SHRIMAD DEVI BHAGAVATAM | BOOK 11 CHAPTER 18
THE ELEVENTH BOOK
On the Greatness of the Devī Puja
1. Nārada spoke:
“O Bhagavān! I am now very eager to hear the special Puja of Śrī Devī. The people get their desires fulfilled if they worship Her. ”
2-23. Nārāyaṇa said:
O Devarṣi! I shall now specially speak to you how the World Mother Bhagavatī is worshipped; by worshipping Whom one easily gets objects of enjoyments, liberation and the destruction of all evils.
Controlling one’s speech and making Āchamana, one must make one’s sankalpa and perform Bhūtaśuddhi, Mātrikānyāsa, Ṣaḍanganyāsa, placing conch-shell and doing other necessary acts.
Offering the ordinary Arghya, one should give special Arghya and with the mantra “Astrāya Phaṭ” sprinkle over all the articles brought for worship. Taking the Guru’s permission, he is to go on with his Puja.
First worship the Pīṭha or seat whereon the Devī would be placed; then perform dhyāna (meditation of the Devī).
Then with great devotion, offer to the Deva, the seats (Āsana) and other articles of worship; then perform the bath of the Devī by the water of the Panchāmrita (the five nectars).
If anybody performs the bath ceremony of Śrī Devī with one hundred jars of sugarcane juice, he will not have to incur any future birth.
He who performs this bath, and recites the Veda Mantras, with mango juice or sugarcane juice gets for ever Lakṣmī ever and ever and Saraswatī bound at his doors.
He who gets this sacred bath of the Devī with grape juice, along with his relatives and acquaintances dwells in the Devī-loka for as many years as there are atoms in the juice.
He who bathes the Devī with the Vedic mantras, and with water scented with camphor, the fragrant aloe wood (aguru), saffron, and musk, becomes freed at once of the sins acquired in his hundred births.
He who bathes the Devī with jars of milk, lives in the ocean of milk (Krṣīra Samudra) for one Kalpa.
So he who does this bathing ceremony with jars of curd, becomes the lord of Dadhikuṇḍa (the reservoir of curd).
He who performs the Snānams of the Devī with honey, ghee and sugar becomes the lord of these things. He who bathes the Devī with one thousand jars, becomes happy in this world as in the next.
If you give Her a pair of silken clothes, you will go to the Vāyu-Loka. If you give Her the jewel ornaments, you will become the Lord of gems and jewels. (Make your mind like the gem.)
If anybody gives saffron, sandalpaste, musk, Sindūra and Ālaktak (red things), he will go to the Heavens and become there the Indra, the Lord of the Devas, in the next birth.
Various flowers ought to be offered in Śrī Bhagavatī’s worship; or the flowers of the season offered to the Devī will lead the devotee to Kailāśa.
The devotee that offers the beautiful Bel leaves to the Devī never experiences anywhere pains and difficulties.
The devotee who writes the Bīja mantra of Māyā “Hrīm Bhuvaneśvaryai Namaḥ” with red sandalpaste thrice on the tri-leaves of the Bilva tree leaf and offers this to the lotus feet of the Devī, becomes Manu by the merit of this virtuous act!
The devotee becomes the Lord of the whole universe who worships the Devī Bhagavatī with ten millions of entire Bilva leaves, fresh, green and spotless.
24-40. If any devotee worships with ten millions of entire fresh green Kuṇḍa flowers, with eight scents, he gets surely the Prajāpatihood.
The worship of the Devī with ten millions of Mallikā and Mālatī flowers besmeared with eight scents makes a man the four faced (Brahmā); and one hundred millions of such flowers will make the devotee a Viṣṇu.
In days of yore, Viṣṇu worshipped the Devī in the aforesaid way and so got His Viṣṇuhood. If any devotee worships the Devī with one hundred Koṭis of Mallikā or Mālatī flowers, the man becomes certainly Sūtrātmā Hiraṇyagarbha.
In ancient days Hiraṇyagarbha worshipped thus the Devī with great devotion and so he became Hiraṇyagarbha! (These Hiraṇyagarbha, Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Maheśa were mere ordinary men before. See the Brihadaranyaka Upaniṣad).
Note: The eight scents refer to Jaṭā mamsī Kapiyutā Śaktergandhāsṭakam! So will be the results if Javā, Vandhūka and Dāḍimī flowers be offered in the worship. Various other beautiful flowers can be offered duly to the Devī by the devotee.
The merits accruing from such offers are known even to the God Īśvara.
The flowers that spring in their proper seasons are to be offered every year to the Devī, repeating Her thousand names enumerated in the Twelfth Book or in the Kūrma Purāṇa.
If the above worship be offered to the Devī, then that man, whether he be a sinner or a great sinner, will be freed from all the sins and after leaving his mortal coil, he will get, no doubt, the lotus feet of the Śrī Devī Bhagavatī.
Offer Dhūpa made of black Aguru, camphor, sandalpaste, red sandalpaste, Sihlaka and Guggula, saturated with ghee in such a way as the whole room of Śrī Bhagavatī scents with pure fragrant smell.
The Devī Bhagavatī becomes pleased with this and offers the lordship of the three Lokas to the devotee.
The devotee, who offers daily the light of camphor to the Devī, goes to the Sūrya Loka. There is no doubt in this. With one’s whole heart, one should give one hundred or one thousand lights to the Devī.
The devotee should offer heaps of food consisting of six Rāsas, the plates and dishes for chewing, sucking, licking and drinking, that is, all kinds of food solid, and liquid, mountain-like high.
Always give food on golden flat plates and cups and various delicious sweet juicy nice heavenly fruits, nicely arranged on trays, cups and saucers.
When Śrī Mahādevī Bhuvaneśvarī gets pleased, the whole universe gets pleased. For the whole Universe is all Devī; as a rope is mistaken for a snake, so this Mahādevī is mistaken for the universe.
41-59. Offer ajar of drinking Ganges water, cool and nice, scented with camphor to the Devī; then offer betel leafs with camphor, cardamom, cloves, and various delicious scents.
These all are to be offered with great devotion so that the Devī may be pleased. Next have music with lovely mridangas, flutes, Murajas, Dhakkās and Dundubhis and so please Her.
The Veda mantras are to be recited; the Purāṇas are to be read and the hymns to be chanted. With whole head and heart offer to the Devī the umbrella and chāmara, the two royal offerings.
Then circumambulate around Her and prostrate before Her and ask Her kindness and pray to Her to forgive all faults and shortcomings.
The Devī is pleased with anybody who remembers Her even once! What wonder then that She will be pleased with all these offerings!
The Mother is naturally merciful to her child. When She is loved with devotion, then She becomes very merciful. There is nothing strange here!
On this point I will recite to you the history of Brihadratha Rājaṛṣī. Hearing which gives rise to Bhakti and Love:
Once in a certain region in the Himalayas there lived a bird called Chakravāk. It flew over many countries and went once to Kāśīdhām.
As a fruit of his Prārabdha Karma, that bird, desirous to find some rice beans, voluntarily went like an orphan round about the temple of Śrī Annapurna Devī.
There circumambulating round the Devī Bhagavatī the bird left the city Kāśī, that grants liberation and flew away to another country.
In time the bird left his body and went to Heavens. There he assumed a heavenly form of a youth and began to enjoy various pleasures.
Thus he enjoyed for two Kalpas. Then he got back to the earth and took his birth as the best in the Kṣattriya family.
He became celebrated as the king Brihadratha in this world. That King was truthful, controlled his senses, and practised Śamyama and deep concentration and knew everything of the past, the present and the future.
He conquered all the enemies and performed various sacrifices and became the Emperor of the sea-girt earth and acquired the very rare faculty in the knowledge of everything of his previous births.
The Munis came to know of this from various rumours and came to the King.
The King Brihadratha duly entertained those guests. The Munis took their seats and asked:
“O King! We hear that all the events of previous births are vividly reflected in your memory. On this point great doubts have come upon us.
Kindly describe in detail. By what Puṇyam (merits) you have come to know all about previous births and the knowledge of the past, the present and the future.
We have come to you to know how you got this wonderful super-sensual knowledge. Kindly say to us sincerely everything about this and oblige.”
60-71. Nārāyaṇa said:
O Brāhman! The very religious King Brihadratha heard them and began to speak out all the secret causes for his knowledge of the past, the present and the future, thus:
O Munis! Hear how I acquired this knowledge.
In my previous birth I was a very low bird Chakravāk. Once, out of my ignorance, I circumambulated round the temple of the Devī Bhagavatī Annapurna at Kāśī.
And, as the result of that, I lived in the Heavens for a period of two Kalpas and I have got this birth and I have got the knowledge of the past, the present and the future.
O You of good vows! Who can ascertain what amount of merits accrues from remembering the Feet of the World- Mother. Remembering Her glories, I always shed tears of joy.
Those who do not worship the adorable Deity Jagadambe are the Great Sinners and they are treacherous. Fie on their births!
The worship of Śiva or Viṣṇu is not eternal. Only the Jagadambe’s worship is eternal. Thus it is stated in the Śrutis.
What more shall I speak on this worship of the World-Mother, which is void of the best trace of any doubt. Everyone ought to serve devotedly the lotus feet of the Devī Bhagavatī.
There is no other act more glorious in this world than serving the feet of Jagadambe. It is highly necessary to serve the Highest Deity, whether in Her Saguṇā or in Her Nirguṇā aspect. (Eat the sugar-candy, holding it in any way. It makes no difference.)
Hearing the aforesaid words of the virtuous Rājaṛṣī Brihadratha, the Munis went back to their respective abodes.
Such is the power of the Devī Jagadambikā! So who can question about the certainty of the high merits arising from the Jagadambikā worship and who will not reply, when so questioned?
Their births are really fruitful who possess faith in the Devī worship; but of those who have no such faith, there is some wrong mixture, no doubt; in their births.
Here ends the Eighteenth Chapter of the Eleventh Book on the Greatness of the Devī Puja, in the Mahāpurāṇam Śrīmad Devī Bhāgavatam of 18,000 verses by Mahāṛṣi Veda Vyāsa.