SHRIMAD DEVI BHAGAVATAM | BOOK 9 CHAPTER 48

THE NINTH BOOK

Chapter XLVIII

The story about Manasā

1-30. Nārāyaṇa said:

O Nārada! I will now speak of the Dhyānam and the method of worship of Śrī Devī Manasā, as stated in the Sāma Veda. Hear:

“I meditate on the Devī Manasā, Whose colour is fair like that of the white champaka flower, whose body is decked all over with jewel ornaments, whose clothing is purified by fire,

whose sacred thread is the Nāgas (serpent), who is full of wisdom, who is the foremost of great Jñānins, who is the Presiding deity of the Siddhas, Who Herself is a Siddha and who bestows Siddhis to all.”

O Muni! Thus meditating on Her, one should present Her flowers, scents, ornaments, offerings of food and various other articles, pronouncing the principal Seed Mantra.

O Nārada! The twelve lettered Siddha Mantra, to be mentioned below, yields to the Bhaktas their desires like the Kalpa Tree.

Now the Radical mantra as stated in the Vedas is “Om Hrīm Śrīm Klīm Aim Manasā Devyai Svāhā.” Repetition of this, five lakhs of times, yields success to one who repeats.

He who attains success in this mantra gets unbounded name and fame in this world. Poison becomes nectar to him and he himself becomes famous like Dhanvantarī.

O Nārada! If anybody bathes on any Samkranti day (when the sun enters from one sign to another) and going to a private room (hidden room), invokes the Devī Manasā Īśāna and worships Her with devotion, or makes sacrifices of animals before the Devī on the fifth day of the fortnight, he becomes certainly wealthy, endowed with sons and name and fame.

Thus I have described to you the method of worship of Manasā Devī. Now hear the story about the Devī as I heard from Dharma:

In olden days men became greatly terrified on earth from snakes and took refuge of Kaśyapa, the supreme amongst the Munis.

The Mahāṛṣi Kaśyapa became very afraid. He then with Brahmā and by His command composed a mantra following the principles of Vedas.

While composing this mantra, he intensely thought about the Devī, the Presiding Deity of that Mantra, through the power of his Tapasyā and through the mental power, the Devī Manasā appeared and was named so, as She was produced from the sheer influence of mind.

On being born, the girl went to the abode of Śankara in Kailāśa and began to worship Him and chant hymns to Him with devotion.

For one thousand Divine years, the daughter of Kaśyapa served Mahādeva when He became pleased.

He gave her the Great Knowledge, made Her recite the Sāma Veda and bestowed to her the eight-lettered Kṛṣṇa mantra which is like the Kalpa Tree. Śrīm Hrīm Klīm Kṛṣṇāya Namaḥ was the eight lettered Mantra.

She got from Him the Kavācha (amulet) auspicious to the three worlds, the method of worship and all the rules of Puraścharaṇa (repetition of the name of a deity attended with burnt offerings, oblations, etc.) and went by His command to perform very hard austerities in Puṣkara.

There she worshipped Kṛṣṇa for the three Yugas. Śrī Kṛṣṇa then appeared before Her. On seeing Kṛṣṇa, immediately the girl, worn out by austerities, worshipped Him, and she was also worshipped by Śrī Kṛṣṇa.

Kṛṣṇa granted her the boon:

“Let you be worshipped throughout the world” and departed.

O Nārada! She was thus first worshipped by the Supreme Spirit, the Devī Kṛṣṇa; secondly by Śankara; thirdly by the Mahāṛṣi Kaśyapa and the Devas. Then she was worshipped by the Munis, Manus, Nagas, and men; and She became widely renowned in the three worlds.

Kaśyapa gave Her over to the hands of Jaratkāru Muni. At the request of the Brāhmin Kaśyapa, the Muni Jaratkāru married Her.

After the marriage, one day, being tired with his long work of Tapasyā, Jaratkāru laid his head on the hip and loins of his married wife and fell fast asleep.

Gradually the evening came in. The sun set. Then Manasā thought:

“If my husband fails to perform the Sandhyā, the daily duty of the Brāhmaṇas, he would be involved in the sin of Brahmāhatyā.

It is definitely stated in the Śāstras, that if any Brāhmaṇa does not perform his Sandhyā in the morning and in the evening, he becomes wholly impure and the sins Brahmāhatyā and other crimes come down on his head.”

Arguing thus, these thoughts in her mind, as commanded by the Vedas, at last she awakened her husband, who then got up from his sleep.

31-60. The Muni Jaratkāru said:

“O Chaste One! I was sleeping happily. Why have you thus interrupted my sleep? All his vows turn out useless who injures her husband. Her tapas, fasts, gifts, and other meritorious works all come to vain who do things unpleasant to her husband.

If she worships her husband, she is said to have worshipped Śrī Kṛṣṇa. For the sake of fulfilling the vows of the chaste women, Hari himself becomes their husbands.

All sorts of charities, gifts, all sacrifices, fasts, practising all the virtues, keeping to truth, worshipping all the Devas, nothing can turn out equal to even one-sixteenth part of serving one’s husband.

She ultimately goes with her husband to the region of Vaikuṇṭha, who serves her husband in this holy land Bhārata.

She comes certainly of a bad family who does unpleasant acts to her husband or who uses unpleasant words to her husband. She goes to the Kumbhipāka hell as long as the Sun and Moon last and then she becomes born as a Chāṇḍālī, without husband and son.”

Speaking thus, Jaratkāru, the best of the Munis, became angry and his lips began to tremble. Seeing this, the best Manasā, shivering with fear, addressed her husband:

I have broken your sleep and awakened you, fearing you might miss your time of Sandhyā. I have committed an offence. Punish me as you think.

I know that a man goes to the Kālasūtra hell as long as the Sun and Moon last in this world, who throws an obstacle when any man eats, sleeps or enjoys with the opposite sex.

O Nārada! Thus saying, the Devī Manasā fell down at the feet of her husband and cried again and again.

On the other hand, knowing the Muni angry, and ready to curse her, the Sun came there with Sandhyā Devī. And He humbly spoke to him with fear:

“O Bhagavān! Seeing Me going to set, and fearing that you may miss Dharma, your chaste wife has awakened you. O Brāhmin! Now I am also under your refuge; forgive me.

O Bhagavān! You should not curse Me. The more so, a Brāhmaṇa’s heart is as tender as the fresh butter. The anger of a Brāhman lasts only half the twinkling of an eye (Kṣaṇ).

When a Brāhmaṇa becomes angry, he can burn all this world and can make a new creation. So who can possess an influence like a Brāhmaṇa.

A Brāhmin is a part of Brahmā; he is shining day and night with the Tejas of Brahmā. A Brāhmaṇa meditates always on the Eternal Light of Brahmā.”

O Nārada! Hearing the words of the Sun, the Brāhmin became satisfied and blessed Him. The Sun also went to His own place, thus blessed daily.

To keep his promise, the Brāhmin Jaratkāru left Manasā. She became very sorry and began to cry aloud with pain and anguish.

Being very much distressed by the danger, she remembered Her Iṣṭā Deva, Mahādeva, Brahmā, Hari and Her father Mahāṛṣi Kaśyapa. On the very instant when Manasā remembered Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Lord of the Gopis, Mahādeva, Brahmā and Mahāṛṣi Kaśyapa appeared there.

Then seeing his own desired Deity Śrī Kṛṣṇa, superior to Prakriti, beyond the attributes, Jaratkāru began to praise Him and bowed down to Him repeatedly.

Then bowing down to Mahādeva, Brahmā and Kaśyapa, he enquired why they had come there.

Brahmā, then, instantly bowed down at the lotus feet of Hriṣīkeśa and spoke in befitting words at that time if the Brāhmin Jaratkāru leaves completely his legal wife, devoted to her own Dharma, he should first of all have a son born of her to fulfil his Dharma:

O Muni! Any man can quit his wife, after he has impregnated her and got a son. But if without having a son, he leaves his wife, then all his merits are lost as all water leaks out of a sieve or a strainer.

O Nārada! Hearing thus the words of Brahmā, the Muni Jaratkāru by his Yogic power recited a Mantra and touching the navel of Manasā spoke to her:

“O Manasā! A son will be born in your womb self-controlled, religious, and best of the Brāhmaṇas.

61-77. That son will be fiery, energetic, renowned, well-qualified the foremost of the Knowers of the Vedas, a great Jñānin and the best of the Yogis.

That son is a true son, indeed, who uplifts his family who is religious and devoted to Hari. At his birth all the Pitris dance with great joy.

And the wife is a true wife who is devoted to her husband, good-natured and sweet-speaking and she is religious, she is the mother of sons, she is the woman of the family and she is the preserver of the family.

He is the true friend, indeed, the giver of one’s desired fruits, who imparts devotion to Hari. That father is a true father who shows the way to devotion to Hari.

And She is the True Mother, through whom this entering into wombs ceases for ever, yea, for ever! That sister is the true kind of sister from whom the fear of Death vanishes.

That Guru is the Guru who gives the Viṣṇu Mantra and the true devotion to Viṣṇu. That Guru is the real bestower of knowledge who gives the Jñānam by which Śrī Kṛṣṇa is meditated, in whom this whole universe - moving and non-moving from the Brahmā down to a blade of grass, is appearing and disappearing. There is no doubt in this.

What knowledge can be superior to that of Śrī Kṛṣṇa? The knowledge derived from the Vedas, or from the sacrifices or from any other source is not superior to the service to Śrī Kṛṣṇa.

The devotion and knowledge of Śrī Hari is the Essence of all knowledge; all else is vain and mockery. It is through this Real Knowledge; that this bondage from this world is severed.

But the Guru who does not impart this devotion and knowledge of Śrī Hari is not the real Guru; rather he is an enemy that leads one to bondage. Verily he kills his disciple when he does not free him.

He can never be called a Guru, father or friend who does not free his disciple from the pains in the various wombs and from the pains of death. Verily he can never be called a friend who does not show the way to the Undecaying Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Source of the Highest Bliss.

So, O Chaste One! You better worship that Undecaying Para Brahmā Śrī Kṛṣṇa, Who is beyond the attributes.

O Beloved! I have left you out of pretence; please excuse me for this. The chaste women are always forgiving; they never become angry because they are born of Sattva Guṇas.

Now I go to Puṣkara for Tapasyā; you better go wherever you like. Those who have no desire have their minds always attached to the lotus feet of Śrī Kṛṣṇa.”

O Nārada! Hearing the words of Jaratkāru, the Devī Manasā became very much distressed and bewildered with great sorrow. Tears began to flow from her eyes. She then humbly spoke to her dearest husband:

 “O Lord! I have not committed any such offence, as you leave me altogether when I have thus broken your sleep.

78-115. However kindly show Thyself to me when I will recollect you.

The bereavement of one’s friend is painful; more than that is the bereavement of a son. Again one’s husband is dearer than one hundred sons; so the bereavement of one’s husband is the heaviest of all.

To women, the husband is the most beloved of all earthly things; hence he is called Priyā, i.e., dear.

As the heart of one who has only one son is attached to that son, as the heart of a Vaiṣṇava is attached to Śrī Hari; as the mind of one-eyed man to his one eye,

as the mind of the thirsty is attached to water, as the mind of the hungry is attached to food, as the mind of the passionate is attached to lust, as the mind of a thief is attached to the properties of others,

as the mind of a lewd man to his prostitute, as the mind of the learned is attached to the Śāstras, as the mind of a trader is attached to his trade,

so the minds of chaste women are attached to their husbands.”

Thus saying, Manasā fell down at the feet of her husband.

Jaratkāru, the ocean of mercy, then, took her for a moment on his lap and drenched her body with tears from his eyes. The Devī Manasā, too, distressed at the bereavement of her husband also drenched the lap of the Muni with tears from her eyes.

Sometime after, the true knowledge arose in them and they both became free from fear. Jaratkāru then enlightened his wife and asked her to meditate on the lotus feet of Śrī Kṛṣṇa the Supreme Spirit repeatedly; thus saying he went away for his Tapasyā.

Manasā, distressed with sorrow, went to his Iṣṭā Deva Mahādeva on Kailāśa. The auspicious Śiva and Pārvatī both consoled her with knowledge and advice.

Some days after, on an auspicious they and on an auspicious moment she gave birth to a son born in part of Nārāyaṇa, and as the Guru of the Yogis and as the Preceptor of the Jñānins.

When the child was in mother’s womb, he heard the highest knowledge from the mouth of Mahādeva; therefore he was born as a Yogīndra and the Spiritual Teacher of the Jñānins.

On his birth, Bhagavān Śankara performed his natal ceremonies and performed various auspicious ceremonies.

The Brāhmaṇas chanted the Vedas for the welfare of the child; various wealth and jewels and Kirīṭas and invaluable gems were distributed by Śankara to the Brāhmaṇas; and Pārvatī gave one lakh cows and various jewels to others.

After some days, Mahādeva taught him the four Vedas with their Angas (six limbs) and gave him, at last, the Mrityunjaya Mantra.

As in Manasā’s mind there reigned the devotion to her husband, the devotion to her Iṣṭā Deva and Guru, the child’s name was kept Āstika.

Āstika then got the Mahā Mantra from Śankara and by his command went to Puṣkara to worship Viṣṇu, the Supreme Spirit. There he practised tapasyā for three lakh divine years.

And then he returned to Kailāśa, to bow down to the great Yogi and the Lord Śankara, Then, bowing down to Śankara, he remained there for some time when Manasā with her son Āstika went to the hermitage of Kaśyapa, her father.

Seeing Manasā with son, the Mahāṛṣi’s gladness knew no bounds. He fed innumerable Brāhmaṇas for the welfare of the child, and distributed lakhs and lakhs of jewels.

The joy of Aditi and Diti (the wives of Kaśyapa) knew no bounds; Manasā remained there for a long, long time with his son.

O Child! Hear now this story:

One day due to a bad Karma, a Brāhmaṇa cursed the king Parīkṣit, the son of Abhimanyu; one Riṣi’s son named Śringī, sipping the water of the river Kauśikī cursed thus:

“When a week expires, the snake Takṣak will bite you, and you will be burnt with the poison of that snake Takṣak.”

Hearing this, the King Parīkṣit, to preserve his life, went to a place, solitary where wind even can have no access and he lived there.

When the week was over, Dhanvantarī saw, while he was going on the road, the snake Takṣak who was also going to bite the king.

A conversation and a great friendship arose between them; Takṣak gave him voluntarily a gem; and Dhanvantarī, getting it, became pleased and went back gladly to his house.

The king Parīksit was lying on his bed-stead when Takṣak bit the king. The king died soon and went to the next world.

The king Janamejaya then performed the funeral obsequies of his father and commenced afterwards the Sarpa Yajna (a sacrifice where the snakes are the victims). In that sacrifice, innumerable snakes gave up their lives by the Brahmā Tejas (the fire of the Brāhmins).

At this, Takṣak became terrified and took refuge of Indra. The Brāhmins, then, in a body, became, ready to burn Takṣak along with Indra, when, Indra and the other Devas went to Manasā.

Mahendra, bewildered with fear, began to chant hymns to Manasā. Manasā called his own son Āstika who then went to the sacrificial assembly of the king Janamejaya and begged that the lives of Indra and Takṣak be spared.

The king, then, at the command of the Brāhmaṇas, granted their lives. The king, then, completed his sacrifice and gladly gave the Dakṣiṇās to the Brāhmins.

The Brāhmaṇas, Munis, and Devas collected and went to Manasā and worshipped Her separately and chanted hymns to Her.

Indra went there with the various articles and He worshipped Manasā with devotion and with great love and care; and He chanted hymns to Her.

Then bowing down before Her, and under the instructions of Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Maheśa, offered her sixteen articles, sacrifices and various other good and pleasant things.

O Nārada! Thus worshipping Her they all went to their respective places. Thus I have told you the story of Manasā. What more do you want to hear. Say!

Nārada said:

“O Lord! How did Indra praise Her and what was the method of His worshipping Her; I want to hear all this.”

116-124. Nārāyaṇa said:

Indra first took his bath; and, performing Āchamana and becoming pure, He put on a fresh and clean clothing and placed Manasā Devī on a jewel throne.

Then reciting the Vedic mantras he made Her perform Her bath by the water of the Mandākinī, the celestial river Ganges, poured from a jewel jar and then He made Her put on the beautiful clothing, uninflammable by fire.

Then He caused sandalpaste to be applied to Her body all over with devotion and offered water for washing Her feet and Arghya, an offering of grass and flowers and rice, etc., as a token of preliminary worship.

First of all the six Devatās: Gaṇeśa, Sun, Fire, Viṣṇu, Śiva, and Śiva were worshipped. Then with the ten lettered mantra, “Om Hrīm Śrīm Manasā Devyai Svāhā” offered all the offerings to Her.

Stimulated by the God Viṣṇu, Indra worshipped with great joy the Devī with sixteen articles so very rare to any other person. Drums and instruments were sounded. From the celestial heavens, a shower of flowers was thrown on the head of Manasā.

Then, at the advice of Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Maheśa, the Devas and the Brāhmaṇas, Indra, with tears in his eyes, began to chant hymns to Manasā, when his whole body was thrilled with joy and hairs stood on their ends.

125-145. Indra said:

“O Devī Manase! Thou are the highest amongst the chaste women. Therefore I want to chant hymns to Thee. Thou art higher than the highest. Thou art most supreme.

What I now praise Thee? Chanting hymns is characterised by the description of one’s nature; so it is said in the Vedas. But, O Prakriti! I am unable to ascertain and describe Thy qualities.

Thou art of the nature of Śuddha Sattva (higher than the pure sattva unmixed with any other Guṇas); Thou art free from anger and malice. The Muni Jaratkāru could not forsake Thee; therefore it was that he prayed for Thy separation before.

O Chaste One! I have now worshipped Thee. Thou art an object of worship as my mother Aditi is. Thou art my sister full of mercy; Thou art the mother full of forgiveness.

O Sureśvarī! It is through Thee that my wife, sons and my life are saved. I am worshipping Thee. Let Thy love be increased.

O World-Mother! Thou art eternal; though Thy worship is extant everywhere in the universe; yet I worship Thee to have it extended further and further.

O Mother! Those who worship Thee with devotion on the Samkranti day of the month of Āṣāḍha, or on the Nāga Pañchamī day, or on the Samkranti day of every month or on every day, they get their sons and grandsons, wealth and grains increased and become themselves famous, well gratified, learned and renowned.

If anybody does not worship Thee out of ignorance, rather if he censures Thee, he will be bereft of Lakṣmī and he will be always afraid of snakes.

Thou art the Griha Lakṣmī of all the householders and the Rāja Lakṣmī of Vaikuṇṭha.

Bhagavān Jaratkāru, the great Muni, born in part of Nārāyaṇa, is Thy husband. Father Kaśyapa has created Thee mentally by his power of Tapas and fire to preserve us; Thou art his mental creation; hence thy name is Manasā.

Thou Thyself hast become Siddha Yoginī in this world by thy mental power; hence thou art widely known as Manasā Devī in this world and worshipped by all.

The Devas always worship Thee mentally with devotion; hence the Pundits call Thee by the name of Manasā.

O Devī! Thou always serve Truth, hence Thou art of the nature of Truth. He certainly gets Thee who always thinks of Thee verily as of the nature of truth.”

O Nārada! Thus praising his sister Manasā and receiving from her the desired boon, Indra went back, dressed in his own proper dress, to his own abode.

The Devī Manasā, then, honoured and worshipped everywhere, and thus worshipped by her brother, long lived in Her father’s house, with Her son.

One day Surabhi (the heavenly cow) came from the Goloka and bathed Manasā with milk and worshipped Her with great devotion and revealed to Her all the Tattva Jñānas, to be kept very secret.

O Nārada! Thus worshipped by the Devas and Surabhi, the Devī Manasā went to the Heavenly regions.

O Muni! One gets no fear from snakes that recites this holy Stotra composed by Indra and worships Manasā; his family descendants are freed from the fear due to snakes.

If anybody becomes Siddha in this Stotra, poison becomes nectar to him. Reciting the stotra five lakhs of times makes a man Siddha in this Stotra. So much so that he can sleep on a bed of snakes and he can ride on snakes.

Here ends the Forty-eighth Chapter of the Ninth Book on the anecdote of Manasā in the Mahā Purāṇam Śrīmad Devī Bhāgavatam of 18,000 verses by Mahāṛṣi Veda Vyāsa.