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.