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॥