Bhagavad-Gita: 18 Chapters in Sanskrit
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Bhagavadgita in English
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Devi Mahatmyam according to Markandeya Purana
Devi = Goddess; MahAtmyam = The Great Intrinsic Worth; The Great Self-Worth; The Great Essence; Exalted State.
Devi Mahatmyam is part of Makandeya Purana.
Mahatmyam (Sanskrit): Magnanimity; exalted state; the virtue of any divinity or sacred shrine. Also refers to a work which gives an account of the legends and merits of any holy place or object.
The West is of the view that indigenous Goddess worship was prevalent in Pre-Aryan India. By 3rd or 4th century, goddess worship became ubiquitous among all, Non-Aryan and Aryan; the all-India Lingua Franca at that time was Sanskrit, though local languages thrived. Because of that, Sanskritization of whole India took place resulting in adoption of Brahmanical rites, rituals, ways and tenets. It was a two-way flow; Sanskritic tradition adopted ways of the non-Sanskritic culture and tradition by sheer weight of its mass appeal among people. Devi Mahatmyam is part of MArkandeya Purana composed by VyAsar aka Krishna Dvaipayana. Highbrow philosophy or pretensions have been beyond the reach of ordinary Indians. They were rendered into assimilable sops by way of stories of gods, demiurges, people, animals, woven into a fabric in Puranas which included local myths and legends; thus, Hinduism spread all over India to the last intelligent but illiterate man, woman and child in the village. The Puranas were drenching with philosophical ideas, religions tenets, ethics, creation myths and all else couched in stories for the consumption of ordinary Indian; thus, Sanskritization spread far and wide in India; this became the uniting force among Indians of disparate cultures, climates, regions, language, social mores, politics and traditions. Everyday life from village to cities always had a ready reference in the myths and stories of Puranas and the Itihasa (Purana-Itihasa) and looked at them for guidance and observances.
Itihasa = It ha Asa = so indeed it was = that, what happened = History. They are the Great Epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata.
Originally a hundred crores (a crore = 10 million; 100 crores = 1 billion) of Slokas came out of the mouth of Brahma forming One Purana, which exists in the world of gods. VyAsar abridged the 1 billion Slokas into 4 lakhs (1 lakh = 100,000), which again were partitioned into 18 Puranas in the Samsaric world. Purana asserts that Vishnu incarnated as VyAsar with the rhetorical punch line, " "Who else could have composed the Mahabharata?"
Devi Mahatmyam (DM):
It is also known as Candi or Durga Saptasati (seven hundred Mantras). Golden yellow Durga presents Herself as MahaKali, MahaLakshmi and MahaSarasvati; thus, chapter one is for Kali, two to four for Lakshmi and five to thirteen for Sarasvati. Mahatmyam is chanted during Durga Puja.
OM Sri Durgayai Namah
DM is part of Markandeya Purana, the composition of which is dated in the 5th or 6th Century CE. It is my observation that the non-academic Hindus are mainly devotional and the academics and westerners are mainly analytical. Sacred texts of every hue, color, and people are beyond the exegesis of limited minds of humans. Woodroffe presents material as it is and is an exception. We should accept the fact if it were not for the heuristic westerners, all this may not have been public and revealed wisdom would have been effectively concealed from the English-reading public and remained unrevealed. It consists of 700 Mantras and thus is named SaptasatI. In temple shrines, Durga is depicted as sitting by Herself on a lion with all her weapons or in the company of Lakshmi on Her right side and Sarasvati on the left. (Thirteen chapters of a total of 700 Mantras are divided into three parts: Mahakali, Mahalakshmi and Mahasarasvati.) Durga Puja is the special occasion when the devotees chant the whole of Devi Mahatmya. Its status among the devotional repertoire is equal to Bhagavad Gita. Here I present it as a story.
What is so great about Mahatmyam? If one dwells on the blood and gore in the literal sense, one has missed the point.
Then What is the point?
Part of this text is based on explanation by Sri Swami Krishnananda.
All the demons in this presentation are the indwelling demons affecting our body, mind and soul. Devi kills these demons in us. Body and mind are products of Prakrti (matter) while the individual soul is pure by itself. The soul because of its association and proximity to the body, mind, and Indriyas, takes a load of Malas (impurities). Our constitution is made up of the above three elements; three stages of development help attain full realization: eradication Tamasic Malas by Karma with the help of Mahakali, eradication of RajasicVikshepa (Tossing = gales of desire) Sakti by Upasana with the help of Mahalakshmi, removal of Ajnana associated with Sattva by Knowledge with the help of Mahasarasvati. Nine days of Navaratri correspond to three days each of the deities and struggle of the soul in defeating the demons. The tenth day is Vijayadasami that marks the victory over the demons, emancipation and realization.
Stage one: Removal of Malas. The two demons Madhu and Kaitabha come out of the earwax (Malas or impurities) of Vishnu. Vishnu is the origin of the universe and all the souls. His body is an agglomeration of the good, the bad and the ugly and all the heavens and hells. He is the virtue of the virtuous and the stealth in the thief. What is not in Him is not found anywhere. Maha Vishnu is in Cosmic, Yogic, meditation-sleep (Yoganidra). Adhi Sakti or Brahma by invocation evicts Yoganidra from out of His eyes so that He is awake and kills the threatening demons. Eventually He and other Devatas create Devi to kill the demons. Madhu and Kaitabha are the demons inside us in the form of Kama, Krodha, Lobha, Moha, Mada, Matsarya (desire, anger, greed, delusion, pride, and envy). If you consider the Saiva Siddhanta, the Malas are Anava Malam, Kanma Malam and Maya Malam. Once you defeat these demons of Tamasa Guna, you are getting ready to face the second-tier enemies of Rajasic nature, Vikshepa Sakti and Avarana: Mahishasura and Raktabija. Mahakali presides over this stage and overcomes the Tamasic Malas. The end result is purity.
The six enemies or sins of the human race are lust (Kama), anger (Krodha), greed (Lobha), delusion (Moha), pride (Mada), envy (Matsarya), which are the six division of the army of Asuras, that is Samsara.
The West gives a list of seven deadly sins: pride , covetousness, lust , anger , gluttony, envy, and sloth; the seven sins cause spiritual death.
Stage two: Removal of Avarana and Vikshepa. Avarana = Veiling caused by spiritual ignorance. Vikshepa = oscillating mind of desires, scattering, tossing, throwing, discharging. Spiritual Ajnana, Avarana and Vikshepa are linear elements. Ignorance and Avarana are like a cataract in the eye preventing Light (of Wisdom) reaching the eye and brain (soul). This veil or cataract prevents the Light of Sat and Cit of Brahman from reaching the soul. They are impediments to spiritual progress. In the absence of spiritual wisdom (Saktinipatam = descent of Wisdom as in Saiva Siddhanta) coming into the soul, the mind jumps from one desire to the next illustrated by the morphing of the demon from an elephant to a buffalo. When one desire is killed, another desire pops up in its place in an endless fashion. It is the whipping gale of desire, its many variants, permutations and effects. On a philosophical note, Vikshepa Sakti is driven by Ajnana (ignorance) and desire. Mind is the stage wherein the Vikshepa demon jumps from one desire to the next in an endless fashion. One desire morphs into another one when you kill the prceding desire. It is removed by Nishkama karma, action without expectation of rewards or desireless action. As in cataract extraction, you remove this ignorance by Avarana Bhanga (removal of the veil [cataract] by Upasana, worship). To illustrate this concept of uprooting the clonal colony of desires, Mahalakshmi sucks the marrow dry and drinks the last drop of blood of the demon (of desires) so he does not shed any more blood and make more clones of himself arising from the dripping blood. Mahalakshmi presides over this stage and overcomes Rajasic Avarana and Vikshepa. The end result is enlightenment.
Râga: Soul's desire to experience the world. Ragam is desire, passion and love. It is the evolute of the 10th principle, Vidya. It is the Ichcha Sakti (desire) of an individual to acquire, posses, and exploit objects, interact with people and enjoy the world. It is modulated by Buddhi and Vidya. Raaga is the sixth outer sheath wherein the Ichcha Sakti of Siva has undergone contraction and transformation and manifests as passions, desires and wants of earthly nature. TATTVAS-36
Stage three: Removal of complacency and ignorance of the Ultimate Reality. Sumbha and Nisumbha represent two aspects of Sattva. Demons of Malas, Avarana, and Vikshepa have been slain along with Tamasa and Rajasa gunas. What is left is Sattva which by itself is good because the person is virtuous. Plain virtue is not enough for God-realization. The aspirant has not attained Reality because two other demons have to be killed: Complacency and ignorance of Reality, which are compared to the glass ceiling. To attain transcendent Reality one has to rise above all three mundane Gunas, Tamas, Rajas, and Sattva (Darkness, motion and passion, and virtue). By removing ignorance, Mahasarasvati helps in attaining this Wisdom which facilitates breaking through the glass ceiling. The end result is Realization of the Ultimate (Self-Realization).
We have risen above Prakriti, its three gunas and killed the demons of six sins, demons in the form of desires and ignorance to reach the Ultimate reality. This is in essence the lesson imparted by Devi Mahatmyam.
The term glass ceiling (officially known as 'vertical segregation') refers to the observation that top-level management in businesses consist predominantly, if not exclusively, of a certain demographic (e.g., white heterosexual men). A "ceiling" is suggested because persons outside the dominant demographic group are supposedly limited in how far they are able to advance inside the organization ranks; the ceiling is "glass" (transparent) because the limitation is not immediately apparent. The "glass ceiling" is distinguished from formal barriers to advancement, such as education or experience requirements. The existence of the glass ceiling is frequently cited as a failure of existing anti-discrimination action.---Wikipedia.
The First Chapter, The Slaying of Madhu and Kaitabha.
Meditation on Mahakali
I meditate on three-eyed Mahakali brilliant like a blue jewel, decked with ornaments, and praised and beseeched by Brahma to kill Madhu and Kaitabha when Vishnu was in Yogic sleep; she had ten faces and ten legs, holding in her hands the sword, discus, mace, bow and arrows, club, human head and conch.
Makandeya tells his disciple Krasustuki: "The eighth Manu is Savarni, the son of Savarna and Surya. By the grace of Mahamaya, he became the eighth Manvantara. I will tell you about his birth. "
Mahamaya: Devi is Mahamaya, meaning she exercises Maya to create this world. Devi minus Maya is Nirguna Brahman; Devi plus Maya is Saguna Brahman. Nirguna is noumenal, without attributes and beyond phenomenon. Saguna Brahman is God with attributes.
Comment: Manvantara: Manu + Antara = Manu + between = between two Manus = the period between two Manus. The beginning of the period is presided over by Root Manu; the end by Seed Manu. Between the Terminal Seed Manu and the next Root Manu there is dissolution or Pralaya. Here is another interpretation. Each Manu's rule lasts for a Manvantara ( Manv + Antara = Manu + antara = Manu + period = period of Manu). Each Manvantara lasts for 4,320,000 solar years. Out of the fourteen, we are now ruled by Manu Vaivasvata, the seventh in line.
Age of a god = 4,320,00 years (4.32 million)
Age of Brahma = age of god X 1000 = 4,320,000,000 (4.32 billion); his day and night are of this equal duration. His total life span is 8.64 billion years. He is middle-aged now.
King Suratha of Caitra dynasty ruled the whole world in the period of Svarocisa, who was the 2nd Manu among the fourteen. There are 14 Manus. The Manus are
1) SvaymbhU, the Self-Existent;
2) SvArocisa, son of Akuti (daughter of number 1)
3) Auttami (Uttama)
7) Vaivasvata (AKA Satyavrata) The present Manu and the son of Vivasvat, the sun.
8) SAvarna, brother of Vaivasvata
13) Raucya (son of Rishi Ruci and the Apsaras MAlini)
14) Bhautya (son of Muni BhUti)
The aboriginal Kolas were the enemies of king Suratha, who sustained a defeat at the hands of a smaller army of Kolas and retreated to his own city and country. Knowing the weakness of the vulnerable king, the ministers robbed him blind and nearly emptied the treasury. The military machine, humiliated by the Kolas, dissipated from high attrition. The king decided to take some time for reflection away from the cauldron of conspiracy, deceit and danger and announced that he was leaving for a long overdue hunt. In the forest, he came across intellectually gifted sage, Medhas living in a hermitage among peace-loving wild animals. Yet thoughts of kingdom, his royal elephant, treasury, evil servants and ministers continued to roil his mind. He was particularly distressed to know of the squandering by the ministers of carefully accumulated wealth.
He saw a visitor to the hermitage paying respects to the Brahmana sage. He appeared equally distressed, burdened and afflicted with grief and depression. He talked to him in a kindly manner and felt a sense of empathy and brotherhood. The visitor poured out his story of woe and no weal as follows. "My name is SamAdhi belonging to a merchant class. My sons and and my wife ejected me out of my my own house. Their greed and spendthrift ways depleted my wealth, without which my value and worth to my family suffered. Here I am not knowing the welfare of my sons and my wife."
The king wondered aloud, " How is it that you bear such love, concern, and affection to the very wife and children who squandered your wealth and threw you out of your own house?"
The merchant replied to the king, "That very thought occurred to me many times. I don't have a steely mind and resolve. I love them though they hurt me. How is it, O king, that I love this worthless family? I am abandoned, feel depressed and dejected. How could I steel my mind against the ingrates?
Both of them together came to Medhas, paid obeisance and showed reverence. After some conversation on unrelated subjects, the king said to the sage, "O Sage, I have some questions for you and earnestly wish that you offer some advice and provide answers. My sorrow is beyond control of rational thinking. I lost my kingdom; I lost my wealth; I still cannot get the kingdom out of mind. I know I am an ignoramus. Take this merchant. His wife and children abandoned him after squandering his wealth and yet he loves them. Both the merchant and I, unhappy at our lot, are in love with people not worthy of our love. How could such a paradox exist? What kind of a delusion are we suffering from? We lost our power of discrimination (the power to separate the Real from the unreal). "
The learned Rishi showed every sign of deep interest in their plight. He said, " Knowledge comes from senses. The senses of animals and human beings are similar in many ways. Eating, sleeping, procreation, fear, fight or flight are some of the common traits. Take the birds. A mother bird knows it is hungry and yet keeps on dropping the grains into the open beaks of the ravenous chicks. It has the knowledge and yet is full of delusion. Human being are no different from birds. Their attachment to and longing for their children and wife are replete with expectations of reciprocity of similar feelings from them. Mahamaya is the cause of such delusion, the world and attachment. Look no further. Mahamaya is Yoganidra of Vishnu (The power of Vishnu is always of female connotation; her other name is Bhagavati.) It is she who deludes this world. (There is a reason why she gave us this delusion. Our soul is covered with impurities. The embodied soul takes birth in this world to attend the school of hard knocks, so that the impurities ripen and fall off resulting in a pristine soul, acceptance by the Mother Goddess, and liberation.) Mahamaya has the power to force even the most sagacious one into a world of delusion. She is creatrix of this world of the mobile and the immobile. She is also the liberator from the world of delusion, by giving boons and Moksa. She is eternal with no beginning, middle or end; She is the Supreme Knowledge; She is the architect of the transmigration of the soul in this world of Samsara; She is Sarveshvareshvari (the Empress of all, Saraveshvari = the Goddess of all, Empress of all)."
The king said to the sage, O Your reverence, Who is Mahamaya? How did she come into existence? What does she do? What are her nature and form? Where did he come from? We want to know all this from you, O the best among the knowers of Brahman.
The Rishi replied to the king and the merchant as follows. "She is the polar opposite of temporality; She is eternal in its true sense; She is the Universe, which She pervades through and through. She takes incarnation in this world on behalf of the Devas. The universe becomes one ocean at the end of a Kalpa (aeon); Vishnu goes into Yoganidra on serpent Sesha; at this inopportune time of suspended animation, two Asuras (the enemies of Suras, gods) crawl out of the cerumen (earwax) of Vishnu's ears. As they emerged from the dark recess of the ears, the first being they saw was god Brahma sitting imperially and yet of sheepishly meek disposition, on the lotus flower balanced on a stalk emerging from Vishnu's navel. Brahma, apparently threatened by these demons, saw Vishnu and Yoganidra residing in Vishnu's eyes. (Vishnu goes into cosmic yogic sleep (Yoganidra = meditation sleep) after the deluge on serpent Adisesha. Yoganidra is a personified goddess (a form of Durga), residing in the eyes of Vishnu. Her arrival into Vishnu marks the onset of Yoganidra and her departure awakens Vishnu to start the cycle of creation, preservation and destruction.) Brahma tried very hard to wake up Vishnu but could not budge Yoganidra. He started praying to Yoganidra to take leave of Vishnu, so that he would be rescued from the two demons by awake Vishnu. The prayerful pleading worked; Yoganidra, the empress of the cosmos, the supporter of the worlds, the preserver and destroyer of the universe, packed up and left; Vishnu woke up.
In Yogis, Yoganidra is light sleep characterized by withdrawal from the external stimuli of the outer world, meditation in peace, tranquility and bliss and yet preservation of the full spectrum of mental faculties. H.H.Wilson in his translation of Vishnu Purana says the following. "Yoganidra is the sleep of devotion and abstraction, the active principle of illusion, personified, and also termed Maya and the Mahamaya, also Avidya or ignorance. She is Durga, Sakti or bride of of Siva." She is Ignorance because She binds the soul with Pasas and Malas (bonds and impurities). She is also the sister of Vishnu/Krishna. Sacred literature says that Parvati (and her many manifestations) is the sister of Vishnu.
Adisesha is the First Remainders meaning the Primeval residue consisting of Spiritual substance (Consciousness) left over from the previous cosmic Manvantara after the dissolution (Pralaya) and which serves as the progenitor substance of the new universe. This Consciousness substance is represented by the bed of coiled snake with hood, upon which Mahavishnu goes into Yoganidra until the new world is ready to be created. After destruction and before creation what is left (the residue) is the Consciousness-Substance (the snake that sheds the skin and makes a new appearance), represented by Sesha.
Once Destruction is complete, Vishnu takes Yoganidra (Yogic Sleep with awareness) on Serpent bed. He is then called Sesasaayi Vishnu.
Brahma praises Yoganidra as follows. Your are SvAhA, Svadha, VashatkAra, Svara, SudhA, three-lettered mantra (AUM), half a MAtrA, Savitri and the Supreme Mother of Devas. You are indescribable.
SvAhA = Hail; may a blessing rest on; an exclamation used in making oblations to the gods; an oblation offered to Agni, Indra. Oblation personified as a daughter of Daksha and PrasUti, and wife of Agni, who presides over the burnt-offerings; SvAhA is the terminal word or constant in Mantras uttered during oblations. SvAhA is deified as UmA, consort of Siva and sister of Vishnu.
SvadhA = self-power; power that comes from inside; offering to Pitrs, forefathers.
VashatkAra: the One for whom Vasat is performed; the receiver of Oblations in Yagna.
Svara: The goddess is Herself sacrifice, oblation, offering and the heaven as the reward.
SudhA: Good drink, beverage of gods, nectar, Ambrosia, meaning immortality.
SAvitri: This is the Savitri, mentioned as Savitur in Gayatri Mantra. It is Sun; some pundits parse the word and say the following. Savitur is derived from Su meaning to go or move. Savitur is thus the impeller, the mover.... Savitur is the One who provides the Light to the sun.
You bear this world, You created this world, You protect this world, You destroy this world. You are Mahavidya (Great Knowledge), Mahamaya (Great Illusion), Mahamedha (Great Intelligence and wisdom), Mahasmriti (Great Memory), MahAdevi (Great goddess), Mahesvari (Great Goddess). Some texts says she is MahAsuri (Great demoness).
You are the origin of everything to which You applied the three qualities of Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas--GunatrayavibhAvinI. You are the KAlarAtri, the dark night of dissolution. You are MahArAtri, the Great Night of Final dissolution. You are MoharAtri, Night of delusion. You are endowed with auspicious qualities (good fortune, all signs of intelligence and knowledge, bashfulness, sustenance, contentment, Shanti (peace and tranquility), forbearance). You are Khadgini (wielder of the sword), ShUlini (Trident Wielder), GhOrA Gadini (Wielder of vlub), Chakrini (wielder of Discus), Shankini (holder of Conch), and wielder of bows and arrows, slings, and mace. You are terrible and yet beautiful and pleasing. You are Paramesvari, Supreme Master and Lord.
You are the power behind and Soul in all. You are beyond my adoration. Vishnu who creates, maintains and swallows the world goes into sleep on your account. No one can eulogize you in a fitting manner. You created us, Vishnu, myself and Siva in corporeal form. Thus spoke Brahma to Devi. You Great Goddess, I plead, should exercise your supreme power and cast a spell on these two Asuras, Madhu and Kaitabha. Please wake up Vishnu, the ruler of the world, and stir him into action so these two great Asuras meet their death at the hands of Vishnu.
The Rishi continue to narrate the story. Brahma, sitting on the lotus flower balanced on the stalk coming out of Vishnu's navel, eulogized Devi and pleaded that she woke Him up for annihilation of Madhu and Kaitabha. Devi knowing the imminence of threat exited the eyes, mouth, nose, arms, heart, and chest of Vishnu and appeared before Brahma. Janardhana (Vishnu) thus dispossessed of Yoganidra Devi woke up, sat up on the serpent couch floating on the Cosmic Ocean and looked at the evil-looking fiery-eyed Asuras attempting to devour tremulous Brahma. Vishnu descended from His couch and fought with the Asuras for five thousand years with His bare arms. The Asuras fortified with immense power fell into the net of delusion of Mahamaya, challenged Vishnu and provoked Him by saying, "A boon to you, any time you ask." Bhagavan Vishnu knowing the airy arrogance of the Asuras, said with utmost composure, "Now that you are happy to confer a boon on Me, You must be ready to die in my hands. What other boon is necessary here? Take my boon; that is my final offer to you."
The Rishi continued to tell the story. These two Asuras, possessed by delusion of Mahamaya, morphed into water and challenged the lotus-eyes Bhagavan Vishnu. The talking waters said, " Here we are drenching the whole earth with water. Kill us on the spot where the earth is dry." Their arrogance reached a pinnacle of overbearing audacity. Vishnu said to the morons, "So be it." Bhagavan the Supreme Wielder of Conch, Discus, and Mace picked them up, placed them on the dry bed of his loin, cut the heads instantly with His discus and let them roll. (His loin was the dry earth because His body is earth besides other elements.) Mahamaya appeared before Bhagavan Vishnu as Brahma was drenching Bhagavan with eulogies.
End of the First Chapter, The Slaying of Madhu and Kaitabha.
Chapter Two: Slaying of the armies of Mahisasura
Meditation on Mahalakshmi
I meditate on lotus-seated Mahalakshmi, the killer of demon Mahisasura, of the color of coral, holding in her eighteen hands rosary, axe, mace, arrow, thunderbolt, lotus, bow, pitcher, staff, Sakti, sword, shield, conch, bell, wine cup, trident, noose, and the Sudarsana discus.
Tiff between the Suras and Asuras escalated into a full-blown war for a hundred years, Indra being the chief of the former and Mahisasura, the latter. The intrepid Asuras easily defeated the Suras and captured the heaven, displaced Indra and installed Mahisasura as the chief of heaven.
The defeated Suras (gods) and the creator Brahma went to Siva and Vishnu and gave them an earful of what happened at the battle and the installation of Mahisasura as the Lord of heaven.
Mahisasura made Surya, Indra, Agni, Vayu, Chandra, Yama and Varuna subordinate to him and ejected the other Devas out of heaven, who wander on earth like mortal men. Now that you know all that happened, we seek refuge with you both. Please work out a solution to bring destruction to Mahisasura and the Asuras.
Vishnu and Siva, having heard the tales of woe from the Devas and Brahma became angry and looked fierce. A great Light emanated from the faces of Vishnu, Siva, and Brahma and from the bodies of Indra and other Devas. The Light from all coalesced, appeared like a blazing mountain emitting flames in all directions, and took a female form. Siva's Tejas became the face, Yama's her hair, Vishnu's her arms, Chandra's her twin breasts, Indra's her waist, earth's her hips, Varuna's her thighs and lower legs, Brahma's her feet, Surya's her toes, Vasu's her fingers, Kubera's her nose, Prajapati's her teeth, Agni's her three eyes, the Sandhyas' her eyebrows, Vayu's her ears, and the light from other Devas her auspicious qualities.
The oppressed Devas looking at the coalesced Light became very ECSTATIC. Siva gave a trident emerging from His own Trident, Vishnu a discus that emerged from His Discus, Varuna a conch, Agni a spear, MAruta a bow and two quivers of arrows, Indra a thunderbolt emerging from His own Thunderbolt and a bell emerging from the bell of Airavata elephant, Yama a staff emerging from His own Staff, the Lord of water a noose, Brahma a necklace of beads and water container, Surya his own radiant rays on all the pores of her skin, , KAla a sword and a shield, the milk ocean a necklace, a pair of earrings, bracelets, a half-moon tiara, bangles, anklets, rings for her fingers, Visvakarman a shiny axe, weapons, body armor, the oceans fade-free lotuses, Himavat a lion to ride on, Kubera a goblet always full of wine, and Sesa a serpent necklace. Having received Tejas, weapons, and gifts from all gods, Devi emitted a loud roar and defiant peels of laughter. The earth shook, the oceans roiled, the sky was rent, the air reverberated, and the mountains trembled. The Rishis eulogized and Her. The tumult and thunderous laughter reached the enemies of the gods, whose armies came together with raised weapons. Mahisasura's ears were ringing with the thunderous laughter, ran towards the source with a battalion of Asuras and saw a radian Devi lighting up the three worlds, causing deep indentations of the earth under footsteps, and scraping the sky with her crown. The Netherworlds trembled, as she plucked the bowstrings; flailing her thousand arms she scratched all ten quarters. The battle between the Suras and Asuras began in right earnest; the glistening weapons lit up the sky. Mahisasura's generals (Ciksura and Camara) led a four-pronged attack on gods with cavalry, chariots, elephants and foot-soldiers. Udagra, a great Asura deployed 60 thousand chariots; not to be outdone, Mahahanu ten million chariots; Baskala 6 million chariots; and Asiloman with piercing hairs 15 million chariots. parivarita brought many thousands of elephants and horses and ten million chariots to the battlefield to fight the Suras. Bidala was no less of a warrior and brought 5 billion (500 hundred crores) chariots.
Mahisasura looked around and saw millions of horses, elephants, and chariots. The Asuras used all kinds of weapons against Devi including axes, clubs, javelins, maces... They were no match Devi's valor. She sent a downpour of weapons to the Asuras killing them; the celestials, gods and sages poured showers of eulogies on Her. The lion, Her mount, shook its mane terrorizing the Asuras and moved like forest fire among them. Every heave and breath of Devi became many battalions of fighting Matrakas, whose every swat, poke, strike, stab, blow, slash, smash brought death to millions of Asuras. It was a festival of death with blowing conches, beating drums, playing tabors, and pealing bells. The tridents and spears skewered them; the javelins pierced and staked them to the ground; the flailing swords cut and rolled many heads. The flying nooses of Devi bound and dragged the Asuras. Her merciless sword cut them into two halves and in every which way one can imagine. The smashing mace pulverized the contactees; the killer hammer sprang streams of blood from wayward Asuras. The piercing arrows morphed the Asuras into porcupines dying a thousand deaths. Her trident flawlessly pierced the hearts at every lunge and throw. Devi's weapons seemed to have a life of their own and never failed to extinguish its object. The gory of battle laid there in its stark spectacle: broken necks, rolling heads, dismembered arms and legs, limbless and headless trunks, one-eyed heads... Some looked liked cloves with head, trunk and one leg. some were walking headless and danced to music. The rolling heads were talking to Devi, "STOP, STOP." (now you know where the expression, 'Talking Heads' came from.) Mountains of dead elephants and horses, heaps of dead Asuras, piles of broken chariots marked the battlefield. Rivers of blood were flowing amidst this debris of war. The Lion with its quivering mane, thundering roar, and death-defying gait went straight at extinguishing the life-breath of Asuras. The Devas continued to send torrents of panegyric hymns on Devi.
This is the end of second chapter, Slaying of the armies of Mahisasura.
The Third Chapter, The Slaying of Mahisasura
General Ciksura, seeing his army decimated by Devi sent a downpour of arrows on Ambika as the clouds would rain on the summit of mount Meru. Devi broke all incoming arrows, killed his horses and the chariot driver with her arrows. Devi's frontal assault broke the bow, brought down the flag, pierced his body with numerous arrows, reduced the chariot into a heap of debris, and killed the horses. Standing alone and facing Devi, Ciksura rushed forward with the sword and shield, and hit the lion on the head and Devi on her left hand with his sword, which shattered into million pieces. He launched on Devi his pike, which looked like the sun in its effulgence; Devi countered his move with her own pike and shattered the general's into many pieces. With the pike went down General Ciksura in bits and pieces ending in his death.
Camara came rushing towards Devi launching his spear and pike which Devi shattered adroitly. The lion jumped on the elephant's head engaged Camara in paw-to-hand combat; both rolled off the elephant on the ground; the lion jumped off the ground and landed a paw punch on to the neck and severed the head.
Udagra sustained death as Devi threw stones, trees ... Devi slapped, cuffed and bit Karala to death; pulverized Uddhata with the club; darted Baskala and shot and killed Tamara and Andhaka with arrows. Three-eyed Devi launched trident and killed Ugrasya, Ugravirya and Mahahanu. Bidala died by her sword, Durdhara and Durmukha by her arrows.
Now enter Mahisasura in his buffalo form terrifying Devi's troops. Some were whipped by his tail, some were gored by his horns, some were pushed down by his muzzle, some were trodden by his hooves, some were blown away by his breath, and some were thrown down by his whirling movement. It was a one-bull stampede.
He shook the earth with his stomping hooves, gored the mountains with his horns, created tsunami waves by his whipping tail, rent the clouds with his leaping horns, and rolled the mountains with breath.
Mahisasura proceeded to kill the lion of Mahadevi and Devi, who cast her noose, bound and immobilized him and yet he escaped her noose by morphing into a lion. Ambika sliced the head of the demon-lion and he came back alive as a man with the sword and shield, Before she could kill him, he morphed into an elephant. ( All this morphing is considered as the fleeting desires of the mind.) The elephant-demon pulled the lion of Devi with his trunk; promptly, she cut off the trunk with her sword. The Asura reverted to the buffalo form and shook the three worlds. Devi was becoming angry with rage so much so that she drank pints after pints of wine. The buffalo-demon broke the mountains and tossed the crags on Chandika. Her face turned red and she pulverized the rocks with her arrows.
Devi said to him, "Roar if you must; take a little rest while I imbibe my wine; When it is all done and over, the Devas will be roaring on the very ground you are standing; your end is near."
Having pronounced thus, Devi jumped on him, choked his neck with her foot and speared him. His human form began to emerge from the buffalo mouth but could not complete the transformation because the breath of life was cut off. And yet he would not give up; he fought with his half form. Devi's smote on the head with her sword did the last rite to him. The rest of his army died crying; the Devas were in ecstatic mood. The Gandharvas sang; their wives, the Apsaras danced; the Devas and the sages showered praises on Devi.
This is the end of third chapter, the death of Mahisasura.
The fifth chapter: Eulogy of Devimahatmya by Sakara and others
The brave Mahisasura and his army died in the hands of Devi. Indra and the gods praised Devi by bending their heads, neck and shoulders in reverence with their hair standing on end. They said in chorus, " Salutation to Ambika, worthy of worship by all Devas and sages; She pervades this universe with her power; She is the corporeal form of all powers of all Devas, who bow their head in devotion; may she grant us our wishes. Her greatness and Tejas are beyond description even by Brahma, Vishnu and Hara. May she apply her mind to protecting the universe and destroying the demons. You bring weal and fortune in the house of the virtuous, woe and devastation in the house of evil, intelligence in the hearts of the learned, faith and devotion in the hearts of the good, humility and modesty in the hearts of the twice-born. May you give refuge to the universe. Your form is beyond description; your valor is unsurpassed; your exploits on the battlefield are a wonder to the Devas. You are the creator of this universe. You have Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas and yet you do not have deficiencies associated with them. Even Vishnu and Siva cannot fathom your greatness. You are the refuge for all. This universe came from an infinite iota of your being. You are the primordial Prakrti. You are immutable. You are Svaha and Svadha.
Notes: She is all gunas and yet she is beyond gunas. It is like the heat in the sun, which the sun does not feel.