SHRIMAD DEVI BHAGAVATAM | BOOK 3 CHAPTER 30

THE THIRD BOOK

Chapter XXX

On the narration of the Navarātra ceremony by Nārada and the performance of that by Rāma Chandra

1-2. Vyāsa said:

O king! Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa, discussing thus, remained silent; when the Ṛiṣi Nārada appeared there from the sky above, singing the Rāthāntara Sāma Veda hymns in tune and musical gamut with his renowned lute.

3-4. Rāmachandra, of indomitable prowess, on beholding him rose up from his seat and gave him quickly an excellent seat and offerings of water for washing his feet. Then he worshipped the Muni and stood with folded hands. When the Muni ordered him, he took his seat close by Nārada.

5-8. On Rāmachandra taking his seat there with Lakṣmana with a grievous heart, Nārada asked him in a sweet tone:

“O Descendant of Raghu! Why are you being afflicted with sorrows like an ordinary mortal? I know that the evil minded Rāvaṇa has stolen Sītā Devī. I heard while in the heavens that Rāvaṇa, the descendant of Pulastya, stole away Jānakī, out of fascination, could not know that would be the cause of his death.

O Descendant in the family of Kākutstha! It is for the killing of Rāvaṇa that your birth has taken place; and for that purpose Jānakī has been stolen now.

Note: The real Jānakī was not stolen; Her shadow form was stolen.

9-12. O Rāghava! The Devī Jānakī, in her previous birth, was the daughter of a Muni and practised asceticism. While engaged in her austerities, in her holy hermitage, Rāvaṇa came and looking at her, prayed that beautiful woman to become his wife.

Hearing this, she gave a good reproach to Rāvaṇa, when he perforce caught hold of her hairs. That ascetic woman got very angry, and, considering her body polluted by the Devī’s contact, resolved to put an end to her life and cursed Rāvaṇa, thus:

“O Villain! I will be born on the surface of the earth, not from any womb but simply for your destruction and ruin.”

Thus saying, she parted with her life.

13. O Tormentor of the foes! Rāvaṇa, the king of the Rākṣasas, mistook a garland for the extremely poisonous serpent and has stolen away Sītā Devī, the part incarnation of Lakṣmī, in order to root out his race.

14. O Kākutstha! When the Devas prayed for the destruction of that wicked insolent Rāvaṇa, difficult to be subdued, you are born on this earth, in the family of Aja, as a part incarnate of Hari, beyond birth, old age and death.

15. O mighty-armed! Have patience; Sītā Devī is meditating on you, day and night.

16-17. Indra himself, the king of the Devas, sends the nectar and the Heavenly Cow’s Milk in a pot to Her daily; and She subsists on that, alone.

O Lord! On drinking the Heavenly Cow’s Milk, the lotus eyed Sītā Devī is living without any hunger or thirst! I use to see Her daily.

18. O Descendant of Raghu! I am now telling how that Rāvaṇa can be killed. Perform, in this very month of Aśvin, the vow with devotion.

19. Fasting for nine nights, the worship of the Bhagavatī, and repeating the Mantram silently and performing the Homa ceremony, observing all the rules, will certainly fulfil one’s all the desires.

20. O the best in the race of Raghu! You should offer the sacrifice before the Goddess of a sacred and unblameable animal, perform Japam and Homa ceremony equivalent to one-tenth of Japam. If you do all this, you will certainly be able to release Sītā.

21. In days of yore, Viṣṇu, Śiva and Brahmā and the Devas in the Heavens all performed this worship of the Goddess.

22. Therefore, O Rāghava! Every person desires happiness, especially those that have fallen under great difficulties, ought to do this auspicious ceremony, without the least hesitation.

23-24. O Kākutstha! Viśvāmitra, Bhrigu, Vaṣiṣṭha and Kaśyapa all of them did this worship before. When some stole away the wife of Brihaspati, the Guru of the Devas, he, too, by the force of this worship, got his wife back. Therefore O king! Dost thou also celebrate the Puja for the destruction of Rāvaṇa.

25-26. O high minded one! This vow was practised before by Indra for the destruction of Vritra, by Śiva for killing the demon Tripurā, by Nārāyaṇa for the killing of the demons Madhu and Kaiṭabha; so you should also firmly resolve to perform duly this vow with your whole heart. ”

27. Rāma replied:

“O Ocean of Knowledge! Who is that Devī? What is Her influence; whence has She sprung? What is Her Name? And how is that vow to be duly observed? Kindly describe all these to me in detail.”

28. Nārada answered:

“Listen, O Rāghava! That Goddess is Eternal and Ever Constant Primordial Force. If you worship Her, all your difficulties will be removed and all your desires will be fulfilled.

29. She is the source of Brahmā, Viṣṇu and others and of all these living beings. Without Her force, nobody would be able even to move their limbs.

30. That Supreme Auspicious Goddess is the preserving energy of Viṣṇu, is the creative power of Brahmā, and is the destroying force of Śiva.

31. Whatever there exists in this infinite Universe, whether Temporal or Eternal, She is the Underlying Force of all, how, then, can She have an origin!

32-33. Her origin is not Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Maheśa, Sun, Indra, or the other Devas, not this Earth nor this Upholder of the Earth; She is devoid of any qualities, the Giver of Salvation of all, the Full Prakriti. In the time of the final dissolution of this Universe, She lives with the Supreme Puruṣa.

34. She is also Saguṇā, full of qualities, and is the Creatrix of Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Maheśa, and has empowered them, in every way, to create the three Lokas.

35. She is the Supreme Knowledge, existing before the Vedas, and the Originator of the Vedas. The individual souls, knowing Her Nature, become able to free themselves from the bondages of the world.

36. She is known by endless names. The Brahmā, and the other Devas might choose to call Her according to their actions and qualities. I am unable to describe those names.

37. O descendant in the race of Raghu! Her endless names are formed by the various combinations of the various vowels and consonants from the letter ‘A’ to the letter ‘Kṣa.’”

38. Rāma said: -

“O best of the Munis! Describe briefly all the rules and regulations as to how that vow and worship are to be performed. With my heart, full of devotion and faith, I will worship the Goddess today.”

39. Nārada said: -

“O Rāghava! On a level plot of ground, prepare an altar. Place the Goddess there and fast for nine days.

40. O king! I will be your priest and I will, with great energy, carry out this Yajña to fulfil the work of the Gods.”

41-42. Vyāsa said:

Then the powerful Bhagavān Hari, hearing all from the Muni, believed them to be true; and, on the approach of the month of Āśvīn, prepared the altar on the top of a hill and placed the Auspicious Goddess, the World Mother and, observing all the rules, performed the vow and worshipped the Goddess.

43. Fasting for nine days, Rāma celebrated the vow and duly offered sacrifices, performed the worship and Homa ceremonies.

44-46. When, on the grand night of the Eighth lunar day, the two brothers completed the vow as told by Nārada, the Supreme Bhagavatī was pleased with the worship and appeared before them, mounted on a lion, and remaining there on the mountain top, addressed Rāma and Lakṣmana, in a sweet grave tone, like the rumbling of a rain cloud, thus:

“Rāma, I am satisfied with your worship; ask from me what you desire.

47. Rāma! You are sent by the gods for the destruction of Rāvaṇa and are born as a part incarnate of Nārāyaṇa, in the pure and stainless family of Manu.

48. It is You that, in ancient times, incarnated as a fish for serving the purpose of the Devas and preserved the Vedas by killing the terrible Rākṣasas for the welfare of the Universe.

49. It is You that incarnated as a tortoise and held aloft the Mandāra mountain, churned the ocean and nourished the Devas.

50-51. O Rāma! It is You that incarnated, in days of yore, as a boar and held aloft on your teeth this earth. It is You that assumed the form of a Man-Lion and preserved Prahlāda, by tearing asunder the body of Hiraṇya Kaśipu, by Your sharp nails.

52. O Descent of Raghu! It is You that assumed, in ancient times, the form of a dwarf and served the purpose of the Devas, by deceitfully cheating Bali, the younger of Indra.

53. O son of Kauśalya! You incarnated as the son of Jamadagni in the Brahmin family, extirpated the line of Kṣattriya kings and gave over this whole earth to Bhagavān Kaśyapa Ṛiṣi.

54. So You are now born as the son of Daśaratha, in the stainless race of Kākutstha, at the request of the Devas, harassed by Rāvaṇa.

55-56. These powerful monkeys, born as Deva incarnates, all endowed with great power by Me, will help you. Your younger Lakṣmana is the incarnate of Śeṣa serpent; this indomitable man will kill undoubtedly Indragit, the son of Rāvaṇa.

57. You will kill Rāvaṇa; then you would worship Me, with great devotion, in the vernal season and then enjoy your kingdom according to your liking.

58. O best of the Raghus! For full eleven thousand years you will reign on this earth; and after that re-enter your heavenly abode.”

59. Vyāsa said:

O king! Thus saying, the Devī disappeared. Rāma Chandra became very glad and, completing that most auspicious ceremony, performed the Bejoyā Puja on the tenth day and gave lots of presents to Nārada and made him go towards the ocean.

60-61. O king! Thus stimulated by the Supreme Energy, the Highest Goddess brought front to front, Rāmachandra, the husband of Kamala, went to the shores of the ocean, accompanied by Lakṣmaṇa and the monkeys. Then he erected the bridge across the ocean and killed Rāvaṇa, the enemy of the gods. His unparalleled fame spread everywhere throughout the three Lokas.

62. He who hears with devotion this excellent account of the Devī, will get the greatest happiness in this world, and, in the end, will get the final beatitude. There is no doubt in this.

63. O king! There are extant many other Purāṇas, but none is equal to this Śrīmad Devī Bhāgavatam. Know, this is my firm belief.

Here ends the thirtieth chapter on the narration of the Navarātra ceremony by Nārada and the performance of that by Rāma Chandra in the 3rd Adhyāya in Śrīmad Devī Bhāgavatam of 18,000 verses by Mahāṛṣi Veda Vyāsa. Here ends the Third Book.

The Third Skandha completed.