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

Art of Living Experiences, Art of Living Wisdom.

The Devi Puja during Navratri festival is not considered complete without recitation of the Devi Mahatmya.  Recitation of verses of Devi Mahatmya is one of the most important aspects of “Chandi homa”. The Devi Mahatmya (also called as the Durga Saptshati or Chandi) is an ancient Sanskrit text dedicated to the glory of Mother Divine.

Devi Mahatmya is  divided into 13 chapters consisting of 700 Shlokas (verses). (Therefore the title Saptashati).  Three aspects of the Divine Mother have been depicted in this great work. These are -

  1. Mahakali (The Tamasik form of Devi)
  2. Mahalakshmi (The Rajasik form of Devi) and
  3. Mahasarasvati (The Satvik form of Devi)

Devi Mahatmya has multiple dimensions, some comprehensible and some beyond comprehension. For a simpleton, the Devi Mahatmya is full of awe-inspiring descriptions of the glory of the Devi and fascinating stories of battles fought by the Devi with the Asuras (Demons). For a Bhakta (Devotee) the Devi Mahatmya is the main pillar of strength for his faith. For a seeker, these stories depict the inner battle going on in human psyche and how the Devi shows the ways to emerge victorious in these battles. For some the Devi Mahatmya is like beautiful Sanskrit poetry and for others it contains powerful sacred mantras (incantations). Some consider the entire Devi Mahatmya as one single Mantra. One thing is for sure, the chanting of Devi Mahatmya has a definite positive impact on all levels existence.

The sacred text of Devi Mahatmya begins with the story of powerful King Suratha who lost his kingdom first due to external enemies and then due to his own powerful, vicious and evil-disposed ministers. The King goes to the forest and stays in the hermitage of Sage Sumedha (proper intellect). Even there the King continuously thinks about his kingdom and becomes miserable. One day he meets a merchant near the hermitage, whose name was Samadhi. Samadhi tells the King that he is a wealthy merchant who has been deprived of all his wealth and cast out by his greedy and wicked wife and sons. Now he is very sad and miserable because he does not know the welfare of his family and sons, whether they are living a good life or evil life? His mind is still attached to his wife and sons.

To get rid of their mental agony both Suratha & Samadhi approach Sage Sumedha and ask the Sage, “Both of us are drawn by attachment towards objects whose defects we do know and are exceedingly unhappy. How this happens, then Sir, that though we are aware of it, this delusion comes?” Sage Sumedha tells them, “Men are hurled into the whirlpool of attachment, the pit of delusion, through the power of Mahamaya, who makes the existence of the world possible. Marvel not at this. This Mahamaya is the Yoganidra, of Vishnu, the Lord of the world. It is by her the world is deluded.”

The King asks the Sage, “’Venerable Sir, who is that Devi whom you call Mahamaya?” The sage then narrates to them the story of the Devi, her glory and her victories over the Asuras (demons). Hearing this story both Suratha and Samadhi pray to the Devi, undertake penances and with controlled minds propitiate the Devi for three years and she appears before them in visible form as Devi Chandika and asks them to choose their boons.

Both have heard the same story yet the King saw the Devi vanquishing the Asuras. He saw that the people who had usurped his kingdom had done an evil act. So he was inspired to pray to the Devi for justice. He asks to become ruler not only in this birth but also in the next. The Devi blesses him with the same.

Samadhi is a businessman. (Yet his name suggests otherwise) Being in the material, his sights are firmly on the spiritual. All it takes is a little push for Samadhi to come searching for truth. Realising that the negative forces are within, he seeks pure wisdom and devotion which is the highest wealth. The Devi is pleased and grants his wish too and Samadhi gets enlightenment.

The Devi is like a wish fulfilling tree. It is up to us what we seek.

Second Navadurga : Brahmacharini

On the second day of Navaratri, the second Navadurga Brahmacharini is worshipped and honoured. Brahmacharya is celibacy. Celibacy brings strength, lot of strength. Brahmacharya has higher meaning than just celibacy. Brahma means “infinity” charya means “moving” – Brahmacharya means “moving in infinity”. Knowing your vast nature, not thinking that you are just the body; you walk like you are a glow of light; you move in the world as though you are space. The more joyful you are, the less you feel the body. The more you are in the infinite consciousness the less you feel the tension or the physical weight of the person – that is “Brahmacharya”

This aspect of the Mother Divine is present in the Svadhisthana Chakra. Invoking the qualities of this Devi our consciousness is expanded to infinity; starts moving in infinity, in our true nature; in that space you become vast and powerful with a lot of vigour, valour and strength.

 

2nd day

 

दुर्गायै दुर्गपारायै सारायै सर्वकारिण्यै 
ख्यात्यै तथैव कृष्णायै धूम्रायै सततं नमः ॥४॥

Durgaayai Durga-Paaraayai Saaraayai Sarva-Kaarinnyai |
Khyaatyai Tathaiva Krssnnaayai Dhuumraayai Satatam Namah ||4||

4.1: (Salutations to) Durga, Who helps us in Crossing over the Difficulties and Dangers of Life and Who is the Essence of All Causes.
4.2: Salutations Always to Her, Who is Renowned and Widely Known Outside (in Creation) Just As She is Dark and Smoky and Difficult to Know Inside (in Meditation).

अतिसौम्यातिरौद्रायै नतास्तस्यै नमो नमः 
नमो जगत्प्रतिष्ठायै देव्यै कृत्यै नमो नमः ॥५॥

Ati-Saumya-Ati-Raudraayai Nataas-Tasyai Namo Namah |
Namo Jagat-Pratisstthaayai Devyai Krtyai Namo Namah ||5||

5.1: Salutations to Her Who is Extremely Gentle like the Moon and also Extremely Terrible like Rudra,
5.2: Salutations to the Devi Who is the Supporter of the Universe and Salutations to Her Who is the Creator of the Universe.

या देवी सर्वभुतेषु विष्णुमायेति शब्दिता 
नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमो नमः ॥६॥

Yaa Devii Sarva-Bhutessu Vissnnumaayeti Shabditaa |
Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namo Namah ||6||

6.1: To that Devi Who in All Beings is Called Vishnumaya,
6.2: Salutations to Her, Salutations to Her, Salutations to Her, I bow down to her again and again.

Also Read Significance of Navaratri – Day 1

Sanjay Sabnis