SHRIMAD DEVI BHAGAVATAM | BOOK 5 CHAPTER 28

THE FIFTH BOOK

Chapter XXVIII

On the description of the fighting of the goddesses

1-5. Vyāsa said:

O King! The Devī, hearing thus, laughed and spoke the following reasonable words, in a voice deep as a rumbling cloud:

O Dull brained one! Already I told to that messenger before in reply to you; why then do you boast in vain?

If there be any such in the three worlds who can stand equal to Me in appearance, strength, and prosperity, I will marry him.

Go to Śumbha and Niśumhha and inform them that thus I promised before; therefore let any of them conquer Me in battle and then marry Me according to the prescribed rules.

You have come here to execute the order of Śumbha; so either stand up and fight or fly to Pātāla with your King.

6-11. Vyāsa said:

O King! Hearing the Devī’s words, the Dānava was filled with anger and began to shoot dreadful arrows at once on the Lion.

Ambikā, then, ready handed, seeing the multitude of arrows coming in the sky like serpents, cut them off in a moment to pieces by Her sharp arrows.

The Devī, then, drawing Her bow, shot arrows sharpened on stone at the great Asura Raktavīja.

Then that wicked Demon, thus shot at by the arrows, fell unconscious on the chariot. When he lay thus senseless, a great uproar arose amidst his army and the soldiers began to cry aloud saying:

“Alas! We all are killed.”

Then Śumbha, the king of the Asuras, hearing the sound of Boombā (a danger cry by hands and mouth) ordered all the Dānavas to be ready for the battle.

12. Then Śumbha said:

Let all Kāmbojas go to the battle with all their forces; let other powerful heroes, especially the Kālakeyās, too, who are very strong heroes, go up for the battle.

(Note: Kāmboja, name of a people and their country. They inhabited the Hindu Koosh mountain which separates the Giljit valley from Balkh and probably extended up to little Tibet and Lādak. The Kālakeyās may be the Afridis.)

13-33. Vyāsa said:

O King! Thus ordered, all the fourfold army of Śumbha, viz., cavalry, infantry, elephants and chariots went out, intoxicated for war, to the battle ground where the Devī existed.

The Devī Chaṇḍikā, seeing the Dānava forces coming near, made at once terrible sounds frequently. The Ambikā Devī also made the sound with Her bowstring and blew Her conch-shell.

Kālī, then, shouted aloud opening Her mouth widely.

The powerful Lion, the Devī’s Vāhana, hearing the terrible sounds, roared so loudly that the Dānavas were struck with strange terror.

The powerful Dānavas, then, hearing that sound became impatient with anger and shot arrows after arrows on the Devī.

The wonderful horrible battle, then, ensued, causing horripilation and the Śaktis of Brahmā and the other Devas began to come to Chaṇḍikā Devī.

The Devīs, the wives of the several Devas, then went, to the battlefield in their respective forms with ornaments and Vāhanas as generally on such occasions.

The Śaktī (wife) of Brahmā named Brahmāṇi, mounting on the back of Her Swan came there with a string of beads and Kamaṇḍalu (a wooden water pot used by ascetics).

The Vaiṣṇavī with Her yellow robes came there mounted on Garuda (the sacred bird of Viṣṇu, the carrier of Him) with conch, discus, club, and lotus in Her hands.

The Devī Śankarī, the wife of Śiva, the Auspicious One, arrived on the back of Her Bull. The emblem of half-moon was on Her forehead while in Her hands She held snake, bracelet, and trident (Triśūla) and the sign of fearlessness for Her devotees.

The beautiful wife of Kārtika, Kumārī Devī, looking like Kārtika, came to fight there mounted on a peacock.

The fair-faced Indrāṇī, decked with ornaments on Her several limbs, came there to fight, with thunder-bolt in Her hand, mounted on the elephant Airāvata.

The Vārāhī Devī looking like a female boar, came also, seated on an elevated seat of departed souls (Preta).

The Nārasimhī, resembling Nrisimha (the Man-Lion Incarnation) came there.

The wife of Yama, looking fearful like Yama arrived there on the battlefield smiling and with staff in Her hand and mounted on the back of a buffalo.

Thus the wives of Kubera, Varuṇa, and other Devas came there with proper forms, Vāhana, ornaments, accompanied by their forces and all excited.

Seeing them all, the Devī Ambikā became glad; the Devas, too, became peaceful and expressed their great joy; the Dānavas were afraid at the sight of them.

Śankara, auspicious to all the beings, came there to the battlefield, surrounded by these goddesses and thus said to Chaṇḍikā:

Slay quickly all these Asuras, Śumbha, Niśumhha and all other Dānavas to serve the cause of the Devas. Let all the goddesses destroy the Dānava race and thus free the world from dangers; they may, then, return to their own abodes.

Let the Devas get their shares of sacrifices, let the Brāhmaṇas perform the sacrificial acts, and let all the creatures, moving or not moving, be happy.

Let all calamities such as proceed from drought, excessive rain, rats, foreign invasion, locusts and birds, bats, etc., come to an end. Let the clouds bestow rains regularly and let the cultivation yield ample harvests.

Note here that rats bring in plague.

34-40. Vyāsa said:

O King! When Śankara, the Lord of the gods and Auspicious to all, said thus, a wonderful female ensued out of the body of Chaṇḍikā, very furious, horrible, with hundreds of jackals surrounding and yelling; then that Śaktī, of dreadful appearance, said to the five-faced Śiva, smiling:

O Deva of the Devas! Go quickly to the lord of the Daityas; do the duty of a messenger for us, O Destroyer of lust! O Śankara! Tell that haughty lustful Śumbha and Niśumhha leave the Heavens and go to Pātāla.

Let the Devas reign in the Heavens; Indra go to his own beautiful throne; let all the Devas go to their appropriate places in Heaven and receive their sacrificial offerings duly.

And if the Demons desire to live, let them go quickly to the city of Pātāla where other Dānavas are dwelling.

Else, if they like to die, let them go quickly to the battlefield and let their flesh be eaten up by Her jackals.

41. Vyāsa said:

O King! Hearing Her words, Śūlapāṇi went quickly to Śumbha, the lord of the Dānavas, seated in the assembly, and said thus:

42-44. O King! I am Hara, the Destroyer of the Asura Tripura; now I have come to you for your good as a messenger of Ambikā Devī.

Quit the Heavens and Earth and go quickly to Pātāla where reside the powerful Bali and Prahlāda, or if you like to court Death, come to fight; I will slay you all in a moment.

O King! The Great Queen Ambikā Devī has sent me with these instructions for your welfare and information.

45-63. Vyāsa said:

O King! Thus conveying the nectar-like, beneficial words of the Devī to the chief Daityas, Śiva, the Holder of the trident, returned to his own place.

The Śaktī that sent Śambhu as a messenger to the Dānavas is known in three worlds as Śiva Dūtī.

The Daityas, thus hearing the rigorous words of the Devī, put on their coats of armour and taking their bows and arrows quickly went out to fight.

They came with great force to the battlefield, stretched their bows to their ears and shot piercing arrows, sharpened on stone and tipped with iron, at the Chaṇḍikā Devī.

The Kālikā Devī, too began to strike some with the trident, some with Śakti weapon, and some with clubs and rent them asunder and devoured them all, and began to roam in the field.

Brahmāṇī began to pour water from Her Kamaṇḍalu on the powerful Dānavas in the battlefield and thus destroyed them.

Maheśvarī, mounting on Her Bull gave violent blows by Her trident and thus lay them dead on the ground.

Vaiṣṇavī, with the blow of Her club, took away the lives of many Daityas and striking them with Her Discus cut off the heads of several others.

Indrāṇī hurled Her thunderbolt on the chief Dānavas, already struck by the feet of the elephant and lay them dead on the field.

Nārasimhī tore the strongest Dānavas with the sharp nails and, devouring them, walked to and fro and made dreadful sounds.

Śiva Dūtī began to laugh hoarsely and laid the Dānavas flat on the field, when they were at once devoured by Kālikā and Chaṇḍikā.

Kaumārī, seated on a peacock, by drawing the bowstring to Her ears hurled arrows sharpened on stone on the enemies and killed them to serve the cause of the gods.

Vāruṇī tied down the Dānavas by Her Pāśa weapons in a face to face fighting; thus they lay down senseless on the ground.

O King! Thus the Matrikās, the goddesses, crushed the forces.

Then the other powerful soldiers fled away terrified. The “Boombā” danger cry rose then loudly; on the other hand, the Devas began to shower flowers on the Devīs.

Hearing the distressful agonies of the Asuras and the shouts of victory of the Devas, Raktavīja, the chief of the Dānavas became very angry.

Seeing clearly the Dānavas flying away and the Devas shouting, that powerful Demon came hurriedly to the battlefield with anger. Then with eyes reddened with anger, and with various weapons came before the Devī, Raktavīja mounting on a chariot, and making sounds unusual with his bowstring.

Here ends the Twenty-eighth Chapter of the Fifth Book on the description of the fighting of the goddesses in Śrīmad Devī Bhāgavatam the Mahā Purāṇam, of 18,000 verses by Mahāṛṣi Veda Vyāsa.