangely. He is acting on his own accord and is ignoring us, his ministers. I am sure that Brahmanańdana is responsible for this change. I propose the idea of paying visit to His Majesty at this moment so that we can guide him accordingly. Let’s go.”

Cańdrāvatī nodded and followed her father to the quarters of Ghora, where they were stopped by the doorkeeper. Brushing off the requests of the doorkeeper, a furious Cańdrāvatī entered the apartment of her husband and was shocked to see him ready to penetrate a whore. Fearful of her queen’s wrath, the whore fled from the bedchamber, leaving Ghora alone with Cańdrāvatī and Suşeņa. Ghora glared at his wife with utmost disgust and turned his face away; but this did not deter Cańdrāvatī from speaking out her mind “I know you despise my mere existence; yet it is my duty to bring you back to your senses as a wife. Listen, I am not afraid of having a co-wife; so do not think otherwise. Do not seek an unknown woman, for it is as good as cohabiting with a femme-fatale who leads men seeking her to their doom. Hear what I am saying! In former times the king of Krauńcadvīpa was Sumedha, who was prosperous and enjoyed every aspect of life. Once he got to know about a certain maiden named Bhadrarāmā, who was daughter of a great seer residing in Puşkaradvīpa. Desirous of enjoying that damsel, Sumedha abducted her forcefully from the seer’s Āśrama and took her away to his place. Upon learning the forceful abduction of his daughter, the seer cursed Sumedha to get condemned to hell upon death. The curse came true after the king died. Therefore, I would advise you to mend your ways and come back to your senses.”

Lashing out at her husband thus, Cańdrāvatī stopped. Suşeņa too waited for Ghora’s response. But what no one knew about was that Nārada never left Kuśadvīpa and was present there in an invisible form. Thinking that the piety of Cańdrāvatī might redeem Ghora, Nārada began to employ the same Bhairava Vidyā that he had employed earlier while hypnotising Daityrāja. This Bhairava Vidyā goes by the name Padamālā or Padamālinī, which was first revealed by Maheśvara to Umā; later Nańdī received it from Pārvatī, Sanatkumāra from Vidyā and Nārada from Sanatkumara. When Nārada once again employed this Vidya that can bewitch even the gods, everyone, from Ghora to all other denizen of Kuśadvīpa got hypnotised. They began to imitate the activities of Ghora. Some even seized a large part of Ghora’s assets through gambling, but were suppressed by Ghora eventually. Each and every Kuśadvīpian became wicked by conduct, corrupt and acted against Dharma. Even Cańdrāvatī got hypnotised and started leading a promiscuous lifestyle. She would go around naked, abusing Lord Śiva & Lord Vişņu always and cursing Vedas. Her sons could not resist the similar lifestyle for long either and like this, the entire clan of Ghoradaitya got filled of sinners.

One day Ghora asked Nārada thus “Hey son of Brahmā! Tell me, who amongst my great army of warriors is capable of purchasing that Girijā in gambling and bringing her in my presence?”

Nārada said “Your Majesty! The daughter of Himāvan is endowed with a face as beautiful as a full moon in the night sky and can make the hearts of even ascetics restless. What to speak of our horde of demons? Therefore I would advise you to go there yourself either with your weapons and army or all alone without any weapons at all.”

Advised by Nārada thus, Ghora began to gather weapons and arrange his elephant corps, cavalries & foot-soldiers. After making all necessary battle preparations, Ghora set marched out of his fort on the Pūrņimā Tithi under Bharaņī Nakşatra. At midday he was accompanied by Suşeņa, Vajra, Kāla, Devala, Vibhu, Dāruņa, Vāņa, Keśāra, Cāmuņđa, Anuhrad, Mahāvara etc. for his campaign. As the march towards Vińdhyācala at Jambudvīpa began, lots of inauspicious signs were seen in Ghora’s city. A pigeon perched on the flag post and they were animals like jackals, stags, iguanas, wild boars, peahens, wild elephants & monkeys rained upon them bolus of chewed food. In the middle of the road a python was spotted and pitchers containing water burst on their own. Monkeys, owls, cats and other such animals began to howl from the forests on both sides of the road. Some soldiers started puking, some went insane for no reason while others became dumb. Meteors were seen in the sky; an earthquake occurred, and a sandstorm started. Sun lost its lustre, rivers started flowing against their natural current, wells overflowed, flowers withered, fruits turned rotten, jackals howled, scavenger birds hovered in the sky and clouds started raining blood. The air smelled foul clouds thundered, elephants & horses shed tears while shedding faeces & urine, the poles of flags, tents & umbrellas broke on their own, war drums burst by themselves, weapons shattered on their own, cows gave birth to donkeys, women gave birth to many babies and female species which were not goats began to give birth to kids.

Overwhelmed by witnessing all these, Ghorasura asked Nārada thus “Oh great Dvija! What is all this? My army is getting upset by witnessing all these inauspicious signs.”

Nārada said “You are very much nearer to Vińdhyā Mountains now, which is why that Śailajā is testing you by expanding her illusion. Do not stay here for longer; go to Vińdhyācala and make that Girisutā your wife.”

Listening to the words of Nārada, Ghora mobilised his army and reached the bank of Narmadā River. That pleasant mountain groove was infested by birds of different kinds while the waters of Narmadā were infested with crocodiles. Wild animals co-existed there in peace and children of seers would play there whenever they would get a break from their lessons on Vedas. Sanyāsin devotees of Lord Śiva & Lord Vişņu resided there, worshiping their respective Işțas with various flowers & leaves. At that pleasant place the Caturańga army of Ghora camped and waited for further instructions.
One day some disciples of Řsi Mārkaņđeya reached the groove where Bhagavatī Durgā was stationed. Seeing those happy children of smiling continence, Haimavatī rejoiced and began to fondle & play with them. At that time, a demon named Durmukha who was a part of Ghora’s retinue saw Gaurī and gazed at Her with lustful eyes. The All-knowing Parameśvarī sensed this and glared towards the demon, who collapsed dead the moment Devi’s eyes fell on him. Seeing the dead Asura, Kālikā vowed to slay Ghora very soon.

One night Ghorāsura woke up in his tent and then dressed himself in red garments. He smeared himself with mustard oil, wore a garland of foul-smelling flowers and then riding a palanquin set out to marry Devī Durgā; he was accompanied by a convoy of Asura soldiers who were dressed in an equally appalling manner and danced with women in joy on the occasion of their king’s wedding. Suddenly they were bombarded with bones, ashes, hair and other polluting articles. Soldiers armed with staves & nooses rode out of the forest on camels and attacked Ghora’s Asura army, dragging some into the woods and tossing some into gorges. Other soldiers were eaten by jackals, dogs, hyenas, vultures, crows, apes and warthogs; the entire air got filled with the painful screams of Asuras who were getting killed brutally. A paranoid Ghora with sword drawn began to survey his devastated army, when he heard a beastly groan and looked back. Behind him was a woman having complexion as red as a hibiscus flower. She was adorned by a garland of bones and clad in boar-skin. Her sockets were hollow, as if Her eyes have been gauged out and streams of blood rolled down Her shrivelled cheeks. Her hair pointed upwards, She rode a donkey and as armed with a noose & a goad. Her teeth were dirty & black in colour and She smelled like a rotten corpse. She had no lips and Her filthy nails were long. It seemed as if charcoals were seething inside Her eyeless sockets as She uttered noises which were unearthly. Witnessing such sight, Ghora lost his grip on the sword & shield, which fell down with a loud thud.

Ghora asked “Who are you?”

The woman frowned and chattering Her teeth, uttered a ghastly sound; but yet it seemed as if She said “I am Padamālinī.”

Ghora shivered in fear when Padamālinī Vidyā placed a loop of Her lasso around his neck and began to drag him towards south, the direction of Yama Dharmarāja.

To be continued........

Kālasura: Father, we will find that woman who killed Durmukha. Even if Mahādeva and Nārāyaņa come to her rescue today, we will still kill her.

The morning mist of Vińdhyā Mountains cleared to reveal two female warriors armed with swords & shields seated on the back of horses, with a an endless army of many female warriors standing behind them up to the point of the horizon where eyes could reach. Those two beautiful damsels, of black and red complexions were surveying the army of Asuras like a pair of eagles scouring a forest to spot their prey.

Monday, 15 October 2018

"जय जय हे महिषासुरमर्दिनी"- Durgā Durgatināśinī (Part I)

"एतत्ते वदनं सौम्यं लोचनत्रयभूषितम् ।

पातु नः सर्वभूतेभ्यः कात्यायनि नमोऽस्तु ते ॥"

Once upon a time there lived a Daitya named Ghora, who was learned, valorous, intelligent and spiritual. He owned corps of ten million elephants and was a just king. He was a great devotee of Lord Vişņu and had performed severe austerities to appease Janardana. Pleased with Ghora’s devotion, Garuďadhvaja appeared before him and said “Hey pious Daitya! What boon do you desire to have? Tell me, I will fulfil your wish.”

Ghora said “Oh Śrīman Nārāyaņa! You have provided me with all amenities that one can fathom; hence I do not require anything for myself. But for the sake of my subject, I request you to grant me invulnerable to all deities so that Devas cannot trouble my people.”

Janārdana smiled and said “Very well. By my blessings, may no deity except Śiva and Śivā can be able to kill you.”

Having conferred Ghora his choicest boon, Chakrapāni vanished from the demon’s sight. Satisfied with the boons conferred upon him, Ghora went away to his kingdom at Kuśadvīpa, where he was received duly by his subjects and his wife Cańdrāvatī. Great festivities were arranged and Ghora facilitated many Brāhmaņas with gifts. Demons made merry and praised their king for his achievements. Ghora lead a perfect life in accordance with Vedic injunctions and would worship Lord Vişņu everyday in a temple at the northeastern corner of his capital. At the correct time, queen Cańdrāvatī bore two sons named Vajradaņđa and Kālāsura to Ghora, whose life got filled with happiness.
As time passed, Ghora’s sons grew up and joined their father as his ministers. One day Vajradaņđa asked his father thus “Your Majesty! A king is praised when he expands his territory by annexing other kingdoms. Why should we then be satisfied with the lordship of our own kingdom alone?”

In response to this, Ghora laughed and said “Hey mighty armed one! I have received this kingdom by virtue of my devotion to Śrīman Nārāyaņa. I have conquered the six vices and am least interested in material gains. I love peace, and I pray to Madhusudana to confer peace upon others as well”

At this Ghora’s prime minister Suşeņa said “My Lord! The crown prince is absolutely right. One of the many duties of a king is to expand the boundaries of his kingdom. Think about it My Lord; you are a just king and if the whole world becomes your jurisdiction, it would benefit not only our own subjects but also those of other places.”

Ghora took his prime minister’s suggestion into consideration and began to ponder over it. Deciding that his ministers are correct, Ghora decided to conquer his neighbouring kingdoms and began to plan about the same. He worshiped his Ishta Lord Vişņu and seeking Hari’s permission, Ghora annexed the kingdom of king Atibala. He then conquered the kingdoms of kings Saubala, Ugra and Kalāvarana. Vajradaņđa & Kālāsura went towards nether worlds and annexed the jurisdictions of Asuras, Rākşasas and Nāgas. All of these defeated parties had to accept Ghoara Daitya as their Lord and they paid tribute to him.
With the intention of declaring Ghora as the emperor of Bhūloka and Pātālaloka, a grand Rājasūya Yajna was planned. Vajra & Kāla consulted Bhārgava Śukracārya in this regard. But Daityaguru told them that Ghora Daitya cannot become an imperial emperor until he conquers Svargaloka, which is hard to be annexed. Therefore, at the behest of Śukracārya, Ghora, Vajra and Kāla annexed heaven and banished Ińdra, Kubera, Agni, Niřtti, Vāyu, Varuņa, Cańdra, Sūrya, Viśvadevas, Aşțavasus, Ekādaşa Rudras and all other Grahas. Defeated and humiliated at the hands of Asuras, Ińdra and other deities went to Lord Brahmā for a solution. But because Ghora is invulnerable to Vidhāta as well, Ādi Prajāpati lead deities to Vaikuņțha where they narrated their woeful story. After hearing the plight of Devas, Vāsudeva said thus “By virtue of my boon, Ghora is invulnerable to all Devas. But there is someone who can slay him. In former times there was a fierce demon named Dundubhi, who was a devotee of Devadeva Mahādeva. On day he went to Kailāśa and witnessed Maheśvara and Umā seated together. Maddened by lust, Dundubhi gazed at Gaurī, because of which Mahārudra punished him by incinerating the demon with the fire of His third-eye. Meanwhile Vāmadeva was smearing the ashes of Dundubhi on His person, a Gaņa was born from the friction of Maheśvara’s palm. One day that Gaņa expressed his desire to have sex with Bhagavatī Umā; enraged, Devī yelled at the Gaņa thus ‘May you go away to Martyaloka and take birth as an Asura.’

Shocked by Durgā’s rejection, that Gaņa vowed thus ‘Hey Mřdānī! You have cursed me for no reason and have banished me from Kailāśa. Therefore to avenge my humiliation, I will forcibly make you my wife in my next birth and enjoy your tender delicate body.’

Caņđikā’s eyes turned red in fury and She too vowed thus ‘If that is so, then listen you scoundrel! I will manifest as Sińhavāhinī and slay you in such brutal manner that your death will instil fear in the hearts of all.’

At current time that Gaņa born of Maheśvara’s portion has incarnated as Ghora Daitya, and by virtue of his devotion towards me, that demon is of pious and will not do something so extreme which will incur the wrath of Caņđavikramā.”

Ińdra said “My Lord! If that is so then what should we do? How can we get rid of that wicked Ghora?”

Břhaspati said “Hey Murāri! Only you can show light to us.”

Brahmā said “Hey Keśava! In what way should we ensure that Bhagavatī Kālikā’s wrath is unleashed upon Ghora? Please guide us in this regard.”

Govinda then began to contemplate upon a solution; but finding no way out, He led all deities to Kailāśa, where they saw Lord Virūpākşa seated in a meditative trance, having Durgatināśinī seated at His left. They prayed to Lord thus “Hey Gańgādhara! You are verily Mahākāla Bhairava having tawny eyes; you are feared by all deities & demons; you are clad in tiger skin dripping with blood; you hold a Khațțvāńga; you use the cup made of Brahmæ’s skull as vessel; you wear a garland of skulls; you are soul of Narāyaņa; you are armed with trident, sword, battle-axe, pestle, club, thunderbolt & Pīnāka bow; you are conferer of boons; you hold conch, discus, mace & lotus; are slayer of demon Kratu; you are player of Vīņā & Đamaru; you have sun, moon & fire as your three eyes; you are rider of bull you are firm like a mountain. Oh Girijāpati! We all are tormented by Ghora Daitya. He is invulnerable to all deities except Devī Girijā. But hey Tripurāńtaka! Jaganmātā Ambikā will slay him till he is pious and abides by Vaidika Dharma. Therefore, redeem us, Oh Lord! You alone are our sole refuge.”

Lord Kāmāńtaka turned towards Śailajā, who nodded in agreement. Mahādeva then said “First, we should arrange Devī’s descending in Martyaloka. Mřdānī of multiple forms will assume a ten-armed form, assisted by Her attendants Jayā & Vijayā, and Her mount will be a lion born out of Hari’s part.”

At the behest of Tripurāńtaka, a mass of light manifested from the body of Madhusudana and assumed the form of a lion. That great lion had Mahāvişņu Himself as his throat, Maheśvara Himself as his head, all Lokas as his mane, Bhagavatī Umā Herself as his forehead, Devī Sarasvatī as his nostrils, Skanda & Anańtanāga as his forelimbs, Aśvini Twins as both ears, Sūrya & Cańdra as his both eyes, eight Vasus as his teeth, Varuņa as tongue, Devī Carcikā as his roar, Yama & Kubera as hind limbs, both Sańdhyās as his lips, Ińdra as his back, constellations as shoulder and Śakti Sādhakas as his chest. He was cruelty personified and was fiercer than Putanā. Mātřkās took responsibility of sustenance of that great lion. For protection of the lion from Asuras, Virińci recited a secret treatise called ‘Śańkara Gītā’ into his ear.
Gaurī too assumed a ten-armed form and seated Herself on the back of the lion. Seeing Kātyāyanī armed with divine weapons like sword, arrow, discus, spear, trident, shield, bow, goad, axe and snake and mounted upon the great lion, Devas praised Her with eulogies and prayed to Her to redeem them Thus “Hey Mahākālī! You are Mahāmāyā, the creatrix of animals, birds, humans and all other creatures. You are propitiated by Brahmā, Prajāpati, Śiva, eight Vasus, Ińdra, Piśācas and Gańdharvas. Hey Śive! You are all-pervading, omnipotent, eternal and unfathomable. What else can we say, no one is capable of describing you. Oh Primordial Matriarch! We, your children are troubled by wicked Ghora Daitya. Redeem us by slaying that enemy of deities.”

Assuring them fearlessness, Gauri along with Jayā & Vijayā descended at Vińdhyāńcala and stationed Herself on the banks of river Narmadā. Her retinue consisted of the Aşțaśaktis Rudracaņđā, Pracaņđā, Caņđogrā, Caņđanāyikā, Caņđā, Caņđavatī, Caņđarūpā & Aticaņđikā as Durgā’s servants; the four Vedas Řk, Yaju, Sāma & Atharva as Durgatināśinī’s bodyguards; Catuşaşțiyoginis as Daśapraharaņadhārinī’s attendants; Matřkās Brāhmī, Māheśvarī, Kaumārī, Vaişņavī, Vārāhī, Nārasińhī, Maheńdrī, Cāmuņđā & Caņđavegā as Sińhavāhinī’s generals and Koțiyoginis as Kātyāyanī’s soldiers. They all camped on Vińdhyāńcala in a groove of Bilva, Aśoka, sesbania & Pomegranate trees that also had banana, tumeric, colocasia, tapioca & paddy plantains present there; all the goddesses started entertaining Umā by playing various musical instruments.

On the other side, Ghora Daitya and his sons were ruling their newly acquired empire dutifully. One day while the daily session of Ghora’s courtroom was being held, a doorkeeper entered and informed the demon king thus “Your Majesty! Devarşi Nārada seeks your audience and is waiting at the gate. What should I do? Should I bring the sage in?”

The pious king said “The sage is devotee of my Işța, Madhusudana. Escort him inside with due respect.”

When Nārada was escorted in the audience hall of Ghora, the Daitya rose from his throne in respect and received Devarşi with due respect. He prostrated before Brahmanańdana in reverence and addressed Narada thus with palms joined “Hey Devarşe! Please have a seat.”

Nārada seated himself and before Ghora could even ask something, Nārada said “Your Majesty! Enjoying what belongs to others and sex with all kinds of women is Dharma. Ruling vast territories and enjoying young damsels is rewards of propitiating Śrīman Nārāyaņa. Oh King! Devadeva Brahmadeva too enjoyed his own daughter and see, He is Ādi Prajāpati in today's date. Therefore, you should give up piety and enjoy pleasures the life offers.”

Ghora said “Pardon me, Sir; but whatever you have said is not Dharma. Piety is always auspicious, those who abstain from sense-gratification are the best. With senses controlled and mind directed towards devotional service of Lord Acyuta, one should always maintain purity of body & mind; for those who don’t burn in hell upon death.”

Nārada thought “Ghora is a tough nut to crack; but not when he is being confronted by a Bhairva Vidyā.”

Dear reader(s), you must be thinking that why Parama Vaişņava Nārada spoke contrary to Dharma. Well, after having a conversation with Hari & Hara, Vidhātā had summoned His son Nārada to Satyaloka and said “Hey wise one! You are well versed in all Dharmaśāstras. Oh Brāhmaņa! You should at my behest go to Kuśadvīpa and bewitch Daityaraja Ghora and misguide him to act contrary against Dharma; for Bhagavatī Mřdānī will not slay him in order to accomplish the task of deities until and unless that demon king is pious.”

Nārada bowed before his father and reached Kuśadvīpa and was now seated before Ghora. In order to misguide the demon, Nārada said “Listen to me carefully! Having conquered the armies of other kings, govern your kingdom according to Dharma. Kingdom is source of power and prosperity; so you should enjoy your kingdom & wife to fullest. You should frolic with any woman you desire. If you want to, there is no harm in consuming liquor, meat and sexual pleasure. Gambling, gossiping, carnal pleasure, swearing, howling and smoking are means of pleasure. A man who derives carnal pleasure from a hundred women opens doors of fortune, from a thousand woman he becomes an enjoyer and from a million woman he becomes prosperous. A woman who is passive, ill, foul-smelling, crooked, discourteous, wicked, conspirator, dumb or characterless should be avoided by those men who do not wish to contract diseases. Therefore, you should enjoy an eighteen year old virgin each day in order to increase virility. At Vińdhyā Mountains, there is one such woman who has received boon of remaining youthful forever and regaining her virginity every morning. She is daughter of Girirāja Himāvan and has been crafted by Kāma himself for you. Therefore you should by every means try to acquire that lady as your second wife.”

Ghora gazed at Nārada without saying anything.

Nārada asked “So tell me, what you should do?”

Ghora now started speaking and repeated everything like a parrot that Nārada asked him to do.

Pleased with his work, Nārada left Kuśadvīpa.

To be continued........

In the middle of the road a python was spotted and pitchers containing water burst on their own. Monkeys, owls, cats and other such animals began to howl from the forests on both sides of the road. Some soldiers started puking, some went insane for no reason while others became dumb. Meteors were seen in the sky; an earthquake occurred, and a sandstorm started. Sun lost its lustre, rivers started flowing against their natural current, wells overflowed, flowers withered, fruits turned rotten, jackals howled, scavenger birds hovered in the sky and clouds started raining blood.

A paranoid Ghora with sword drawn began to survey his devastated army, when he heard a beastly groan and looked back. Behind him was a woman having complexion as red as a hibiscus flower. She was adorned by a garland of bones and clad in boar-skin. Her sockets were hollow, as if Her eyes have been gauged out and streams of blood rolled down Her shrivelled cheeks. Her hair pointed upwards, She rode a donkey and as armed with a noose & a goad. 

"जय जय हे महिषासुरमर्दिनी" - Bhadrakālī Kapālinī

"ज्वाला करालमत्युग्रम शेषा सुरसूदनम् ।
त्रिशूलं पातु नो भीतेर्भद्रकालि नमोऽस्तु ते ॥"

Once there lived a Rākşasa named Dāruka who achieved great prowess by performing severe austerities. He resembled the fire of dissolution which emerges at the time of dissolution at the end of a Kalpa. He killed many Deva soldiers and Brāhmaņas. The deities were terrified and took refuge with Brahmā, Īśāna, Kumāra, Vişņu, Yama and Ińdra. On coming to know that the Asura could meet with his death at the hands of a female, he was confronted in a battle Mātřkās led by Maheńdrī. Still, they were overpowered by him.
Dissapointed, the deities then approached Brahmā and narrating the entire situation to him, they then proceeded to the abode of Śiva and Umā. The deities led by Brahmā praised Śiva. Ādi Prajāpati, lowering in reverence to Śiva again and again, submitted to him- “Oh Lord, Dāruka is a terrible person who has defeated all the people. He is destined to be killed by a woman. Therefore, you protect us by killing Dāruka.”

Listening to the prayer of Brahmā, Maheśvara spoke to Pārvatī thus “Gaurī! I now request you to kill Dāruka, who is destined to be killed by a woman. He is invulnerable to men. In former times too you have slain Mahişa and Śumbha; Dāruka is not a challenge at all.”

On hearing the words of Mahadeva, a part of Umā entered into the body of Śiva; but Brahmā, Ińdra and other deities, could not know about it. Finding Pārvatī standing by their sides as before, even Brahmā and other gods were overpowered by Her Māyā. Then the part of Gaurī, entering the throat of Lord Śiva, bathed in Halālahal venom. Knowing about it, Mahārudra produced Bhadrakālī from his third eye, with a black throat. She had blue complexion, three eyes, sixteen arms and protruding fangs. She was armed with a trident, a discus, a sword, a conch-shell, an arrow, a thunder-bolt, a staff, a shield, a chowrie, a bow, a goad, a noose, a bell, a battle-axe and a pestle. Her hair was tied into a Jațāmukuța and was lodged with a digit of crescent moon. Her neck was adorned by a snake-garland.

Seeing Her Hara & Gaurī became sure of Dāruka's defeat. With the emerging of Bhadrakālī with a black throat and issuing fire flames from Her mouth, all the humans, gods and siddhas, including Brahmā, Vişņu and Ińdra fled in fear. She rode into the battlefield on a lion. To witness the killing of Dāruka, Durgatināśinī Gaurī too accompanied Bhadrakālī. When the fierce Goddess descended at Dāruvana, mountains crumbled, earth shook, winds whirled, ocean trembled, fires did not blaze and sun got covered by clouds.

Upon recieving the news of the arrival of Devīs Bhadrakālī and Vijayaśrī, Dāruka arrived there with his Caturańga army of monsters. From the body of Bhadrakālī emerged eight Yoginis who were eager to fight with Rākşasas. They were Jayańtī, Mańgalā, Kapālinī, Kşamā, Śivā, Dhātrī, Svāhā and Svadhā. Those Mātřkās who were formerly defeated by Dāruka arrived there as well. Mahāgaurī blew Her conch-shell loudly to announce the beginning of a great battle. And then the terrible battle began.

Asuras and Yoginis rushed towards each other and clashed their weapons. Like fire consumes a heap of straws, the Yoginis similarly began to eat the demons. Seeing this, Dāruka showered a volley of arrows on those Goddesses and injured them. Enraged, Bhadrakālī pulled the string of Her bow and released a loud twang that shattered the Rākşasa's bow, hitting him on forehead. Thus insulted, a furious Dāruka took another bow and shot arrows on Bhadrakālī's arms. Seeing that great exchange of arrows, both Yoginis as well as Rākşasas raised hue & cry.
Angered, Bhadrakālī shot an arrow that lodged itself into Dāruka's chest and rendered him unconscious. However, the monster regained his consciousness and discharged dreadful Daivi Astras from his bow; but Bhadrakālī nullified them with counter Astras and split his bow with a single arrow. Dāruka now created clones of himself by resorting to sorcery; but Bhadrakālī breathed out fire and burned down each clone into ashes. Enraged, Dāruka took a discus to hurl it towards Bhadrakālī; but Devī uttered a terrible Humkāra that paralysed Dāruka temporarily. However, he recovered quickly and hurled a spear. Bhadrakālī countered it with Her trident having its prongs surrounded by flames. Bhadrakālī hurled her pestle but Dāruka nullified it with his trident, angering Bhadrakālī even more. She hit Dāruka with Her discus, but the monster rose as quickly as it fell and began laughing scornfully. Bhadrakālī leapt towards the Rākşasa and beheaded him, but Dāruka sprouted a new head and mocked Bhadrakālī again.

Seeing all this, Durgā Durgatināśinī addressed Bhadrakālī thus "Hey Kālike! You emerged from the third eye of Maheśvara. Hence use His trident to slay this wicked Rākşasa."

Hearing this instruction of Umā, Bhadrakālī kicked the terrific monster Dāruka, causing him to fall. Seizing that opurtunity, She siezed the trident given by Śūlapāni at the time of killing Mahişāsura and beheaded Dāruka in a single stroke. Seeing this, the Mātřkās and Yoginis cheered and began to praise Bhadrakālī. But to their utter surprise, Kālikā uttered a terrible roar and caused Her fury to manifest as a forest fire. Amidst those terrible flames, Bhadrakālī began to dance in fury, causing extreme pain to earth and Anańtanāga. She shone like the fire of dissolution and began to kill anyone upon whom Her eyes fell. Fearing Bhadrakālī's wrath, even Mātřkās & Yoginis fled and sought refuge in Kātyāyanī. Mahāgaurī on the other hand took them to Kailāśa and prayed to Mahādeva thus "Oh Virupākşa! Save this earth from the wrath of Bhadrakālī. In Her anger She has forgotten that the purpose of Her incarnation was only to slay Dāruka, not to destroy the world. You are The Supreme Lord, higher that Prakřti & Puruşa, father of Brahmā & Vişņu. Hey Ańdhakāsurasūdana! Hey Yamāńtaka! We seek refuge in you."

Appeased by Mřdānī's prayer, Lord Śiva assumed the form of a newborn infant and stationed Himself in a cremation ground full of the ghosts. Then He began to crying in order to attract the attention of Bhadrakālī, who Herself was overpowered by His Māyā. She entered the cremation ground, chased away all ghosts and taking pity upon the infant, picked Him up, kissed Him, smelt His head and embraced Him. The infant, while hugging Kālī's breast began to suck milk from Her breast, and also Her anger. In this way, the infant Sadyojāta became the Kşetrapāla of that area. Thus, the horrible anger of Bhadrakālī was pacified. Mahādeva felt delighted and in order to please Bhadrakālī, He performed the Taņđava dance with the ghosts in the evening. Parameśvarī too danced in cremation ground with Yoginis, surrounded by the deities from all the sides.
All of them offered their salutations to Bhadrakālī and praised Her for getting the world rid of Dāruka's terror.

This way, whenever demons invade the three worlds and unleash the reign of terror, Mahākālī becomes Mahişāsuramardinī and restores order all around. But, with these awe-inspiring but popular legends of Mahākālī's victory over Asuras narrated, are we left with any more legend? A narrative so unique which has never been narrated before by anyone?

Let's find out in the next story.

Sunday, 14 October 2018

"जय जय हे महिषासुरमर्दिनी" - Yoginikoțiparivřtā (Part II)


Sugrīva knit his brows in anger as he said " You will have to face dire consequences for this."

Kālarātrī uttered a laughter, terrible like a thunder and said "Till I am there, you cannot reach my Goddess."

Sugrīva went to Svargaloka and reported to Śumbha about the conversation with Śyāmā. Everyone was estonished, except Diti, the mother of all Daityas. Śumbha was about to issue an order when Daityamātā spoke thus "You still did not understand, did you?"

Śumbha asked "Daityamātā! I have understood the matter. That cunning Mahālakşmī has placed this foolish Mātańgī in her place and has hidden herself somewhere to avoid the wrath of Asuras. Which is why I intend to capture that Śyāmalā first and then interrogate her."

Diti said "Devī Mātańgī is not foolish, you are; which is why you are unable to understand that Mātańgī Herself is Mahālakşmī. Devī Lakşmī who slew Dānavarāja Mahişāsura was an incarnation of Mahākālī; I know this because Mahākālī's next incarnation Satī was my sister and I have witnessed Her death & the wrath of Mahādeva that was unleashed. Satī reincarnated as Girijā Pārvatī and is now married to Maheśvara. Few ages back owing to a dispute, Śivajāyā Śyāmā discarded Her dark complexion from which this Devī Sarasvatī was born. She too is an incarnation of Mahākālī. Remember, you and Niśumbha are invulnerable to all except a virgin damsel; which is why Devī Gaurī has very cleverly taken incarnation as an Ayonijā virgin beauty to cause your death. So don't act foolish, leave that Kauşikī alone and rule your jurisdictions as a just king."

Everyone was astonished. But then Śumbha laughed scornfully and said "Thank you very much Daityamātā, for giving me the real introduction of Mātańgī. If she is indeed that Mahişaghni, then I wilk enjoy ravishing her virginal youth."

Diti screamed "Hey idiot! Have you forgotten that when you & Niśumbha had fought with Lord Śiva on behalf of the slain Asurādhipti Jalańdhara and created an illusion of killing Pārvatī, Mahādeva cursed you two to get killed at the hands of Kālikā? Besides, Devī Kauşikī is indeed a trickster; She tricked Kańsa by helping Vişņu to incarnate as Balabhadra by transfering Him from Devakī's womb to that of Rohiņī, and also took birth in the womb of some Yaśodā. When Vasudeva of Vřşinī race took his son Křşņa to Nańdagopa, he exchanged babies and took that Devī Ekanańśā with him. When Kańsa tried to kill Kauşikī, She tricked him again and eventually became the cause of his death. So hey Daityeńdra! Beware, for Vişņu's Yoganidrā has come to Vińdhyāńcala with the intentions of killing you and Niśumbha. She killed you in your pastlife and will kill you again if you act reckless."

Śumbha heard Diti with rapt attention. Then turning to his general Dhūmrākşa, Śumbha ordered thus "Hey Dhūmralocana! Listen to me carefully. Go to Vińdhyāncala and bring that Śyāmalā in my pressence. If she resists, then enslave her and bring her by her hair. If anyone comes to protect her, kill that person; even if it is Brahmā, Vişņu or Rudra."

Dhūmrākşa saluted his king and went away to Vińdhyā mountains with his Akşauhiņī army. When Dhūmrākşa saw Lakşmī, he got enchanted by Her illusion and said thus "Hey idiot! Come with me immediately and accept Śumbha as your master. In case you deny, I will grab you by your hair and drag you forcibly to my king."

Mātańgī frowned and replied "Oh really? If you try to abduct me, do you know what will I do with you?"

Hearing Yoganidrā's response, Dhūmrākşa charged towards Her gripping a mace. Seeing the demon charging towards Her, Lokamātā Ambikā uttered an ear-splitting Humkāra that triggered invisible heat waves which knocked out the demon and burnt Dhūmrākşa into ashes like fire burns dry leaves. Scared, the Akşauhiņī army of the slain demon general fled away. The loud Humkāra reverberated thoughout the universe and was heard by Śumbha as well.

"What was that?" Śumbha exclaimed.

Diti closed her eyes, took a moment to compose herself and said "We lost Dhūmrākşa. He will never return."

Śumbha bit his lips in anger and screamed "Hey Caņđa! Hey Muņđa! Quickly march to the battlefield with a Caturańga army and bring that vile woman to me. If she resists or if you find something suspicious about her, then do not hesitate to slay that harridan. Take Ruru Daitya along with you and accomplish my desired task."

They marched happily, blowing trumpets and beating war drums while praising Daityarāja Śumbha. As they neared the golden peaks of Vińdhyāńcala, they beheld Aşțabhujā Devī Ambikā seated on the back of lion; seeing Her their fury knew ni bounds and they rushed to attack Devī. The lion shook his mane and felled many demons with his teeth, claws and roar. Many ghosts emerged from Kauşikī and began to attack the Asuras. However, some managed to pass through and rushed towards Caņđikā under Ruru's leadership.
Śyāmā glared at the surge of demons moving towards Her like large waves of the ocean. Her anger knew no bounds as Her eyes turned blood-shot. Sarasvatī clenched Her fist as Her face turned pitch black and Her lolling red tongue rolled out from Her mouth. She uttered a terrible roar as Her blood-shot eyes turned fiery like pits of burning charcoal. Suddenly the dark face detached itself from Mātańgī and manifested at the battle field as a Mahāyoginī having pitch-black complexion, wrinkled skin & shriveled flesh. That Kālī was clad in tiger skin, adorned by a garland of skulls and was armed with a sword & a Khațțvāńga. Her hair was matted, belly was sunken and fiery eyes were deep inside the sockets. She uttered a terrible roar and began to kill Asuras. She grabbed hold of elephants, horses, chariots & soldiers and shoved them all inside Her mouth, chewing them like candies even as Kauşikī watched.
Seeing his army falling prey to Yogeśvarī's sword & Khațțvāńga, Ruru rushed towards Her. But the fierce Yogini saw him and quickly hit Ruru on his head with Her Khațțvāńga, breaking open the demon's skull. As the demon fell dead, that Yoginī Devī swiftly flayed Ruru like an animal and tied Her matted locks into a top-knot with Ruru's skin.
Seeing that one matted lock had escaped, Kapālinī uprooted it from Her head, dropped it on earth and created another Goddess having half black & half white complexion, oil-soaked hair and seated on the back of a donkey. She was armed with a staff and had three eyes. She addressed Yogeśvarī thus "Hey Cāmuņđe! What is my name? Whom should I slay?"

Kālī replied "Subhage! Your name is Caņđamārī. You should bring the demons Caņđa & Muņđa in Ambikā's presence, so that I can kill them with my own hands."

Caņđamārī bowed before Cāmuņđeśvarī and began to chase Caņđa & Muņđa. Beholding the ferocious naked Goddess chasing them on Her donkey, the two demons fled towards south in fear. She went wherever Caņđa & Muņđa went, and encountered Pauņđraka, the buffalo of Yama. Maheśvarī pulled out a horn of that buffalo in order to use it as a weapon to threaten Caņđa & Muņđa. She further encountered Lord Vişņu's mount Garuďa fighting with the Nāga Karkoțaka. Suparņa was stunned with fear upon seeing such furious form of Mahākālī and as a result shed his feathers. Kālī collected those feathers and snatched the serpent with one hand. Caņđamārī reached the place where Caņđa & Muņđa were hiding; She bound them by fastening the serpent as rope and dragged them back to Vińdhyāńcala. Caņđamārī quickly made a garland of Garuďa's feathers by using the hair of those demons as thread and tied it around the forehead of that Pracaņđa Durgā. Śuşkarevatī then in a fit of rage beheaded Caņđa & Muņđa, drank their blood and brought their heads in presence of Kauşikī accompanied by Caņđamārī.
Impressed by the service of Yogeśvarī, Mātańgī made a garland with the heads of Caņđa & Muņđa and many other demons by using the snake as the thread and fastened it around Cāmuņđeśvarī's top-knot.

Mahişamardinī said "Hey Kālike! Since you have appeased me by slaying Asuras Caņđa & Muņđa, you shall henceforth become renowned by the name 'Cāmuņđā'."

Seeing more demons rushing towards them, Cāmuņđā addressed Digambarā thus "Hey Caņđamārī! Kill all these enemies of Devī Sarasvatī in an instant."

Saluting Kauşikī and Cāmuņđā, Caņđamārī began to attack the army of demons with Her noose, staff, horn and metallic whip.
Kauşikī, Cāmuņđā, lion and Koțiyoginīs too began to attack the army of demons and within small amount of time the entire Caturańga army was finished.

Upon recieving the news of the deaths of Ruru, Caņđa & Muņđa, an enraged Śumbha sent Raktabīja with many Akşauhiņī regiments to the battle field. Upon seeing Śoņitabīja coming, Jaganmātā Kauşikī got very angry and uttered a terrible war-cry. At that time many Mātřkās emerged from Her person.
Four-faced Brāhmī holding a rosary & a water-pot and seated upon a flying chariot yolked by swans appeared from Kauşkī's tongue.
Three-eyed Māheśvarī armed with a trident, decked with snake ornament and seated upon a bull appeared from Kauşkī's war-cry.
Six-faced Kaumārī armed with a spear and riding a peacock appeared from Kauşkī's throat.
Six-armed Vaişņavī armed with a discus, a conch, a sword, a mace, a bow & arrows and riding on an eagle appeared from Kauşkī's arms.
Boar-faced Vārāhī armed with a pestle and riding a snake appeared from Kauşkī's back.
Elegant Maheńdrī holding a thunderbolt and riding an elephant appeared from Kauşkī's breast.
Lion-faced Nārasimhī having leonine claws, teeth and mane appeared from Kauşkī's heart.

Surrounded by all theses Śaktis, Kauşikī, Cāmuņđā & Caņđamārī appeared to be formidable and were praised by deities desireous of the end of Śumbha. On the behalf of all Devas, Mahādeva approched Caņđavikramā and said "Hey Caņđike! You have waged war against Asuras for my appeasement. Quickly slay Śumbha & Niśumbha to redeem the three worlds from their reign of terror."

At that moment, another Śakti named Śivānī holdibg a skull & seated on a lion emerged from Kauşikī's person and addressed Lord Śiva thus "Oh Maheśvara! I request you to go to Daityarāja on Devī Śyāmalā's behalf and tell him that if he desires to live he should restore the assets of Devas, return the throne of heaven to Maheńdra. Or else, all Asuras should get ready to become feast for my pet vixens."

Because that Ambikā Śakti dispatched Śūlapāni Himself as an emissiary, She became renowned as 'Śivadūti'. When demons heard Śivadūti's message, they decided to kill Her. The retinue of Caņđikā was also joined by Mahārudra and Vināyaka, who had come to fight along with the Goddesses against Asuras. And then the terrible war began.
Demons charged holding weapons like swords, spears, goads, axes, tridents, pestles, lances and cudgels. Mātańgī showered on them a volley of unlimited arrows that nullified the weapons of Asuras and chopped them into pieces. Cāmuņđeśvarī killed many with Her Khațțvāńga, Caņđamārī ate many, Brāhmī with sanctified water, Rudrānī with trident, Nārāyaņī with discus, Kaumārī with spear, Aińdrī with thunderbolt, Vārāhī with snout, Nārasińhī with teeth & claws, Śivadūti with fierce laughter, Śūlapāni with trident and Gaņeśvara with axe. Unable to bear the wrath of the two Gods and the Goddesses, demons began to flee and sought shelter from Raktabīja.
When Śoņitabīja entered the battlefield, eac Mātřka rained a volley of arrows on him and fell him down. However, from each drop of his blood, thousands of new Raktabījas were born who began to fight. Mātřkās now began to slaughter the clone Raktabījas with their respective weapons but the situation worsened and soon the battlefield was full of more Raktabījas, each of who bore similar form and powers as the original one. Upon seeing this, Ambikā addressed Yogeśvarī thus "Hey Cāmuņđe! Quickly spread your mouth all over the battlefield. Let not a single drop of blood stain mother earth again."

As instructed, Keśinī opened Her mouth wide and spread out Her tongue. Her upper lip touched the skied while the lower lip rested on earth; hence She also came to be known as Carmamuņđā. Kauşikī shot numerous arrows at those demons born from Raktabīja's blood and sent them into Kālī's cave-like mouth. Mātřkās and Gaņeśa too enthusiastically fought with those clone Raktabījas, ensuring that their blood fell only on Cāmuņđa's tongue. Soon the clone Raktabījas were dead and the original Raktabīja was left alone. He charged towards Ambikā with the intention of killing Her when Lord Śiva impalled him with His trident and held it over Cāmuņđā's mouth. Once the last drop of blood was drained out of Raktabīja's body, Kauşikī beheaded him with Her discus while Maheśvara disposed his body into Kālī's mouth.

Upon recieving the report of Raktabīja's death from what remained of the once great Akşauhiņī army, Śumbha & Niśumbha rode on their chariot into the battlefield. Seeing the utter devastation of their army, they felt outraged.
The moment Niśumbha saw Ambikā, he shot a volley of arrows at Her; but Mātańgī nullified them with Her own arrows. Śumbha shot his own arrows but they too were rendered useless by Kauşikī's Humkāra, which also paralysed Daityarāja momentarily. She shot arrows and cut off the bow of Niśumbha, the flagpost, the canopy, the axle and the reigns of the horses of their chariot. Seeing this, Niśumbha hurled a discus which was nullified by Caņđavikramā's trident. An enraged Niśumbha now aimed a spear which Sarasvatī caught hold of and broke it into two. Niśumbha now charged towards Kauşikī with a sword and a shield held forward; but Kauşikī knocked them off with Her arrows. Niśumbha now pounced with a club; but as he neared Śyāmā, She cut off his arms with Her sword. Because of excessive blood-loss, Niśumbha died a painful death.
Meanwhile Śumbha recovered and was devastated to see his brother dead. With eyes blood-shot in extreme fury, Śumbha climbed on an elephant and became eight-armed. He prodded the elephant towards Mahişamardinī, when suddenly Devī Daśabhujā appeared on the battlefield and addressed Kauşikī thus "Śyāmale! Quickly slay this wicked Śumbha who has dared to insult you. Accomplish the task of deities."

"Your wish is my command." said Kālī, as She rode on Her lion swiftly towards Śumbha, holding high weapons with Her eight hands. Śumbha shot millions of arrows and so did Kauşikī. Sometimes Śumbha cut Kauşikī's arrows and sometimes Kauşikī cut Śumbha's arrows. Such was that shower of arrows that it turned the sky black like a dark night. As Kālī's anger increased, it started to lightening and jackals began to howl. Vultures & crows infested the sky and waited eagerly to feast upon Śumbha's flesh. In Her anger, Mahişamardinī hurled Her trident and knocked off Śumbha's bow. Seizing this oppurtunity, She rode towards the charging elephant and slashed with Her sword hard, cutting off the forelimbs of the elephant, causing Śumbha to topple. Śumbha took a trident and hurled it towards Lakşmī; but She blocked it with Her shield and cut off fuve arms of Śumbha with Her sword. Howling in pain, Śumbha leapt to kick Cańđī; but She now cut of his legs. Determined to kill Śyāmā, Śumbha rushed towards Her with his two hands while clenching the third fist to punch Devī. Seeing the disabled demon approaching Her, Kālikā shot a crescent-shaped arrow at Śumbha and beheaded him. To announce Her victory, Niśumbhaśumbhahańtrī blew Her conch-shell loudly which reverberated throughout the universe. Yoginīs cheered while Mātřkās dranks wine mixed with blood and danced while playing musical instruments. The lion emitted a triumphant roar while the remainder Asuras fled to the Atala, Pātāla, Rasātala and other nether worlds.
Devas approached Kālī and began to eulogise Her with hymns. Devī Daśapraharaņadhārinī embraced Ambikā and said "Well done! You have perfectly executed the task of Devas and have impressed me by slaying Asuras. Therefore, you will forever haunt Vińdhyāńcala and will be worshiped as Devī Vińdhyavāsinī. You are Mahişamardinī, and Kaulas will worship you forever at Smaśānas and other Śaktipīțhas. You will become renowned as Mahişamardinī Vidyā, and all those who are incapabke of propitiating other Vidyās will seek shelter in you. Hey Mātańgī! You will be forever served by these Koțiyoginis who assisted you in battle, and henceforth you will be renowned as 'Yoginikoțiparivřtā'."

In this way, Mahākālī became Asuradalanī and punished those wicked demons who caused descripencies on earth. But what happened with those Asuras who survived this onslaught and fled to nether worlds? Did they remain there, or did they resurface again?

Let's find out in the next story.

Saturday, 13 October 2018

"जय जय हे महिषासुरमर्दिनी" - Yoginikoțiparivřtā (Part I)

"मेधे सरस्वति वरे भूति बाभ्रवि तामसि ।
नियते त्वं प्रसीदेशे नारायणि नमोऽस्तुते ॥"
To fulfill Her boon given to queen Mēnā, Bhagavatī Satī reincarnated as Pārvatī, the daughter of Himāvan. In this birth, She reunited with Lord Śiva forever. But that story is for another time.
Řşi Kaśyapa had three sons named Śumbha, Niśumbha and Namucī, who were granted boon to be mightier than Ińdra. On one occassion, Ińdra arrived to slay wicked Namucī with his thunderbolt, who in turn hid under the chariot of Sūrya. To trick the trickster himself, Vasava granted a boon to Namucī according to which the demon could not be killed by weapons. Thinking that Ińdra will not kill him, Namucī came out of his hiding place and befriended Ińdra. Śakra on the other hand presented sea foam to Namucī, without informing the later about the fact that the foam was charged with Ińdra's energy. The demon happily applied the foam on his face, and eventually fell dead. However, by killing the son of Kaśyapa, Ińdra accounted the sin of Brahmahatyā and went away to cleanse his sins by making pilgrimage.
At this time, Śumbha & Niśumbha upon recieving the news of their brother's death got extremely angry and set out to conquer Svargaloka. Upon reaching heaven, they and their army routed deities. Because Devas were immortals and could not be killed, demons humilliated them and snatched away elephant of Ińdra, buffalo of Yama, gemset umbrella of Varuņa, mace of Vāyu, lotus, conch and other such assets of deities. Banished Devas took shelter on earth and this caused Asuras to invade Bhūloka as well. While looking for deities, Śumbha came across Raktabīja and asked him thus "Who are you?"

Raktabīja replied "I am the prime minister of the slain demon lord Mahişāsura. Our king was murdered by that Mahālakşmī at Vińdhyā mountains. Because of fear of that Caņđikā, ministers of king Mahişāsura renowned as Caņđa & Muņđa have immersed themselves into water. Tell me, who are you, who is your father? How powerful are you?"
Śumbha replied "I am Śumbha, the son of Řşi Kaśyapa; and this is my younger brother Niśumbha. We are mightier than all deities combined and have conquered heaven lately. Tell us, where is that goddess. We all will go there and kill that wicked lady."
As they were talking thus, Caņđa & Muņđa emerged from the river and said "Death would be a reward to that cunning lady. That vicious one who slew Dānaveńdra Mahişa must be enslaved by Daitya Lord Śumbha. Believe us, she is gem of all womanhood and deserves to be enjoyed by a virile man."
Hearing such tempting description of Devī Mahālakşmī, Śumbha dispatched Sugrīvāsura as his emissiary. Upon reaching Vińdhyā Mountain, Sugrīva witnessed a Goddess having dark complexion like emeralds. Enthroned, She played on a Vīnā while being immersed into the melodious sounds made by Her pet parrot. She was clad in red vestments and was decked with gold, gemset & pearl ornaments.
Sugrīva thought "This woman doesn't match the description given by Caņđa & Muņđa. But who knows, maybe that cunning Kālikā is capable of changing Her appearence with the help of Māyā. Raktabīja told us that the murderer of Mahişāsura is a trickster. But what if this dark-complexioned woman is someone else?"
Thinking thus, Sugrīva approached and asked Rājaśyāmalā thus "Hey Devī! Who are you? What are you doing here?"
Kālikā replied "I am Mātańgī, the daughter of Matańga Muni. I haunt these mountains and sport on my own accord. But tell me the truth, who are you? I have never seen you before."
Sugrīva said "I am an emissary of Daityeśvara Śumbha. He desires to marry a woman named Mahālakşmī, who is also known as Vińdhyavāsinī. Do you know where can I find that woman?"
Mātańgī smirked as She thought within Herself.
"My plan is working."
What Sugrīva didn't know was that a lot had changed till death of Mahişāsura, and that he was now facing the one whose very purpose of birth was to slay Śumbha & Niśumbha.
Once Maheśvara got a beatiful mansion built by Viśvakarmā. It had ivory gates, pearl-studded tepestry and gemset stair cases made of crystal. On the occassion of the inaugration of their house, Umā & Rudra invited all deities for attending the Yajna. Gańdharvas sang and Apsarās danced while deities made merry on that auspicious occasion. While Ūrvaśī and other Apsarās were performing in honour of Bhava & Bhavānī, Mahādeva addressed Girijā thus "Hey Śyāmale having dark complexion like split collyrium! Behold the excellent dance performance of these Apsarās in our honour."
As those Apsarā Tilottamā heard Maheśvara's jocular remark, she giggled; but Ūrvaśī glared at her, signalling Tilottamā to behave. But all this didn't escape Kālikā's vision, who burned in rage and rose from Her seat, glaring at Maheśvara with blood-shot eyes.
She said "You dare to humilliate me before these cheap whores! How dare you? A forest cut-off by axe and penetrated by arrow again can flourish with greenery but the injury inflicted by speech is never recovered. The people so penetrated by harsh words wail day and night. Hence, harsh words should not be inflicted by conscious people on others. You have infringed that vow today. Hence, I am going to observe the severe austerities to discard my dark complexion so that you will never again address me as 'Śyāmā'."
Saying thus, Devī stormed out of Her new house even as Lord Śiva kept calling Her back.
"Umā! Don't go. Come back."
But Umā paid no attention.
She went to Himālayas along with Her attendants Jayā & Vijayā, and began to perform a penance more severe than the one She had performed to attain Lord Śiva. Clad in saffron vestments of an ascetic, with Her hair tied into a top-knot, senses controlled, eyes closed, Brahmā Mańtra on lips and palms joined in Namaskāra Mudrā, Śyāmā stood at the ridge of a mountain on a single foot. Inspired by their mistress, The attendants too started performing penance. Years passed, but their penance remained unpertrubed.
Meanwhile, one day a tiger came out from an adjacent forest in search of prey. As it saw Girijā meditating upon Ādi Prajāpati, it decided to pounce and kill Her the moment She would fall. But to the tiger's astonishment, Śailajā continued with Her penance for years. Determined, the tiger too stayed there and waited for Pārvatī's downfall.
The intensity of Kālikā's penance increased eventually, resulting in a spiritual fire that burned away Her clothes. A third eye popped up on Her forehead, Her unkempt hair became undone and flew with the winds. Her dark complexion turned pitch-black, an apron of severed arms & a garland of severed heads hung from Her waist & neck respectively and Her ears were adorned by corpses of two infants. Jayā & Vijayā too had transformed into Đākinī and Varņinī as they continued with their severe austerities. Such was the formidablity of their forms that all creatures except that tiger which stayed till it died fled in fear while the intensity of their penance shook the lotus seat of Brahmā at Satyaloka.
He was compelled to appear before Jaganmātā Kālasańkarşinī, who had out of grace chosen to worship Her own servant.

Lord Brahmā said "Hey Mātā Caņđike! I am your humble servant. Kindly order me about the purpose for which you have summoned me."
Śivajāyā opened Her eyes and with palms joined, paid obeisence to Brahmadeva. She said "My Lord! You are the cause of this world; it is you who are responsible for the creation, preservation and annihilation of the phenomenal world. From your forehead was born Mahārudra, your son. I am His wife, and that makes you my father-in-law. Thus oh father! As my first boon I request you to bless this dead tiger who has guarded me with the post of a Śivagaņa. And as my second boon, I request you to absolve my pastlife sins and grant me with fair complexion."
Vidhātā smiled and said "May it be as desired!"
As Lord Padmayonī raised His hand in Varadā Mudrā, a beam of rays emitted from His palm and illuminated Mahākālī's person. Her complexion turned golden, unkempt hair got braided, sky-clothes turned into red silks, garland of severed heads into that of Bilva leaves, corpses of infants into ear-studs and apron of severed arms into a gemset waistband. As bejewelled Devī openend Her eyes, She could feel that She who was Śyāmā had now become Gaurī. Durgā Durgatināśinī felt delighted upon Her transformation. The dead tiger too attained the region of Śiva and became a Gaņa in Nańdīśvara's retinue. Even as She watched, Prajāpati Brahmā disappeared.
With Her wish fulfilled, Bhagavatī Durgā decided to head to Her abode when Her eyes fell on a Goddess who had dark complexion like emeralds. She was endowed with eight arms, holding a discus, a conch, a bow, an arrow, a shield and a trident, while She displayed Tarjani Mudrā with the index finger of Her eighth hand. She was clad in vestments which were red, yellow & blue in colour and was decked with gold, gemset & pearl ornaments. The three-eyed Goddess with smiling contenance bowed before Devī Daśabhujā and asked thus "Oh Daśapraharaņadhārinī! Tell me my name and purpose of my birth. I am at your service and will execute your orders with no doubt!"
Kātyāyanī smiled and said "Hey Śyāmale! You are my incarnation and were born from my Křşņakoşa. Hence you will be renowned as Kauşikī. There is no difference between us; you are me and I am you. In former times I had assured the deities that when the Daityas Śumbha and Niśumbha will unleash a reign of terror, I will redeem the world from descripencies caused by them."
Saying thus, Umā summoned Ińdra and addressed Śyāmalā thus "Hey Ekanańśe! Go with this Vasava. He is your brother from this day. When the time comes in Dvāparayuga, you shall assist Vişņu to take His eighth and ninth incarnations as Rāma & Křşņa, the scions of Vřşiņi race. You too shall incarnate in the race of Nańdagopa and play pivotal role in lessening the burden of sins from the earth. Hey Sarasvatī! You shall thereafter reside in Vińdhyā mountains where you will vanquish Asuras Śumbha & Niśumbha and accomplish the task of deities."
Kauşikī had acted as per the instructions that were issued to Her; and now She had arrived at Vińdhyāńcala to perform Her ultimate task.
Mātańgī replied "Bhagavatī Gaurī, who is Mahişamardinī is known as Kātyāyanī because no one knows where She resides. When Brahmā and other deities are ever engaged in penances to get a vision of that Mahākālī, how come you will get an audience with Her? Besides, a lioness never mates with a jackal, no matter how aroused She is. Therefore, go away and tell your king to defeat me at battle field first if he wants to reach Mahādevī Kātyāyanī."
Sugrīva knit his brows in anger as he said " You will have to face dire consequences for this."
Kālarātrī uttered a laughter, terrible like a thunder and said "Till I am there, you cannot reach my Goddess."

To be continued........

Dhūmrākşa: Hey idiot! Come with me immediately and accept Śumbha as your master. In case you deny, I will grab you by your hair and drag you forcibly to my king.
Mātańgī: Oh really? If you try to abduct me, do you know what will I do with you?
Hearing Yoganidrā's response, Dhūmrākşa charged towards Her gripping a mace.
Śyāmā glared at the surge of demons moving towards Her like large waves of the ocean. Her anger knew no bounds as Her eyes turned blood-shot. Sarasvatī clenched Her fist as Her face turned pitch black and Her lolling red tongue rolled out from Her mouth. She uttered a terrible roar as Her blood-shot eyes turned fiery like pits of burning charcoal.