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Bhagavadgita Pages, Chapters 1 to 18

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Durga

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  The Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna  page 241 

888. The more you advance towards God, the more you will find His attributive grandeur falling off. The first vision an aspirant gets is of the ten-handed form (Durga) the form of the Supreme Mistress of the universe. In that form there is a great expression of power and grandeur. Next She appears in a two-handed form; no more are there the ten arms with all their respective weapons. Next comes the vision of the Gopala form. Here there is absolutely no expression of power and grandeur--it is simply the form of a tender child. There is a vision even superior to this--the vision of the effulgent Light.

Source: Siva Purana and Devi Mahatmya

Thomas B. Coburn says in his book Devi Mahatmya (DM):

"The many battles that the Goddess wages against Asuras in the DM are simply allegories for the battle in which every individual participates between true power and ubiquitous proud pretenders."

You hear a common expression that there is a woman behind everyman. We never hear of a reverse stance where man is behind a woman, not just one man but a host of men (here gods) behind one woman. Were they hiding? No, not at all. The gods devised a plan to solve a sticky problem: the Demon King Mahisa had the protection of a boon that guaranteed no death at the hands of a man or god. He defeated the gods and took over heaven. Vishnu, Siva, and other gods, upon supplication from lesser gods, diffused their Tejas (splendor, male energy) from their bodies, which eventually coalesced and congealed into a warrior goddess, Durga, who was one mass of splendor, a powerhouse of a million suns.  Having become the repository of Tejas from gods, she was ready to face any adversary on the battlefield. She had help from seven Maatrakaas (Mothers) to fight the army of Mahisa. The real battle is between overwhelming Virtue on one side and evil forces on the other side representing usurpation, selfishness, jealousy, anger, hatred, and ego.  Who else other than a Mother could restrain, admonish, and punish her errant children?  Adam gave his Tejas (rib, in this case, was actually taken while he was put to sleep) to create Eve; the Hindu gods gave Tejas to create a warrior goddess; Koran says that God created one soul, a mate from the latter and countless men and women thereafter. That is one view. Ask the Tantrics, they have a different version. Mother Goddess is the origin of men and material.

(When Adam gave his rib to create Eve (geneticists refute this), God actually made a clone of Adam from Eve with significant variation in gender. Adam is XY;  Eve is XX.  Is it possible that a clone of Adam's XY becomes XX of Eve? Science contradicts this possibility. They do extract DNA from bone and teeth nowadays. Since Adam gave his DNA to Eve, his descendants' Y chromosome is shrinking and wasting away. Compare the robust size of X chromosome with its counterpart, Y --a runt lined up by its side. The Y is a loner; the Y rejects the advances of X to exchange genes except at the ends, when they do the dance of "give and take."  The Y has been an immigrant haven for new genes which serve no useful purpose. Over ages, the immigrant genes die off.  There is no new "real blood" coming into Y. Will Y waste away and come to a naught? The laconic Y is short, dense and wasting way; and  its hyperbole, haughtiness, and bombast do not match its size. They (sperm) march by millions to assault one ovum with hardy accoutrement and loaded with nourishment, so a lonely sperm can enter the premises for companionship and progeny. All those prospective suitors die in battle, as one princely critter enters the once impregnable fortress and makes a mark with an X or Y. The little runt has a big ego; it has the ability to morph the primary default state of femaleness of the embryo into a male, if the critter carries the Y (SRY).  The critter says in effect, "I am the greatest; I broke through the formidable fortress; it is in me whether the progeny is male or not." 

 

Genetically speaking, Y came into being from X and not X from Y.  Adam can draw little comfort from that notion.  Even worse, the X and Y were not sex chromosomes to begin with; they were autosomes before they became sexy. The future Y chromosome was a copy of X chromosome. Where is the male pride here? And a mere copy at that. What would Adam say to this? When Kali says that she is the origin of men, women and matter, who is going to refute that claim? The male genes hijacked ( took residence in)  the autosome which would be Y. If you stay long enough in a place, you eventually own it. That is how the autosome became the Y chromosome, when the sex genes claimed ownership; there was a transfer of deed of ownership of the house to Y chromosome. To begin with the X and the new Y looked alike; they did their dance like all other autosomes and exchanged genes from each other. Then the Y became a loner and lone ranger and stopped nuclear exchange with X except at the ends.  Y also has a lot of palindromes of enormous lengths which forwards and backwards read the same like MADAM. There are palindromes within palindromes which are compared to hall of mirrors. The Y  chromosome chants these palindromes like Mantras, repeating them umpteen times.  One such palindrome is the infertility gene. Deletions in the gene during sperm formation leads to infertility. That is misspelling of Mantra, which equally has deleterious effect in the world of Tantrics. Man uses the female as the copying machine for his X and Y chromosomes; that is the plain Truth and speaks ill of  Y.) Because man has testis, he claimed proudly but vainly that he is the only gender that can TESTIfy; the females cannot testify in the court for lack of testis, though the females are good witnesses. Things have changed for better.  Male says uncontrolled emotion or psychoneurotic behavior proceeds from the Uterus or womb (Hyster) and called all woman hysterical; they are stuck with that stigma without justification as long as they contain the womb; that is until eternity.

Here is an overheard conversation between an X and a Y. Y says to X, "I am not going to take this nonsense coming from you anymore.  Your womb, your womb is the cause of your hysteria, raving and ranting." X without missing a beat says, "Aren't we testy today like everyday. Listen, you goofball; I had enough with you; put up or shut up. Be a YY and never see the light of day."

Though I digressed here, the fact of the matter is that Kali's  (Durga) claim of Supremacy over other gods has validity.

    

      Durga;                             Ishtar;                     Durga

Third from left: Durga: Credit: exoticindia.com

Durga and Inanna-Ishtar Goddess of Mesopotamia are seen here to have some common traits.

Durga =  hard to pass, impassable, inaccessible; Difficult to understand and attain; Spiritual and inaccessible Goddess; Terrible in action; Terrible in going.

Siva eulogizes Durga as follows:

O Devi, You are the Mother of the Universe, the Benefactress. You liberate mankind from the shackles of birth and miseries of the world. You are the Primordial Being, nourishing and protecting this world. you are beyond all excellences.  You support the mobile and immobile parts of the universe.  You are the five elements: Earth, Water, Fire, Air, Ether.  You are Ahamkara, Maha Tattva, life and breath of the world, Knowledge, the Self, and Supreme Divinity.  You are  the Senses, the Mind, and the Buddhi. You are the Vedas, Pranava (AUM), the Smrtis, the Samhitas, the Nigamas, the Agamas, the Tantras, Mahalakshmi, Maha Kali, Maha Nila Sarasvati, Mahodari, maha Maya, Maha Raudri, and Mahesvari. You are Knowledge and the Omniscient.

MahaKali MahaLakshmi MahaSarasvati Mahodari
Devourer of Time Wealth and prosperity Goddess of learning Has the universe in Her Womb
MahaMaya MahaRaudri Mahesvari Sarvajnana
Brahman who keeps the universe in Her spell. Destructress withdraws the Universe into Herself The Great Controller The Omniscient

Demon (Titan) Rambha*, the foremost among Daityas, had a son Mahisa. Kasyappa is the common father of gods and demons, the mothers being Aditi and Diti respectively. (Kasyappa married 13 daughters out of 60 of Daksa, the son of Brahma. Dharma married ten daughters; Moon twenty-seven daughters; Bhrgu, Angiras, Krsasva, and Tarksya two daughters each. The sons and their descendants occupied the three worlds of heaven, earth and nether world.) Sons of Aditi were Adityas (gods) and sons of Diti were Daityas (Demons); gods and demons fathered by Kasyappa were half brothers. (Kasyappa had 13 wives in all.) Polymorphic Demon Mahisa came in line of Daityas, who had the ability to morph to any shape, size and form at will. There was always a rivalry between gods and demons (Cousins or half-brothers). Both groups churned the Milk Ocean for Nectar of Immortality. The Daityas stole Ambrosia held by Divine Physician Danvantri for  safekeeping; Lord Vishnu, in the form of a ravishing celestial woman, Mohini, fooled the Daityas and extricated the Nectar of Immorality and gave it to the gods for imbibing. There had been wars between the gods and demons; many times demons won over the gods. The Daityas, by their severe austerity, obtained boons from Greater Gods (Siva, Brahma).  (Rambha*: Does Rambo have anything to do with Rambha?)

    Mahisa defeated the gods and their chief Indra, usurped the kingdom of Heaven and sat on Indra's throne. The routed gods sought refuge at the feet of Brahma who took them to Siva and Vishnu. They narrated details of their rout at the hands of the demons. They continued their pitiable account: "We were peaceful, but Mahisa usurped our kingdom and throne and banished us from heaven. We are wandering on earth, having been uprooted from our hearth and home. The flagrant turncoats amongst us joined Asura Mahisa, enjoying freedom and prosperity at the hands of Daityas. Our powers, portfolios and sphere of influence have been wrested from us: The Sun, the Moon, Varuna (Lord of waters), Kubera (Treasurer of heaven), Yama, (god of death), Indra (chief of gods), Agni (Fire), Wind, Gandhravas (musicians), Vidyadharas (scholars), and Caranas (celestial singer). It is incumbent upon you to give us refuge, kill the Daityas as soon as possible, and restore what has been taken away from us.

    Upon hearing an earful of woes, Vishnu and Siva became very angry, their eyes rolling and turning red. They witnessed in the mouths of Vishnu, Siva and the bodies of other gods an unrivaled splendor (Tejas) emanating in all ten directions, coalescing, and congealing into a woman Mahisasmardini (Killer of Mahisa--insert: exoticindia.com). Her face rivaled the splendor of Siva's face; her hair shone like lightning and rivaled that of Yama; her hands were as beautiful and splendorous as those of Vishnu. In all, she had the appearance of a valiant seductress and killer. (Look, the killer girls in 007 movies are no match to Mahisasmardini either in beauty or valor; they should take lessons from her.) Her beauty was a direct bequeathal from Siva, her strength from Vishnu. The moon's beaming rays composed her breasts; Indra's her waists; Varuna's her calves and thighs; earth's her hips; Brahma's her feet; the sun's her toes; Indra's her fingers; Kubera's her nose; Patriarch's her teeth; Fire's her eyes; Dusk's her eyebrows; Wind's her ears; celestials' her limbs. She was sitting on Padma, the lotus seat. (She was the Light and Splendor of all gods.) Vishnu and Siva knew that Mahissura obtained a boon by which he would not be killed by any man (except a woman). Mahisa was of the opinion that woman could never overpower and kill him. How wrong he was? That is the reason why the gods created Mahisasmardini to kill Mahisa.

(Ten directions are N; NE; E; SE; S; SW; W; NW; Above and Below.)

 

    They noticed no weapons on her to fight the demon. Lord Siva gave her a trident; Lord Krishna, his discus; Varuna his conch and noose; the Fire-god his Sakti; Wind-god his bow and a quiver of inexhaustible arrows; Indra his thunderbolt and a bell; Yama, the god of Death, his Big Stick; Prajapati a garland of beads; Brahma a water pot; and the sun lustrous hair.

Durga, a deified conflation of Tejas (splendor, power) of Deities, with weapon systems donated by them

Others gave the following articles:

Kaala Milk ocean Visvakarman Ocean Himavat Kubera Sesa
Sword and shield Jewels and cloth Axe Impenetrable armor, garland, and Lotus

 

Lion and gems vessel with inexhaustible supply of wine Nagahara (Serpent necklace)

Having been endowed with Light, Splendor, weapons and jewels, the goddess roared, which reverberated through heaven and earth; the oceans roiled with tsunamis; the earth shook; the gods let out a cry of victory and relief. The gods looked at Ambika, the newly created warrior goddess, and spouted words of praise. The gods raised their arms and marched their army to the battlefield. The Daityas felt the tumult of the seas and the earth and the din of celebration. They hoisted their arms and were at the ready to march. Mahisa turned his face towards the Light and Sound and rushed headlong towards Ambika, who was radiating beauty and luster in all directions illuminating the three worlds. Million of his armed minions were not far behind Mahisa. They were battle-hardened heroes, and masters of their weapons. They fought hard, they fought long; Ambika easily parried missiles and weapons launched by them. She sent showers of arrows on her enemies, used her trident, club, axe and Sakti. Durga created out of her body many Matrakas (Maatrakaas), the fighting mothers; no men were allowed to do their fighting for her. They are the seven mothers: Brahmani, Mahesvari, Kaumari, Vaishnavi, Varahi, Indrani, Camunda.  These seven mothers are the personified energies (Tejas) of  seven deities resident in Durga. Another source says that Brahmani came from Brahma, Mahesvari from Siva, Kaumari from Kartikeya, Vaishnavi from Vishnu, Varahi from Boar Avatara of Vishnu, Indrani from Indra.

Kali also helped Durga in battle. Mahisasura was in the form a buffalo. Mahisasura demon can morph into any animal. There were piles of bodies, body parts, and weapons strewn all over the battlefield, which is the handiwork of one goddess and her Ganas (assistants) fighting millions of soldiers. Headless bodies danced in the battlefield and the heads were talking as they rolled on the ground asking the goddess and her army to stop fighting them. Rivers of blood from Asuras, elephants and horses flowed on the field. Durga killed many Daitya Generals with her sword, pike and club.  Mahisasura, enraged at the carnage, killed many of the Ganas and rushed towards the lion of the goddess with the intent to kill it. As he rushed, he cleared his way by kicking debris with his hooves, sweeping some with his tail, and using his horns and snout to fling them. He was angry and rushed towards the lion who noticed the thrashing buffalo, who broke the mountain top with his horns and hurled a crag at the lion. Many mountains tops were gored by the horns and there was a rain of crags from the sky. The clouds, shattered by the horns, dissipated in no time. The ocean, whipped by his tail, came in waves and ran beyond its shores. Ambika witnessed all this devastation and was ready to put an end to the Buffalo Demon.

She took a lasso, swirled it skillfully with ever widening circle and swung it on the Buffalo Demon to catch him by the horns. As soon as the noose fell on the demon, he metamorphosed into a lion. No sooner than she tried to cut his head off, he became a human being with a sword in his hand. She sent a downpour of arrows on him, which he parried with his shield. He became an elephant, swung his trunk and landed a blow on the lion. Then he became a human; the goddess cut off his hand with her sword; he took his original form of Buffalo. He sent turbulence through all three worlds and Chandica the protector of the worlds, was very angry with him. She began drinking wine and laughed out loud. The Demon also bellowed loud.  He dug the mountains with his horns and flung them at the Goddess; she pulverized them all with her arrows. Now the effects of inebriation was showing on her; her eyes were red and her face became ruddy; she was excited; she spoke like the rumbling clouds. "O monumental idiot, O demon of decadence and low intellect, why are you so foolhardy? No Asura in this universe can stand before me." Thus saying, she jumped on him, kicked his neck and thrust him with her spear. He was dying and yet he continued to fight. With his strength ebbing and blood gushing from his body, he managed to be half human and half buffalo. His buffalo head fell off his body with one clean sweep of the sword by Durga; he fell to the ground; he was dead. His followers ran away shouting and begging for mercy. Indra praised the goddess; the Gandharvas sang songs of glory; the Apasaras danced.  Millions of Devas  were hovering in the sky singing praises and came reverentially to Devi with down-cast heads and shoulders.  This is the origin of Mahalakshmi from Durga. Mother Goddess who is the origin of all gods and goddesses. Mahalakshmi, Sarasvati, and others came from the physical sheath (Kosas) of Parvati (Durga).

Suras and Asuras (gods and demons) churned the milk ocean and obtained nectar; the gods were imbibing the nectar, because they always served at the feet of Lord Vishnu and the demons never did so. The gods thrived and prospered drinking the nectar. Having helped the gods in obtaining the nectar, the demons felt they were entitled to the nectar. The gods and demons started fighting on the beaches of the Milk Ocean. Bali, commander-in-chief of the demons, came by airplane and landed on the beach, surrounded by his underlings. Among the demons were Sumbha and Nisumbha. They all bristled with anger and jealousy because they did not get their share of the Amirta (Ambrosia).

Indra and lesser gods assembled on the beach for the demons were in a fighting mood. Indra was seated on a celestial elephant Airavata. The gods and demons exchanged barbed words and insults and began fighting. Sumbha and Nisumbha fought with Durga also known as Bhadra Kali. Gods and demons fought with their equals in skills, strength and endurance. The dust raised by this fight was so enormous that it reached the sun. When the dust mixed with blood, it precipitated to the earth like red rain.

    Lord Vishnu appeared in the sky riding on Garuda in full regalia, dressed in yellow, wearing Kaustubha gem, helmet, earrings, and holding powerful weapons in his eight hands. Demon Kalaneni seated on a lion threw his trident aiming at Garuda's head; Lord Vishnu, caught the trident and killed the lion and the demon with his own weapon.

Sumbha and Nisumbha became powerful demons and usurped the three worlds of Indra, the chief of gods. They took over the portfolios and sovereignty  of the sun, the moon, Kubera, Yama, Varuna, Vayu and Agni.  Kubera = treasurer of the gods; Yama = god of death; Varuna = god of the waters; Vayu = god of wind; Agni = god of fire. Having been defeated and deprived of their station by Sumbha and Nisumbha, the gods appealed to the invincible Devi. The gods went to her father Himavat and eulogized Devi. Sumbha reduced them to nothing, while Nisumbha defeated them in battle. They appealed to Parvati from whose physical sheath (Kosa or body) Ambika came out and thus she was called Kausiki. Parvati became black and was called Kalika.

Chanda and Munda, the two minions of Sumbha and Nisumbha, saw Ambika's (Kausiki) most radiant beautiful form. They went to their king Sumbha and told him of the ineffable beauty of Ambika lighting up the Himalayas. They continued to elaborate on her beauty. "A woman of such supreme beauty has never ever been seen before. Please, King, find out who that goddess is and take her. She is the brightest gem among gems. She has beautiful hands and legs. You must see her to appreciate her beauty. You own all the riches of the world. Nothing is impossible for you to get."

    Upon hearing these words, Sumbha sent demon Sugriva as a messenger to Devi, to persuade her to come to him. Sugriva found the inimitable Beauty and spoke sweat words to her. He said to Devi,  " I have come on the command of Sumbha, the Lord of Asuras, who defeated all gods and owns the three worlds and their riches. You are a woman of heavenly beauty; you are the jewel among women. We enjoy the best in the world. Come with me to Sumbha."

    Devi said, "Yes, I agree with all you said; it is all true. I made a silly promise to myself that I will marry the one who defeats me in battle, humiliates me and cuts my pride. Tell Sumbha or Nisumbha to come here, defeat me, and then marry me." The messenger made flippant remarks to Devi by saying that Sumbha and Nisumbha the winners of the three worlds should not find it difficult to defeat a woman and that she should not be haughty now and later lose her dignity by being pulled and tugged by her hair. Devi said to the messenger, " Yes, Sumbha and Nisumbha are powerful. what can I do now? I made this vow which I have to keep. Go and tell them exactly what I told you here. Let them decide what they want to do."

    The messenger was very angry at her nonchalant non-compliance, left her presence, and told the king of daityas all that Devi said. Sumbha called a high official, Dhumralocana and ordered him to take an army with him to the resistant unwilling shrew and drag her to his court by her hair. He told his chieftain not to take any prisoners, if any body, god, Yaksha, or gandharva resists him and his army. The chieftain found Devi sitting on a heap of snow in Himalayas. He called her loud and clear and ordered her to come in peace to Sumbha and Nisumbha. He threatened force and humiliation of being dragged by her hair to the king. She did not move and Dhumralocana charged towards her in anger to capture her, only to be reduced to ashes by the sound 'hum.' uttered by Devi. Upon seeing death by Mantra (by the sound of the word), the army sent a shower of arrows, javelins, and axes to Devi. The lion, Devi's mount, sensing the danger, shook and bristled its mane, roared like thunder, charged towards the army and killed them by his paws, and mouth; the battlefield was chockfull of body parts and internal organs of the daitya soldiers. Devi did not budge from her seat. Sumbha heard of the destruction of his army by the lion, the mount of Devi. Sumbha became red and hot with anger; his eyes spewed hate; his lips quivered; his hair stood on end. He ordered two valiant asuras, Chanda and Munda to maul and kill the lion and bring Devi in the most indecorous way.

    The armed soldiers saw her sitting calmly on the lion and smiling benignly. She became angry when they charged towards her with swords and bows drawn. When Ambika (Devi) sensed their evil intentions, her face turned black and from her forehead emerged Kali of fierce countenance, carrying sword and noose. She was very emaciated, wore a garland of skulls and tiger skin, moved with a gaping mouth and lolling tongue and peered out of flaming sunken eyes; peals of thunder roared out of her mouth. She devoured soldiers, elephants with mahouts and riders, horses and cavalry, chariots, charioteers and archers; she masticated them with fury. Some she chewed and spit; some she bashed with the skull-tipped staff; some she killed by mere sound of word.

    Chanda sent showers of arrows; Munda flung endless salvo of discuses, which disappeared into her mouth. She laughed; her white teeth glistened against her black fearsome face. She mounted on her lion, charged towards Chanda, caught him by his hair and severed his head with her sword. Seeing headless Chanda on the battleground, Munda rushed towards her like the wind to meet the same fate as Chanda. The soldiers, upon seeing their headless generals down on the battlefield, scattered like riven cloud in all directions. Kali took the heads of Chanda and Munda to Chandika and offered them as sacrifice. Chandika (Devi), pleased with the death of Chanda and Munda, conferred on her the name of Chamunda.

    Sumbha, having heard of the death of Chanda and Munda, gathered his forces and marched towards Chandika. She picked up her bow, which extended into space and twanged the string raising a loud musical thunder. The lion joined her with a roar. The Daitya soldiers surrounded Devi, Kali and the lion on all four sides. At that moment, Saktis (power, prowess, effulgence, Tejas) of Brahma, Vishnu, Siva and other gods entered Chandika, who was one goddess with the aggregate power of all gods who also gave her their powerful weapons. Chandika called upon Siva of russet hair and matted locks and sent him as emissary to Sumbha and Nisumbha with the message that they could live in peace in the nether world, by giving up and restoring  the nectar and the three worlds to Indra, the chief of gods and that if they refused the offer they will die the most dreadful death. Since Devi conscripted Siva as the Ambassador, she came to be known as Sivaduti. Siva dutifully fulfilled his mission with no avail. Siva is Her husband.)

    The Daityas came down hard on Devi with arrows, javelins and spears; she smashed every one of them with great ease. The indwelling Brahma's Sakti, Brahmani, doused the Asuras with water from her Kamandalu (pot), thereby divesting the enemies of  valor and power. Mahesvari, indwelling Sakti of Siva, gored the Daityas to death with the trident; Vaishnavi (Sakti of Vishnu) drained the life out of them with her discus and Kaumari with Javelin; Narasimhi mauled, tore, and devoured the asuras.  Durga created out of her body many Matrakas (Maatrakaas), the fighting mothers; no men were allowed to do their fighting. They are the seven mothers: Brahmani, Mahesvari, Kaumari, Vaishnavi, Varahi, Indrani, Chamunda.  These seven mothers are the personified energies (Tejas) of  seven deities resident in Durga, who has in her all the donated Tejas of the male gods.  There are various depictions of the Mahavidyas clustered around first Siva and Sati, second Kali, and third Durga. Matrakas did a marvelous job of destroying the Asuras; the remaining ones took off helter-skelter. Durga brings Matrakas in to do the fighting at the right moment.

Matrakas faced Titan Raktavija on the battleground and fierce battle took place between the Titan and Matrakas; Raktabija (Raktavija) swung the club on Aindri (Indrani) who in turn responded with her thunderbolt weapon obtained from Indra.   A thousand fighting clones of Titan appeared from each drop of blood every time she wounded him and spilt his blood on the battleground. The battlefield was chock full of these fighting clones. Kali brought in Matrakas to fight her battle with the clones. Things got worse; more clones appeared as more blood was shed. Vaishnavi sent the discus spinning to Raktavija; more blood was shed; more clones appeared from each drop of blood. Kaumari gored him with her spear, Varahi with her sword and Mahesvari with her trident. All the Matrakas received heavy blows from Raktabija's club. The gods were very alarmed and worried at seeing the clones rising from earth like mushrooms.

Kali created Chandi, who started killing the clones. Kali had a brilliant idea: she sucked up all the blood from his body and bones as the Matrakas and Chandi were killing the clones; she herself was stuffing the clones into her mouth. She grew to an enormous size and filled the sky and heaven. As the Titan was sucked bone-dry, there was no more blood falling on the battlefield. That was the end of Titan Raktavija.  Compare Kali's problem with that of Hercules. Hercules had a problem with the Hydra (water serpent) with nine heads; every time he cut one head of Hydra, two heads grew in its place. Hercules hit upon the idea of cauterizing the neck to destroy the germinating heads as he cut the heads off one by one. You probably noticed that the idea of cloning from blood and other tissues was in existence in olden days in Hindu mythology.

    Sumbha and Nisumbha were very angry. Sumbha with mighty Asuras advanced towards Devi to kill her. Nisumbha and Sumbha looking like dark nimbus thunder clouds sent arrows like pelting rain on Devi. Chandika (Devi) quickly countered with a rainstorm of  arrows which split the arrows in mid flight; she further hit them hard on their limbs. Nisumbha saw an opportunity to fell the lion, the mount of Kali (Durga) by striking it on the head with his sword. Kali in turn broke his sword and shield into smithereens with her arrow.  Assault with various kinds of weapons took place between Devi on one side and the two Asuras on the other side. Soon Nisumbha was down on the scarred battlefield teeming with dead and mutilated bodies of Asuras who constituted those that were not eaten by Kali and Matrakas. Sumbha became furious at the turn of events and death of his brother, stood up on his chariot with weapons held aloft by his eight arms, shone like a million suns and rode towards Devi. Devi sighting his approach sounded her conch, twanged the bow strings in a show of disdain for Sumbha, which was earsplitting and painful, and rang her bell which sapped the strength of the opponents.  The lion in its masterful show of might, roared and thundered so loud it filled the heaven and earth and the ten directions, and snatched and rendered the rutting elephants docile and calm. Kali sprang up in the air, and came down striking the earth with both hands so hard that all erstwhile sounds subsided into silence; Devi boomed peals of thunderous laughter, which shook and put the Asuras out of kilt. Sumbha was in palpable rage and launched a raging fiery arrow which was immediately countered and extinguished by Devi.  She fired thousands of arrows which were countered adroitly by Sumbha.  Devi gored him with her trident; he fell to the ground in a faint. He recovered his consciousness fast, hoisted his bow and sent a deluge of arrows to Devi, Kali and the lion, which Durga fielded very well. Durga drove an arrow into Nisumbha's heart and as the blood welled up, a valiant person of immense strength sprang from him and yelled at Devi, "stop." His head was severed promptly by Devi, who sprinkled water from Kamandalu that repulsed and drove the Asuras. The lion mauled, killed and devoured the enemies of Devi; Varahi used the snout to pound and kill the Asuras; Vaisnavi sent her discus spinning to cut their heads; Mahesvari lunged at them with deadly trident; Aindri sent never-ending pulses of undulating thunderbolts at Asuras. There was pandemonium on the killing fields, sending the Asuras to take to their heels. Devi, Matrakas, and Lion had their fill of sumptuous feeding on the Asuras. Suddenly Sumbha appears in front of Durga disparaging her, and accusing her of haughtiness. Devi absorbed and assimilated all the Matrakas into her and told Sumbha to fight with her man to woman. (Man to man fight would have favored Sumbha by the power of his boon.) Ambika (Devi) stood there in all her  fierceness and taunted him with advice to be steadfast in combat. The fight was about to start with a galaxy of gods, siddhas, and sages and a gaggle of asuras looking on this two from the skies.

Arrows and missiles whizzed by at lightening speed, as the onlookers cheered for their respective leader. Cheer turned to fright as the earth and heaven shook. Ambika's targeted missiles were countered with antimissiles of Sumbha. (This description is true to its source; the idea of antimissiles originated from Hindu mythology.) There was no end in sight; the torrential rain of arrows from Sumbha came to a end, when Devi broke his bow with her own arrows. Sumbha became a supercharged aggressor. One after another, Devi broke his discus, spear, sword, and mace. She was so close to him that she delivered a blow to his chest which sent him biting the dirt. He promptly rose and engaged in hand to hand combat with Devi. This went for a long time; Ambika picked him up, whizzed him around in rapid circles many times and tossed him so hard that he tumbled in the air and the ground like falling rock. One would think it was the end. Not at all. He rose from the bruising fall, twirled his mustache, slapped his thighs, thumped his chest, raised his fist and ran towards Devi, wanting to kill Her.  Devi in the wink of an eye, skewered him on the chest with her dart and flung him down on the battlefield. The thud was so hard the mountains shook, the earth quaked, the seas roiled, and the clouds dispersed. Sumbha was dead, really dead this time; the universe in a moment became peaceful; the clouds lifted, the sky became blue, the overflowing rivers receded; the minds of Devas (gods) reposed in tranquility; happiness reigned everywhere; Gandharvas sang; Apsaras danced; favorable winds glided soothingly; the sun shone brighter; the holy fires danced reaching for the gods; tranquility replaced the sounds of war.

    The chief of gods, Indra, and other celestials led by the god of Fire, Agni, came to Devi in full regalia eulogizing her; their glistening eyes showed gratitude; their face lit up with smiles; they paraded in front of her in utter humility and grace. They showered on her praises and gratitude: "You are the Mother of all; you are the hypostasis of this universe of beings and matter; You are all the elements of the universe; you are the liberator and refuge."

Notes: Durga Puja starts on the 7th lunar day of bright fortnight and animals are sacrificed to Durga on the 9th lunar day (Shukla Navami).

 

Eighteen-armed Durga: Credit: exoticindia.com

 

Nine forms of Durga (exoticindia.com)

The story of Durga's victory over Bhandasura

    Siva was very much affected by the death of Sati by the internal heat of Tapas (some say she immolated herself in the fire of Daksha's Yagna). Siva held all his activities in abeyance and went into deep meditation and severe penance. The gods started worrying about the increase of burden on Mother Earth from overpopulation because Siva was in meditation and not causing the Nitya Laya  of individuals. (Nitya laya or dissolution is an ordinary everyday death of individuals; the individual soul does not attain liberation and will take on a body depending on its karmic load.) The gods hit upon the idea of conscripting Kama (Manmatha, Cupid) to create an ambience of spring, shoot Harshana and wake Siva up from his penance. Harshana = erection of phallus; in this context it refers to an erogenous arrow that causes penile tumescence or erection.) Siva destroyed Kama with his fiery third eye and rendered him into dust because no one wants a tumescent phallus in the middle of meditation and penance; Ganesa, the son of Siva made a human (to play with) out of that ash to which Siva gave life. Nandikesvara initiated him and instructed him on Shata Rudrēya Mantra. The ash-born demon chanted the Mantra day in and day out and worshipped Rudra-Siva, who, being pleased with his devotion, rewarded him with boons, which entitled him to get half the strength of his opponent and rule the kingdom for sixty thousand years. Brahma witnessed all these happenings and yelled out, "Bhanda, Bhanda."  Who was listening? None. Bhanda = shame. That is how the ash-made man's moniker became Bhandasura. The remnants of the ash took two forms, Vshukra and Vishanga who became Bhanda's brothers.  The dust left after the birth of the brothers came to life as the Raksasas (demons) who constituted an army of mighty asuras with elephants, horses, and chariots. Remember we came from dust and go back to dust.

    Sukracharya, the Guru-Preceptor-Priest of the demons installed him the king of demons. With the help of Sukra, he gained immense power through Mantras. Bhandasura did more penance, received more Mantras, became extremely powerful, annoyed Brahma, Vishnu and Siva, vanquished the gods in heaven and drove them out of heaven. The gods begged Mother Goddess to come to their rescue. When they immolated themselves in Yajna, Sri Bhuvanesvari appeared before them in the effulgent form of Lalita Devi and resurrected all of them. She agreed to take on Bhandasura and regain and return their kingdom of heaven. A great battle ensued and ultimately Lalita Devi won over Bhandasura and his warriors.  Devotees of Mother Durga celebrate Her victory over a nine-day period. It took nine days for Durga to destroy Bhandasura and his minions. These nine days are celebrated as Navaratri (nine nights).

    These nine days and nine nights represent the nine steps in the morphing of Jiva (embodied soul) from an impure being to one of Bliss and Liberation. The nine steps are divided into three stages: Mahavishnu stage, Mahalakshmi stage , and Mahasarasvati stage of three steps each.

Kali (Durga in this instance) fought with the demon for nine days and nine nights. That is killing of demons and eradication of Avidya (spiritual ignorance) in us. These nine days, nine nights and the tenth day (Sakti Puja) are celebrated as Navaratri (nine nights) of the bright fortnight in the month of Aswin (Sep/Oct). The demons in us have to die before we can approach Siva or Mother Goddess. The demons are the Pasas (impurities, bonds). The morphing of Kali/Durga (Transfiguration) to Mahalakshmi and Sarasvati are morphing of the soul from one of impurities to that of prosperity and Light, Wisdom and Knowledge. This is transmutation of Tamas (darkness, delusion and indolence), to Rajas (motion and passion) and to Sattva (virtue and goodness).  It is common a sight to see the constellation of Durga, Mahalakshmi and Sarasvati in one shrine under one dome in the temple as in Balaji Temple in Bridgewater, New Jersey. This descent of spiritual wisdom into the soul is Sattinipatam. When the soul is infused with this wisdom, it is pure enough to merge with Sakti and Siva. Sakti is the intermediary between Siva and man; between Siva and man there is a chasm which cannot be crossed unless Sakti helps the soul. Siva is Absolute Purity and cannot tolerate any contaminating impurity; Sakti helps the pure soul cross this perilous chasm and merge with Siva. Kali, Mahalakshmi and Sarasvati are celebrated for 3 days each and the tenth day is the day of victory when the soul merges with Siva. The tenth day of victory is Vijayadasami and the tenth night is Dasra. This is the day of celebration when men, women and children lay down their important tools (soldiers, weapons; men, their tools of trade; children, their books) at the feet of Goddess and do Seva

These three goddesses form a configuration which helps the human soul get rid of the Malas (impurities), gain spiritual knowledge and attain liberation or Moksa. Durga is a demon killer (Kriya Sakti = ACtion Power). Demons are the Tamasic (Dark) demons in our mind: Kama, Krodha, Lobha, Moha, Mada, Matsarya (desire, anger, greed, delusion, pride, and envy). Once Durga kills these demons, Lakshmi (Ichcha Sakti = Will Power) takes over the mind and helps us get rid of Rajasic Vikshepa (False perception; distraction; to and fro oscillations of the mind; gales of desire blowing in the mind) which are hard to remove from the mind. Lakshmi helps man acquire the Will Power and get rid of remnants of desire and false perception by Upasana (worship). What is left is ignorance meaning spiritual ignorance. Spiritual enlightenment is infused by Sarasvati (Jnana Sakti = knowledge Power). The eradication of impurities, desires and ignorance with the help of these three deities is celebrated for nine days and nine nights, 3 days and 3 nights for each deity (Navaratri = nine nights). It takes nine days and nine nights to defeat these demons. Nine manifestation of Mother Goddess (Durga, Bhadrakali, Amba, Annapurna, Sarvamangala, Bhairavi, Chandika, Lalita, and Bhavani) are celebrated over nine nights. The tenth day is Vijayadasami, meaning victory (over the demons of the mind; realization and emancipation) on the 10th day. It is celebrated in the beginning of summer and winter. In Puranas, the demons are described as living beings. Mantras: Om Sri MahaLakshmyai Namah. Om Sri Durgayai Namah. Om Aim Sarasvatyai Namah. 

Removal of Avarana and Vikshepa. Avarana = Veiling caused by spiritual ignorance. Vikshepa = oscillating mind of desires, scattering, tossing, throwing, discharging. Spiritual Ajnana, Avarana and Vikshepa are linear elements. Ignorance and Avarana are like a cataract in the eye preventing Light (of Wisdom) reaching the eye and brain (soul).  This veil or cataract prevents the Light of Sat and Cit of Brahman from reaching the soul. They are impediments to spiritual progress. In the absence of spiritual wisdom (Saktinipatam = descent of Wisdom as in Saiva Siddhanta) coming into the soul, the mind jumps from one desire to the next illustrated by the morphing of the desire-demon from an elephant to a buffalo. When one desire is killed, another desire pops up in its place in an endless fashion. It is the whipping gale of desire, its many variants, permutations and effects.  On a philosophical note, Vikshepa Sakti is driven by Ajnana (ignorance) and desire. Mind is the stage wherein the Vikshepa demon jumps from one desire to the next in an endless fashion. One desire morphs into another one when you kill the preceding desire. It is removed by Nishkama karma, action without expectation of rewards or desireless action. As in cataract extraction, you remove this ignorance by Avarana Bhanga (removal of the veil [cataract] by Upasana, worship).  To illustrate this concept of eradication of  the clonal colony of desires, Mahalakshmi sucks the marrow dry and drinks the last drop of blood of the demon (of desires) so he does not shed any more blood and make more clones of himself (desires) arising from the dripping blood.  Mahalakshmi presides over this stage and overcomes Rajasic Avarana and Vikshepa. The end result is enlightenment. Note: Ancient Indian seers had an idea of cloning. Whenever the demon shed a drop of blood, that drop of blood became another demon.

Devi Mahatmyam (DM):

It is also known as Candi or Durga Saptasati (seven hundred Mantras). Durga presents Herself as MahaKali, MahaLakshmi and MahaSarasvati; thus, chapter one is for Kali, two to four for Lakshmi and five to thirteen for Sarasvati.  Mahatmyam is chanted during Durga Puja.

Sri Durgayai Namah

DM is part of Markandeya Purana, the composition of which is dated in the 5th or 6th Century CE.  It is my observation that the non-academic Hindus are mainly devotional and the academics and westerners are mainly analytical. Woodroffe presents material as it is and is an exception.  We should accept the fact if it were not for the interested westerners, all this may not have been public and revealed wisdom would have been effectively concealed from the English-reading public. It consists of 700 Mantras and thus is named SaptasatI.  In temple shrines Durga is depicted as sitting on a lion with all her weapons by Herself or in the company of Lakshmi on Her right side and Sarasvati on the left.  (Thirteen chapters of a total of 700 Mantras are divided into three parts: Mahakali, Mahalakshmi and Mahasarasvati.)  Durga Puja is the special occasion when the devotees chant the whole of Devi Mahatmya. Its status among the devotional repertoire is equal to Bhagavad Gita.  Here I present it as a story.

 Makandeya tell his disciple Krasustuki: 'The eighth Manu is Savarni, the son of Savarna and Surya. By the grace of Mahamaya, he became the eighth Manvantara. I will tell you about his birth.'

Comment: Manvantara: Manu + Antara = Manu + between = between two Manus = the period between two Manus.  The beginning of the period is presided over by Root Manu; the end by Seed Manu. Between the Terminal Seed Manu and the next Root Manu there is dissolution or Pralaya.  Here is another interpretation. Each Manu's rule lasts for a Manvantara ( Manv + Antara = Manu + antara =  Manu + period = period of Manu). Each Manvantara lasts for 4,320,000 solar years. Out of the fourteen, we are now ruled by Manu Vaivasvata, the seventh in line.

Age of a god = 4,320,00 years (4.32 million)

Age of Brahma = age of god X 1000 = 4,320,000,000 (4.32 billion); his day and night are of this equal duration. His total age is 8.64 billion years.  He is middle-aged now.

King Suratha of Caitra dynasty ruled the whole world in the period of Svarocisa, who was the 2nd Manu among the fourteen. There are 14 Manus.  The Manus are

1) SvaymbhU, the Self-Existent;

2) SvArocisa, son of Akuti (daughter of number 1)

3) Auttami (Uttama)

4) TAmasa

5) Raivata

6) CAksusa

7) Vaivasvata (AKA Satyavrata) The present Manu and the son of Vivasvat, the sun.

8) SAvarna, brother of Vaivasvata

9) Daksa-SAvarna

10) Brahma-SAvarna

11) Dharma-SAvarna

12) Rudra-SAvarna

13) Raucya (son of Rishi Ruci and the Apsaras MAlini)

14) Bhautya (son of Muni BhUti)

    The aboriginal Kolas were the enemies of king Suratha, who sustained a defeat at the hands of  a smaller army of Kolas and retreated to his own city and country. Knowing the weakness of the vulnerable king, the ministers robbed him blind and nearly emptied the treasury. The military machine, humiliated by the Kolas, dissipated from high attrition. The king decided to take some time for reflection away from the cauldron of conspiracy, and announced that he was leaving for a long-due hunt.  In the forest, he came across intellectually gifted sage, Medhas living in  a hermitage among peace-loving wild animals. Yet thoughts of kingdom, his royal elephant, treasury,  evil servants and ministers continued to roil his mind.  He was particularly distressed to know the carefully accumulated wealth, squandered by the ministers.

    He saw a visitor to the hermitage paying respects to the Brahmana sage. He appeared equally distressed and burdened and afflicted with grief and depression.  He talked to him in a kindly manner and felt a sense of empathy. The visitor poured out his story of woe and no weal as follows.  "My name is SamAdhi belonging to a merchant class. My sons and and my wife threw me out of my my own house. Their greed and spendthrift ways depleted my wealth, without which my value and worth to my family suffered. Here I am not knowing the welfare of my sons and my wife."

The king wondered aloud, " How is it that you bear such love, concern, and affection to the very wife and children who squandered your wealth and threw you out of your own house?"

The merchant replied to the king, "That very thought occurred to me all the time.  I don't have a steely mind and resolve. I love them though they hurt me.  How is it, O king, that I love this worthless family? I am  abandoned, feel depressed and dejected. How could I steel my mind against the ingrates? 

Both of them together came to Medhas, paid obeisance and showed reverence.  After some conversation on unrelated subjects, the king said to the sage, "O Sage, I have some questions for you and earnestly wish that you offer some advice.  My sorrow is beyond control of rational thinking.  I lost my kingdom; I lost my wealth; I still cannot get the kingdom out of mind. I know I am an ignoramus. Take this merchant. His wife and children abandoned him after squandering his wealth and yet he loves them. Both the merchant and I, unhappy at our lot, are in love with people not worthy of our love. How could such a paradox exist?  What kind of a delusion are we suffering from?  We lost our power of discrimination (the power to separate the Real from the unreal). "

The learned Rishi showed every sign of deep interest in their plight. He said, " Knowledge comes from senses. The senses of animals and human beings are similar in many ways. Eating, sleeping, procreation, fear, fight or flight are some of the common behaviors. Take the birds. A mother bird knows it is hungry and yet keeps on dropping the grains into the open beaks of the ravenous chicks. It has the knowledge and yet is full of delusion. Human being are no different from birds. Their attachment to and longing for their children and wife are replete with expectations of reciprocity of similar feelings from them.  Mahamaya is the cause of delusion, the world and attachment. Look no further.  Mahamaya is Yoganidra of Vishnu (The power of Vishnu is always of female connotation; her other name is Bhagavati.)  It is she who deludes this world. (There is a reason why she gave us this delusion. Our soul is covered with impurities. The embodied soul takes birth in this world to attend the school of hard knocks, so that the impurities ripen and fall off resulting in a pristine soul and liberation.) Mahamaya has the power to force even the most sagacious one into a world of delusion. She is creatrix of this world of the mobile and the immobile.  She is also the liberator from the world of delusion, by giving boons and Moksa. She is eternal with no beginning, middle or end; She is the Supreme Knowledge; She is the originator of the transmigration of the soul in this world of Samsara; She is Sarveshvaresvari (the Empress of all, Saraveshvari = the Goddess of all, Empress of all).

The king said to the sage, O Your reverence,  Who is Mahamaya? How did she come into existence? What does she do? What are her nature and form? Where did she come from? We want to know all this from you, O the best among the knowers of Brahman.

The Rishi replied to the king and the merchant as follows. "She is the exact opposite of temporality; She is eternal in its true sense; She is the Universe, which She pervades through and through. She takes incarnation in this world on behalf of the Devas. The universe becomes one ocean at the end of a Kalpa (aeon); Vishnu goes into Yoganidra on serpent Sesha; at this inopportune time of suspended animation, two Asuras (the enemies of Suras, gods) crawl out of the cerumen (earwax) of Vishnu's ears.  As they emerged from the dark recess of the ears, the first being they saw was god Brahma sitting imperially on the lotus flower balanced on a stalk emerging from Vishnu's navel. Brahma, apparently threatened by these demons, saw Vishnu and Yoganidra residing in Vishnu's eyes. (Vishnu goes into cosmic yogic sleep (Yoganidra = meditation sleep) after the deluge on serpent Adisesha. Yoganidra is a personified goddess (a form of Durga), residing in the eyes of Vishnu.  Her arrival into Vishnu marks the onset of Yoganidra and her departure awakens Vishnu to start the cycle of creation, preservation and destruction.  Brahma tried very hard to wake up Vishnu but could not budge Yoganidra. He started praying to Yoganidra to leave Vishnu, so that he would be rescued from the two demons by awake Vishnu. The prayerful pleading worked; Yoganidra, the empress of the cosmos, the supporter of the worlds, the preserver and destroyer of the universe, packed up and left; Vishnu woke up.

In Yogis, Yoganidra is light sleep characterized by withdrawal from the external stimuli of the outer world, meditation in peace, tranquility and bliss and yet preservation of the full spectrum of mental faculties. H.H.Wilson in his translation of Vishnu Purana says the following. "Yoganidra is the sleep of devotion and abstraction, the active principle of illusion, personified, and also termed Maya and the Mahamaya, also Avidya or ignorance. She is Durga, Sakti or bride of Siva." She is also the sister of Vishnu/Krishna. Sacred literature says that Parvati (and her many manifestations) is the sister of Vishnu.

Adisesha is the First Remainders meaning the Primeval residue consisting of Spiritual substance (Consciousness) left over from the previous cosmic Manvantara after the dissolution (Pralaya) and which serves as the progenitor substance of the new universe. This Consciousness substance is represented by the bed of coiled snake with hood, upon which Mahavishnu goes into Yoganidra until the new world is ready to be created.  After destruction and before creation what is left (the residue) is the Consciousness-Substance (the snake that sheds the skin and makes a new appearance), represented by Sesha.

Once Destruction is complete, Vishnu takes Yoganidra (Yogic Sleep with awareness) on Serpent bed. He is then called Sesasaayi Vishnu.

Brahma praises Yoganidra as follows. Your are SvAhA, Svadha, VashatkAra, Svara, SudhA, three-lettered mantra (AUM), half a MAtrA, Savitri and the Supreme Mother of Devas. You are indescribable.

SvAhA = Hail; may a blessing rest on;  an exclamation used in making oblations to the gods; an oblation offered to Agni, Indra.    Oblation personified as a daughter of Daksha and PrasUti,  and wife of Agni, who presides over the burnt-offerings; SvAhA is the terminal word or constant in Mantras uttered during oblations.  SvAhA is deified as UmA, consort of Siva and sister of Vishnu.

SvadhA = self-power; power that comes from inside; offering to Pitrs, forefathers.

VashatkAra: the One for whom Vasat is performed; the receiver of Oblations in Yagna.

Svara: The goddess is Herself sacrifice, oblation, offering and the heaven as the reward.

SudhA:  Good drink, beverage of gods, nectar, Ambrosia, meaning immortality.

SAvitri: This is the Savitri, mentioned as Savitur in Gayatri Mantra. It is Sun; some pundits parse the word and say the following. Savitur is derived Su meaning to go or move. Savitur is thus the impeller, the mover.... Savitur is the One who provides the Light to the sun.

You bear this world, You created this world, You protect this world, You destroy this world. You are Mahavidya (Great Knowledge), Mahamaya (Great Illusion), Mahamedha (Great Intelligence and wisdom), Mahasmriti (Great Memory), MAhadevi (Great goddess), Mahesvari ( Great Goddess).  Some texts says she is MahAsuri (Great demoness).

You are the origin of everything to which You applied the three qualities of Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas   You are the KAlarAtri, the dark night of dissolution. You are MahArAtri, the Great Night of Final dissolution. You are MoharAtri, Night of delusion. You are endowed with auspicious qualities. You are Khadgini (weilder of the sword), ShUlini,  GhOrA Gadini, Charini

Here is the story of Svaha and Swadha as told in chapter 63 Srimad Devi Bhagavat. Brahma held a council of Devas who complained to him about the scarcity of food (butter) poured in fire sacrifice. Butter is the food of gods. No, they don't get hypercholesterolemia or arteriosclerotic heart disease! They actually thrive on butter. They did not get the butter poured in the fire by the Brahmanas and Ksatriyas. Brahma advised the gods to chant hymns of praise to Hari (Vishnu) to alleviate the butter shortage. Nothing much happened. Brahma himself chanted hymns of praise to Krishna, who advised Brahma and Devas to worship Mula Prakrti and sing hymns of praise. From Mula Prakrti emerged the most powerful Devi, who was beautiful and Shyama (blue black) in color. She was no other than Svāhā. She had a ready smile and was inclined to do favor to Her devotees.  She heard of the butter shortage from Brahma and others. She did not consider it as an important issue. Her priority was to become the consort of Krishna. Svaha performed Tapas for 100,000 years standing on one leg. Krishna appeared and took Her on His laps and told Her that she should marry in the present the Fire god and be his energy. In the next birth she would be born as Nagnajiti, daughter of Nagnajit and marry Him. So saying Krishna disappeared. In the meantime she married the fire god and begot by him three sons Daksinagni, Garhyapatyagni, and Ahavaniyagni.  The Rishis, Munis, Sages, Brahmanas, Ksatriyas poured clarified butter in the fire chanting Mantras that end in Svaha. Mantras without the terminal Svaha is impotent as snake without poison, Brahmanas without Vedic knowledge, wife devoid of service to her husband, men without literacy, and trees without fruits. Svaha Mantra became the fruit for all. Devas received their butter oblations. The Mula Mantra (Root Mantra) of Devi is "Om Hrīm Śrīm Vahnijāyāyai Devyai Svāhā." Svaha is the digester of food, the Power, the Action, the Dhruva, the Time, the refuge of men, the fire, the cinder, the essence of the world, the deliverer, the life and the nourisher of gods.  The Brahmanas performed Sraddha to the forefathers (Pitrs) who did not receive any food and so starved. The Pitrs went to complain to Brahma, who created out of His mind Svadhā, the most beautiful learned girl who shone like a hundred moons, was white like Champaka flower, wore a glitter of jewels and a smiling face, stood on a circle of one hundred lotuses, and had all the signs of Lakshmi.  She was the wife of forefathers (Pitrs), with lotus face and water lily eyes. Brahma advised the Brahmanas to chant Mantras that end in Svadhā.  Thus the terminal Svaha mantra is addressed to gods and the terminal Svadha mantra to the forefathers, when Brahmanas make the offerings.  The mantra is Om Hrīm Śrīm Klīm Svadhā Devyai Svāhā.  Uttering the name of Svadha delivers the benefit equal to bathing in the holy places of pilgrimage, helps expunge all the sins and rewards merits of performing Vajpeya sacrifice. Vaj peya = strength drink = drink that gives strength.  It is the name of one of the seven Soma sacrifices offered by Brahmanas and kings who aspire for a high position and  winning of the horse in a race.  It is performed before a king's coronation, priest's inauguration and initiation, Asvamedha (horse) sacrifice, and celebration of seasons, thirty-three gods and Prajapati. Soma and Surā (Brandy of Vedic times) are imbibed only during the sacrifice and not at other times.

 

 Durga's  twelve weapons: