SHRIMAD DEVI BHAGAVATAM | BOOK 1 CHAPTER 8

THE FIRST BOOK

Chapter VIII

On deciding who is to be worshipped

1-7. The Rishis said:

“O highly fortunate one! A great doubt has arisen on your statement. This is ascertained by all the wise men as written in the Vedas, Purāṇas and other Śastras that Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Mahēśvara, these three Devas are eternal. None is superior to them in this Brahmāṇḍa. Brahmā creates all the beings, Viṣṇu preserves and Mahēśvara destroys all in due time. These are the causes of creation, preservation and destruction. The Trinity Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Maheśa are really one form, indeed, Trinity in Unity and Unity in Trinity.

Being endowed respectively with Sattva, Raja and Tamo Guṇas they do their respective works. Amongst these, again, Purushottam Ādideva Jagannāth Hari, the husband of Kamala is the best; for he is capable of doing all the actions; no other than the Viṣṇu, of unrivalled prowess is so capable.

How is it, then that Yogamāyā has overpowered Hari with sleep and made him altogether senseless?

O highly fortunate one! Whither did, then, go that extraordinary self-knowledge and power, etc., of Hari while alive? This is our greatest doubt; so kindly advise us that our this doubt be removed and our well-being be thus ensured.

8-30. What is that Śakti? Which you mentioned to us before; as well by whom Viṣṇu is conquered? Whence is She born? What is the power of that Śakti and what is Her nature? O Suvrata! explain to us these fully.

How was it that Yogamāyā overpowered with sleep the Highest Deity Bhagavan Viṣṇu who is everlasting-intelligence bliss! Who is the God of all, the Guru of the whole world, the Creator, Preserver and Destroyer, who is omnipresent, an incarnate of purity and holiness and beyond Rajoguṇa; how was such a personage brought under the control of sleep?

O Sūta! You are very intelligent and the pupil of Vyāsa Deva; destroy our doubt by the sword of wisdom.

Hearing this, Sūta said:

“O highly fortunate Munis! There is none in the three Lokas who can clear your this doubt; the mind-born sons of Brahmā, Nārada, Kapila and other eternal sons get bewildered by these questions; what can I, then, say on this very difficult point!

See, some persons call Bhagavan Viṣṇu omnipresent, the preserver of all and the best of all the Devas; according to them all this universe moving and non-moving, is created by Viṣṇu; they bow down before the Highest Nārāyaṇa Hrishīkesa Janārdana Vasudeva and worship Him,

whereas others worship Mahādeva Śankara, having Gauri for the other half of his body, endowed with all powers, residing in Kailāśa, surrounded by hosts of bhūtas, that destroyed the Daksha's sacrifice, who is mentioned in the Vedas as Śaśiśekhara (having moon on his forehead), with three eyes and five faces and holding trident in his hand and known as Vriṣadhaja and Kaparddi.

O highly intelligent ones! There are some other persons, that know the Vedas and worship the Sun every day in the morning, mid-day and in the evening with various hymns.

In all the Vedas, it is stated that the worship of the sun is excellent and they have named the high-souled sun as Paramātmā (the Highest Deity).

Whereas there are other Vedavits (the knowers of the Vedas) who worship the Devas, Fire, Indra, and Varuna.

But the Mahaṛṣi say, that as Ganga Devī (the river Ganges), though one, is expressing Herself by many channels, so the one Viṣṇu is expressing in all the Deva forms.

Those who are big Pundits, declare perception, inference, and verbal testimony as the three modes of proofs.

The Naiyāyikā Pundits add to the above three, a fourth proof which they call upamā, resemblance, similitude and some other intelligent Pundits add another fifth proof called Arthāpatti, an inference from circumstances, presumption, implication. It is deduction of a matter from that which could not else be; it is assumption of a thing, not itself perceived but necessarily implied by another which is seen, heard or proved;

whereas the authors of the Purāṇas add two other, called Sāksī and Aitijhya, thus advocating, seven modes of proofs.

Now the Vedanta Śastra says that the Supreme Being (Param Brahmā), the Prime cause of the Universe, cannot be comprehended by the above-mentioned seven proofs. Therefore, first of all, adopt the reason leading to sure belief, the Buddhi, according to the words of the Vedas and discriminate and discuss again and again and draw your inference about Brahmā.

And the intelligent person should adopt what is seen by perception as self-evident and what is inferred by the observance of good conduct.

The wise persons say, and it is also stated in the Purāṇas, that the Prime Force is present in Brahmā as the Creative Force; is present in Hari as the Preservative Force; is present in Hara as the Destructive Force; is present in Kurma (tortoise) and in Ananta (the thousand headed Snake) as the earth supporting Force; is present in fire as the Burning Force, is present in air as the moving Force, and so is present everywhere in various manifestations of forces.

31-51. In this whole Universe, whoever he may be, all are incapable of any action if he be deprived of his force; what more than this, if Śiva be deprived of Kula Kundalini Śakti, He becomes a lifeless corpse;

O great ascetic Riṣis! She is present everywhere thus in every thing in this universe from the highest Brahmā to the lowermost blade of grass, all moving and non-moving things.

Verily everything becomes quite inert, if deprived of force; whether in conquering one's enemies, or in going from one place to another or in eating — one finds oneself quite incapable, if deprived of force.

Thus the omnipresent Śaktī, the wise call by the name of Brahmā.

Those who are verily intelligent should always worship Her in various ways and determine thoroughly the reality of Her by every means.

In Viṣṇu there is the Sāttvika Śaktī; then He can preserve; otherwise He is quite useless; so in Brahmā there is Rājasic Śaktī and He creates; otherwise He is quite useless; in Śiva, there is Tāmasic Śaktī and He destroys; else He is quite useless.

Thus, arguing again and again in one's mind, everyone should come to know that the Highest Ādya Śaktī by Her mere will creates and preserves this Universe and She it is who destroys again in time the whole Brahmāṇḍa, moving and non-moving; no one is capable to do his respective work be he Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Mahēśvara, Indra, Fire, Sun, Varuna or any other person whatsoever;

verily all the Devas perform the respective actions by the use of this Ādya Śaktī.

That She alone is present in cause and effect and is doing every action, can be witnessed vividly.

The intelligent ones call that Śaktī twofold; one is Saguṇā and the other is Nirgunā. The people, attached to the senses and the objects, worship the Saguṇā aspect, and those who are not so attached worship the Nirgunā aspect.

That conscious Śaktī is the Lady of the fourfold aims of life, religion, wealth, desires, and liberation. When She is worshipped according to due rules, She awards all sorts of desires.

The worldly persons, charmed by the Māyā of this world, do not know Her at all; some persons know a little and charm others; whereas some stupid and dull- deeded Pundits, impelled by Kālī, start sects of heretics, Pāṣaṇḍas for the sustenance of their own bellies.

O highly fortunate Munis! In no other Yugas were found acts as prevalent in this Kali Yuga, based on various different opinions and altogether beyond the pale of the Vedic injunctions.

Behold again, if Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Maheśa be the supreme Deities, then why do these three Devas meditate on another One beyond speech, beyond mind and practise, for years, hard austerities; and why do they perform Yajñas (sacrifices) for their success in creation, preservation, and destruction?

They know, verily, the Highest Supreme Being, Brahmāni Devī Śaktī eternal, constant and therefore they meditate Her always in their minds.

Therefore the wise man, knowing this firmly, should serve in every way the Highest Śaktī.

O Munis! This is the settled conclusion of all the Śāstras. I have heard of this great hidden secret from Bhagavān Kṛṣṇa Dvaipāyana. He heard it from Nārada, and Nārada heard it from his own father Brahmā. Brahmā heard this from Viṣṇu.

O Munis it is well that the wise even should not hear or think anything to the contrary from other sources; they should with their concentrated heart serve the Brahmā Sanātanī Śaktī.

It is clearly witnessed in this world that if there be any substance wherein this conscious Śaktī does not exist, that becomes inert, quite useless for any purpose. So know this fully that it is the Highest Divine Mother of the Universe that is playing here, residing in every being.

Thus ends the eighth chapter of the first Skandha on deciding who is to be worshipped in the Mahāpurāṇa Śrīmad Devī Bhāgavatam of 18,000 verses by Mahāṛṣi Veda Vyāsa.