SHRIMAD DEVI BHAGAVATAM | BOOK 9 CHAPTER 46
THE NINTH BOOK
The story about Ṣaṣṭhī Devī
1. Nārada said:
“O Thou, the foremost of the Knowers of the Vedas! I have heard from you the histories of many Devīs. Now I want to hear the lives of other Devīs also. Kindly describe.”
2. Nārāyaṇa said:
“O Best of the Brāhmaṇas! The lives and glorious deeds of all the Devīs are described separately. Now say, which lives you want to hear.”
3. Nārada said:
“O Lord! Ṣaṣṭhī, Mangala Chaṇḍī, and Mānasa, are the parts of Prakriti. Now I want to hear the lives of them.”
4-22. Nārāyaṇa said:
O Child! The sixth part of Prakriti is named as Ṣaṣṭhī. The Devī Ṣaṣṭhī is the Presiding Deity of infants and children; She is the Māyā of Viṣṇu and She bestows sons to all.
She is one of the sixteen Matrikās. She is known by the name of Devasenā. She performs Vratas (vows); She is the chaste and dearest wife of Skanda.
She decides on the longevity of children and is always engaged in their preservation. So much so, that this Siddha Yoginī always keeps the children on her side.
O Best of Brāhmaṇas! I will now talk about the method of worshipping this Devī and the history about Her bestowing children that I heard from Dharma Deva. Hear:
Svāyambhūva Manu had one son Priyavrata. He was a great Yogīndra and remained in practising austerities. So he was not inclined to have any wife.
At last by the effort and request of Brahmā, he got himself married. But many days passed, and he could not see the face of a son.
Then Mahāṛṣi Kaśyapa became his priest in the Putreṣṭi Sacrifice (to get a son); and when the sacrifice was over, he gave the sacrificial offering called charu to his wife Malinī.
On eating the charu, the queen Malinī become pregnant. For twelve Deva years she held the womb. After twelve years she delivered a full developed son, of a golden colour; but the son was lifeless and his two eyeballs were upset.
At this, the friends wives became very sorry and began to weep. The mother of the child became so very sorrowful that she became senseless.
O Muni! The King himself took the son on his breast and went to the burning ground. There with his child on his breast he began to cry aloud. Rather he got himself ready to quit his own life than leave the son from away his breast.
At this time he saw in the space overhead an aerial car, white as crystal, made of excellent jewels, coming towards him.
The car was shining with its own lustre, encircled with woven silken cloth, which added to its beauty. Innumerable garlands of variegated colours gave it a very nice and charming appearance.
On that car was seated a Siddha Yoginī, very beautiful, of a lovely appearance of a colour like that of white champakas, always youthful, smiling, adorned with jewel ornaments, ever gracious to show favour to the devotees.
On seeing Her, the King Priyavrata placed the child from his breast on the ground and began to worship Her and chant hymns to Her with great love and devotion.
And he then asked that peaceful lady, the wife of Skanda, Who was shining like a summer sun:
“O Beautiful! Who art Thou? Whose wife art Thou and whose daughter art Thou? From Thy appearance it seems that Thou art fortunate and respected amongst the female gender.”
23-24. O Nārada! In ancient times, when the Daityas dispossessed the Devas of their positions, this Lady was elected as a general and got victory for the Devas; hence She was named Devasenā.
Hearing the words of the King Priyavrata, Devasenā, who fought for the Devas and was all good to the whole world, said:
25-42. O King! I am the mind-born daughter of Brahmā. My name is Devasenā. The Creator before created Me out of His mind and gave Me over to the hands of Skanda.
Amongst the Matrikās, I am known as Ṣaṣṭhī, the wife of Skanda. I am the sixth part of Prakriti; hence I am named Ṣaṣṭhī.
I give sons to those who have no sons, wives to those who have no wives, wealth to the poor, and I give works to those who are workers (karmīs.)
Happiness, pain, fear, sorrow, joy, good, and wealth and adversity all are the fruits of Karmas.
As the result of one’s Karmas, people get lots of sons and it is due to the result of one’s Karma again that people are denuded of all the issues of their family.
As the result of Karma, the people get dead sons; and as the result of Karma the people get long lives.
All enjoy the fruits of their Karmas, whether they be well qualified, or deformed or whether they have many wives, or whether they have no wife, whether they be beautiful, religious, diseased, it is all through Karmas, Karmas.
Disease comes out of their Karmas. Again they get cured by their Karmas. So, O King! It is stated in the Vedas that Karma is the most powerful of all.
Thus saying, Devasenā took the dead child on her lap; and, by the wisdom soon made the child alive. The King saw the child, of a golden colour got back his life and began to smile.
Thus bidding goodbye to the King, Devasenā took the child and became ready to depart. At this the King’s palate and throat got dry and he began again to chant hymns to Her.
The Devī Ṣaṣṭhī became pleased at the stotra made by the King.
The Devī then addressed the King and said:
“O King! All that is stated in the Vedas is made up of Karmas.
You are the son of Svāyambhūva Manu, and the Lord of the three worlds. You better promulgate My worship in the three worlds and you yourself worship Me. Then I will give you your beautiful son, the lotus of your family.
Your son, born in part of Nārāyaṇa, will be famous by the name of Suvrata. He will be well- qualified, a great literary man, able to remember his conditions in his former lives, the best of Yogis, performer of one hundred Yajñas,
the best of all, bowed down by the Kṣattriyas, strong as one lakh powerful elephants, wealthy, fortunate, pure, favourite of literary persons, learned and bestower of the fruits of the ascetics, renowned and bestower of wealth and prosperity to the three worlds.”
Thus saying Devasenā gave the child to the king.
When the king promised that he would promulgate Her worship, the Devī granted him boons and went up to the Heavens.
43-57. The king, too, becoming very glad and surrounded by his ministers, returned to his own abode and informed all about the son. The ladies of the house become highly delighted when they heard everything.
On the occasion of the son’s getting back his life, the king performed everywhere auspicious ceremonies. The worship of Ṣaṣṭhī Devī commenced. Wealth was bestowed to the Brāhmins.
Since then, on every sixth day of the bright fortnight in every month, great festivals in honour of Ṣaṣṭhī Devī began to be celebrated.
Since then, throughout the kingdom, on every sixth day after the birth of a child in the lying-in-chamber, Ṣaṣṭhī Devī began to be worshipped.
On the twenty-first day, the auspicious moment, at the ceremony of giving rice to a child for the first time, when sixth months old, and on all other auspicious ceremonies of the children, Ṣaṣṭhī Devī’s worship was made extant and the king himself performed those worships with great care and according to due rules.
Now I will tell you about the Dhyānam and method of worship and stotra as I heard from Dharma Deva, and as stated in Kauthuma Śākhā. Hear. He has said:
In a Śālagrāma stone, in a jar, on the root of a Bata tree, or drawing the figure on the floor of the rooms, or making an image of Ṣaṣṭhī Devī, the sixth part of Prakriti and installing it, one should worship the Devī.
The Dhyānam is this:
“O Devasenā Thou art the bestower of good sons, the giver of good luck; Thou art mercy and kindness and the progenitor of the world;
Thy colour is bright like that of the white Champaka flowers. Thou art decked with jewel ornaments. Thou art pure, and the highest and best Devī. Obeisance to Thee! I meditate on Thee.”
Thus meditating, the worshipper should place flower on his own head.
Then again meditating and uttering the principal mantra one is to offer the Pādya (water for washing feet), Arghya, Āchamanīya, scents, flowers, dhūp, lights, offerings of food and best roots and fruits and one should worship thus with various things Ṣaṣṭhī Devī.
“Om Hrīm Ṣaṣṭhī Devyai Svāhā” is the principal Mantra of Ṣaṣṭhī Devī. This great Mantra of eight letters a man should repeat as his strength allows.
After the Japam, the worshipper should chant hymns with devotion and undivided attention and then bow down. The Stotra (hymn) of Ṣaṣṭhī Devī as per Sāma Veda is very beautiful and son- bestowing.
The lotus-born Brahmā has said:
If one repeats (makes Japam) this eight lettered mantra one lakh of times, one gets certainly a good son.
O Best of Munis! Now I am going to say the auspicious stotra of Ṣaṣṭhī Devī as composed by Priyavrata. Hear:
58-73. One’s desires are fulfilled when one reads this very secret stotra. Thus the King Priyavrata said:
“O Devī, Devasenā! I bow down to Thee!
O Great Devī! Obeisance to Thee! Thou art the bestower of Siddhis; Thou art peaceful; obeisance to Thee! Thou art the bestower of good; Thou art Devasenā; Thou art Ṣaṣṭhī Devī, I bow down to Thee!
Thou grantest boons to persons; Thou bestowest sons and wealth to men. So obeisance to Thee! Thou givest happiness and Mokṣa; Thou art Ṣaṣṭhī Devī; I bow down to Thee! Thou thyself art Siddha; so I bow down to Thee!
O Ṣaṣṭhī Devī! Thou art the sixth part of this creation; Thou art Siddha Yoginī, so I bow down to Thee! Thou art the essence, Thou art Sāradā; Thou art the Highest Devī. So I bow down again and again to Thee!
Thou art the Presiding Deity Ṣaṣṭhī Devī of the children; I bow down to Thee! Thou grantest good; Thou Thyself art good and Thou bestowest the fruits of all Karmas.
O Thou O Ṣaṣṭhī Devī! Thou shewest thy form to thy devotees; I bow down to Thee! Thou art Śuddha Sattva and respected by all the persons in all their actions. Thou art the wife of Skanda. All worship Thee!
O Ṣaṣṭhī Devī! Thou hadst saved the Devas. So obeisance to Thee O Ṣaṣṭhī Devī! Thou hast no envy, no anger; so obeisance to Thee!
O Sureśvarī! Give me wealth, give me dear things, give me sons. Give me respect from all persons; give me victory; slay my enemies.
O Maheśvarī! Give me Dharma; give me name and fame; I bow down again and again to Ṣaṣṭhī Devī!
O Ṣaṣṭhī Devī, worshipped reverentially by all! Give me lands, give me subjects, give me learning; have welfare for me; I bow down again and again to Ṣaṣṭhī Devī.”
O Nārada! Thus praising the Devī, Priyavrata got a son, renowned and ruling over a great kingdom through the favour of Ṣaṣṭhī Devī.
If any man that has no son, hears this stotra of Ṣaṣṭhī Devī for one year with undivided attention, he gets easily an excellent son, having a long life.
If one worships for one year with devotion this Devasenā and hears this stotra, even the most barren woman becomes freed from all her sins and gets a son.
Through the grace of Ṣaṣṭhī Devī, that son becomes a hero, well qualified, literate, renowned and long-lived.
If any woman who bears only a single child or delivers dead children hears with devotion for one year this stotra, she gets easily, through the Devī’s grace, a good son.
If the father and mother both hear with devotion, this story during the period of their child’s illness, then the child becomes cured by the Grace of the Devī.
Here ends the Forty-sixth chapter of the Ninth Book on the story of Ṣaṣṭhī Devī in the Mahā Purāṇam Śrīmad Devī Bhāgavatam of 18,000 verses by Mahāṛṣi Veda Vyāsa.