Monday, February 11, 2013

Chronicles of Sri Durga continued..

Within a short span of time Mahishasura managed to bring the whole world under his control. All living beings were made subservient to his authority. He began to receive a lion's share of the oblations from Yagyas performed by the Brahmins. He appointed Chiksura as his Commander-in-Chief. Tamra was appointed to be in charge of the Royal Treasury. Mahishasura was also supported by a host of other daityas.  He sent a message through his emissary bidding Indra to bow down to his supremacy or face him in combat. Indra was infuriated by his conceit and sent the messenger back with a harsh reply. Hearing Indra's reply, Mahishasura was enraged. Bellowing with fury he decided to launch an all out attack on the Heavens. In the heavens, Indra called an assembly and discussed the issue at hand with Surya, Agni, Yama, Kubera, Varuna and other Devas. They came to a consensus that a spy had to be sent to ascertain the strength of the enemy by infiltrating the opponent's ranks. A spy was thus appointed to do the job and upon his return the Devas were able to estimate the military might of their adversary. Indra then sought the private audience of the Deva Guru, Brihaspati. When he sought his counsel, Brihaspati offered him advice pregnant with wisdom and reason. He instructed Indra about the supremacy of Daiva(fate). He reminded him that even the trinity are subjected to the vicissitudes to Fate. He however guided him that though one must always keep this thought in mind, it only befits the wise to perform their duty to the best of their capability, regardless of the outcome. Brihaspati then chanted mantras to enhance the chances of victory for the Devas. Indra however was quite rattled by Brihaspati's words and decided to solicit Brahma's advice on the matter. Indra was then assured of the Trinity's support in the war. Submerged by the bedlam of cymbals, drums, war cries and trumpets the two armies confronted each other. Rudra riding his bull, Vishnu seated on Garuda, Brahma on his swan, Indra on Airvata, Yama on his Buffalo along with Kubera, Varuna, Surya Agni and  the others seated on their respective vahanas confronted the terrible Mahishasura who was accompanied by a host of other powerful demons like Tamra, Chiksura, Asiloma, Vidala and so on. The sky was obfuscated by the shower of weapons like Khadgas, Shoolas, Swords, Arrows, Parighas and so on.

The mighty Chiksura, filled with demonic rage launched a deadly assault on Indra. Indra cut off all his arrows and severely wounded Chiksura by his Ardhachandra arrow. The powerful Vidala then launched an all out attack on Indra. Indra cut of all of his opponent's arrows with arrows charged with serpentine energy and then struck his elephant with his mace. As his elephant fled in terror, Vidala came back on his chariot. Indra was then assailed by Vidala's deadly volley of weapons. With his chariot being driven by Jayanta, Vasava then fiercely attacked the asura. Finally five well aimed arrows of Jayanta knocked the demon into unconsciousness.  The loud acclamations of victory on the Deva's side kindled the demon Mahisha's wrath. He ordered Tamra to attack. He faced Yama with his staff and Varuna carrying his noose. Yama struck Tamra violently with his staff. Despite the strong blow, Tamra stood firm and shot an array of deadly arrows at the Deva Sena. The devas too showered arrows at him in retaliation. Heavily wounded by the encounter Tamra too was defeated. The irate Mahisha charged at the Deva Sena with his mace hurtling violently through the air. Indra then met him in combat and incinerated his weapon using his thuderbolt(Vajra Ayudha).

Mahishasura, the master of Wizardry, conjured up an illusion known as Samvari Maya. In an instant thousands of Mahishasuras appeared. This act of the asura was received differently by different people. The Munis were amazed at his prowess and capability. The Devas were rooted in fear. The supreme Lord of the Universe Mahashambhu, the all knowing and all powerful one, however was pleased by Mahsishasura's mettle. Vishnu destroyed the illusion with his Sudarshana Chakra. As the Trinity appeared on the battle field, Ugrâsya, Ugravîrya, Asilomâ, Trinetra, Vâskala, Andhaka and other warriors came up to fight.
The demon Andhaka ran upto Maha Vishnu and shot five deadly arrows at the Preserver of the Universe. Vishnu then cut off these arrows and a violent conflict ensued between the two of them causing horripilation to the onlookers. They attacked each other with various weapons and arrows, swords, discus, Musala, clubs, S’akti, and Paras'u.Thus severe fights ensued between Vâskala and Indra,Mahisa and Rudra, Trinetra and Yama, Mahâ Hanu and Kuvera, Asilomâ and Varuna.
Andhaka then injured Garuda by striking him with his weapon. After a fierce duel Maha Vishnu then struck Andhaka with the Kaumodaki Gadha and made the demon unconcious. Seeing Andhaka defeated, Mahisha bellowed with rage and appeared before Vishnu. Vishnu then made a thundering sound with his Panchajanya that instilled fear in the hearts of the asuras. At the end of a fierce confrontation with Mahisha, the asura hurled his Parigha at Vishnu and injured him. Thereupon Mahisha was engaged in battle by Rudra who pierced the demon with his sharp trident. At this, the fiend struck Rudra back with enormous force. Keshava then rejoined the battle. The buffalo like Mahisha cast mountains at Maheswara and Mahavishnu. Finally Maha Vishnu struck the demon with his Sudarshana Chakra that rendered Mahisha temporarily unconscious.

The demon then abandoned his buffalo form and assumed the form of a lion. He then charged at Garuda and scratched him and Vishnu with his sharp claws. Then assuming the form of the buffalo he struck Vishnu violently with his two horns. Garuda then carried the heavily injured Vishnu to Vaikuntha. Seeing Vishnu leave and realizing that nothing could be accomplished by prolonging the battle Rudra and Brahma too left for their respective abodes. The devas however stood their ground. Surya, Yama, Kubera, Varuna, Indra and Agni, all fought with the Asuras to the best of their abilities. Mahishasura however was crushing their army with utmost ease. Trampling many Devas to death, piercing some other with his razor sharp horns and lashing at others violently with his tail, the violent beast in the midst of the dead bodies and macabre resembled Death itself. Accepting defeat the Devas fled the scene leaving behind Ucchaisravas, Airavata and Surya's divine cow.
Having emerged victorious, the Danavas proceeded to the heavens and Mahisha captured the coveted throne of Devendra. With the Devas banished from the heavens and the Trinity defeated it seemed that the side of Good had lost the battle. The grotesque head of the Mephistopheles was glaring down upon the three realms with everything held tightly in its firm and deadly grasp. In this hour of despondency when Darkness had triumphed and anarchy had taken the reigns, the world sank into oblivion. But all was not over yet....

इत्थं यदा यदा बाधा दानवोत्था भविष्यति ॥५४॥
तदा तदाऽवतीर्याहं करिष्याम्यरिसंक्षयम् ॥ॐ॥५५॥

( Whenever malevolence takes shape in the form of a fiend/demon and ravages people's happiness then I shall appear on the scene to relieve the innocent of their suffering by vanquishing these nefarious foes)

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Devi Bhagavata Purana: The divine narrative of Goddess Durga


In the days of yore there lived a demon king by the name of Danu. He had two sons, Rambha and Kharambha. They were blessed with all forms of happiness and prosperity. The lack of progeny was , however, a source of worry for them. In order to beget a child both Rambha and Kharambha engaged themselves in severe penance. Rambha meditated on Agni, under a peepul tree haunted by Yakshinis. Kharambha on the other hand got himself submerged under water and practiced severe austerities. 



On observing Rambha engaged in the worship of the Pancha-Agnis, Indra, the lord of the Devas, was troubled. He assumed the form of a crocodile and devoured Kharambha, who was then engaged in severe penance. Grief-stricken by his brother's death at the hands of Devendra, Rambha decided to end his own life. At this juncture Agni appeared before him and offered to grant him any boon he desired. Filled with a burning desire for retribution, Rambha asked for a boon to beget a son who was endowed with extraordinary might. He also wished for the downfall of the Devas at the hands of his powerful son. Agni bestowed the boon upon him that he would beget such a prodigious issue who would rule the three realms. Rambha came in contact with a she-buffalo with whom he chose to cohabit. The impregnated buffalo was taken to asura loka by Rambha, in order to safeguard his child. As fate would have it, a male buffalo was deeply enamored by this she-buffalo and pursued her whereupon he engaged in a deadly combat with Rambha which ultimately resulted in Rambha's demise. Terrified, the she-buffalo sought refuge under the Yakshas who guarded the peepul tree under which Rambha practiced his austerities. Taking pity on her pathetic condition, the Yakshas decided to protect her and then killed the male buffalo. When they were about to cremate Rambha, the she-buffalo too decided to immolate herself in the same funeral-pyre. Before anyone could stop her from doing so she jumped into the fire. At that moment, Mahisa emerged from her womb and out of the love for his son, Rambha too emerged out of the flames as the terrible Raktabija. With blood-shot eyes, consumed by the fire of revenge and hatred, Raktabija and his son Mahishasura stood in front of the raging flames that consumed Rambha and his wife's body waiting eagerly to exact their revenge on the Devas. This marked the beginning of a great showdown between the two eternally antagonistic forces of good and evil that constantly strive to emerge victorious against the other. As these events, that formed the threshold of a great battle, were taking shape,  the Devas elsewhere, were making merry, not knowing the nefarious force that was about to take them by storm!

जयन्ती मङ्गला काली भद्रकाली कपालिनी
दुर्गा शिवा क्षमा धात्री स्वाहा स्वधा नमोऽस्तु ते ॥२॥