The story of Sandhya & her marriage with Vasishta – Shiva Purana
This is the story of Sandhya i.e., dawn and dusk. The upper half of her body became the Prataḥ Sandhya (dawn) and the lower half of her body became the Shyaṃ Sandhya (dusk). Before the sunrise, when the day breaks, the period is called Prataḥ Sandhya (dawn). It delights the Gods. When the sun has set and assumed the hue of a red lotus, the period of Shyaṃ Sandhya (dusk) sets in. It is delightful to the manes.
A beautiful woman was born of the mind of Brahma. She was variously called Sandhya, Divakṣanta, Sayaṃ Sandhya and Jayantika, she was very beautiful with finely shaped eyebrows capable of captivating the minds of even sages. Sandhya performed a penance on the mountain Candrbhaga, cast off her body and was reborn as Arundhati, the daughter of the excellent sage Medhatithi.
Arundhati performed sacred rites as guided by Vasishta, the mental son of Brahma. Vasishta advised her to meditate silently on Shiva, the sole first cause of all the worlds with the mantra ““Oṃ Namaḥ Saṃkaraya Oṃ”. Vasishta advised her to take only water in the first and second Ṣaṣṭakalas (a period of 4 hrs.) and to observe complete fast [without even taking water] in third Sastakala. The rites were to be performed at the end of each Ṣaṣṭakala. Sandhya worshipped Shiva with the mantra and performed penance as per procedure explained by Vasishta.
A period of four Yugas elapsed during which she continued her great penance with mind fixed and duly concentrated on Shiva. Propitiated by her penance Shiva was greatly delighted. He revealed Himself to her within and without as well as in the heaven. Shiva became visible to her in the form in which she was meditating upon him. She rejoiced much on seeing in front of her, the lord Shiva with face beaming with delight, in the same form as she was meditating on. As she remained with eyes shut, Shiva entered her heart and blessed her with divine wisdom, divine speech, and divine eyes. She thus acquired divine wisdom, divine eyes, and divine speech. Directly perceiving the lord of Durga, she eulogized the lord Shiva.
Sandhya said: --
When Shiva vanished after granting her the boons, Sandhya too went to the place where Medhatithi was performing sacrifice. She entered the sacrificial hall without being observed by anyone. Meditating on that Brahmachari Vasishta, her tutor in the mode of austerities, Sandhya thought of him as her future husband, and entered the blazing sacrificial fire unobserved by the sages.
The god of fire sent forth her body to the pure zone of the sun. The sun severed her body into two halves and placed the same on his own chariot for the propitiation of the Pitṛs and the Devas. The upper half of her body became the Prataḥ Sandhya (dawn) and the lower half of her body became the Shyaṃ Sandhya (dusk). Before the sunrise, when the day breaks, the period is called Prataḥ Sandhya. It delights the Gods. When the sun has set and assumed the hue of a red lotus, the period of Shyaṃ Sandhya sets in. It is delightful to the manes.
At the end of the sacrifice, the sage found his daughter in the sacrificial pit shining lustrously like heated gold. With very great delight the sage took up the daughter, as though she were a sacrificial article. He bathed her and kept her on his lap. The great sage gave her the name Arundhati. Surrounded by his disciples he celebrated the event joyously. The word Arundhati means “one who does not hinder sacred rites in any manner whatsoever”. She acquired this name which later became well-known in the three worlds.
The divine lady grew up in the hermitage, Tapasaraṇya, on the banks of the river—Candrabhaga. When she reached her fifth year, the chaste lady sanctified the environs of the Tapasaraṇya and the river Candrabhaga, by virtue of her good qualities. Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva got her marriage celebrated with Vasiṣṭha, the son of Brahma. She secured Vasiṣṭha and bore the auspicious sons Shakti etc.
Reference: Shiva purana, Rudra-saṃhita, Sati Khanda, Chapter 5, 6 & 7
Story of Engagement of Parvati with Shiva – Shiva Purana
Gods eulogised mother goddess of universe who is the personified energy of the gods Vishnu, Brahma, and Rudra, representing the three qualities Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. On being eulogised by Gods, the mother goddess said, “I shall take a full incarnation on the earth. Later, Sati became the daughter of Himalaya and Mena. On being advised by Narada, the goddess was named Parvati. Narada informed them about her auspicious signs and that Her husband will be a naked Yogi, nirguna. On hearing Narada’s words, both Mena and Himalaya were much distressed.
Mena wished to perform the marriage of her daughter with a handsome bridegroom. But Himalaya said: --
“The sage’s statement will never be false. If you feel affectionate towards your daughter, zealously instruct your daughter. Let her perform the penance with Shiva as the object, devotedly and steadily. If Shiva is delighted, He will marry her. Everything shall be auspicious.”
Discussions of Shiva & Parvati:
When a few days passed by, lord Shiva came there and said: --
“I have come to perform penance in secret on your top. Make arrangements so that my penance can be conducted without obstacles.”
Himalaya said: --
“O lord, my daughter who is eager to serve you, I have brought here with a desire to propitiate you. Let her serve you, the benefactor, for ever, along with two of her maids. O lord, if you wish to bless me, please permit her.”
On hearing his words, the great lord of the gods broke His meditation, opened His eyes, thought a little and spoke. Lord Shiva said: --
“O mountain, you shall come every day to see me, leaving your daughter in your abode. Otherwise, I cannot be seen. I am an ascetic, a yogi, never affected by illusion. O mountain, by contact with a woman, worldliness springs up; non-attachment perishes, and the virtuous penance is destroyed.”
Parvati said: --
“O Yogi, you perform this great penance because you possess the energy of penance. Your intellect is inclined to perform penance because you are a noble soul. That energy is the Prakriti, the cause of all activities. Everything is created, sustained, and destroyed by it. You are worthy of the worship, respect, and meditation of all living beings for ever, thanks to Prakriti.” Shiva laughed and said: -
“I am destroying the Prakriti with my great penance. I remain without Prakriti. Indeed, Prakriti should not be taken in by good people. They should remain unaffected eschewing all worldly conduct.”
Parvati said. --
O lord Shiva, based on what you said how can that Prakriti ceases to exist and how can you be considered beyond that Prakriti? All these (the universe etc) are bound by Prakriti continuously. Hence you shall not say anything, not do anything. Know that speaking, doing etc. is a Prakriti activity. Without me, you are attribute less and incompetent to perform any activity.
On hearing these words of Parvati based on the Samkhya system, Shiva replied to her, upholding the Vedanta’s point of view. Lord Shiva said: --
If I am the Brahman, the supreme lord, unsullied by illusion, comprehensible through spiritual knowledge and the master of illusion what will you do then?
Then, Shiva with the permission of Himalaya started penance there. Parvati approached Shiva every day with two maids for serving Him with devotion. Parvati served Him every day with great devotion, always thinking on the form of that Great Soul.
Kama reduced to ashes:
In the meantime, Indra, other gods and the sages, being harassed by Taraka demon, eagerly sent Kama there at the bidding of Brahma to unite Parvati and Shiva in love. After reaching there Kama tried all his tricks but Shiva was not at all agitated. He reduced Kama to ashes and vanished from there.
Penance of Parvati:
When Shiva had vanished after burning Kama, Parvati became extremely agitated due to His separation. Then, Narada asked Parvati to propitiate Him by performing a great penance. Narada taught her the five-syllabled mantra of Shiva (Om Namah Shivay) in accordance with the sacred law and informed that it yields all cherished desires, bestows all worldly pleasures and salvation, and appeals much to Shiva.
She performed penance in the excellent holy centre Shṛngitirtha which (later) acquired the title “Gauri-Shikhara due to her performance of penance thereon. Fixing her mind in Shiva alone she remained firm and steady. She gradually reduced her food intake and spent three thousand years in the penance-grove performing penance. Due to Parvati’s penance, the universe started scorching.
Consent for marriage by Shiva with Parvati:
Vishnu accompanied by Brahma & other deities went to Shiva. Vishnu said: --
“O Shiva, all the gods have come here to submit to you their misery perpetrated mysteriously by Taraka. The demon Taraka will be killed only by your self-begotten son and not otherwise. Accept Parvati for marriage. She is full of noble attributes.”
Shiva said: --
“If goddess Parvati, the most beautiful lady was to be accepted by me, she will be able to resuscitate Kama on account of the marriage. Then all the gods, sages and ascetics will become lusty and incompetent in the great path of Yoga. Kama was burnt by me for the achievement of universal goal. May you all stay free from lust certainly along with me. So, you can be endowed with the supreme bliss and be free from aberrations by means of spiritual contemplation. Kama leads to hell; lust to anger, anger to delusion and delusion destroys penance.”
Shiva became quiet after resorting to meditation again. The gods eulogised Shiva with many piteous entreaties. Shiva said: — “O, Vishnu, O Brahma, O Indra, and other gods, why have you all collectively come here in my presence? Tell me the truth.”
Vishnu said: --
“O Shiva, many kinds of miseries have befallen us due to the demon Taraka. It is for that that you have been propitiated by the gods. On hearing the words of the gods, Shiva said: --
“I know the sufferings you undergo from the demon Taraka. I shall remove them. Although I am not interested at all in dalliance, I shall marry Parvati for begetting a son.”
Test of Parvati:
Shiva asked Vasishta and other six celestial sages to conduct the test the resolve of Parvati to marry him. The sages went to Gauri-Shikara and said her: --
“Why do you perform this penance? Which God do you wish to propitiate? For what purpose? Please tell us now.”
Parvati said: --
“At the behest of the celestial sage I am performing this steady penance with the desire that Rudra be my husband.”
On hearing her words, the sages honoured Parvati mentally with pleasure but spoke these deceptive false words laughingly. The sages said: --
Narada is a quibbler. He misleads others. They narrate her, how Narada misled sons of Daksha. At his instance, they never went back home to their father. At another instance, there was a Vidyadhara named Chitraketu. The sage instructed him and made him detached from his house. He bestowed his instructions on Prahlada and made him suffer much at the hands of Hiraṇyakashipu.
He is a person who splits others’ intellect. Whomsoever this sage advocates his philosophy, very pleasing to the ears, generally the same person discards his hearth and home and begins to beg for alms. You too who are honoured by the wise have followed his advice and thus become a fool. That is why you are performing this severe penance.
The trident-bearing Shiva has an inauspicious body, is free from shame and has no home or pedigree. He is naked and ill-featured. He associates with ghosts and goblins and the like. At first, he married Sati, the chaste daughter of Dakṣha, eagerly but he could not maintain the household even for a few days.
He is single without a second and without attachment. He is after salvation, how can a woman put up with him. Cast off this foolish intention. You will benefit thereby. A befitting bridegroom for you is lord Vishnu endowed with all good qualities. He is a resident of Vaikuṇṭha, lord of wealth and is skilled in sports. O Parvati, with him we shall fix your marriage that will confer all happiness on you. On hearing these words, Parvati, the mother of the universe, laughed and spoke to the wise sages. Parvati said: --
“O excellent sages, what you have said may be true according to your light and wisdom; but O brahmins, my tenacity cannot be affected. When you glorify Vishnu as the abode of noble qualities or as a sportive deity I do not contradict. As to your statement that Sadashiv is devoid of attributes, I shall tell you the reason. Shiva is Brahman, unchanging and without aberration. He assumes shapes and forms for the welfare of his devotees. He does not make a show of worldly lordship. Shiva is a supreme bliss personified and an Avadhuta in form. The lord is devoid of attributes, unborn, free from illusion, of invisible movement and a cosmic Being. Shiva does not shower His blessings on the ground of faith, caste etc. I know Shiva truly only through the blessings of the preceptor. O brahmins, if Shiva does not marry me, I shall remain for ever a virgin. Truth, I tell you the truth.”
After saying thus and bowing to those sages, the daughter of the mountain stopped and remembered Shiva with an unruffled mind. On realising the resoluteness of Parvati, the sages hailed her and bestowed excellent blessings upon her. They immediately returned to Shiva’s abode.
The sages said to Shiva: --
“Please invite and summon Vishnu with his retinue, Brahma with his sons, lord Indra,70 all the sages, Yakṣas, Gandharvas, Kinnaras, Siddhas, Vidyadharas, heavenly nymphs and others. All of them will jointly accomplish everything for you. There is no doubt about it. Go to the abode of Himalaya and marry Parvati in accordance with the customs for the sake of a son.”
Saying this and taking His permission the seven sages joyfully returned to their abodes praising the way of Shiva.
Himalaya on the urge of brothers & relatives, caused the letter of betrothal (engagement) to be written by Garga, his priest. He despatched the letter of betrothal to Shiva along with articles of homage through his kinsmen. Those people arrived at Kailash and handed over the letter to Shiva after applying the holy mark on his forehead. After being duly honoured by the lord, they returned highly delighted to the penance of the mountain.
The dialogues of Shiva and Parvati have lucidly explained the concepts of Samkhya and Vedanta and their relevance in human life.
Chapters 21 to 37 in Parvati Khanda of Shiva Purana
The story of birth of Sati & wedding with Shiva – Shiva Purana
Brahma ji did laudatory prayers to Goddess Durga and sought her blessings to take birth as Daksha’s daughter and become Rudra’s wife for the benefit of the universe.
Daksha begot of his wife sixty daughters. He performed their marriages with Dharma and others. Daksha gave ten of his daughters duly in marriage to Dharma, thirteen to Kashyap the sage, and twenty-seven to the moon. He gave two daughters each to Bhṛgu, Angiras and Kṛsasva. The other daughters were given to Tarkṣya. The sons and grandsons and descendants of these filled the three worlds. A detailed narration is not attempted here.
Birth of Sati:
After the birth of his daughter (Sati), Daksha Prajapati and his wife meditated on the mother of the universe with pleasure. Daksha, on seeing Sati blooming in the proper age thought within— “How shall I give my daughter to Shiva?” She too desired to attain Shiva. Her desire grew every day. After knowing her father’s idea, she approached her mother. Sati, the great Goddess of wide intellect, sought the permission of her mother to perform the penance with Shiva as the goal, for the happiness of her mother Viriṇi. Firmly resolved in her desire to secure Shiva as her husband, she propitiated him in her own house with the permission of her mother. She worshipped Shiva with great devotion and offered cooked rice with jaggery & gingelly seeds, Belva fruits & leaves, Palash, Daman & Brhati flowers, sacred threads & cloths. Keeping strict control over her diet and repeating various mantras she worshipped Shiva with different fruits, flowers and leaves fresh and readily available. The Goddess Sati who had assumed human form out of her will, became firmly devoted to the worship of Shiva on every day and month. Concluding all the sacred rites of Nanda, Sati began to meditate on Shiva with concentrated devotion. She was steady and she never thought of anyone else. She was completely engrossed in meditating on Shiva. She had reached the stage of the enlightened seers.
Eulogy of Shiva by Brahma, Vishnu & other deities and Shiva agreeing to marry:
Brahma, Vishnu & other deities approached Shiva with great joy and lauded Him with various hymns: -
After eulogising the great lord, all the Devas, Vishnu and others, stood silently in front of the lord with their shoulders stooping down with great devotion. On seeing Brahma and Vishnu in the company of their consorts, Shiva addressed them suitably and asked them the purpose of their visit.
Brahma said: --
O bull-emblemed deity, we have come here particularly for your sake. O great lord, some demons are to be killed by me, some by Vishnu, some by you and some of them would be killed by your son. The universe can attain peace and fearlessness only after destroying the demons. Though our real form is one, we are different in as much as our activities are different. If there is no functional difference, the difference in forms is meaningless. The same supreme Atman, lord Shiva manifests in three different ways due to Maya. The lord is independent in his divine sports. Vishnu and I have become united with our wives for the performance of our function. For the benefit of the universe, for the happiness of the devas, you must accept an auspicious lady as your wife. O great lord, you yourself as Shiva mentioned this to us formerly, “Brahma is the cause of creation, Vishnu is sustainer. I shall be the cause of dissolution in the form of Rudra, a Saguṇa form. I shall marry a woman and perform the excellent function.”
O Shiva, accept a beloved wife as a life companion in the same manner as Vishnu has taken the Goddess of the lotus (Lakshmi) and I have taken the goddess of speech. On hearing these words, Shiva spoke with his face beaming with a smile.
Shiva said: --
O Brahma, O Vishnu, both of you are always dear to me. On seeing you both, my delight is enhanced indeed. It is not proper for me to marry as I am detached from the world and engaged in penance. I always practise Yoga. Of what avail is a beloved to me in this world since I am in the path of abstinence delighting myself in my own soul, freed of attachment, unsullied, with the body of an ascetic, possessed of knowledge, seeing himself, free from aberrations and a non-reveller. Besides I am always unclean and inauspicious. Hence say now what can I do with a loving wife? Even as I am engaged in Yoga, I experience the mystic Bliss. Only a man devoid of perfect knowledge will make much of marriage and desire it. Considering your weighty words for the fulfilment of my promise and the goal of my task, I shall marry. She must be a Yogini when I practise Yoga and a loving woman when I indulge in love. There is another condition to which please also listen, O Brahma. If she evinces a disbelief in me or in what I say, I shall abandon her.
Brahma said: --
She is Uma. Formerly she manifested herself in the forms of Sarasvati and Lakshmi in order to fulfil her task. Lakshmi became the wife of Vishnu and Sarasvati mine. From her desire for the welfare of the world she has taken a third form. She is born now as Daksha’s daughter in the name of Sati. O lord, she will be an ideal wife. At present she is performing penance for securing you. She is firm in her austere rites. She desires you as her husband. Indeed, she is highly brilliant. Grant her the desired boon. Then lovingly marry her.
Vishnu said: --
O great lord, the lord of devas, marrying her please make the three worlds blessed with a leader with benignant look.
Sati granted the boon:
In the Hindu month of Ashvin (September-October), Sati observed a fast on the eighth day of the bright half and worshipped Shiva with great devotion. When her Nanda rites were concluded on the ninth day (Navami), while she was engrossed in meditation, Shiva became visible to her. On seeing Shiva directly, she bent her head from shyness, and she knelt at his feet.
Shiva said: --
O daughter of Daksha, of good rites, I am delighted by these rites you have observed. Choose a boon. I shall grant it whatever it may be. Suppressing her bashfulness when Sati spoke “As you please give unto me, O bestower of boons, the desired boon or the bridegroom of my desire, without any hindrance,”, did not wait for the completion of her request and said— “you be my wife.” She was highly delighted on obtaining the boon (or bridegroom) stationed in her mind.
Sati said: --
O great lord of Devas, lord of the universe, please take me with due marital rites in the presence of my father.
On hearing these words of Sati, Shiva, favourably disposed to His devotees, glanced lovingly at her and said— “So be it.” After receiving His consent, she returned to her mother with a fascinating gaiety. Shiva also returned to His hermitage. The parents who obtained the news through her friends were very glad and celebrated a great festival.
Sati’s marriage with Shiva:
While Daksha was constantly thinking of the procedure of handing over his daughter to Shiva, Brahma appeared and Daksha to offer his daughter to Shiva for whom she has been intended. On hearing these words of mine, my son Daksha was highly delighted. He said delightfully. “It is so. It is so.” Then, Brahma informed Shiva, Daksha has said “My daughter shall go to Him. She has been intended for Him. This has been my desire.” Rudra said to Brahma, “I shall go to his house accompanied by you and Narada. Remember your mental as well as physical sons—Marici and others. O Brahma, with all my attendants and with them I shall go to Daksha’s house.”
In the bright half of the month of Chaitra (March-April) on the thirteenth day when the star was Uttara Phalguna on a Sunday, lord Shiva started. The hides of elephant and tiger, the serpents, the crescent moon and the matted hair, all became fitting ornaments and embellishments at Shiva’s will. Then, Shiva reached Daksha’s abode seated on his speedy bull and along with Vishnu and others.
With great humility and boundless joy, Daksha along with his people welcomed Him. Then Daksha took Shiva within the house along with the devas and the sages. After performing the suitable worship, Daksha in the presence of respectable sages announced the marriage agreement. Then Daksha said to Brahma, his father, “the marriage rites shall be performed by you.” Then preliminary rites were performed. Daksha joyfully gave his daughter Sati to Shiva. There were great festivities
with songs and dances. Everything concluded auspiciously.
Then, Shiva said: — “O Brahma, all the rites of marriage have been performed extremely well. I am pleased. You officiated as the priest. What shall I give you as the nuptial fee?
Brahma said: --
“O lord of Devas, if you are pleased, please do as I request you with pleasure. For the purification of men from sins you will please stay for ever in this altar in this self-same form. If anyone visits this holy site on the thirteenth day in the bright half of Chaitra (March-April) when the star is Uttar Phalguna and the day is Sunday, may all his sins be quelled O Shiva; may his merits increase and may his ailments disappear. On hearing these words of mine, Shiva was pleased, and He said, “Let it be so”. After saying this, the Shiva in the company of his wife stayed in the middle of the altar creating a partial image of Himself. With the joyous consent of Daksha, Shiva seated Sati on the bull and then sitting Himself on it went to the Himalayan ridges. Vishnu, as also the Gods and sages with joyful beaming faces returned to their respective abodes.
Reference: Shiv Purana, Sati Khanda, Chapter – 14 to 18
The story of Narada and his arrogance – Shiva Purana
Once Narada the excellent sage, son of Brahma was inclined to perform penance. He found a beautiful cave (very convenient for penance) in Himalayan Mountain, near which a celestial river was flowing the leading sage. He performed the penance for a long time, seated firmly and steadily, keeping silent, controlling the breath and retaining the purity of the intellect, doing meditation and contemplation wherein the realisation “I am Brahman” is generated leading to the direct perception of Brahman.
When the great sage Narada was performing penance, Indra, the leader of deities doubted Narada’s intention and thought that the sage was yearning for his kingdom. To spoil the Narada’s penance, he commanded Kamadeva (Cupid). Kamadeva, accompanied by his wife (Rati) and Madhu, his friend, went to that place and employed all his arts. Spring too haughtily spread his prowess of diverse nature. But the mind of the sage (Narada) did not waver.
The mind of Narada did not waver, reason being, it was the very place where Shiva performed great penance. Shiva reduced the Kamadeva to ashes here who used to spoil the penances of sages. Rati wanted the resuscitation of Kama and requested the Deities. They appealed to Shiva, the benefactor of the whole world who said: after some time, Kama will come to life again. But none of his tricks will succeed here. It was due to this, Kama’s viles did not prevail upon Narada. Kamadeva went to Indra and narrated him his unsuccess. Indra was unaware of the true facts and was greatly surprised and he admired Narada.
After realising that his penance was complete, Narada concluded the same. Thinking that he had conquered Kamadeva, he was filled with pride. He was devoid of true knowledge and deluded by Shiva’s maya. Narada went to Kailasa to expatiate on his own achievement. Bowing down to Rudra, the sage arrogantly spoke about his conquest of Kama. On hearing it, Shiva advised Narada, “you are blessed, but never speak like this anywhere else, especially in the presence of Viṣhṇu”.
But Narada who was still under the influence of Shiva’s Maya did not take up his advice. Then the great sage went to Brahma’s loka. After saluting Brahma, he told him about his conquest of Kama as a result of his penance. On hearing that, Brahma meditated on Shiva’s feet and knew thereby the true cause. He then forbade his son.
Narada did not still take up the advice of Brahma. Then, Narada hastened to Viṣhṇuloka to boast of his achievement to Viṣhṇu. When Viṣhṇu saw Narada approaching, he could guess the purpose of his visit. He said, “you are blessed. I am sanctified by your visit. May I know where you come from and why you have come?” On hearing these words of Viṣhṇu, the sage Narada felt elated. He narrated his story in the same haughty manner. On hearing the arrogant words of the sage, Viṣhṇu remembered the lotus-like feet of Shiva and understood the true cause. He said, “O foremost among sages, you are blessed. You are the storehouse of austerities and large-hearted. O sage, lust and delusion rise only in the heart of that man who is devoid of the three types of devotion. Base passions bring all sorts of miseries instantly. But you are vowed to perpetual celibacy. You are ever endowed with knowledge and devoted to non-attachment. Unaffected by passion and highly intelligent by nature how can you be swayed by lust?”
On hearing words like these, Narada laughed within himself but spoke to Viṣhṇu humbly. He said, “what can Kama do to me if you remain favourable to me?” Saying so, the sage bowed to Viṣhṇu and left.
When Narada went away, Vishnu ji with his Maya created a big wonderful city. It was far more beautiful than heaven. The wealthy and prosperous king of that city named Silanidhi was preparing for the gorgeous celebration of Svayaṃvara (selection process of bridegroom) of his daughter. Brilliant princes coming from all the four quarters eager to court the princess. On seeing such a splendid city, Narada was enchanted. With his love kindled, he eagerly went to the palace threshold. When the sage reached the palace the king Śilanidhi adored him and offered him a seat on the splendid throne. He called his daughter Srimati and asked her to kneel down at the feet of Narada. He informed Narada, “her daughter has attained the marriageable age. She is in search of a qualified bridegroom”. He asked the sage to foretell her destiny.
By the time, Narada became an agitated victim of love and desired her. He said, “your daughter is endowed with all qualities. Her future husband will certainly be a splendid God, lord of all, unvanquished, heroic, on a par with Shiva, and Vying with Kamadeva”. Having said this, Narada took leave of the king. Narada who was agitated by love, went to Viṣhṇuloka somehow to acquire Viṣhṇu’s form to captivate her. He narrated his affair to Vishnu and requested his favour with a splendid form. On hearing these words of the sage Viṣhṇu, blessed the sage with a form like his own and the face of Hari (i.e., the monkey since the word Hari means a monkey also).
The great sage Narada hastened to the place where Svayaṃvara was to be held and where the princes had assembled. With his mind surging with love, he began to think, “She will choose only me since I am in Vishnu’s form”. The poor sage did not know the ugly character of his face. Considering the sage, a fool, the two attendants of Rudra sat near the sage and began to mock at him. The sage overwhelmed by love did not heed their whisper. He went on gazing at the princess Srimati and was eager to get her. In the meantime, the princess had come out and went in search of a suitable bridegroom went round the hall with the garland in her hands. On seeing the sage with the face of a monkey and the body of Vishnu she was infuriated. Failing to find a bridegroom of her choice she was afraid. She did not put the garland round the neck of anyone. Meanwhile Vishnu came there in the guise of a king. He was not seen by anyone. Only the princess saw him. Then on seeing Vishnu, she put the garland round his neck. The sage oppressed by love became excessively agitated.
The attendants said to Narada, “being deluded by love, you are desirous of getting her. Your effort is in vain. See, your face is as despicable as that of a monkey”. On hearing their words Narada was surprised. Deluded by Shiva’s maya he looked into a mirror. On seeing his face like that of a monkey he became infuriated. The deluded sage cursed the two attendants. Narada said, “Since you had mocked at me, you will become demons born of Brahminical semen and of that form”. Then, he went to Vishnuloka. Narada said to Vishnu ji, “you made me distressed for the sake of woman. O Hari, you shall experience misery in that human form which you imitated while proceeding with your deceptive tactics. Your allies will be those whose face you assigned to me. You shall get the misery of separation from a woman. You shall have the travails of a human being deluded by ignorance.” Thus Narada, deluded himself by ignorance, cursed Hari. Vishnu quietly accepted the curse praising the Maya of Sambhu. Thereafter Shiva withdrew his enchanting Maya whereby Narada became wise (as before) and free from delusion.
When the Maya vanished, he became as intelligent as before regaining perfect knowledge and becoming free from distress. He was surprised (at his own action in the meantime). He cursed himself after repenting again and again. On realising his mistakes due to illusion, Narada, the most excellent of the devotees of Vishnu, fell at his feet. He said, “O lord, I heaped curses on you. O master, please make them ineffective. I have committed a great sin. Certainly, I will be falling into a hell.”
Vishnu said, “deluded by your haughtiness you disobeyed the instructions of Shiva. The true bestower of fruits according to the actions, He has given you this result. Everything has happened in accordance with Shiva’s wish. He removes haughtiness. He is the supreme Brahman; the supreme Ātman, Existence, Knowledge and Bliss. He is free from the three Guṇas, changes and deviations. He is beyond Rajas, Sattva and Tamas. He is both Saguṇa and Nirguṇa (with and without attributes). He Himself availing of his own Maya manifests into three forms—Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh. Different from Maya, the pure Being in the form of Shiva is the Sakṣin (cosmic witness) and moving about according to His Will and indulging in divine sport He blesses his devotees. O sage Narada, please listen to a good remedy that bestows happiness, removes all sins and yields worldly pleasures and salvation. Cast off all your doubts. Sing the songs of noble glory of Shiva. With your mind not turning to anything else, always repeat the hundred names of Shiva and his hymns. By his Japa all of your sins will perish instantaneously. O sage, perform His adoration. Worship him always. Hear and sing his glory. Perpetually pay Him homage. He who approaches Śiva by means of his body, mind and speech is a great scholar. He is called a living liberated soul. The sins which are at the root of worldly existence are destroyed certainly by the axe of Shiva’s name. It is my conviction that salvation is easy of access only to the person who has exclusive and unflinching devotion for Shiva and not for any other. After bowing to him and eulogising Him you will become free from all doubts. Thereafter you must go to Brahmaloka to achieve your wishes. After bowing to and specifically eulogising your father Brahma, you shall ask him many points regarding Shiva’s greatness with an endearing mind. Brahma, the foremost among the devotees of Shiva, will narrate to you the greatness of Shiva as well as the hymn of hundred names, out of love. After advising the sage Vishnu was pleased. Remembering, saluting and eulogising Shiva he vanished from that place.”
when Vishnu vanished, Narada roamed over the Earth seeing Shiva Lingas (in the various holy centres) with piety. On knowing that Narada of divine vision was wandering over the Earth, the two attendants of Shiva approached him who by that time had become pure in mind. They bowed to him and touched his feet. With a desire to secure release from the curse they spoke to him respectfully. The attendants of Shiva said, “O celestial sage, son of Brahma, we, your former offenders, are the attendants of Shiva. Induced by Shiva, you had cursed us when your mind was deluded by the illusory infatuation for the princess at the Svayaṃvara. No one is to be blamed for it. O lord, be pleased. Bless us now.” The sage replied lovingly, repenting (for his previous fury). Narada said, “O attendants of Lord Shiva, formerly my mind had been depraved. Certainly, it was Śiva’s will. In that state of delusion and crookedness of the mind I had unfortunately cursed both of you. What I have said is bound to happen. Still, I shall tell you the way of redemption from the curse. Please forgive my sin now. You will be born as demons from the semen virile of a great sage and due to his power, you will secure the commanding position of the king of demons endowed with prosperity, strength and valorous exploits. You will rule over whole of the universe as devotees of Shiva with your sense conquered. You will gain your former position after courting death at the hands of another form of Vishnu.”
Arrogance or the pride of superiority rests on the premise on the fear to be ordinary person. It attempts to fill our inner emptiness with ego rather than allowing that emptiness to blossom into humility. If we can allow ourselves to be at the same level of importance as others: not higher, despite our gifts, and not lower, despite our defects—Just ordinary – It will be the antidote to arrogance.
All the malice, pains and miseries trace to the ego and ignorance. Anger, jealousy, arrogance……originate basically from ego. 1. Shrimad Bhagavad Gita (chapter 5.7) declares, the qualified karma yogi is one who pure in his heart, who has controlled his mind and his senses overcomes his egoistic thinking and limited vision.
Reference: Shiva Purana, Second Samhita - Rudra-saṃhita: Sṛṣṭi-khaṇḍa, Chapter 2, 3, 4 & 5
In the city of Kampilya, there was a Somayaji family. Their son named Yajnadatta was an adept in the performance of sacrifice. He knew Vedas and Vedangas. He was a great scholar of Vedanta etc. He was honoured by the king. He was a liberal-minded donor and as such his fame had spread far and wide. His son (Guṇanidhi) was of a very handsome complexion. After the investiture with the sacred thread, he learned all the eight lore repeatedly. Yet, unknown to his father he indulged in gambling. He took plenty of sums from his mother and gave them over to other gamblers.
He eschewed all Brahminical ways and conduct of life. He was averse to the performance of Sandhya prayers and ceremonial ablutions. He began to speak ill of the Vedas, sacred texts, devas and brahmins. He did not follow the conventions and injunctions of the Smṛti code, He indulged in singing and playing. Actors, heretics etc. were his beloved friends.
Although his mother wanted him to meet his father now and then, he never went near his father. Engaged in extra-domestic activities Yajnadatta used to ask his wife “what is our son Guṇanidhi doing? He is not at home.” Then the woman used to say, “He has gone out just now. The poor woman since she had only one son deceived her husband thus. All sacred rites ending with Kesa Karma were performed in the sixteenth year of the son. Thereafter Yajnadatta performed the marriage rite of the son in accordance with the rules prescribed in the Gṛhya Sutras.
Her mother said to Gunanidhi, “your father is surely a great man, but he is of rash temperament. If he comes to know of your activities, he will beat you and will not spare me too. I conceal your nefarious activities from your father every day. Due to his good conduct and his affluent circumstances, he is honoured by all the people. Dear child, a good learning and association with men of saintly character constitute a great asset for brahmins. How is it that you do not gladly take interest in such things? Your ancestors and grandfathers had all earned the reputation of being good Vedic scholars, well learned in Sastras, and performers of sacrifices, especially Soma yagas. Shun the company of the wicked people, associate with good men, turn your attention to good learning and strictly adhere to Brahminical conventions. Emulate your father in form, fame and traditional activity. Why don’t you feel ashamed? Cast off your wickedness. You are nineteen now. This girl is sixteen years old. She is a good girl. Take her. Protect her. Your maternal uncles too are matchless in learning, conduct and pedigree and other things. You are not afraid even of them. Your paternal and maternal lineages are equally pure. See the brahmin boys of your neighbourhood. Even in our house see the disciples of your father. How humbly do they behave? Dear son, if the king hears of your evil propensities, he will cease to respect your father and may even suspend the regular maintenance allowance. Till now people used to call your activities the foolish blunders of an ignorant boy. Hereafter they may take away the traditional title of Dikṣita. People will curse and cavil at your father and me saying such evil words as “The son has adopted the wickedness of the mother. Your father has never been a sinner. He strictly follows the path of the Vedas and Smṛtis. Powerful indeed is Fate whence a boy like you is born of my womb!”
Although constantly advised thus by his mother, the wicked boy did not abandon his evil ways. For, an idiot indulging in vice is beyond redemption. Who is he that is not broken up by the evil influences of hunting, wine, slander, untruth, theft, gambling and prostitutes? The wicked fellow (Guṇanidhi) used to lay his hands on whatever he could see in the house, a cloth, a base metal etc. and take it to the gambling den, there to lose the same to his brother gamblers. Once he stole a very valuable ring of his father set with precious stones and gave it to one the of gamblers. It chanced that one day the Dikṣita saw it in the hand of the gambler. He asked the fellow — “Where did you get this ring from?” First the gambler did not say anything. When repeatedly asked he said — “O brahmin, you are unnecessarily accusing me of theft. It was your son who gave it to me. On the previous day I had won his mother’s upper garment. Do not think that I alone was the winner of this ring. He has lost many costly things to other gamblers as well. He has thus given gems, metals, silk garments, vessels, golden vases, and different sorts of copper and bell metal pots. In the whole world you cannot see such a useless poor gambler as he (your son). How is it that till now, O brahmin, you have not realised that your son is a ringleader of base gamblers, very clever in misdemeanour and unfair means? On hearing these words, the poor Dikṣita’s head bent down with shame. He covered his face and head with a cloth and quietly slipped back into his house. Yajjnadatta, the sacrificer, well versed in Vedic rites spoke thus to his wife who was a very chaste lady.
Yajnadatta said: — O mistress! where is that gambling rogue of a son, Guṇanidhi? Or let it be. Why should I ask for him? Where is that auspicious ring which you took off at the time of applying unguents on my body? Bring it quickly and give it to me. The mistress was frightened at these words. While she was engaged in arranging for bath and midday sacred rites she replied— “I am busy arranging the various articles of offerings for worship. While I was busy cooking the pudding, I kept the ring somewhere in some vessel just now. What a pity! I have forgotten it. I do not know where it has been kept.
Dikṣita said: — O truthful lady who has given birth to a base boy, whenever I asked “Where has the son gone?” you used to say, “Dear lord, just now he has gone out after finishing his lesson of the Vedas, in the company of two or three friends for revision of the lesson”. Where is your silk saree red like madder which I had presented to you and which used to hang down here in the house always? Tell me the truth. Do not be afraid. That gem-set golden vase which I had given you is also missing. That tripod with a velvet cushion which I had given you is nowhere to be seen. Where is that bell metal pot made in the South? Where is that copper pot made in Bengal? Where is that ivory casket intended for curios and trinkets? Where is that wonderfully fine statuette of a lady lighting a lamp, shining like the moon, and brought from the hilly province? Why should I unnecessarily speak much? O lady of a noble family, it is futile to be angry with you. I shall take food -only after I marry again! I am childless now since that wicked fellow has defiled the whole family. Get up and fetch me some water. Let me offer libations to him with gingelly seeds. Better to be issueless than have a wicked son who defiles the entire family. It is the traditional policy to abandon one to save the family. The Brahmana took his bath, performed his daily rites and married the daughter of a Vedic scholar the same day.”
Guṇanidhi, the son of the Dikṣita Yajnadatta, came to know of this. Regretfully he cursed himself and set off from that place. After wandering aimlessly for a long time, he, the wicked fellow, felt the abandonment keenly and losing all hopes halted at a place. He thought to himself: “Where am I to go? What shall I do? I have not studied much, nor am I rich enough. Only a wealthy man can be happy in a foreign land, although he has to face the fear of thieves there. I am born in the family of priests officiating in sacrifices. Why am I reduced to this wretched plight? Fate is powerful indeed, controlling all our future actions. I cannot even beg as I have no acquaintance, no money. Where shall I seek refuge? Every day, even before sunrise, my mother used to feed me with sweet pudding. Today whom shall I beg? My mother too is away from me.”
In the meantime, a certain devotee of Lord Shiva came out of the city taking with him various articles of offering. The devotee entered the temple of Shiva where he worshipped Him in the prescribed manner with sincere devotion. The brahmin boy, son of Yajnadatta, devoid of his mother and dismissed by his father, was very hungry by this time. He inhaled the sweet fragrance of the sweet puddings and followed the devotee. “If fortunately, these devotees of Shiva go to sleep after offering the eatables to Śiva, I shall eat these vast varieties of puddings and sweets in the night”. With this hope he sat at the threshold of the temple of Shiva watching the great worship by the devotee.
When the worship was over, the songs and dances of prayer were duly concluded, the devotees lay down and began to sleep. Immediately the young man entered the sanctum sanctorum of Shiva to steal the eatables left there. The lamp was burning very dimly. Hence to see the puddings clearly, he tore a piece of cloth from his lower garment and put that piece in the lamp as a wick thus making the lamp give a good light. Yajnadatta’s son gleefully took plenty of the sweets offered as eatables to Lord Shiva by the devotees. With sweets in his hands, he came out hurriedly. In his hurry he stamped on some person lying there who woke up immediately. “Who is that? Who is running away so fast? Catch him.” So shouted the man who woke up in a voice hoarse with fear. The brahmin boy (Guṇanidhi) who ran for life became blind. So, he was caught and killed by the watchmen on duty.
By the favour of Shiva or by the power of accumulated merit, the son of Yajnadatta could not partake of the offerings of eatables made to Lord Shiva. The terrible soldiers of Yama who desired to take him to Saṃyamani (the abode of Yama), approached him with nooses and clubs in their hands and bound him. In the meantime, the attendants of Shiva with tridents in their hands and tinkling anklets on their arms reached the spot in an aerial chariot in order to take him to Shivaloka. Shivagaṇas said: — “O attendants of Yama, leave this righteous brahmin alone. He cannot be punished since his sins have been burnt off.”
On hearing these words of Shiva’s attendants, the attendants of Yama became terrified and addressed the attendants of Shiva: Yamagaṇas said: — “O Gaṇas, this is a wicked brahmin who has broken the traditions and conventions of his family. He has disobeyed his father’s directions and has forsaken truthfulness or purity. He does not offer his Sandhya prayers. He does not take his ceremonial baths regularly. Leave aside his other activities. He has now transgressed and outraged the offerings of eatables made to Shiva. You can see this personally. In fact, he is not worthy of even being touched by people like you. Those who consume or outrage the offerings of eatables made to Shiva and those who offer these to others, the mere touch of these persons, it is said, is sinful. Even poison is not so dangerous when drunk. Never shall a person make use of Shiva’s property even if he were to die. It is granted that you are an authority on virtue. We are not. But O Gaṇas, if this fellow has at least a bit of virtue to his credit, please let us hear the same”.
On hearing these words of Yama’s attendants, the attendants of Shiva remembered the lotus-like feet of Shiva and spoke to them thus: — Shiva’s attendants said: - “O Attendants of Yama, Shiva’s ideas of Dharma are very subtle. They can be observed only by persons of subtle and keen vision, not by people like you whose aim is only the gross exterior. O Gaṇas, hear attentively what this son of Yajnadatta has done which has freed him from sins. The shadow of the lamp was falling on the top of the linga and this brahmin prevented it by adding a wick to the lamp at night, cutting a piece from his lower cloth. Another great merit he derived from listening to the names of Shiva, though casually, O attendants. He witnessed the worship that was being performed duly by a devotee. He was observing a fast and his mind was concentrated too. Let him go to Shivaloka along with us. As Shiva’s follower let him enjoy great pleasures there for some time. Then he will shake off his sins and become the king of Kalinga since he has indeed become a great favourite of Shiva. Nothing else need be mentioned now. Let all of you, emissaries of Yama, return to your own world with contented minds.” On hearing these words of Shiva’s attendants, the emissaries of Yama returned to Yama’s abode.
Dharmaraja said: — “O Gaṇas, listen attentively to what I say. Whatever I direct you to do, you shall do with loving devotion. O Gaṇas, you shall avoid those persons who bear on their forehead the mark of Tripuṇḍra besmeared with white ashes, persons who regularly dust their body with white ashes, persons who assume the garb and features of Shiva, persons who wear Rudrakṣas and keep matted hair, persons who imitate the dress or the features of Shiva, even for their livelihood or for the purpose of deception. Never shall they be brought here.”
Thus, freed from the emissaries of Yama, the brahmin boy became pure-minded and went to Shivaloka along with the attendants of Shiva. There he served Shiva and Parvati and enjoyed all sorts of pleasures. Afterwards he was born as the son of Arindama, the king of Kalinga. Known as Dama he was devoted to the service of Shiva. Even as a boy he carried on many acts of devotion to Shiva in the company of other children. When his father passed away, he became the king in the prime of his youth. In his kingdom he spread the ideals and tenets of Shiva lovingly. The king Dama was unconquerable. He stressed on furnishing temples of Shiva with lamps in plenty. Every temple was duly illuminated. With this act of piety alone, till he lived, the king Dama acquired ample prosperity. Finally, he passed away.
Spiritual Significance: A visit to temple, listening of prayers particularly at the time dying, accepting prasada and wearing the marks of Shiva (Tripundra, Rudraksas and white ash on body, can overweigh demerits done in lifetime.
Reference: Shiva Purana, Rudra-saṃhita: Sṛṣṭi-khaṇḍa Chapter 17 & 18
The story of dispute of Brahma and Vishnu – Shiva Purana
In Shiva Purana, the story of birth of Brahma ji and dispute with Vishnu ji has been written. The story has been told by Brahma ji to sages.
Brahma ji said to sages, “When Sri Narayana continued into to sleep amidst the waters, an excellent lotus of huge size came out of his navel as desired by Shiva. It was very beautiful with the brilliance of ten million suns. Shiva with Parvati created me from His right limb and placed through the umbilical lotus of Vishnu. Thus, it was that I came to be known as Lotus-born and conceived in a golden womb. I had four faces, red complexion and Tripuṇḍra-marked forehead. I was eager to go up on to the top of the lotus but could not reach. Then I heard an auspicious voice – perform penance. On hearing the voice of the sky, I exerted myself for twelve years in performing a terrible penance in order to see my progenitor. At the same time, the four-armed Sri Vishnu of beautiful eyes suddenly appeared before me in order to bless me. He was holding the conch, the discus, the mace and the lotus in his hands. He was wearing the yellow silken cloth and had cloud-blue complexion all over his body. He had a crown. He was bedecked in great ornaments. His lotus-like face beamed with pleasure.” (Ch-7 /Sh.1-19)
Vishnu said, “Welcome, welcome to you, dear child, O Pitamaha of great brilliance. Do not be afraid. Undoubtedly, I shall confer on you all that you desire.” (Ch-7 /Sh.26)
Brahma said, “how is it that you speak of me trivially as - Dear child, me who am the cause of annihilation of everything, as a preceptor addresses his disciple?” Roused by the Rajoguna, Brahma further said, I am the creator of worlds, the direct activator of Prakriti, unborn, the eternal, all-pervasive Brahma. I am born of Vishnu. I am the soul of universe, the originator, creator, and the lotus-eyed. You must explain to me quickly why you speak like this. The Vedas speak of me invariably as self-born, unborn, all-pervasive, grandfather, self-governed and the excellent supreme Being.” (Ch-7 /Sh.28-32)
Vishnu said, “I know you, for the sake of creation of the world and support you are descended from my un-decaying limbs. You have forgotten me, the supreme soul, invoked by many, praised by many, all-pervasive, imperishable, ruler, the source and origin of universe, the long armed and the omnipresent lord. There is no doubt in this that you are born of the lotus from my umbilicus. I am the creator, sustainer and destroyer. There is no powerful person equal to me. I am the supreme Brahman, the greatest Truth. I am the greatest light. It was I who created the twenty-four manifest Tattvas. I have created the atoms. I have created the attributes. I have created the Intellect and the threefold Ego therein. I have evolved the five subtle elements, the mind, the body and the sense-organs. I have created the five elements Ether etc. and all created beings out of sheer sport. Realising this, O Brahma, seek refuge in me. I shall certainly protect you from all miseries.” (Ch-7 /Sh.33-42)
Brahma said, “On hearing these words, I, proud of being Brahma, became angry. Being deluded by illusion in a threatening attitude I asked him, who are you? Why do you talk so much? You are neither the lord, nor the supreme Brahman. There must be a creator of yours. Deluded by the illusion, I fought a terrific battle with Vishnu. Meanwhile a phallic image appeared before us in order to enlighten us and to settle out dispute. It had no beginning, middle or end. It was as furious as hundreds of the fire of death with thousands of leaping rows of flames. It was unequalled, inexpressible unmanifest universal Being. The Vishnu became unconscious by its thousand flames. When I too became senseless, Vishnu said to me. Oh, why do you contend with me now? A third person has now come. Let our quarrel cease. Let us examine this fire-Being. I shall go down to find the root of this matchless column of fire. You will please go up to examine its top.” (Ch-7 /Sh.43-52)
Brahma continues the story, “Vishnu assumed the form of a Boar. I became a swan immediately. Very white of complexion and endowed with wings on either side I flew up and up with the speed of the mind and wind. The body of Narayana was white & as huge as the mountain Meru. He had white sharp teeth. His brilliance resembled the sun at the time of dissolution. His snort was long and his roar tremendous. His feet were short. His limbs were of diverse colours. His form as the boar was of matchless firmness which assured his eagerness to be victorious, and he went down quickly. For a thousand years his downward course continued. The Boar did not find even the smallest trace of the root of the Linga. I too spent the same time in going up. I exerted myself and was exhausted. Unable to see the top I came down after some time. Similarly, lord Vishnu too became weary. He too rose up. He stood aside with a gloomy mind as he too was deluded by the illusion of Shiva. We bowed down to Linga at His back, sides and in front. Both of us, Hari and I, became eager to perform obeisance. Thus, performing obeisance and prayer to quell our earlier pride, we spent a hundred autumns therein.” (Ch-7 /Sh.54-69)
Brahma said, “we were eager to have a vision of the Supreme Brahman. Our haughtiness had been curbed. We waited there patiently. There arose the sound “Oṃ Oṃ” in the prolate accent. It was very clear. What shall be this great sound? Thinking like this I stood perplexed. Vishnu saw the eternal being’s manifestation on the right side of the Linga. First, he saw the syllable “A” and he saw the syllable “U” thereafter. He saw the syllable “M” in the middle and Nada (the mystical sound) in the form “Om” in the end. He saw the first syllable on the right like the blazing sphere of the sun. Thereafter he saw the syllable “U” dazzling like fire. In the middle he saw the syllable “M” glittering like the lunar sphere. Above that what he saw was the supreme Brahman, the greatest refuge. It was the pure Being beyond the Fourth (Turiya), the unsullied & free from extraneous harassment. It was single (isolated), void, free from exterior and interior though stationed in the exterior and the interior, devoid of beginning, middle and end, the primordial cause of Bliss, the truth, The Bliss and the Nectar. Vishnu thus meditated on the universal soul enveloped by the two Vedic sounds and wished to examine the source whence the Fire-column arose and to go deep down the unequalled fiery column. Then there came a sage who told him the essence of the truth. Vishnu realised that the sage himself was the great lord and the supreme Brahman embodied in the Sabda Brahman. (i.e., the mystic syllable Om). (Ch- 8/Sh.1-13)
The single syllable “A” is the source of the lord Brahma. The single syllable “U” is the source of Vishnu, the ultimate cause. The single syllable “M” is the source of Rudra. (Ch-8 /Sh.16-17)
Shiva revealed his form embedded in letters. The mantra beginning with Oṃkara with its Kalas five in number, consisting of the auspicious thirty-eight syllables, being pure as crystal, increases intelligence and is an effective medium of accomplishing sacred rites. The mantras in the Gayatri metre of twenty-four syllables and having four Kalas are conducive to enjoyment. The five-syllabled mantra of eight Kalas consisting of thirty syllables is employed for black magic. Mantras of Yajurveda consisting of twenty-five syllables and eight Kalas are used for conciliatory purpose. The mantra of thirteen Kalas consisting of sixty-one syllables is conducive to outcome, increase and destruction. The lord Vishnu secured these five mantras: —Mṛtyunjaya mantra, five-syllabled mantra, Chintamaṇi mantra, Dakṣiṇamurti mantra and the “tattvamasi” mantra which is Hara’s Mahavakya. Lord Vishnu performed Japa by means of these mantras. The lord Vishnu and I being glad at heart eulogised the boon-bestowing lord Shiva with appropriate words,—Shiva who was seen in the form of Kalas, Varṇas (syllables), Ṛk, Yajus, Saman, Īshana, Isa, Puratana Puruṣa (the ancient Being), the merciful, pleasing to the heart, hidden from all, ever auspicious, a great deity, of beautiful feet, bedecked with huge serpents, with legs, eyes and hands extending on all sides, the lord of Brahma, and the cause of creation, sustenance and destruction of the world.” (Ch-8 /Sh.41-53)
Brahma said, “On hearing his own eulogy from the mouth of Vishnu, the delighted Shiva revealed Himself along with his consort. He had five faces and three eyes, and the crescent moon on his forehead. He wore matted hair. He was white-complexioned and had wide eyes. His body had been dusted with the ashes. He had ten arms. His neck was blue in colour. Shiva, the merciful, who was delighted breathed the Vedas into Vishnu and conferred Perfect Knowledge on him, the secret of the supreme Atman.” (Ch-9/Sh. 1-6)
Shiva said to Vishnu, on asking about his worship:
“Worship my Linga and do always meditate upon the form which you see just before you. When I am worshipped in the phallic form I will be delighted and will bestow different benefits upon all people, all that they wish for in their minds. Whenever any misery befalls you, it shall be destroyed when my Linga is worshipped. You two are born of my own Prakriti, out of my left and right sides. I am the lord of everything. This Brahma, grandfather for all people, is born of my right side. You, Vishnu, are born of my left side. I am the supreme Atman. Delighted I shall confer boons and whatever you desire. May your devotion to me be steady. With my permission you can make my form in clay and perform adoration. After rendering different kinds of service like this sensibly you shall attain happiness. O Brahma, strictly adhering to my direction you carry on the work of creation. Dear child, dear Hari, you shall sustain the mobile and the immobile beings.”
Vishnu said, “O Sankara, the ocean of mercy, the lord of the universe, be pleased to hear. I shall do all these things strictly adhering to your behests. The rite of the worship of the Linga is instituted ever since in the world. Shiva installed in the Linga bestows worldly pleasures and salvation.” (Ch-10/Sh.27)
The story of dispute of Brahma and Vishnu symbolizes the disputes seen in the material world. Lord Buddha categorized pride into seven forms. One of the categories is “Pride by judging others” i.e., by comparing oneself with the people around, one become either too arrogant or too shy, depending upon one’s false judgement about others as well as oneself. Bhagavad Gita has listed humility or absence of pride as first virtue (13.7).
In fact, Supreme Consciousness reveals itself into non-matter (Jivatma) and matter (Prakriti), which take the form of material and living world. There is a principle of oneness among the constituents of this world. Hence, there is no cause for dispute.
Reference: Shiva Purana, Second Samhita - Rudra-saṃhita: Sṛṣṭi-khaṇḍa, Chapter: 7,8 and 9.
The Story of slaying of Shumbha & Nishumbha – Sri Durga Saptashati (Chapter 9 & 10)
On hearing that Dhumralochana, Chaṇḍa, Munda and Raktabija were killed by the goddess, the great Asura of commendable valour ordered his invincible followers who were thrilled at the very mention of the war. At my behest the Daityas born of the race of Kalaka have all assembled here with their armies and along with Kalakeyas, Mauryas, Daurhṛdas and others. Let them march on with hopes of victory.
After ordering the demons, Shumbha and Nishumbha mounted on their chariots and set out. Their armies too followed them like swarms of moths rising from a mountain for their destruction. Mṛdangas, Mardalas, Bherikas, Diṇḍimas, Jharjharas and Anakas were sounded. The warmongers rejoiced in the battleground. Those who wore afraid fled away for their life. Glad in their martial dress the soldiers came in their healthy spirits to the battleground. Holding various weapons and missiles they teased one another each eager for his victory. Soldiers on elephants, looked at the enemy with indifference. In the company of the lord of Asuras they rejoiced in the battle. The sound arising from the guns rose up repeatedly making the gods tremble. A great darkness enveloped the sky. Even the chariot of the sun was not visible. Foot-soldiers set out in excessive numbers desirous of victory. Soldiers in chariots, on horsebacks, elephants and others set out joyously in crores and crores. The rutting elephants like massive black mountains spread their trumpeting sound in the battlefield. Camels resembling small hills produced hoarse sounds from their throats.
On seeing the army of the enemy advancing thus, Ambika kept her bow well-strung. She sounded her bell that distressed the enemy. The lion too shook his manes and roared. Seeing her bedecked in fine ornaments, holding weapons and stationed on the Himalaya Mountain Nishumbha spoke words full of sentiments like a man clever in understanding the emotions of beautiful women. “Even a petal of the Malate (Jasmine) flower thrown on the beautiful body of women like you may distress you. O goddess, how will you carry on a terrible war with the self-same handsome body of yours?”
After saying thus, the great Asura became silent. Chaṇḍika spoke to him— “O foolish Asura, why do you prattle in vain? Either fight or else return to Patala. The heroic demon, becoming infuriated, made a wonderful shower of arrows on the battlefield just as masses of clouds shower water during rains. Along with his arrogant followers the demon fought with sharp weapons as spears, axes, iron clubs, parighas, bows, Bhusuṇḍikas, javelins, horseshoe-edged arrows, and great swords. In that war great elephants looking like black mountains with foreheads pierced ran here and there. The banners of Shumbha and Nishumbha white like flying cranes fluttered here and there. The demons were shattered by Kalika like fishes. The dreadful horses were beheaded and killed in the battle. The other demons were devoured by the lion. In the battlefield streams of blood flowed. The dead soldiers floated. Their tresses of hair resembled the moss. Their upper cloths resembled the white foam. A great fight ensued where soldiers of equal rank fought with one another. The cavalrymen fought their counterpart; the elephant-riders with those on elephants: the charioteers with those on chariots and the foot soldiers with foot soldiers.
Then Nishumbha thought to himself— “A terrible period has set in now. Even a poor man may become rich and rich man poor if the time is adverse. Indeed, this lady is the ancient prakriti, the great Chandika come here to achieve the task of the gods and harass the army of the Daityas. She can never be an ordinary woman. It is inglorious to be killed by a woman or to kill a woman for those who desire to taste the pleasures of war. Still how shall we show our faces to the king of Asuras without fighting? After thinking thus and sitting in a great chariot driven by a charioteer he hastened to the spot where the lady consort of Shiva was present; the goddess whose youth was sought after by the celestial damsels.
He addressed her thus— “O goddess, of what avail is it if the mercenary soldiers are killed? If you desire to fight, let both of us clad in martial dress fight with each other. The goddess addressed Kali then— “See the foolish ambition of the two Asuras. Time the instigator of good and bad actions renders the mind work in a different way when adversity is imminent.” Then Nishumbha attacked Chaṇḍika as well as Kali with thousands of arrows. With the volleys of her arrows Shiva split into a thousand pieces the arrows discharged by the Asura. He then lifted his lustrous sword along with the shield and struck the lion on its head. With her great sword she split it too as the woodcutters do to a tree with the axe. When the sword was split, he thrust an arrow into her chest. The arrow too was cut. He then hurled the trident which powdered it with her fist. Prepared to die the heroic Asura seized a mace and rushed at her. She reduced the mace into powder with the edge of her trident. The demon shattered the trident with another mace. Then she struck Nishumbha with her sharp, terrible serpentine poisonous arrows that were accustomed to drink the blood of Asuras and brought him down to the earth.
When his younger brother of great honour and strength fell Shumbha was furious. The eight-armed demon seated himself in a chariot and came to the place where Chandika was present. She blew the conch Arindama, produced unbearable bow-twang; the lion shaking its manes roared. The whole sky reverberated with the threefold round. Then the mother of the universe laughed boisterously making all the demons tremble with fear. The gods shouted cries of “Victory” when she challenged the Asuras in the battle. The king of Daityas hurled a spear of shining flames which was struck down by a meteor. Chandika shattered the arrows discharged by Shumbha. He too split the arrows discharged by her into a thousand pieces. She lifted her trident and struck the great Asura. He fell unconscious.
Thereupon Nishumbha, regaining consciousness, seized his bow again and struck the goddess, and Kali and the lion with arrows. And the Danava lord, that son of Diti, putting forth a myriad arm, again covered Chaṇḍika with a myriad of discuses. The goddess then enraged, she, Durga who destroys the afflictions of adversity, split those discuses and those arrows with her own arrows. Then Nishumbha seizing his club rushed impetuously at Chaṇḍika to slay her outright, with the Daitya host surrounding him. As he was just falling upon her, Chaṇḍika swiftly clove his club with her sharp-edged scimitar. And he took hold of a dart. Chaṇḍika with a dart hurled swiftly pierced Nishumbha, the afflicter of the Immortals, in the heart, as he approached with dart in hand. When he was pierced by the dart, out of his heart issued another man of great strength and great valour, exclaiming “Stand!” When he stepped forth, the goddess laughing aloud then struck off his head with her scimitar; thereupon he fell to the ground.
The lion then devoured those Asuras whose necks he had crushed with his savage teeth, and Kali and Shivaduti devoured the others. Some great Asuras perished, being pierced through by the spear held by Kumara’s Energy; others were driven back by the water purified by the spell uttered by Brahma’s Energy; and others fell, pierced by the trident wielded by Shiva’s Energy; some were pounded to dust on the ground by blows from the snout of Varaha’s Energy; some Danavas were cut to pieces by the discus hurled by Vishnu’s Energy; and others again by the thunderbolt discharged from the fingers of Indra’s Energy. Some Asuras perished outright, some perished by reason of the great battle, and others were devoured by Kali, Shivaduti and the lion.
Seeing his brother Nishumbha slain, who was dear to him as his life, and his army being slaughtered, Shumbha in wrath spoke thus— “O Durga, who art tainted with the arrogance of strength, bring not thy pride here, thou who, trusting in the strength of the other goddesses, dost fight in exceeding haughtiness!”
The goddess spoke:
Alone verily am I in the world here; what other goddess is there besides me? See, vile one! that these goddesses, who have their divine power from me, are entering into me indeed. Then all those goddesses, Brahmani and the others, became absorbed into the goddess’ breasts; Ambika then remained alone indeed.
Whereas I existed with my divine power in many forms here—that has been drawn in by me, truly alone I stand now. You also keep steadfast in combat!
Thereupon commenced a battle between them both, the goddess and Shumbha, while all the gods and the Asuras looked on —a battle without quarter. With showers of arrows, with sharp weapons and with pitiless missiles both engaged anew in a combat which set all the world in fear. And the lord of the Daityas broke the heavenly missiles, which Ambika discharged in hundreds, with weapons that parried them. And the supreme goddess in merest play broke the heavenly missiles that he discharged, with fierce shouts, ejaculations, and other sounds. Then the Asura covered the goddess with hundreds of arrows, and the goddess enraged thereat split his bow also with her arrows. And when his bow was split the lord of the Daityas took up his spear. The goddess split it, as he held it in his hand, with a discus. Next the supreme monarch of the Daityas, seizing his scimitar and sun like shield, on which a hundred moons were portrayed, rushed at the goddess at that moment. Just as he was falling upon her, Chaṇḍika hastily split his scimitar with sharp arrows shot from her bow, and his shield also which was spotless as the sun’s rays. With his steeds wounded, with his bow split, without a charioteer, the Daitya then grasped his terrible mace, being ready to slay Ambika. As he was falling upon her, she cloves his mace with sharp arrows; nevertheless, raising his fist he rushed swiftly at her. The lordly Daitya brought his fist down on the goddess’ heart, and the goddess also smote him on his breast with her palm. Wounded by the blow of her palm the Daitya king fell suddenly on the earth; and again, indeed he rose, and springing upward he seized the goddess and mounted on high into the sky. There also Chaṇḍika, being without any support, fought with him. The Daitya and Chaṇḍika then fought at first with each other in the sky in a close combat, which wrought dismay among the Siddhas and munis; after carrying on the close combat for a very long time with him, Ambika lifted him up. then and whirled him around and flung him on the earth. When flung thus he touched the earth, he raised his fist hastily and rushed, evil of soul as he was, with the wish to kill Chaṇḍika. Seeing him, the lord of all the Daitya folk, approaching, the goddess then pierced him in the chest with a dart and felled him down on the earth. Shattered by the point of the goddess’ dart he fell lifeless on the ground, shaking the whole earth and its seas, islands and mountains.
When that evil-souled demon was slain, the universe became placid, the earth regained perfect well-being, and the sky grew pure. Portent-clouds, which were full of flame before, became tranquil, and the rivers kept within their channels, when he was stricken down there. All the bands of gods then grew exceedingly joyful in mind, when he was slain; the Gandharvas sang out sweetly, and others of them sounded their instruments, and the bevies of Apsaras danced; and favourable breezes blew, very brilliant grew the sun, and the tranquil sacred fires blazed freely, and tranquil became the strange sounds that had occurred in the regions of the sky.
After death of Shumbha and Nishumbha, the rivers with clear water flowed along their paths; the winds blew very gentle to the touch; the sky became clear. Fire-sacrifices were revived by the gods and the sages, Lord Indra and the gods felt blissful again.
This story of Uma is holy and meritorious. It describes the destruction of the king of Daityas. He who regularly reads this with faith enjoys all worldly pleasures inaccessible even to the gods and attains the abode of Uma hereafter by the very grace of the goddess.
The story of slaying Dhumralochana, Chaṇḍa, Muṇḍa and Raktabija – Sri Durga Saptashati (Chapter 6, 7 & 8)
The story of slaying Dhmralochana, Chaṇḍa, Muṇḍa and Raktabija – Sri Durga Saptashati (Chapter 6, 7 & 8)
On hearing the message of Shumbha, the King of Daityas, to resort him or his younger brother, conveyed by the messenger the Mahamaya, the goddess informed him her vow that She shall endeavour to make one alone as her husband who can shake off her pride, who can conquer her in the battle. No one else.
Death of Dhumralochana (Chapter 6):
On hearing these words of the goddess, the Asura Sugriva returned to his king and acquainted him with every detail. On hearing the report of the messenger Shumbha of stern rule angrily said to Dhumralochana, the foremost of his generals. O Dhumralochana, there is a beautiful lady on the snow-capped Himalaya Mountain. Go quickly and fetch her here. O excellent Asura, do not be afraid of this expedition. If she wishes to fight, you shall fight strenuously.
Thus, directed the Daitya Dhumralochana went to Himalaya and spoke to the goddess who was a part of Uma. “O lady, approach my lord. Otherwise, I shall kill you. I am accompanied by sixty thousand Asuras”.
The goddess said: — “O hero, yon are commissioned by the king of Daityas. If you kill me, what can I do for you? But I consider it impossible to go without a fight.” Thus, addressed, the Danava Dhumralochana rushed at her but was burnt with a mere Hunkara uttered by her. Since then, that goddess is called Dhumavati in the world. When propitiated she destroys hosts of enemies of her devotees. After Dhunirakṣa was killed, his army was crunched and munched by the infuriated lion. Those who were spared fled away.
Death of Chanda & Munda (Chapter 7):
On hearing that the Daitya was killed by the goddess, the valorous Shumbha was angry and bit his lips. He sent the Asuras—Chaṇḍa & Muṇḍa. The Daityas, thus ordered, went to the spot where Ambika was stationed. On seeing the goddess seated on a lion, possessed of Aṇima and other Siddhis and dazzling the quarters with her brilliance, the leading Danavas said. “O lady, hasten to approach Shumbha and Nishumbha. Otherwise, we shall kill you along with your Gaṇas and your lion. O lady, choose him as your husband. He is eulogized by the guardians of the quarters and others. You will attain a great bliss rare to attain by the gods.”
On hearing these words, the goddess Amba smiled and spoke interesting and truthful words. Lord Shiva, the great Brahman, the eternal god is without a second. Even the Vedas do not understand his reality. What then of Vishnu and others? I am His subtle Prakriti. How can I choose another as my husband? Even if she is overwhelmed by love does a lioness choose a jackal as her mate? Descend to Patalla all of you. If you have the power, fight.”
On hearing her provocative words, the Asuras said to one another. “We do not kill you as you are a woman. But if you desire for battle, be ready with your lion.” While they spoke thus the fight ensued. The arrows rained in the battle., sharp arrows from either side.
There at Ambika uttered her wrath aloud against those foes, and her countenance then grew dark as ink in her wrath. Out from the surface of her forehead, which was rugged with frowns, issued suddenly Kali of the terrible countenance, armed with a sword and noose, bearing a many-coloured skull-topped staff, decorated with a garland of skulls, clad in a tiger’s skin, very appalling because of her emaciated flesh, exceedingly wide of mouth, lolling out her tongue terribly, having deep-sunk reddish eyes, and filling the regions of the sky with her roars. She fell upon the great Asuras impetuously, dealing slaughter among the host, and devoured that army of the gods’ foes there. Taking up the elephants with one hand she flung them into her mouth, together with their rear men and drivers and their warrior-riders and bells. Flinging likewise warrior with his horses, and chariot with its driver into her mouth, she ground them most frightfully with her teeth. She seized one by the hair, and another by the neck; and she kicked another with her foot. And she seized with her mouth the weapons and the great arms which those Asuras abandoned and crunched them up with her teeth in her fury. She crushed all that host of mighty and high-spirited Asuras; and devoured some and battered others; some were slain with her sword, some were struck with her skull-topped staff, and other Asuras met their death being wounded with the edge of her teeth.
Seeing all that host of Asuras laid low in a moment, Chaṇḍa rushed against her, Kali, who was exceedingly appalling. Muṇḍa the great Asura covered her, the terrible-eyed goddess, with very terrible showers of arrows and with discuses hurled in thousands. Those discuses seemed to be penetrating her countenance in multitudes, like as very many solar orbs might penetrate the body of a thundercloud. There at Kali, who was roaring frightfully, laughed terribly with excessive fury, showing the gleam of her unsightly teeth within her dreadful mouth. And the goddess, mounting upon her great lion, rushed at Chaṇḍa, and seizing him by his hair struck off his head with her sword. And Muṇḍa also rushed at her when he saw Chaṇḍa laid low; him also she felled to the ground, stricken with her scimitar in her fury. Then the army, so much as escaped unslain, seeing Chaṇḍa laid low and most valiant Muṇḍa also, seized with panic fled in all directions.
And Kali, holding Chaṇḍa’s head and Muṇḍa also, approached Chaṇḍika and said, her voice mingled with passionate loud laughter— “Here I have brought thee Chaṇḍa and Muṇḍa, two great beasts; thou thyself shalt slay Shumbha and Nishumbha in the battle-sacrifice.”
Thereon, seeing those two great Asuras Chaṇḍa and Muṇḍa brought to her, auspicious Chaṇḍika spoke to Kali this witty speech, “Because thou hast seized both Chaṇḍa and Muṇḍa and brought them, you, O goddess, shalt therefore be famed in the world by the name Chamuṇḍa!”
Death of Raktabija (Chaper 8):
After both the Daitya Chaṇḍa was slain and Muṇḍa was laid low, and many soldiers were destroyed, the lord of the Asuras, majestic Shumbha, with mind overcome by wrath, gave command then to array all the Daitya hosts,—“Now let the eighty-six Daityas, upraising their weapons, march forth with all their forces; let the eighty-four Kambus march forth surrounded by their own forces; let the fifty Asura families who excel in valour go forth; let the hundred families of Dhaumri go forth at my command. Let the Kalakas, the Daurhṛtas, the Mauryas, and the Kalakeyas, — let these Asuras, hastening at my command, march forth ready for battle.”
After issuing these commands Shumbha, the lord of the Asuras, who ruled with fear, went forth, attended by many thousands of great soldiers. Chaṇḍika, seeing that most terrible army at hand, filled the space between the earth and the firmament with the twanging of her bowstring. Thereon her lion roared exceedingly loud, O king; and Ambika augmented those roars with the clanging of her bell. Kali, filling the regions of the sky with the noise from her bowstring, from her lion and from her bell, and expanding her mouth wide with her terrific roars, had the predominance. On hearing that roar which filled the four regions of the sky, the Daitya armies enraged surrounded the goddess’ lion and Kali.
At this moment, to destroy the gods’ foes, and for the well-being of the lion-like Immortals, there issued forth endowed with excessive vigour and strength the Energies from the bodies of Brahma, Shiva, Guha and Vishnu and of Indra also, and went in the forms of those gods to Chaṇḍika. Whatever was the form of each god, and whatever his ornaments and vehicle, in that very appearance his Energy advanced to fight with the Asuras. In the front of a heavenly car drawn by swans advanced Brahma’s Energy, bearing a rosary of seeds and an earthen water-pot; she is called Brahmani. Mahesvara’s Energy, seated on a bull, grasping a fine trident, and wearing a girdle of large snakes, arrived, adorned with a digit of the moon. And Kumara’s Energy, Ambika, with spear in hand and riding on a choice peacock, advanced in Guha’s shape to attack the Daityas. Likewise, Vishnu’s Energy, seated upon Garuḍa, advanced with conch, discus, club, bow and scimitar in hand. The Energy of Hari, who assumes the peerless form of a sacrificial boar, she also advanced assuming a hog-like form. Narsimha’s Energy assuming a body like Narsimha’s arrived there, adorned with a cluster of constellations hurled down by the tossing of his mane. Likewise, Indra’s Energy, with thunderbolt in hand, seated upon the lord of elephants and having a thousand eyes, arrived; as is Shakra, such indeed was she. Then those Energies of the gods surrounded Shiva. He said to Chaṇḍika, “Let the Asuras be slain forthwith through my good-will.”
Thereupon from the goddess’ body there came forth Chaṇḍika’s Energy, most terrific, exceedingly fierce, howling like a hundred jackals. And she the unconquered said to Shiva, who was smoke-coloured and had matted locks, “Be you, my lord, a messenger to the presence of Shumbha and Nishumbha. Say unto the two overweening Danavas, Shumbha and Nishumbha, and to whatever other Danavas are assembled there to do battle— ‘Let Indra obtain the three worlds, let the gods be the enjoyers of the oblations; go to Patala if ye wish to live. Yet if through pride in your strength ye are longing for battle, come ye on then! let my jackals be glutted with your flesh.” Because the goddess appointed Shiva himself to be ambassador, she has hence attained fame as Shivaduti in this world.
Those great Asuras however, on hearing the goddess’ speech fully announced, were filled with indignation, and went where Katyayani stood. Then, at the very first, the arrogant and indignant foes of the Immortals in front poured on the goddess showers of arrows, javelins, and spears. And gracefully she clove those arrows, darts, discuses and axes, which were hurled, with large arrows shot from her resounding bow. And in front of her stalked Kali then, tearing the foes asunder with the onset of her darts and crushing them with her skull-topped staff. And Brahmani caused the foes to lose their courage by casting water on them from her earthen pot, and weakened their vigour, by whatever way she ran. Maheshvara’s Energy slew Daityas with her trident, and Vishnu’s Energy with her discus, and Kumara’s Energy, very wrathful, slew them with her javelin. Torn to pieces by the down-rush of the thunderbolt hurled by Indra’s Energy, Daityas and Danavas fell on the earth in hundreds, pouring out streams of blood. Shattered by the hog-embodied Energy with blows from her snout, wounded in their breasts by the points of her tushes, and tom by her discus, demons fell. And Narsimha’s Energy roamed about in the battle, devouring other great Asuras who were torn by her claws, as she filled the intermediate region of the sky with her roaring. Asuras, demoralized by Shivaduti with her violent loud laughs, fell on the earth; she then devoured those fallen ones. Seeing the enraged band of Mothers crushing the great Asuras thus by various means, the troops of the gods’ foes perished.
Raktavija, a great Asura, seeing the Daityas, who were hard-pressed by the band of Mothers, intent on fleeing, strode forward to fight in wrath. When from his body there falls to the ground a drop of blood, at that moment starts up from the earth an Asura of his stature. He, a great Asura, with club in hand fought with Indra’s Energy, and Indra’s Energy then struck Raktavija with her thunderbolt; blood flowed quickly from him when wounded by the thunderbolt. Thereupon stood up together fresh combatants, like him in body, like him in valour; for as many blood-drops fell from his body, so many men came into being, like him in courage, strength, and valour. And those men also who sprang from his blood fought there with the mothers in a combat, dreadful because of the sweep of their very sharp weapons. And again, when his head was wounded by the fall of her thunderbolt, his blood poured forth; therefrom were born men by thousands. And Vishnu’s Energy struck at this foe with her discus in the battle. Indra’s Energy beat that lord of the Asuras with her club. The world was filled by the thousands of great Asuras, who were his equals, and who sprang from the blood that flowed from him when cloven by the discus of Vishnu’s Energy. Kumara’s Energy struck the great Asura Raktavija with her spear, and Varaha’s Energy also struck him with her sword, and Mabeshvara’s Energy with her trident. And the Daitya Raktavija, that great Asura, filled full of wrath, struck every one of the mothers in turn with his club. By the stream of blood, which fell on the earth from him when he received many wounds from the spears, darts, and other weapons, Asuras came verily into being in hundreds. And those Asuras who sprang from that Asura’s blood pervaded the whole world; there at the gods fell into the utmost terror. Seeing the gods dejected, Chaṇḍika spoke with haste; she said to Kali, “O Chamuṇḍa! stretch out thy mouth wide; with this mouth do thou quickly take in the great Asuras, which are the drops of blood, that have come into being out of Raktavija at the descent of my weapon on him. Roam about in the battle, devouring the great Asuras who sprang from him; so, shall this Daitya with his blood ebbing away meet destruction. These fierce demons are being devoured by thee and at the same time no others will be produced.”
Having enjoined her thus, the goddess next smote him with her dart. Kali swallowed Raktavija’s blood with her mouth. Then he struck Chaṇḍika with his club there; and the blow of his club caused her no pain, even the slightest, but from his stricken body blood flowed copiously, and from whatever direction it came, Chamuṇḍa takes it then with her mouth. The great Asuras, who sprang up from the flow of blood in her mouth, Chamuṇḍa both devoured them and quaffed his blood. The goddess smote Raktavija with her dart, her thunderbolt, arrows, swords and spears, when Chauṇḍa drank up his blood. Stricken with that multitude of weapons, he fell on the earth’s surface, and the great Asura Raktavija became blood-less, O king. There at the thirty gods gained joy unparalleled, O king. The band of Mothers which sprang from them broke into a dance, being intoxicated with blood.
Thus, fighting with them sportively the goddess slew the Asuras along with Chaṇḍa and Muṇḍa. Though they had an inimical feeling these enemies of the gods attained in the end that world which her followers go to. Thereupon the devas attained great joy, O King. The band of Matrs who sprang from them dance, being intoxicated with blood. Here ends the eighth chapter called ‘The Slaying of Raktabija’ of Devi-mahatmya in Markandeya-purana, during the period of Savarni, the Manu.
Incarnation of Ambika and the story of slaying of army of Mahishasura and Mahishasura – Sri Durga Saptashati (Chapter 2 & 3)
There was a demon Rambha who was the crest-jewel of the race of Daityas. From him was born Mahiṣhasura the Danava of great splendour. That king of Danavas defeated all the gods in battle and ruled over the kingdom of heaven seated on the throne of lord Indra. The defeated gods sought refuge in Brahma. With them Brahma went to the place where Vishnu and Shiva were present. After reaching there and bowing to Shiva and Vishnu the gods narrated all their woeful tale in the proper order. That they are harassed by the wicked Mahiṣa. We have been ousted from heaven after our defeat in the battlefield. We are wandering in this world of mortals without peace or happiness anywhere. O what pitiable plights we—Indra and others—have been led to! The sinful Asura who has offered freedom from fear to the partisans of the Daityas, himself performs the ordained task of these—viz, the sun, the moon, Varuṇa, Kubera, Yama, Indra, Agni, wind, the Gandharvas, Vidyadharas and the good Charaṇas and others as well. Hence, it behoves you to save us the gods who have sought refuge in you. O lords, please think of the means of killing him immediately.
Incarnation of Ambika:
On hearing the gods, Vishnu and Shiva were very angry. Their eyes rolled through anger. Then a great splendour issued forth from the mouths of the infuriated Vishnu and Shiva and from the bodies of other gods. The gods who were devoted to meditation on Durga saw the mass of splendour blazing in all the ten directions. That highly terrible splendour issuing forth from the bodies of the gods joined together and became a woman Mahiṣamardini herself. Her dazzlingly brilliant face constituted the splendour of Shiva, the hairs the splendour of Yama and the arms the splendour of Vishnu. Her breasts were formulated by the splendour of the moon; the waist by that of Indra; the calves and thighs by that of Varuṇa; the hips by that of the earth; the feet by that of Brahma; the toes by that of the sun; the fingers by that of Indra; the nose by that of Kubera; the teeth by that of the patriarch; the eyes by that of fire; the eyebrows by that of the dusk; the ears by that of the wind, her other limbs by that of other heaven-dwellers. Thus, the goddess manifested herself on the lotus-seat. On seeing her thus formulated by the mass of splendour of the gods, they attained great delight.
Observing that she had no weapons, Brahma and other gods decided to make her fully equipped with weapons. Then Shiva offered her a spear; Vishnu gave her a discus; Varuṇa conch and noose. The fire-God gave her Shakti; the wind-god a bow arid a quiver full of arrows; Indra the thunderbolt and a bell; Yama a big staff; Prajapati a garland of beads; Brahma a water-pot and the sun the lustrous hair. Kala gave her a sword and a shining shield, the milk ocean a beautiful necklace, two fresh pieces of cloth, the crest-jewel, ear-rings, bangles, crescent-shaped ornaments, beautiful anklets, shoulder-pieces, a necklace and finger-rings. Visvakarma gave her a beautiful axe and the ocean various weapons, an impenetrable armour, a beautiful garland, and a lotus. Himavat gave her a lion and gems of various sorts. Kubera a vessel filled with wine. Shesha a Nagahara of wonderful workmanship, studded with various precious gems. Thus honoured, the goddess with these and other similar objects, ornaments, weapons etc. shouted again and again.
Slaying of Army of Mahishasura:
The sky was filled with her terrible noise that echoed tremendously and made the three worlds agitated. The four oceans shook and rolled. The earth quaked. Cries of victory were shouted by “the gods harassed by Mahiṣa. Then the gods eulogized the great Shakti, Ambika in the form of Mahalakṣmi with words choked with devotion.
On seeing the world agitated, the enemies of the gods got up with uplifted arms and with their armies ready for war. The infuriated Mahiṣa rushed at the direction of the sound and saw the goddess who had pervaded the three worlds with her beautiful lustre. In the meantime, crores of great heroes led by Mahiṣhasura came there with weapons. Chikṣura, Chamara, Udagra, Karala, Uddhaṭa, Bhaṣkala; Tamra, Ugrasya, Ugravirya, Biḍala, Andhaka, Durdhara, Durmukha, Trinetra Mahahanu—these and many others, heroic and efficient in battle, came there. the Asura Mahiṣa’s general, Chikṣura, fought with her; and the Asura Chamara attended by his cavalry fought along with others. The great Asura named Udagia with six myriads of chariots fought; and Mahahanu with a thousand myriads gave battle; and the great Asura Asiloman with fifty million; with six hundred myriads Yaskala fought in the battle; Ugradarsana with many troops of thousands of elephants and horses and surrounded with ten million chariots fought in that battle; and the Asura named Viḍala fought in the battle there, surrounded with fifty myriads of myriads of chariots. And other great Asuras in myriads, surrounded with chariots, elephants, and horses, fought with the goddess in that battle there. Now the Asura Mahiṣa was surrounded with thousands of ten million times ten million of chariots and elephants and horses in the battle there. With iron maces and javelins, with spears and clubs, with swords, with axes and halberds they fought in the battle against the goddess. They, the masters of weapons and missiles, fought with the goddess in the battle a terribly long time elapsed.
Different weapons and missiles hurled by the hosts of enemies were rendered futile instantaneously by the power of the goddess. Then the goddess hit and struck the hosts of enemies Gikṣura and others with her club, arrows, spear, Shakti, and axe.
The general Chikṣura, seeing that army being slaughtered, advanced in wrath to fight with Ambika. The Asura rained a shower of arrows on the goddess in the battle. The goddess, cutting asunder the masses of his arrows then as it were in play, smote his horses with her arrows and their charioteer; and split his bow forthwith and his banner raised high aloft; and with swift missiles pierced his limbs as he stood with shattered bow. His bow shattered, his chariot useless, his horses killed, his charioteer slain, the Asura armed with sword and shield rushed at the goddess. With the utmost celerity he smote the lion on the head with his sharp-edged sword and struck the goddess also on her left arm. His sword shivered to pieces as it touched her arm (O prince). Thereon red-eyed with anger, he grasped his pike, and he, the great Asura, flung it at Bhadrakali, as it were the Sun’s orb blazing brightly with its splendour from out the sky. Seeing that pike falling on her, the goddess hurled her pike, and it shattered that pike into a hundred fragments and the great Asura also.
When Mahiṣa’s very valiant general, was slain, Chamara, the afflicter of the thirty gods, advanced mounted on an elephant; and he also hurled his spear at the goddess. Down to the ground Ambika quickly struck it, assailed with a contemptuous hoot and rendered lustre-less. Seeing his spear broken and fallen, Chamara filled with rage flung a pike; and that she split with her arrows. Then the lion leaping up fastened on to the hollow of the elephant’s forehead and fought in close combat aloft with that foe of the thirty gods; but both then fell, as they were fighting, from the elephant to the ground. They fought closely locked together with most terrible blows. Then quickly springing up to the sky, and descending, the lion severed Chamara’s head with a blow from his paw.
And Udagra was slain in battle by the goddess with stones, trees, and other things, and Karala also was stricken down by her teeth and fists and feet. And the goddess enraged ground Uddhata to powder with blows from her club; and killed Yaskala with a dart, Tamra and Andhaka with arrows. And the supreme three-eyed goddess slew Ugrasya and Ugravirya and Mahahanu also with her trident. With her sword she struck Viḍala’s head clean down from his body. She despatched both Durdhara and Durmukha to Yama’s abode with her arrows.
When his armies fell the demon Mahiṣa struggled with the hosts of soldiers that issued from the breath of the goddess. He kicked some with the hoofs, hit some with the horns and others with his tail and snout. After slaying the Gaṇas the chief of Asuras rushed at the lion of the goddess to kill it. Then she became wrathful. He of great virility thrashed the ground with his hoofs, uprooted a mountain with his horns, hurled it and shouted. Heavy mountains hurled by him as he rushed all rounds fell in the battleground from the sky. Clouds split by his horns were shattered to pieces. The ocean struck at with his tail throbbed and splashed water beyond the shores all round.
Slaying of Mahishasura:
On seeing the demon Mahiṣa thus infuriated, Ambika, the protectress of the gods, became ready to kill him. She took up a noose and hurled it at him. She bound the Asura Mahiṣa. Then the demon abandoned his assumed guise. Wielding Maya, he became a lion. Soon as Ambika tried to cut off his head, he became armed with a sword. She then struck him with the arrows, as he stood there with the sword and shield. He then became an elephant and struck at the lion with his trunk. The goddess cut off his hand with her sword. The demon then assumed his original form. He then agitated three worlds including the mobile and immobile beings. Then, Chaṇḍika of great honour and exploit became infuriated. She drank the beverage again and again. With eyes rolling she laughed aloud. The haughty Asura too, proud of his strength and exploit, roared. He uprooted the mountains and hurled them at her. She too reduced them to powder and struck them with arrows. With her face reddened because of the inebriation after drinking wine, and with her senses excited, she spoke in a tone as majestic as the rumbling of the clouds.
The goddess said: — “O stupid fellow, O demon of ruined intellect, why are you stubborn in vain? None of the Asuras in the three worlds can stand before me”. Thus, saying the goddess pounced on him, stamped on his neck, and pierced him with her fierce spear. Pressed with her foot and overwhelmed by her might the Asura seemed as good as half dead. Still, he continued to fight. His head was cut off with the sword and he was felled down on the ground. Crying “Alas! Alas” loudly, his followers, afraid of the battle fled from the scene shouting, “Save us, O save us”.
The god Indra and others eulogized the goddess. The Gandharvas sang songs; the celestial damsels danced.
Nothing is impossible for the Ma Ambika. Even tremendous size of army of Mahishasura and stupendous power of Mahishasura could not stay before Ma Ambika.
Medha muni narrated the story of Durga Saptashati to the King and Vaishya. In chapter -1, he told the story of slaying of Madhu & Kaitabha by Ma Mahakali and Her worship done by Brahma ji to save him from the demons. The story goes as under:
Formerly in the Svarochiṣha Manvantara there was a king Suratha who was of great strength and exploit. He was very munificent, truthful, efficient in duties, a devotee of the goddess, an ocean of kindness and the protector of his subjects. Other kings became desirous of seizing his land. They laid siege to his capital Kola. The king had a terrible war with them. That king was defeated by his powerful enemies in the war. His kingdom was seized, and he was banished from his city Kola. The king went to another city of his along with his ministers. There too he was defeated by his enemies who had a large following. His ministers and officers became inimical to him due to adverse fate. They took away all the wealth from the treasury. The king left his city pretending to go out for hunting. Alone he got up on a horse and went to the dense forest.
Going about here and there, the king saw the hermitage of a great sage. It was shining all round with flower gardens. Everywhere the sound of Vedic hymns was heard. All the animals there were quiet and peaceful. The disciples and the disciples of their disciples moved here and there. Tigers and other ferocious and powerful animals did not harass the animals of less strength in that hermitage, thanks to the power of the leading brahmin. The king who was very kind and learned was welcomed and honored by the leading sage with pleasing words, accommodation and food and stayed there.
Once the king began to think anxiously — “Alas, my kingdom has been seized by my haughty enemies. I am unfortunate. My intellect is confounded. I have lost my splendor. The kingdom which had been well guarded by my ancestors is now enjoyed by my enemies. There was no king in this family as weak as I. What shall I do? Where shall I go? How shall I get the kingdom back? My hereditary ministers and counsellors have left me. I do not know which king they serve now. I do not know what plight they are in, after the ruination of the kingdom. My heroic soldiers, very enthusiastic in the battle, slayers of enemies, now serve another king. Huge elephants like mountains, horses fast as wind have gone away. Is the traditional treasury accumulated by my ancestors well-guarded or not? Thus, the very virtuous king became much deluded.
In the meantime, a Vaishya came there. The king asked him— “Sir, who are you? Why have you come here? Why do you appear to be very morose and dejected? Please tell me this, now.” On hearing the sweet words of the king, the leading Vaishya named Samadhi shed tears. He spoke to the king in words full of humility and friendship.
The Vaishya said: --
“O king, I am a Vaishya Samadhi, born of a rich family. Out of greed for my wealth I have been abandoned by my wife, sons, and others. I am depressed. O king, I have come here to the forest. I am worried about my sons, grandsons, wife, brothers, their sons, and friends. O lord, ocean of mercy, I am in dark about their welfare.
The king said: --
How is it that you love, even as senseless animals do, those sons and others who are of evil conduct and covetous for wealth and by whom you have been ousted?
The Vaishya said: --
O king, words loaded with substantial sense have been uttered by you. Still my mind is deluded by the tie of love.
The king and the Vaishya, both equally deluded then approached the sage Medhas. The valorous king accompanied by the chief of the Vaishyas bowed his head to the leading Yogi. With palms joined in reverence the king spoke to the sage: — “O holy lord, it behooves you now to dispel our delusion. Abandoned by the royal glory I have resorted to this dense forest. Still, I am not content and happy since my kingdom has been taken away. This Vaishya has been expelled from his house by his people, wife, and others. Still his sense of affinity and kinship with them does not go off. What is the reason hereof? Please say. Wise though we are, our minds are afflicted and agitated by delusion. This is great foolishness.
The sage (Medha muni) said: --
The great Maya in the form of the eternal Shakti is the material cause of the universe. It is this that drags the minds of all and makes them deluded. O lord, Brahma and other gods deluded by this Maya do not realize the truth. What then is the story of men?
The king said: --
O sage, who is that Goddess? Who is that great Maya who fascinates all? How was that goddess born? Please tell me.
The sage said: —
When the whole universe had been one great expanse of water, a vast sea, when Keshava, the king of Yogis, resorted to Yogic slumber and was sleeping on Sheṣhnaga, two Asuras were born of the dirt in the ears of Vishnu. They became notorious on the surface of the world in the names of Madhu and Kaiṭabha. They were terrible with huge bodies. They had the dazzling brilliance of the sun at the time of dissolution They had huge jaw bones. Their faces were hideous with curved fangs. They seemed to devour all the worlds. On seeing the lotus-seated deity in the umbilical lotus of the lord, the two Asuras shouted “Hey, who are you?” and attempted to kill him.
On seeing the two Daityas and observing that Vishnu was still lying in the vast milky ocean, Brahma eulogized Parameswari. Brahma said: --
O Mahamaya, save me, save me, O goddess favorably disposed to those who seek refuge in you, O mother of the universe, save me from these Daityas of hideous features. I bow to the great Maya, the Yogic slumber, Uma, Sati, Kalaratri, Maharatri, Moharatri, greater than the greatest, the mother of the three deities, the eternal, the bestower of the fruits of the cherished desires of the devotees, the protectress of the gods and the ocean of mercy. It is by your power that Brahma creates the world, Vishnu protects it, and Shiva destroys it at the opportune time.
O Mother, you are Svaha, Svadha, Hri, the unalloyed intellect, Tuṣṭi (satisfaction), Puṣṭi (nourishment), Shanti (peace), Kṣanti (forbearance), Kṣudha (hunger) and mercy itself. O mother, you are the Maya of Vishnu, the very consciousness, the great Shakti, Lajja (bashfulness) and Tṛṣṇa (thirst). You are Bhranti (Illusion). You appear in the form of Smṛti (Memory): you stay assuming the form of mother. You are Lakshmi in the house of those who engage themselves in meritorious activities. You are Jati (Birth), Vṛtti (cause of activity) and Vyapti (pervasiveness.) You pervade everything in the form of intelligence.
O Mother, please delude these unthwartable Asuras. O origin of the universe, please waken Vishnu the unborn lord.”
O king, on being requested by Brahma for the destruction of Madhu and Kaiṭabha, the mother of the universe, the great Vidhya, the presiding deity of all Vidhya, Shakti the enchantress of the three worlds manifested herself as Mahakali on the twelfth Tithi of the bright half of the month of Phalguna.
Then a celestial voice arose: — “O lotus-seated one, do not be afraid. I shall remove the thorn after killing Madhu and Kaiṭabha in the battle.”
After saying this and coming out of the eyes, mouth etc. of Vishnu, the great Maya stood before Brahma of unmanifested birth. Vishnu, the lord of gods stood up and saw in front of him the Daityas Madhu and Kaiṭabha. A battle ensued between Vishnu of unequalled splendor and the two Daityas lasting for five thousand years. Then there ensued a hand-to-hand fight. Deluded by the powerful great Maya, the excellent Danava spoke to the lord Vishnu— “Ask for whatever boon you desire to choose.”
Narayana said: — If you are pleased with me grant me this boon that I may kill you. I do not request for any other boon.
On seeing the earth covered by a great expanse of ocean they spoke to Keshava: — “Kill us in a spot where the earth is not covered with water.” After giving his consent the lord lifted his dazzling discus, placed their heads on his loins and cut them off.
Every person is deluded by ignorance, attachment, and desires which are caused by Maya created by feminine shakti. Worship of Ma Durga annihilates ignorance, attachment, and desires to liberate him.