Chapter I

On the description of the worlds

1-4. Janamejaya asked:

“O Lord! I have heard all that you have described about the sweet nectar-like characters of the Kings of the Solar and the Lunar dynasties.

Now kindly describe the real Tattva of the Virāt Form of the Great Devī and how She was worshipped in every Manvantara by the Regent of that Manvantara and the Kings thereof.

In what part of the year and in which place, under what circumstances and in what form and with what Mantras was the Devī worshipped? I am very anxious to hear all this.

O Guru! In fact describe the gross forms of the Ādya Śaktī, the Devī Bhagavatī by concentrating attention to Which, I can have the power to understand the subtle forms of the Devī and I can get the highest good in this world. ”

5-7. Vyāsa said:

O King! Now hear. I am describing to you in detail about the worship of the Devī Bhagavatī that leads to the welfare of the Whole World; the hearing of which or the practice of which enables one to get the highest good.

In days of yore, the Devarṣi Nārada asked Nārāyaṇa about this very point; I will now tell you what the Bhagavān, the Promulgator of the Yoga Tattva, advised Nārada.

Once on a time the all-powerful Devarṣi Nārada entitled with all the Yogic powers, and born from the body of Brahmā was travelling all over this earth and came to the hermitage of the Ṛiṣi Nārāyaṇa.

Resting a while until the troubles of the journey are over, he bowed down to the Yogi Nārāyaṇa and asked Him what you ask me now.

Nārada said:

O Deva Deva Mahādeva! O Thou, the Ancient Puruṣa, the Excellent One!

8-9. O Omniscient! O Thou, the Holder of the Universe! O Thou Who art the repository of the good qualities and Who art praised by all!

10-12. O Deva! Now tell me what is the ultimate cause of this Universe: whence has this Universe its origin? And on what does it rest? To whom does it take refuge?

Where does it dissolve in the time of Pralaya? Where do all the Karmas of these beings go to? And what Object is that whose knowledge destroys forever the Māyā, the Cause of all this Moha (illusion)?

Whose worship, what Japam, and Whose meditation in the lotus of heart are to be made, by which, O Deva, the knowledge of Paramātmān rises in the heart, as the darkness of the night vanishes by the rising of the Sun.

13.O Deva! Kindly reply to these my questions in such a clear manner as the ignorant people in this Samsara can understand and get themselves across this ocean of Samsāra.

14-15. Vyāsa said:

Thus asked by the Devarṣi, the ancient Nārāyaṇa, the Best of the Munis, the great Yogi gladly spoke:

O Devarṣi! Hear I will now speak to you all the Tattvas of this world, knowing which the mortal never falls into the illusion of this world.

16. O Child! The original cause of this Universe is the Devī Mahā Māyā (the image of the Supreme Chaitanya Para Brahmā); this is the opinion of the Riṣis, the Devas, Gandharvas, and other intelligent persons.

17-23. It is written in the Vedas and other Śāstras that the Devī Bhagavatī, worshipped by all in the Universe, creates, preserves and destroys the Universe by the influence of Her three Guṇas.

I will describe now to you the nature of the Devī, worshipped by the Siddhas, Gandharvas and Riṣis, the mere remembering of Whom destroys all sins, and gives final liberation Mokṣa (and Dharma, Artha, and Kāma also).

The powerful Svāyambhūva Manu, the First, the husband of Śatarūpā, the prosperous and the Ruler of all the Manvantaras worshipped the sinless Prajāpati Brahmā, his Father with due devotion and satisfied Him when the Grandsire of the Lokas, the Hiraṇyagarbha spoke to his son:

The excellent worship of the Devī should be done by you. By Her Grace, O Son, your work of creating worlds will be successful.

Thus spoken by Brahmā, the Bibhu Svāyambhūva Manu, the Virāt incarnate, worshipped the World Mother with great austerities. And with his concentrated devotion, he satisfied the Devī Deveśī and began to chant hymns to Her, the First-born, the Māyā, the Śaktī of all, and the Cause of all causes.

24-36. Manu said:

Thou art Brahmā, the ocean of the Vedas, Kṛṣṇa, the abode of Lakṣmī, Purandara. I bow down again and again to Thee, the Deveśī, the Cause of Māyā, the Cause of this Universe.

Thou holdest Śaṇkha (the conch-shell), chakra, gadā, etc., in Thy hands and Thou residest in the heart of Nārāyaṇa; Thou art the Vedas incarnate, the World Mother, the Auspicious One, bowed down by all the Devas, and the Knower of the Three Vedas.

 O Thou, endowed with all powers and glory! O Mahāmāye! Mahābhāge! Mahodaye! (the Self-manifested). Thou residest as the better half of Mahā Deva, and Thou dost all what are dear to Him.

Thou art the most beloved of Nanda, the Cow-herd (in the form of Mahā Māyā, the daughter who concealed Kṛṣṇa and slipped from the hands of Kamsa and got up in the air and remained as Vindhyavāsinī; also in the form of Śrī Kṛṣṇa).

Thou gavest much pleasure and wert the cause of all the festivities; Thou takest away the fear due to plague, etc.; Thou art worshipped by the Devas.

O Thou, the auspicious Bhagavatī! Thou art the welfare of all incarnate; Thou fructifiest the desires of all to success! Thou art the One to Whom all take refuge and Thou removest their all dangers;

O Thou the three-eyed! Gaurī! Nārāyanī! Obeisance to Thee. I bow down to that ocean of all brightness and splendour, without beginning or end, the One Consciousness, wherein this endless Universe rises and remains interwoven therein.

I bow down to the Devī, whose Gracious Glance enables Brahmā, Viṣṇu, and Mahēśvara to do their respective works of creating, preserving, and destroying the Universe.

O Devī! Thou art the Only One, whom all can bow, since the lotus-born Brahmā, terrified by the horrible Daityas, was freed by Thy prowess only.

O Bhagavatī! Thou art modesty, fame, memory, lustre; Thou art Lakṣmī, Girijā, the daughter of Himālayā, Thou art Sati, the Dakṣa's daughter; Thou art the Sāvitrī the Mother of the Vedas, Thou art the intelligence of all and Thou art the cause of fearlessness.

So I now engage myself reciting Thy Japam, Thy hymns and Thy worship. I meditate on Thee and see Thy form within my heart and hear Thy praises.

Be graciously pleased on me, O Devī! It is by Thy Grace that Brahmā is the Revealer of the Four Vedas, Viṣṇu is the Lord of Lakṣmī, Indra is the Lord of the Devas and of the three worlds;

Varuṇa is the Lord of waters, Kubera is the Lord of wealth, Yama is the Lord of the dead, Nairrita is the Lord of the Rākṣasas, and Soma is the Lord of the water element and praised by the three worlds.

Therefore, O Auspicious World Mother! I bow down again and again to Thee.

37-45. Nārāyaṇa said:

O Child! When Svāyambhūva Manu, the son of Brahmā, chanted thus the hymns to the Ādya Śaktī Bhagavatī Nārāyanī, She became pleased and spoke to him thus:

The Devī said:

“O King, the Brahmā's son! I am pleased with your devoted worship and hymns; so ask boon from Me that you desire.”

Manu said:

“O Devī! If Thou art graciously pleased, grant that my creation be finished without any hitch.”

The Devī said:

“O King of Kings! By My blessing, your work of creation will be completed without any obstruction. And by your puṇya (merits) they will no doubt multiply on and on.

He who reads with devotion this hymn (stotra) composed by you, will get sons, fame and beauty in the world and, in the end, he will be entitled to get to the Highest Place.

The people will have powers unopposed by anybody, will get wealth and grains, will get victory everywhere and happiness; and his enemies will be ruined.”

Nārāyaṇa said:

“O Child! The Devī Bhagavatī Ādya Śaktī granted thus the desired boon to Svāyambhūva Manu and vanished away at once from his sight.”

Then the powerful Manu, obtaining thus the boon, spoke to his father:

O Father! Now give me a solitary place where I can worship the Devī with sacrifices and do my work of creating many people.

46-48. Hearing thus the words of the son, the Prajāpati, the Lord thought over the matter for a long time:

“How this work would be done? Alas! I have spent an endless time in this work of creation; but as yet nothing has been done. For the Earth, the receptacle of all the Jīvas is submerged in water and has gone down to the Rasātala. What is to be done now?

There is only one hope and it is this:

If the Bhagavān, the Primeval Person, under Whose Command I am engaged in this work of creation, helps me in this work of mine, no doubt it will be accomplished then and then only.”

Here ends the First Chapter of the Eighth Book on the description of the worlds in the Mahāpurāṇam, Śrīmad Devī Bhāgavatam, of 18,000 verses, by Mahāṛṣi Veda Vyāsa.