Art of Living Stories, Art of Living Wisdom.

Two Asuras named Shumba and Nishumba defeated the Gods and drove them out of heaven again. The gods prayed to the Devi for help. Devi appeared as Parvati and out of Parvati’s physical sheath (kosha) emerged form of Devi Ambika. Because she came out of the kosha, she is also called Kaushiki. The Devi was very beautiful and resplendent with the brightness of a million moons.

When Chanda and Munda, the two chieftains of Shumbha and Nishumbha, saw the Devi they told their masters of her celestial divine beauty and they added that since Shumbha and Nishumbha owned everything that was beautiful and precious in all the three worlds, they should also possess Kaushiki. Thus persuaded, Shumbha and Nishumbha sent a messenger to Devi to get her consent to marry one of them. Devi was furious on hearing the proposal and replied: “I made a promise to myself to marry him who defeats me in battle. If either Shumbha or Nishumbha wishes to marry me he shall have to defeat me in battle.”

Hearing Devi’s reply, Shumbha and Nishumbha got very angry. They summoned one of their bravest chieftains called Dhumralochana and sent him to capture and bring Devi to them. Dumralochana took sixty thousand fighters with him and attacked Devi. However, Devi reduced him to ashes with a mere sigh of the sound ‘hum’. Thereupon his fighters attacked her with all kinds of weapons but Devi’s lion killed them all. Thus Dhumralochana and his army were destroyed.

Shumbha then sent Chanda and Munda to destroy the Devi. Chanda and Munda took with them an array of elephants, horses, chariots and foot soldiers. Devi became very angry, and out of her frowned forehead emerged Kali wearing a garland of skulls, armed with a sword and noose. Her eyes were red and her tongue was lolling out generating fear in the hearts of the demons.

She destroyed the army of Chanda and Munda in no time. Seeing their army destroyed, Chanda rushed at Kali with great ferocity and hurled all kinds of weapons such as spears and chakras. Kali could not be hurt. Kali subdued Chanda and Munda with her subtle paasha or noose of light and then slayed both of them.

Devi Ambika told Kali that since she killed Chanda and Munda in the battle, she will be known as Chamundi.

Meaning of the story:

“Shumbha” means doubting oneself and “Nishumbha” means doubting others. Combination of Shumbha and Nishumbha means doubting everything, doubting at every step. When the mind is clogged with doubts about one self or others, there is no mental peace. Doubts drain the life force energy and strangulate growth. Life cannot progress if we doubt everything. That is why these are called kings of the Asuras.

“Dhumralochana” – “Dhumra” means smoke and “lochana” means eyes – smoky eyes. Dhumralochana means one who has no clarity of perception. As we accumulate stresses we lose the clarity of perception. Saying “hmm” dissolves barriers in the mind. Breathing techniques, Sudarshan Kriya free us from stresses and allow us to see things as they are. Lion indicates valour. All imaginary problems (perceived with distorted vision) disappear just by showing a little valour.  (Devi’s lion kills all fighters).

“Chanda” and “Munda” – Chanda means opposite head. Chanda will oppose anything you say. Chanda is one who cannot agree with anything. (Argumentative people) “Munda” does not have a head at all. He will not listen. Whatever you tell to him, it will all go in thin air. There is no reasoning at all. Wrong logic and perception prevails. The noose of light used by Devi represents wisdom. True knowledge purifies mind like fire along with establishing the mind in the light of the Self. True knowledge is irrefutable special logic (Vitarka). You can’t oppose or reason such knowledge. It simply uplifts.

Fifth Navadurga : Skandamata

On the fifth day of Navaratri we honour the Divine Mother in the form of Skandamata the fifth Navadurga. Skandamata is the mother of Skanda or Subramanya. She is depicted as riding a lion. She possesses four arms out of which two hold the lotus flowers.  One of her hands is always in the boon-conferring gesture and with the other she holds her son Skanda in her lap.  This signifies courage and compassion. Skanda is the skillful one. Often with skill arrogance comes. But here the skill is combined with a humility that nurtures innocence.

Salutations to Devi Skandamata !

Skandamata Maa

या देवी सर्वभुतेषु तृष्णारूपेण संस्थिता  
नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमो नमः ॥१३॥

Yaa Devii Sarva-Bhutessu Trssnnaa-Ruupenna Samsthitaa |

Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namo Namah ||13||

13.1: To that Devi Who in All Beings is Abiding in the Form of Thirst,

13.2: Salutations to Her, Salutations to Her, Salutations to Her, I bow down to her again and again.

 

या देवी सर्वभुतेषु क्षान्तिरूपेण संस्थिता  
नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमो नमः ॥१४॥

Yaa Devii Sarva-Bhutessu Kssaanti-Ruupenna Samsthitaa |

Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namo Namah ||14||

14.1: To that Devi Who in All Beings is Abiding in the Form of Forbearance,

14.2: Salutations to Her, Salutations to Her, Salutations to Her, I bow down to her again and again.

या देवी सर्वभुतेषु जातिरूपेण संस्थिता  
नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमो नमः ॥१५॥

Yaa Devii Sarva-Bhutessu Jaati-Ruupenna Samsthitaa |

Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namo Namah ||15||

15.1: To that Devi Who in All Beings is Abiding in the Form of Race,

15.2: Salutations to Her, Salutations to Her, Salutations to Her, I bow down to her again and again.

Also read :

SIGNIFICANCE OF NAVARATRI 

DEVI MAHATMYA 

DEVI MAHATMYA – STORY OF MADHU KAITABH

DEVI MAHATMYA – STORY OF MAHISHASURA

Jai Gurudev

Sanjay Sabnis

Art of Living Stories, Art of Living Wisdom.

Mahishasura was born out of the union of the Asura (demon) king Rambha and a buffalo. When Mahishasura became the king of Asuras, he fought a great war with the Devas (Gods). The army of the Devas got defeated. The defeated Devas headed by Brahma, went to Shiva and Vishnu. The Devas described to them their plight. Hearing this, there issued forth a great light from the face of Vishnu, Shiva as well as Bramha. From the bodies of Indra and other Devas also sprang forth a great light. Then that unique light combined to become the female form of Devi. The Devi was riding on a fierce lion.

The Devi then gave out a loud roar. By her unending, terrible roar the entire sky was filled, and there was great reverberation. Mahishasura rushed towards that roar, surrounded by innumerable Asuras. He saw the Devi pervading all the three worlds with her lustre. The Devi then killed hundreds of Asuras with her trident, club, showers of spears, swords and the like, and threw down others who were stupefied by the noise of her bell. Seeing his army thus being destroyed, Mahishasura pounced upon the troops of the Devi with his own buffalo form. He rushed to slay the lion of the Devi. This enraged the Devi. She flung her noose over him and bound him. Thus bound in the great battle, Mahishasura quit his buffalo form. Then he suddenly became a lion. As Devi cut off the head of this lion, he took the appearance of a man with a sword. Devi with her arrows chopped off the man together with his sword and shield. Then he became a big elephant. The elephant tugged at Devi’s great lion with his trunk, but as he was dragging, Devi cut off his trunk with her sword. The great Asura then resumed his buffalo form and shook all the three worlds. Mahishasura, roaring intoxicated with his strength and valour, hurled mountains against Devi with his horns. And the Devi with showers of arrows pulverized those mountains. She then jumped and landed herself on that great Asura, pressing him on the neck with her foot, she struck him in the heart with her spear. The great Asura was thus finally slain by the Devi. With the death of Mahishasura, the whole Asura army perished and the Devas regained their lost glory.

 

Maa Durga killing mahishasura

 

Meaning of Mahishasura story:

The buffalo is a symbol of ignorance (animal tendencies). When ignorance starts reigning then one becomes inert, insensitive and dull. Mahishasura never comes alone; he comes along with his army of Asuras. Similarly ignorance is also accompanied by inertia, delusion, arrogance, misery, sadness, depression, fear, insecurity and all other negative tendencies. All good qualities (Gods) get defeated in front of ignorance. Only by awakening of spiritual energy (Devi Maa) can one overcome this demon of ignorance. Spiritual energy gets awakened when each and every part of our consciousness comes together with a single pointed focus (all Devas contributing their energies).

Devi Maa has to fight a fierce battle to slay the demon of ignorance. When the Devi slays the ignorance in one form, ignorance transforms itself into another form. Ignorance cannot be eliminated with simple knowledge. When we remove ignorance in one form with some knowledge, other form of ignorance will arise. Just like knowledge; ignorance also is limitless and infinite.

Ma Durga then jumps up on the Asura and presses the neck of the Asura with her feet and then pierces his heart with her spear. This signifies opening up first of the “Vishuddhi Chakra” (throat center) and then the “Anahat Chakra” (Heart center). With the opening of Vishuddhi chakra, gratefulness dawns in life. With opening of Anahat chakra, unconditional love arises. Ignorance simply dissolves in front of unconditional love and wisdom dawns. When wisdom dawns all other negative tendencies (army of Mahishasura) get destroyed. Thus, by the grace of Maa Durga, the Devas get back their lost kingdom of heaven.

May Maa Durga bless everyone with such unconditional love and gratefulness!

Fourth Navadurga : Kushmanda

On the fourth day of Navaratri, Mother Divine is worshipped in the form of Kushmanda Devi, the fourth Navadurga. The name Kushmanda is made of three words – “Ku + Ushma + Amnda = Kushmanda”. Here “Ku” is “Little”, “Ushma” is “Warmth or Energy” and “Anda” is “Egg”, meaning the one who creates the universe as “Little Cosmic Egg” with the energy of Her divine smile, is called “Kushmanda”. Maa Kushmanda is also named as “Adi Shakti”.

Kushmanda” also means pumpkin. A pumpkin has so many seeds and each seed contains the potential for so many more pumpkins. This is representative of the creative power and its eternal nature. The whole Creation is like a pumpkin. As Kushmanda, the Devi contains the entire Creation within her. She is the Devi who can give you the highest “prana” energy. It is her splendour that pervades every plant and creature of this universe.

Salutations to Maa Kushmanda!

 

kushmanda_navadurga_the_nine_forms_of_goddess_durga_wk91

 

या देवी सर्वभुतेषु क्षुधारूपेण संस्थिता  
नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमो नमः ॥१०॥

Yaa Devii Sarva-Bhutessu Kssudhaa-Ruupenna Samsthitaa |
Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namo Namah ||10||

10.1: To that Devi Who in All Beings is Abiding in the Form of Hunger,
10.2: Salutations to Her, Salutations to Her, Salutations to Her, I bow down to her again and again.

 

या देवी सर्वभुतेषु छायारूपेण संस्थिता  

नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमो नमः ॥११॥

Yaa Devii Sarva-Bhutessu Chaayaa-Ruupenna Samsthitaa |
Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namo Namah ||11||

11.1: To that Devi Who in All Beings is Abiding in the Form of Shadow (of Higher Self) (Jivatma as a Shadow of Paramatma),
11.2: Salutations to Her, Salutations to Her, Salutations to Her, I bow down to her again and again.

 

या देवी सर्वभुतेषु शक्तिरूपेण संस्थिता  
नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमो नमः ॥१२॥

Yaa Devii Sarva-Bhutessu Shakti-Ruupenna Samsthitaa |
Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namo Namah ||12||

12.1: To that Devi Who in All Beings is Abiding in the Form of Power,
12.2: Salutations to Her, Salutations to Her, Salutations to Her, I bow down to her again and again.

Also Read:

SIGNIFICANCE OF NAVARATRI 

DEVI MAHATMYA 

DEVI MAHATMYA – STORY OF MADHU KAITABH

 

Jai Gurudev

Sanjay Sabnis

Art of Living Stories, Art of Living Wisdom.

At the end of a kalpa (epoch), when the universe was one ocean and Lord Vishnu was stretched out  on Shesha and took a mystic slumber (Yoganidra), two terrible Asuras (demons), Madhu and Kaitabh took birth from the dirt of Vishnu’s ears. These two Asuras sought to slay Lord Bramha, the creator of the universe, who was sitting in a lotus that came out from Vishnu’s naval. In order to awaken Vishnu, Bramha prays to Yoganidra (Devi) dwelling in Vishnu’s eyes. Upon this Narayana (Vishnu) rises from his sleep and sees these two powerful and evil Asuras endeavouring to devour Brahma. Bhagwan Vishnu fights with these Asuras for five thousand years. The Asuras frenzied with their enormous power and deluded by Mahamaya (Devi) tell Vishnu to ask for any boon he wants from them. Bhagwan Vishnu says, “You both should get slain by me now, my choice is this much indeed.” These two Asuras, knowing that the whole earth is flooded with water tell Vishnu, “Slay us at a spot where the earth is not flooded with water.” Bhagwan Vishnu says, “So be it”, and expands his thighs and asks the two Asuras to put their heads on his thighs where there is no water. The Asuras also expand their bodies and Vishnu again expands his thighs ten times more. Seeing this, the two Asuras lay their heads on Bhagwan Vishnu’s thighs and the Lord then cuts off their heads with his Sudarshan Chakra.

On one hand the above story appears as a children’s story with not much essence in it. But if you understand the meaning, the story becomes quite interesting. Madhu means craving and Kaitabha means aversion.

So cravings and aversions are born out of the ears; you hear some words about something and you develop an aversion or craving for it. All cravings and aversions are nothing but thoughts and thoughts are nothing but words. Words can become cravings and aversions when awareness is sleeping. Cravings and aversions try to kill the creativity. The Nabhi Chakra (naval centre) is said to be the seat of creativity and Lord Bramha (the creator of universe) is also born out of Lord Vishnu’s naval centre. Narayana awakens from his sleep by the grace of Devi Maa and realizes that Madhu and Kaitabh are trying to kill Lord Bramha. We realize that cravings and aversions are causing havoc in life only when awareness dawns. However hard Narayana fought, he could not win over Madhu and Kaitabh because they were born out of Narayana. Cravings and aversions are nothing but thoughts in mind and you cannot win over your thoughts by fighting with them. On the level of mind whatever you resist will persist. With your own cravings and aversions; the more you fight with them the more they grow stronger and you are unable to win.

Here Devi again comes to Narayana’s help. Devi signifies the spiritual energy and water denotes love and attachment. So long as you are attached to your thoughts you cannot win over cravings and aversions. Only with the help of spiritual energy you can detach yourself from your cravings and aversions. Realizing that you are much bigger than your thoughts, you can get victory over your cravings and aversions. Only awakening of spiritual energy can make you realize that you are much bigger than your cravings and aversions. Only spiritual energy can make you realize your true nature. Meaning of Sudarshan is right vision and Chakra which is a ‘circular disc in motion’ indicates uninterrupted activity. Sudarshan Chakra indicates the power of uninterrupted, unblemished, choice-less awareness. Only with such awareness you can gain the final victory over cravings and aversions. 

May Maa Durga bless us all with such uninterrupted, unblemished, choice-less awareness!

Third Navadurga : Chandra Ghanta

On the third day of Navaratri the Divine Mother is worshipped in the form of third Navadurga – Chandra Ghanta. This form of Devi is depicted as wearing a bell-like ornament in the shape of the moon. The moon is connected the mind and the Ghanta or the bell is an instrument connected with alertness. The ringing of the bell brings the mind to the present moment. Just as the moon waxes and wanes the mind also wavers. By Chanting the name of this Devi with alertness the mind comes under our control. When such quality of alertness and steadfastness arises then the mind becomes like an adornment. Chandraghanta represents this aspect of beauty in the mind.

 3rd day

या देवी सर्वभुतेषु चेतनेत्यभिधीयते 
नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमो नमः ॥७॥

Yaa Devii Sarva-Bhutessu Cetanety-Abhidhiiyate |
Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namo Namah ||7||

7.1: To that Devi Who in All Beings is Reflected as Consciousness,
7.2: Salutations to Her, Salutations to Her, Salutations to Her, I bow down to her again and again.

 

या देवी सर्वभुतेषु बुद्धिरूपेण संस्थिता  
नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमो नमः ॥८॥

Yaa Devii Sarva-Bhutessu Buddhi-Ruupenna Samsthitaa |
Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namo Namah ||8||

8.1: To that Devi Who in All Beings is Abiding in the Form of Intelligence,
8.2: Salutations to Her, Salutations to Her, Salutations to Her, I bow down to her again and again.

 

या देवी सर्वभुतेषु निद्रारूपेण संस्थिता  

नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमो नमः ॥९॥

Yaa Devii Sarva-Bhutessu Nidraa-Ruupenna Samsthitaa |
Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namo Namah ||9||

9.1: To that Devi Who in All Beings is Abiding in the Form of Sleep,
9.2: Salutations to Her, Salutations to Her, Salutations to Her, I bow down to her again and again.

Also Read Significance of Navaratri 

                  Devi Mahatmya – Day 2

Jai Gurudev

Sanjay Sabnis