SHRIMAD DEVI BHAGAVATAM | BOOK 5 CHAPTER 33

THE FIFTH BOOK

Chapter XXXIII

On the description of the greatness of the Devī

1-8. The king Suratha said:

“O Muni! This Vaiśya is now become a friend of mine in this forest; he has been expelled from his home by his sons and wife and he has come lately here in this forest.

He is now suffering very much from the bereavement of his family and has become very much troubled in his mind. He is not getting any peace whatsoever.

I am also become like him and have become very distressed owing to my kingdom being robbed away. This thought, though really devoid of any substantial cause, is not leaving my heart now.

Oh! My elephants and horses, now under my enemies, have become weak; my servants are suffering very much owing to my absence! My enemies will, within no time squander away forcibly all my hoarded riches.

This thought is not giving me any happiness; nay, I cannot get any sleep owing to this care and anxiety.

O Lord! I know that this world is false as a dream; yet my mind is so deluded that I cannot make me quiet.

Who am I? What are those horses and elephants to me? They are not my brothers, sons, nor friends; yet I feel very much for them and am troubled with their troubles.

O Muni! I know these all are delusions; still I am not able to make my mind free from them. This is very wonderful indeed! What is the cause of all this?

O Lord! Nothing is veiled from your sight, you are fully able to solve all these doubts.

Therefore, O Ocean of mercy! Kindly explain to me and this Vaiśya the cause of all this delusion.”

9. Vyāsa said:

O King! When the King Suratha asked thus, the Muni in reply said to him the following words, full of wisdom, so that his delusion and sorrow might vanish.

10-25. The Muni said:

“O King! I am telling you the cause of bondage as well the cause of release of all the beings in this Universe.

She is known as Mahā Māyā. She is the Mūla Prakriti, the state of equilibrium of the three Guṇas, Sattva, Rājas and Tamas.

Even Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Mahēśvara, Indra, Varuna, Vāyu, and the other Devas, Gandharvas, Nagas, Rākṣasas, men, deer, animals, birds, trees and various kinds of creepers all are under Māyā; thus they are all bound; again they all get release when they are released by that Māyā.

By Her is created all this world, moving and not moving, all the beings are caught in Her net and all are under the control of Her.

You are a Kṣattriya; so Rajoguṇa preponderates in you and your heart is thus rendered impure.

She, by Her Māyā, deludes even the minds of those who are Jñānins or wise; you are but an ordinary man compared to them.

Even Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Maheśa, though possessed of vast wisdom, still roam, under the sway of Māyā, in the three worlds completely deluded by their attachments to the sensual objects.

O King! In the Satya Yuga, in ancient times Viṣṇu Nārāyaṇa himself performed a very hard tapasyā in Śvetadvīpa. He passed away full ten thousand years in meditation, with the object of attaining the unbroken everlasting Bliss and becoming steadfastly attached to Brahmā Vidyā.

O King! Brahmā, too, became engaged in performing a tapasyā, meditating the Primordial Force, Ādya Śaktī, in a very wonderful solitary place for the cessation of delusion.

Once on a time Vāsudeva Hari wanted to go to another place; he got up and started to see other places.

Brahmā, also, left his place and started for another destination.

When they met each other in their way, each one asked the other:

“Who are you?”

The Prajāpati answered:

“I am the Creator Brahmā.”

Hearing thus the Brahmā’s words, Viṣṇu said:

“O You Stupid! I am Achyuta Viṣṇu; therefore I am the Creator of this world. You are inferior to Me as there is so much of Rajoguṇa in preponderance in you.

Know Me as the eternal Vasudeva, preponderating in Sattva Guṇa.

Do you not remember that I fought a dreadful battle for you and thus saved your life a short while ago, I slew the two Dānavas Madhu and Kaiṭabha when you were much distressed by them and took My refuge.

How then do you boast now! O Fool! Quit your this vain boasting now. In this wide world, there is none superior to Me.”

26-31. The Ṛiṣi said:

Thus engaged in disputing with each other, their lips were quivering with anger and their eyes got red.

When, Behold! There appeared suddenly between those two disputants, a nectar-like white phallic emblem (Lingam), wonderfully long and extensive.

Then a voice, from without anybody, broke out in the Heavens and addressed Brahmā and Viṣṇu who were quarrelling thus:

Whoever amongst you will be able to go to the other end of this Lingam whether beyond its top or below its bottom, he is certainly the superior of you two; let one of you therefore go down to Pātāla and let the other go up to the Heavens.

Leave off your useless disputations and take my word as proof. It is always advisable to select an umpire to decide such a quarrel as this that has sprung up between you two.

32-39. The Ṛiṣi said:

O King! Hearing thus the divine word, both of them became ready and began energetically to measure the length of the wonderful Lingam that stood in front of them.

Viṣṇu went down to Pātāla and Brahmā went up to Ākāśa to measure the Lingam and thus to ascertain their superiority.

Going down some distance Viṣṇu got tired and doing his best, when he could not find out the end of the Lingam, he returned and remained at the desired meeting place.

On the other hand, Brahmā was ascending to the skies when he got one Ketaki flower dropping from the head of the Lingam. He became over glad and returned also to the desired meeting place.

Brahmā became very much elated with vanity and when he returned, he at once showed that flower to Viṣṇu and spoke thus the false words:

“O Viṣṇu! This Ketaki flower has been obtained from the head of the Lingam. I have brought this to you simply that you would recognise it and be convinced in your heart.”

Hearing these words of Brahmā, Viṣṇu saw the Ketaki flower and said:

“O Brahmā! Who is your witness in this matter? He whose words are true, who is equal to all, who is intelligent, pure, and always of good conduct, he can be the witness in such matters of dispute.”

40-44. Brahmā said:

“Who will come now as witness from that far off place? This Ketaki flower is the witness; this will give evidence.”

Thus saying, Brahmā requested Ketaki to give evidence; Ketaki soon replied thus to convince Viṣṇu:

O Viṣṇu! I was on the head of Mahādeva; Brahmā has brought me from there down to this place; you ought not therefore to have any doubt on this point. My word is the evidence;

Brahmā has gone to the other end of the Lingam. Some devotee of Śiva put me on His head and Brahmā has got me down from there.

Hearing thus the words of Ketaki, Viṣṇu was very much astonished and said this:

“I cannot trust your word; if Mahā Deva comes and speaks this Himself, then I can trust and take it as a proof.”

45-53. The Ṛiṣi said:

O King! The eternal Mahā Deva, hearing the words of Viṣṇu, spoke thus to Ketaki with great anger:

“O Liar! Do not utter such false words; You dropped down from My head and Brahmā while ascending up, picked you up on the way. Now as you have told a lie, I will never take you; you are henceforth forsaken by Me.”

Brahmā was then very much put to shame; he bowed down to Viṣṇu; Mahā Deva, forsook the Ketaki flower from that date.

O King! Such is the power of Māyā; when Brahmā, Viṣṇu and other wise persons are so self-deluded by Her, what need to speak of other ordinary mortals!

See! Viṣṇu, the Lord of Lakṣmī, is self-deluded and is always deceiving the Daityas for the welfare of the Devas, without any fear whatsoever of the sin that he is thereby incurring.

Though He is the Lord of all yet He has to take several incarnations in several wombs, forsaking the pleasures of the Heavens and fighting with the Daityas.

O King! Viṣṇu is omniscient and He is the Lord of this world; especially He is the only One, Supreme in the creation of the Gods.

Now when Māyā exercises such a powerful influence on Viṣṇu, what wonder is there that the other ordinary beings would be deluded by Her?

O King! That Highest Prakriti draws away violently the hearts of the wise and drags them down into the ocean of world.

That Omnipresent Bhagavatī is ever the cause of bondage of all when She casts Her net of delusion and She is again ever the cause of liberation when She imparts Her knowledge to them.

54. The King said:

O Brāhman! What is the nature of Her? and what is the Supreme Force? What is the Cause of this creation? And where is Her highest place? Kindly narrate all these to me.

55-66. The Ṛiṣi said:

O King! She is beginningless; therefore She had no origin at any time; that Highest Devī is Eternal and She is always the Cause of all Causes. (How then can any other be powerful like Her).

O King! She resides in all the beings as the essential vital Force; deprived of that Force, every being is reduced to a dead carcass.

She is pervading as the Universal Force of Consciousness in all the beings. The form of this Śaktī (Force) is the form made up of consciousness itself, the Brahmā. (For the force of Fire is Fire itself; it is not seen in any other form).

Her appearances and disappearances at times are simply for serving the purposes of the Gods.

O King! Whenever the Devas and men worship Her, Ambikā makes Her appearance visible to destroy their pains and sufferings. She assumes various forms and possesses various powers.

That Highest Īśvarī comes down of Her free will to serve Her some purpose or other.

She is not like the Devas, under the control of Daiva or Fate; She is not under the influence of Time (as both Fate and Time are created by Her). She puts always every being to action according to his capacity.

Puruṣa is not the Doer; He is simply the Witness. This whole Universe is the object seen.

That Devī is the Mother of all this that is witnessed. She is the Manifested and She is the Unmanifested and She is the Effect also. She alone is the Actress and manifests thus the world and thus gives the colouring to the Puruṣa.

When the Puruṣa is coloured thus, She destroys quickly these worlds.

It is said that Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Maheśa are respectively the Creator, Preserver and Destroyer of the world; but this is merely a statement; really they are merely instruments in Her hands.

Bhagavatī has created them in reality for Her Pastime and stationed them in their respective posts. She has bestowed to them Her part manifestations, i.e., Saraswati to Brahmā, Lakṣmī to Viṣṇu, and Girijā to Maheśa and has thus rendered them more powerful.

They, the lords of the Devas, always meditate and worship Her as the Creatrix, Preserver and Destructrix of this Universe.

O King! I have thus described to you, as far as my intelligence and knowledge go, the holy greatness and the excellent glory of Her (in reality, I have not been able to come to the end of it).

"Aim Hrīm Klīm Chāmuṇḍāyai vichchē" is the (9) nine lettered mantra.

Here ends the Thirty-third Chapter of the Fifth Book on the description of the greatness of the Devī in Śrīmad Devī Bhāgavatam, the Mahā Purāṇam, of 18,000 verses by Mahāṛṣi Veda Vyāsa.