SHRIMAD DEVI BHAGAVATAM | BOOK 7 CHAPTER 28

THE SEVENTH BOOK

Chapter XXVIII

On the glory of the Śatākṣī Devī

1-3. Janamejaya said:

“O Ṛiṣi! Wonderful is the story of the religious Rājaṛṣī Hariśchandra that you have described, the great Bhakta of Śatākṣī Devī!

Why is that auspicious Śivā, the wife of Śiva, called Śatākṣī? Explain to me, the cause of it, O Muni! And thus make my birth full of use and success.

Who is there amongst the clear- minded that gets fully satisfied, when he hears the good deeds of the Devī? Each sentence, describing the good deeds of the Devī, gives the undecaying fruits of Aśva Medhā Sacrifice.”

4-45. Vyāsa said:

O King. Hear; I am describing the story of Śatākṣī Devī. You are the great devotee of the Devī; so I have nothing that I cannot say to you.

In olden times, there was a great Dānava named Durgama: he was very cruel. He, the son of Rurū, was born in the family of Hiraṇyākṣa.

Once be thought within himself thus:

“The Munis offer oblations by Mantras as ordained in the Vedas. And the Devas, eating the clarified butter (ghee) of these oblations, get nurtured and strengthened.

The Vedas is the strength of the Devas; if the Vedas be destroyed, the Devas also would be destroyed. Thus it is advisable to destroy the Vedas. (There is no other easy way.)”

Thus thinking, he went to the Himalayas to perform tapasyā. He began to meditate on Brahmā in the space of his heart, and, taking air only, passed away his time.

He practised hard tapasyā for one thousand years and the Devas and the Asuras and all the Lokas were agitated by the power of his Tejas (fiery lustre).

Then the Bhagavān, the four-faced Brahmā, became pleased with him and mounting on his carrier, the Swan came up there to grant him the boon.

Brahmā told clearly the Demon, sitting in Samadhi with his eyes closed:

“Let all be well with you; now ask what you desire? Satisfied with your tapasyā, I have come to grant you the boon.”

Hearing thus, the Demon got up from his Samādhi and worshipping Him duly, said:

“O Lord of the Devas! Give me all the Vedas. O Mahēśvara! Let all the Vedic Mantrams, that are found in the three worlds, with the Brāhmaṇas and the Devas, come to me and give me such strength as would enable me to conquer the Devas.”

Hearing this, the God Brahmā, the author of the four Vedas, replied:

“Let it be as you wish,” and went away.

From that time, the Brāhmaṇas forgot all about the Vedas. So bathing, Sandhyā, daily Homas, Śraddhā, sacrifice, and Japam and other rites and performances, all became extinct.

Then a cry of universal distress arose on the surface of this wide earth; the Brāhmins began to say to each other:

“How has this happened! How has this come to pass! Now what are we to do? Where the Vedas have disappeared.”

Thus when great calamities befell on the earth, the Devas became gradually weaker and weaker, not getting their share of the sacrificial Havis.

At this time, that Demon invested the city of Amarāvatī. And the Devas, not being able to fight with the Asura, of a thunder-like body fled to various directions.

They took refuge in the caves of the mountain Śumeru and the inaccessible passes of the mountain and began to meditate on the Highest Force, the Great Goddess.

O King! When oblations of clarified butter are offered to the Fire, those get transferred to the Sun (Sūryaloka) and get transformed as rains.

So when the Homa ceremonies disappeared, there was the scarcity of rain. The earth became quite dry and not a drop of water was found anywhere.

The wells, tanks, pools, rivers all were dried up. And this state of “no rains” lasted one hundred years.

Countless people, hundreds and thousands of cows, buffaloes and other beasts went to the jaws of death. The dead bodies of persons remained in heaps in every house; persons would not be found to perform their burning ceremonies.

When such calamities were seen, the calm and quiet body of the Brāhmaṇs, in their earnestness to worship the Supreme Goddess, went to the Himalayas.

They with their whole heart and without taking any food began to worship the Devī daily with their Samādhi, meditation and worship:

O Maheśānī! Show mercy on us. O Mother! It’s not praiseworthy to Thee to manifest Thy such anger on us, the low persons and guilty of all sins.

So, O Deveśī! Forgive us. If Thou art angry on us for our faults, even then we may be excused, for Thou art the Internal Ruler within us all and we do whatever Thou impellest us to do.

(The other Devas become pleased and give fruits when they are worshipped by Japam, and other Homa ceremonies; but that is not even possible due to the disappearance of the Vedic Mantrams from amongst us. But You are kind as mothers are towards their children whenever they remember.)

So without Thee, there is no other rescue for these people. O Mahēśvari! Whatever Thou wiliest, Thou canst do that; so what art Thou seeing again and again?

O Mahēśvari! How can we live without Water, what is called the Life. Now rescue us from this great difficulty.

O Mother of the Worlds! O Mahēśvari! Be pleased. Oh the Ruler of the endless crores of Brahmāṇḍas! Obeisance to Thee! We bow down to Thee, the Unchangeable, of the nature of Intelligence.

We again and again make obeisance to Thee, the Lady of the Universe and realisable by the Vedānta words (not this, not this).

All the sayings of the Vedānta declare Thee, by negating (not this, not this) other transient objects as the Cause of all this Universe. We with all our hearts bow down to the Devī.

When the body of the Brāhmaṇas thus praised and chanted the hymns of Mahēśvari, She created innumerable eyes within Her body and became visible.

Her colour was dark-blue (colour of the fourth dimension, space) like heaps of collyrium (eye-paint); eyes like the blue lotuses and expanded; breasts hard, regularly elevated round and so fleshy that they touched each other;

four handed; with Her right hand, holding arrows; on the under hand holding lotus; on the upper-left hand holding a great bow and on the lower hand, carrying vegetables, fruits, flower and roots with abundance of juice, destroying hunger, thirst and fever.

She was the Essence of all Beauty, lovely, luminous like the thousand Suns, and the ocean of mercy. That Upholder of the Universe, showed Her form and began to shed waters from Her eyes.

For nine nights continuously, the heavy rains poured down out of the waters flowing from Her eyes.

Seeing the misery of all the people, out of pity, She showered incessantly tears from Her eyes; and all the people and medicines were satisfied. What more than this, out of those tears, the rivers began to flow.

The Devas that remained hidden in the mountain caves, now came out. Then the Brāhmins, united with the Devas, began to praise and sing hymns to the Devī:

Thou art known by the Vedānta Mahāvākyas. We bow down to Thee. Thou ordained everything to all the worlds by Thy Māyā; so again and again we bow down to Thee.

Our Obeisance to Thee, Who art a Kalpa tree to the Bhaktas yielding all their desires! Thou assumest the body for the Bhaktas! Thou art always satisfied; without any equal; the Lord of the Universe! We bow down to Thee.

As Thou, O Devī, hast innumerable eyes only for our welfare and peace, therefore Thou wilt be called henceforth by the name “Śatākṣī.”

O Mother! We are very much hungry; so we have no power to chant hymns to Thee; therefore, O Maheśvarī! Show mercy on us and deliver to us our Vedas.

46-68. Vyāsa said:

O King! Hearing these words of the Devas and the Brāhmins, the Auspicious One gave them the vegetables, delicious fruits and roots to them that were on Her Hand, for their eating.

After She was prayed, She gave to men sufficient quantity of various articles of juicy food and to the beasts, grass, etc., until new crops came out.

O King, from that day She became famous by the name of Śākambharī (because She nourished all by vegetables, etc.).

Great tumult arose and the Demon Durgama heard all from the emissaries and started out to fight with his weapons and army. He took one thousand Akṣauhiṇī armies with him

(one Akṣauhiṇī army equals large army consisting of 21,870 chariots, as many elephants, 65,610 horses, and 109,350 foot)

and, shooting arrows, he came quickly before the Devī and invested Her and the Deva army and the Brāhmins.

At this, a great tumultuous uproar arose and the Devas and the Brāhmins united exclaimed:

 “O Devī! Save us; save us.”

The Auspicious Devī, then, for the safety of the Devas and the Dvījas created around them a luminous circle and She Herself remained outside.

The terrible fight, then, ensued between the Devī and the Dānavas. The Sun was covered with their incessant hurling of arrows; and the shooters could not shoot accurately on account of the darkness that then prevailed.

Then by the collision of the arrows of both the parties, the arrows caught fire and the battlefield again became filled with light. The quarters on all aides resounded with harsh bow sounds and nothing could be heard.

At this moment, came out of the body of the Devī, the principal Śaktis (forces incarnate) Kālikā, Tāriṇī, Ṣoḍaśī, Tripura, Bhairavī, Kamalā, Bagalā, Mātangī, Tripura Sundarī, Kāmākṣī, Tulajā Devī, Jambhinī, Mohinī, Chhinnamaṣtā, and ten thousand armed Guhyā Kālīs and others.

Thirty-two Śaktis, sixty-four Śaktis, and then innumerable Śaktis, all armed, came out of the Devī successively.

When the Śaktis destroyed one hundred Akṣauhiṇī forces, Mridangas, conch-shells, lutes and other musical instruments were sounded in the battle-field.

At this time, the enemy of the Devas, Durgama, came in front and first fought with the Śaktis.

The fight grew to such a terrible extent that, within ten days, all the Akṣauhiṇī troops were destroyed. So much so as the blood of the dead soldiers began to flow in torrents like rivers.

When the fatal eleventh day arrive the Dānava, wearing red clothes on his waist, red garlands on his neck and anointing his body all over with red sandal paste, celebrated a very grand festivity and mounted on his chariot and went out to fight.

With the strenuous effort, he defeated all the Śaktis and placed his chariot before the Devī. Then a terrible fight ensued for two Praharas (six hours). The hearts of all shivered with horror.

At this time, the Devī shot fifteen very awful arrows at the Dānava. His four horses (Vāhanas) were pierced by Her four arrows; the charioteer was pierced by one arrow;

his two eyes were pierced by two arrows; his arms by two arrows, his flag by one arrow and his heart was pierced by five arrows.

He then left his body before the Devī, vomiting blood. The vital spirit, the luminous counterpart, emitting from his body, merged in the space-like body of the Devī.

The three worlds, then, assumed a peaceful appearance when that greatly powerful Dānava was killed.

Then Hari, Hara, Brahmā and the other Devas began to praise and chant hymns to the World Mother with great devotion and in voices, choked with feelings.

69-73. The Devas said:

“O Auspicious One! Thou art the only Cause of this Illusion of this world, presenting an unreal appearance (while Brahmā is the Only Reality).

So Thou art the Lady of all the beings (otherwise why it would be that Thou hast nourished all the beings with vegetables, etc.). So, Obeisance to Thee, the Śākambharī!

Hundred-eyed! O Auspicious One! Thou art sung in all the Upaniṣads; The Destroyer of the Durgama Asura! We bow down to Thee, the Lord of Māyā, the Dweller in the five sheaths Anna, Rasa, etc.

We meditate upon Thee, the Lady of the universe, as expressed by Praṇava Aum, whom the chief Munis meditate with their Nirvikalpa hearts (hearts free from any Vikalpa, doubts or ignorance).

Thou art the Mother of the endless crores of universe! Thou assumest the Divine Bodies at times for our welfare! Thou art the Mother of Brahmā, Viṣṇu and others; we bow down to Thee with all our heart.

Thou art the Mother of all; so, out of mercy, Thou hast shed tears from the hundred eyes, to remove the miseries of the low humble persons. Thou art the Ruler of all!”

74-80. Vyāsa said:

O King! Thus when Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Hara and the other Devas praised and chanted various hymns to the Devī and worshipped Her with various excellent articles, She became instantly pleased.

Then the Devī, graciously pleased, handed over the Vedas to the Brāhmaṇas.

At last, She, the Cuckoo-voiced, made a special address to them:

“These Vedas are the excellent parts of My body. So preserve these with your greatest care. The more so, when you all have seen with your own eyes what a great calamity befell on you when these Vedas went away out of your hands!

You should all worship and serve Me (the Controller of the Space) always; there is no other thing higher than this that I can advise you for your welfare.

Read always these My excellent glorious deeds. I will be pleased thereby and will destroy all your bad calamities and misfortunes.

My name is Durgā, because I have killed this demon Durgama; so he, who will take My name Durgā and Śatākṣī, he will be able to unveil my Māyā and walk freely.

No use in telling more than this that I tell you now, O Devas, the Essence of all essences Both the Suras and the Asuras would always serve Me and Me, alone.”

81-83. Vyāsa said:

O King! Thus giving pleasures to the Devas by these words, the Devī of the nature of Existence, Intelligence and Bliss disappeared before them.

O King! This Grand Mystery I have described to you in detail; but this is the source of good to all; so keep it secret with every care. The person that hears daily with great devotion this Chapter, gets all that he wants and at last gets the worship in the Devī Loka.

Here ends the Twenty-eighth Chapter of the Seventh Book on the glory of the Śatākṣī Devī in the Mahāpurāṇam Śrīmad Devī Bhāgavatam, of 18,000 verses, by Mahāṛṣi Veda Vyāsa.