SHRIMAD DEVI BHAGAVATAM | BOOK 9 CHAPTER 38
THE NINTH BOOK
On the glories of the Devī and on the nature of Bhakti
1-6. Sāvitrī said:
“O Lord! Give me the devotion to the Devī to that Ādya Śaktī Bhagavatī Mahā Māye, Parameśvarī Mayī that is the Essence of all essences, the Door of final liberation to the human beings, and the Cause of delivering them from hells,
that is the Root of all the Dharmas that lead to Mukti, that destroys all the inauspiciousness, that takes away the fear of all the Karmas, and that takes away always all the sins committed before.
O Thou, the Foremost amongst the knowers of the Vedas! How many kinds of Mukti are there in this world? What is the True Bhakti? What are its characteristics? What is to be done by which the enjoyment of the karmas done can be desisted and nullified?
O Bhagavān! The woman kind has been created by the Creator as devoid of any Tattvajñāna or true knowledge; now tell me something about this True Knowledge.
All the charities, sacrifices, bathing in the sacred places of pilgrimages, observing vows and austerities cannot be compared with one sixteenth of imparting knowledge to those who are ignorant (of true knowledge).
Mother is hundred times superior to father; this is certain; but the Spiritual Teacher, the Giver of True Knowledge, is hundred times more to be reverenced and worshipped than the mother. O Lord!”
7-79. Dharmarāja said:
O Child! What boons you desired of Me before, I granted them all to you. Now I grant this boon to you:
“Let the devotion towards the Śaktī now arise in your mind.”
O Auspicious One! You want to hear the reciting of the Glories of Śrī Devī; by this, both he who puts forward the question and he who hears the answer, all their families are delivered.
When the Śeṣa Naga Ananta Deva with His thousand mouths is unable to recite the glories of the Devī, when Mahādeva cannot describe with His five mouths,
when the Creator Brahmā is incapable to recite Her glories with His four mouths, when Viṣṇu, the Omniscient, falls back, when Kārtikeya with His six mouths cannot sufficiently describe,
when Gaṇeśa, the Guru of the Gurus of the great yogis is incapable, when the Pundits, the knowers of the four Vedas, the Essence of all the Śāstras, cannot know even a bit of Her,
when Saraswatī becomes inert in going to describe Her glories; when Sanatkumāra, Dharma, Sanātana, Sananda, Sanaka, Kapila, Sūrya and other sons of the Creator have fallen back,
when the other Siddhas, Yogīndras, Munindras are quite incapable to glorify the deeds of Prakriti Devī, then how can I recite fully the Glories of Her, Whose lotus-feet Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Śiva and others meditate; and lo!
when it becomes difficult for Her devotees even to think of Her, then what wonder is there that She will be so very rare to others!
Brahmā, skilled in the knowledge of the Vedas knows more of Her than what other ordinary persons know so little of Her auspicious Glories.
More than Brahmā, Gaṇeśa, the Guru of the Jñānins, knows; again Śambhu, the Omniscient, knows the best of all.
For, in ancient times, the knowledge of the Prakriti Devī was given to Him by Kṛṣṇa, the Highest Spirit in a solitary place in the Rāsa Maṇḍalam in the region of Goloka.
Mahādeva, again, gave it to Dharma in the Śivaloka; Dharma again gave the Prakriti Mantra to My father. My father became successful (Siddha) in the worship of Prakriti Devī when he practised austerities.
Of old, the Devas wanted to offer to me the Government of the Yama Loka; but as I was very much dispassionate towards the world, I became unwilling and became ready to perform austerities.
Then my Father told the Glories of Prakriti Devī. Now I describe to you what I heard from my Father and what is stated in the Vedas, though very difficult to comprehend. Listen carefully.
O Fair Faced One! As the eternal space does not know its own extent, so Prakriti Devī Herself knows not Her own Glories; then what can be said of any other person on this!
She is the Self of all, endowed with all powers and lordship, the Cause of all causes, the Lord of all, the Origin of all and the Preserver of all;
She is Eternal, always with Her Cosmic Body, full of everlasting bliss, without any special form, unrestrained, having no fear, without any disease and decay,
unattached, the Witness of all, the Refuge of all, and Higher than the Highest; She is with Māyā and She is Mūlā Prakriti; the objects created by Her being known as the Prakriti creation;
Who remains as Prakriti and Puruṣa inseparable from each other as Agni and His burning force; the Mahā Māyā, of the nature of everlasting existence, intelligence and bliss.
Though formless, She assumes forms for the gratification of the desires of Her Bhaktas.
She created first the beautiful form of Gopāla Sundarī, i.e., the form of Śrī Kṛṣṇa very lovely and beautiful, captivating the mind.
His body is blue like the fresh rain cloud; He is young and dressed like that of a cow herd. Millions of Kandarpas (the Love deity) are, as it were, playing in his body.
His eyes vie with the midday lotus of the autumn. The beauty of His face throws under shade the millions and millions of the Full Moon. His body is decorated with invaluable ornaments decked with jewels. Sweet smile reigns ever in His lips; it is adorned moreover with His yellow coloured invaluable robe.
He is Parama Brahmā. His whole body is burning with the Brahmā Tejas, the Fire of Brahmā. His Body is Fiery. He is lovely, sweet to look at, of a peaceful temper, the Lord of Rādhā and He is Infinite.
He is sitting on a jewel throne in the Rāsa Maṇḍalam, and is incessantly looked upon by the smiling lovely Gopis at one and the same time.
He is two-armed. A garland made of wild flowers is hanging from His neck. He is playing on His flute. His breast is resplendent with Kaustubha gem that He always wears.
His body is anointed with Kunkuma (saffron), aguru (the fragrant and cooling paste of the Aguru wood), musk, and sandal-paste. The garland of beautiful Champaka and Mālatī flowers is hanging from His neck. On His head, the beautiful crest is being seen, a little obliquely situated in the form of the beautiful Moon.
Thus the Bhaktas, filled with Bhaktis, meditate on Him.
O Child! It is through His fear that the Creator is doing His work of creation of this Universe; and is recording the Prārabdha fruits of their Karmas. It is through His fear that Viṣṇu is awarding the fruits of Tapas and preserving the Universe.
By His command the Kālāgni Rudra Deva is destroying all. By Whose favour Śiva has become Mrityunjaya, the Conqueror of Death and the Foremost of the Jñānins;
knowing whom Śiva has become Himself endowed with knowledge and the Lord of the knowers of knowledge, full of the Highest Bliss, devotion and dispassion.
Through Whose fear the wind becomes the foremost of runners and carries things, the Sun gives heat, Indra gives rain, Yama destroys, Agni burns, and Water cools all the things.
By Whose command the Regents of the (ten) quarters of the sky are watching and preserving nice orders; through Whose fear the planets are describing their several orbits. Through Whose fear, trees flower and yield fruits; By Whose command the Kāla destroys all.
By Whose command all the beings whether on land or in water are quitting their lives in time; until the proper time comes no man does not die even if he be pierced whether in battle or in danger.
By Whose command the wind supports the water; the water supports the tortoise; the tortoise supports the Ananta and the Ananta supports the earth; the earth supports the oceans, mountain and all the jewels.
The earth is of the nature of forgiveness, i.e., endures all. For this reason all things, moving and non-moving, rest on Her and again melt away in Her.
Seventy-one Divine Yugas constitute one Indra’s life period. Twenty-eight Indra’s life periods constitute Brahmā’s one day and one night.
Thus thirty days constitute Brahmā’s one month; so two months constitute one Ritu (season); six Ritus make one year. Thus one hundred years constitute Brahmā’s life.
When Brahmā dies, Śrī Hari’s eye closes. That is the Prākriti Pralaya. At this time, everything, moving and non-moving, from the Deva loka to Bhur loka (earth) dies.
The Creator Brahmā gets dissolved in the navel of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. The four-armed Viṣṇu, of Vaikuṇṭha, sleeps on Kṣīra Samudra, the ocean of milk, i.e., He dissolves on the left side of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Highest Spirit.
All the other Śaktis (forces) dissolve in Mūlā Prakriti, the Māyā of Viṣṇu. The Mūlā Prakriti Durgā, the Presiding Deity of Buddhi (reason) dissolves in the Buddhi of Kṛṣṇa. Skanda, the part of Nārāyaṇa, dissolves in His breast.
Ganeśa, the foremost of the Devas, born in part of Kṛṣṇa, dissolves in the arm of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. And those who are born in parts of Padma dissolve in Her body and Padma dissolves in the body of Rādhā.
All the cowherdesses and all the bodies of Devas dissolve in Rādha’s body. But Rādhā, the Presiding Deity of the Prāṇa of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, dissolves in the Prāṇa of Śrī Kṛṣṇa.
Sāvitrī, the four Vedas and all the Śāstras dissolve in Saraswatī; and Saraswatī gets dissolved in the tongue of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Highest Self.
The Gopas in the region of Goloka dissolve in the pores of His skin; the Prāṇa Vāyu of all dissolve in His Prāṇa Vāyu; the fire dissolves in the fire in His belly; water dissolves in the tip of His tongue, and the Vaiṣṇavas, (devotees of Viṣṇu), drinking the nectar of Bhakti, the Essence of all essences, dissolve in His lotus-feet.
All smaller Virāts dissolve in the Great Virāt and the Great Virāt dissolves in the Body of Śrī Kṛṣṇa.
O Child! He is Kṛṣṇa, on the pores of Whose skin are situated endless Universes; at the closing of Whose eyes, the Prakriti Pralaya comes and on the opening of Whose eyes, the creation takes place.
The closing and opening of the eyes takes the same time. Brahmā’s creation lasts one hundred years and the Pralaya lasts one hundred years.
O One of good vows! There is no counting how many Brahmās or how many creations and dissolutions have taken place. As one cannot count the number of dusts, so one cannot count the creations and dissolutions. This is the Great Unspeakable Wonder!
Again on Whose closing of the eyes the Pralaya takes place and on whose opening of the eyes the creation takes place, out of the will of God, That Kṛṣṇa dissolves at the time of Pralaya in Prakriti.
This Highest Śaktī, the Mūlā Prakriti is the Only One without a second; it is the only one Nirguṇā and the Highest Puruṣa. It is considered as “Sat” existing, by the Seers of the Vedas.
Such a thing as Mūlā Prakriti is the unchanged state (Mukti). During the Pralaya, this only One Mūlā Prakriti appears as Jñāna Śaktī or the Knowledge Force. Who can in this universe recite Her glories?
Mukti is of four kinds.
(1) Sālokya, (2) Sārūpya, (3) Sāmīpya and (4) Nirvana. So it is stated in the Vedas.
Out of them Bhakti towards the Deva is the highest; so much so that the Deva Bhakti is superior to Mukti.
Mukti gives Sālokya, Sārūpya, Sāmīpya, and Nirvana. But the Bhaktas do not want anything. They want service of the Lord. They do not want anything else.
The state of becoming Śiva, of becoming an Amara or an immortal, becoming a Brahmā, the birth, death, disease, old age, fear, sorrow, or wealth, or assuming a divine form, or Nirvana or Mokṣa all are looked on alike by the Bhaktas with disregard and contempt. Because Mukti is without any service while Bhakti increases this service.
Thus I have told you the difference between Bhakti and Mukti.
Now hear about the cutting off of the fruits of the past Karmas.
O Chaste one! This service of the Highest Lord severs the ties of Karmas (past acts). This service is really the True Knowledge. So, O Child! I have now told you the Real Truth, leading to auspicious results. Now you can go freely as you desire.
Thus saying to Sāvitrī, Yama, the son of Sūrya, gave life back to her husband and blessing her, became ready to go to His own abode.
Seeing Dharmarāja ready to go away, Sāvitrī became sorry to have the bereavement of a good company, bowed down at His feet and began to cry.
Yama, the Ocean of Mercy, hearing the crying of Sāvitrī began to weep and told the following words:
80-96. Dharma said:
O Child! You enjoy in this holy Bhārata happiness for one lakh years and you will in the end go to the Devīloka or Mani Dvīpa.
Now go back to your house and observe for fourteen years the vow called Sāvitrī-vrata for the mukti of women. This Vrata is to he observed on the fourteenth day of the white fortnight in the month of Jyaiṣṭha.
Then observe the Mahā-Lakṣmī Vrata. Its proper time is the eighth day of the bright fortnight of the month of Bhādra. For sixteen years consecutively without any break this vow is to be observed. The woman who practises with devotion this vow, goes to the abode of Mūlā Prakriti.
You would worship on every Tuesday in every month the Devī Mangala Chaṇḍikā, the giver of all good; on the eighth day in the bright fortnight you should worship Devī Ṣaṣṭhī (i.e., Devasenā);
you should worship Mānasa Devī, the giver of all siddhis on the Samkranti day (when the Sun enters another sign) in every year;
you should worship Rādhā, the Central Figure of Rāsa, more than the Prāṇa of Kṛṣṇa on every Full Moon night in the month of Kārtik and you should observe fasting on the eighth day in the bright fortnight and worship the Viṣṇu Māyā Bhagavatī Devī, the Destructrix of all difficulties and dangers.
The chaste woman having husband and sons who worships the World Mother Mūlā Prakriti, whether in Yantra, or in Mantra or in image, enjoys all pleasures in this world; and, in the end, goes to the Devīloka or Mani Dvīpa.
O Child! The worshipper Sādhaka (one who is in one’s way to success) must worship all the manifestations of the Devī, day and night.
At all times one must worship the omnipresent Durgā, the Highest Īśvarī. There is no other way to attain blessedness than this.
Thus saying, Dharmarāja went to His own abode. Sāvitrī, too, with her husband Satyavān went to her home. Both Sāvitrī and Satyavān, when they reached home, narrated all their stories to their friends and acquaintances.
In time, by the blessing of Yama, Sāvitrī’s father got sons and father-in-law recovered his eye-sight and kingdom and Sāvitrī Herself got sons. For one lakh years, Sāvitrī enjoyed pleasures in this holy land of Bhārata, and ultimately went with her husband to the Devīloka.
Sāvitrī is the Presiding Deity of the Sūrya Maṇḍalam, the solar orb. The Sun is the central Para Brahmā.
The Gāyatrī Mantra, the Presiding Devī, proves the existence of the highest Brahmā in the centre of the Sun. Therefore She is called Sāvitrī. Or Her name is Sāvitrī because all the Vedas have come out of Her.
Thus I have narrated the excellent anecdote of Sāvitrī, and the fruitions of the Karmas of the several Jīvas. Now what more do you want to hear? Say!
Here ends the Thirty-eighth Chapter in the Ninth Book on the glories of the Devī and on the nature of Bhakti in the Mahā Purāṇam Śrīmad Devī Bhāgavatam of 18,000 verses by Mahāṛṣi Veda Vyāsa.