SHRIMAD DEVI BHAGAVATAM | BOOK 3 CHAPTER 23

THE THIRD BOOK

Chapter XXIII

On the killing of the enemy of Sudarśana in the great war

1. Vyāsa said:

After paying due respects to his new son-in-law, the king Subāhu cheerfully entertained him for six days with variety of good dishes.

2. Thus finishing off the marriage ceremony, the king after consulting with his ministers, presented the bridegroom and the bride various jewels and ornaments and other things given naturally on marriage occasions.

3. Then the king of Benares, of brilliant splendour, heard from his messengers that the kings had obstructed the way back of Sudarśana and became very absent minded.

4. Then Sudarśana, of firm resolve, told his father-in-law:

“O king! Better now give us order that we may depart. We will go without any fear.

5. O king! First we will halt at the holy hermitage of Bhāradvāja Muni; and next we will, after due considerations, settle where we would go.

6. O pure one! You need not fear a bit from these kings; the Mother of the Universe, the Bhagavatī Bhavāni will surely protect us.”

7. Vyāsa said:

O king Janamejaya! Hearing thus his son-in-law’s orders, the king Subāhu gave him a vast amount of wealth and bade good-bye to him. Sudarśana, too, quickly departed.

8. The king Subāhu followed him with a long train of soldiers. Thus Sudarśana went on, in his journey, fearless.

9. The great hero Sudarśana, the descendant of Raghu, with his new consort in the chariot and followed by many other chariots, saw the soldiers of the several kings.

10. The king Subāhu, seeing them, became anxious. But Sudarśana gladly took refuge, with his whole heart, of the all-auspicious Goddess Śankarī.

11. Sudarśana began to recite silently the excellent one word seed mantra of the King of Desires (Kāmarāja) and, out of its power, he and his wife remained in the chariot without any fear and sorrow.

12. Then all the kings came there with their soldiers to fight with Sudarśana and to carry away by force the bride. Thus a loud uproar arose.

13. The king of Benares seeing them wanted to kill them. But Sudarśana, the descent of Raghu, desirous of victory, repeatedly asked him not do so.

14. Loud arose, then, the uproar, caused by the sounds of conch shells, bherri, and war drums of the kings on one side and Subāhu on the other, each of the two parties determining to extirpate the other.

15. Śatrūjit prepared himself for the war to destroy his enemy. Yudhājit came there for his help, well equipped with army, etc.

16-17. Some warrior kings remained there as witnesses with their soldiers. Then Yudhājit went in front of Sudarśana. His younger brother Śatrūjit, too, attended Yudhājit to kill his brother in the battle field. Then the warriors, overpowered with anger, shot each other with arrows.

18. A great encounter then ensued in the battle field with sharp arrows. The king of Benares hurriedly advanced there, with a great body of army, to relieve his son-in-law.

19. Thus when the dreadful war began to grow more and more horrible, the Goddess Bhagavatī suddenly appeared there, mounted on Her lion.

20-21. The beauty of Her body was exceedingly lovely; She was adorned with various excellent ornaments and She held various weapons. She wore divine clothings and the beautiful Mandāra garland suspended from Her neck up to Her knees. The kings were greatly astonished to see Her. They began to argue:

“Who in this Lady, mounted on a lion? Whence has She so suddenly come?”

22-23. Beholding Her, Sudarśana told the king of Benares:

“O king! Behold! The Divine Mahā Devī has come here to favour us. She is very merciful. Now I am completely fearless. ”

24. Sudarśana and Subāhu were highly delighted to see the Beautiful Goddess and bowed down to Her feet with great devotion.

25. Then the lion, the vehicle of the Goddess, roared, making tremendous noise. Hearing the roaring of the lion, all the elephants trembled. At that time, the winds began to blow violently and the four quarters assumed an awful appearance.

26-27. Then Sudarśana told his general to carry soon his forces where the kings were staying, blocking his way:

“What could the vicious kings do now, though they had become very angry? The Goddess Bhagavatī had come there to save us.

28. Now you all go safely and calmly through the midst of the kings. See! At my remembering Her, She has come here mercifully to save us.”

29-30. The general, on hearing these words, became ready to march by that route. Then Yudhājit, very much infuriated with anger, said to all the kings:

“Why are you all so much fear stricken? Kill this Sudarśana, stealing away this girl.

31. This lad, weak and without any support, will carry away by force and fearlessly the girl, spiting all the kings; and won’t you be able to do anything? This is very strange!

32. Are you afraid to see this one lady on a lion? O high minded kings! Never trifle away this boy; kill him with all attention.

33. Killing him, we will then take away this girl. The jackal can never snatch away the lady under the grasp of a lion. ”

34. Thus saying, the king Yudhājit, filled with anger, came to the battle field with Śatrūjit and all his forces.

35-36. That wicked king, drew his bow string well-nigh to his ear and shot arrows after arrows, sharpened under stone and by blacksmith at Sudarśana, with the object of killing him. Sudarśana cut off all those arrows quickly with his own quick going arrows.

37. Thus when the fight grew intense, the Goddess Chandikā became very much enraged and shot arrows at Yudhājit.

38. Assuming diverse forms, the Goddess Durga, holding various weapons the auspicious Mother of the Universe, began to fight terribly in the battle field.

39. Śatrūjit and the king Yudhājit were killed in that terrible battle. Both of them fell dead from their chariots; and a shout of victory arose from the side of Sudarśana.

40. The uncle and cousin of the king Subāhu were on the side of Yudhājit and were killed. The kings were very much astonished to see them thus lying dead.

41. The king Subāhu, seeing them dead in the battlefield became very glad and began to praise and sing hymns in honour of Durgā Devī the Destroyer of all difficulties.

 42-43. I bow to the auspicious Goddess Jagaddhātrī, again and again; I bow to the Bhagavatī Durgā the bestower of all desires; I always bow down to Her Who is auspicious, peace giving, and the Higher Vidyā.

O Mother! O Giver of salvation! O Auspicious One! You are pervading the whole Universe, O World Mother! And Upholder of the Universe! I bow down to Thee.

44. O World-mother! O Devī! you are devoid of Prakriti qualities; you are full of qualities; beyond mind and speech; one cannot think out your prowess, etc., by one’s mind. Mother! You are the Highest Force; ever willing to destroy the miseries of your devoted persons. Your influence is manifest everywhere; what eulogy can I sing of Thee.

45. O Devī! You are the Goddess of Vāk (speech) of all beings; you are the all-pervading intelligence, mind, effort, and movements; you are the controller of the minds of all; therefore how can I praise You? O Goddess; You are the Self of all; how can I sing eulogies to You, who are beyond speech and mind, and to the Universal Self.

46. Brahmā, Hari and Hara and other higher Devas have not been able to find the limits of your qualities, though they are incessantly chanting your praises; O Goddess! I am the small of the smallest, I am without qualification, and bound by Prakriti qualities; I am ignorant as regards Jīva and Brahmā. O Mother! I will never be able to describe Your characteristics that are unfathomable.

47. O Mother! Why not good companionships effect the fulfilment of one’s desires. The purification of my heart has been effected incidentally. O Mother! My son-in-law is wholly devoted to you; accidentally there has arisen the connection between him and me and it is on account of his connection that I have been able to see You.

48. O Mother! Today I have got without any restraint and control of passions, and samadhi, the rare vision of You, who is wanted to be seen even by Brahmā, Hari and Hara, Indra and the other Devas and by the Munis, who have attained their realisation. Therefore who is there in this Trilokī, that is so fortunate as I am.

49. O Bhavāni! Where am I, void of intelligence and where is the rare vision of You, Who is the only medicine of this disease of the ocean of world? Still, O Mother! Who is worshipped by the Devas, I have got Your vision. Now I have come to know that You always show mercy to Your Bhaktas, who are in their Bhāvas (mental images of your Self).

50. O Goddess! You have saved Sudarśana in this great war crisis and You have slain these two powerful enemies. How can I describe your prowess in this matter? This I have understood that Your Holy Character ever shows mercy on Your devotees.

51. O  Goddess! Again this is not a matter to be wondered at, if one considers; for You are protecting this whole universe, moving and unmoving; and accordingly You have now protected, out of Your mercy, your Bhakta Sudarśana, the son of Dhruvasandhi, by killing his enemy.

52. O Bhavāni! It is not merely for the protection of your Bhaktas, engaged in Your service, that You show this favour but also to extol the meritorious deeds of your Bhaktas that You do such things; otherwise how is it that this Bhakta saint-like Sudarśana, by marrying my daughter, has got victory in this battle field?

53. O  Mother! You are fully capable to destroy the fear of birth and death. What wonder is there that you fulfil the desires of your Bhaktas? The Bhaktas extol You by characterising You as Saguṇā (full of qualities), Nirguṇa (devoid of any quality) and Apārā, beyond all merits and demerits.

54. O Goddess! O Bhuvaneśvarī! I am fortunate that I have been able to see You, and thus all my duties have become crowned with success. O Mother! I have no practices in the shape of Your meditation, etc. nor do I know any seed mantras of Yours; today I have fully seen Your glory manifested.

55. Vyāsa said:

Thus extolled by the king Subāhu, the Goddess Bhagavatī, the Bestower of the Absolute Freedom, was pleased and said:

“O thou, practiser of good vows! Ask boon from Me.”

Thus ends the twenty third chapter on the killing of the enemy of Sudarśana in the great war, in Śrīmad Devī Bhāgavatam of 18,000verses by Mahāṛṣi Veda Vyāsa.