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Maa Durga – Part II

by Anubhav Bakshi

All the Gods sang praises of Maa Durga, and she just stood there smiling and dazzling like a divine fire. Devi Bhagwati stood like a sun had risen in their midst, a sun, like no other in all the heavens.  She had eight arms, and with them, she blessed all the Gods.

Durga Vandana Mantra

Gods Empower Maa Durga

Lord Vishnu was the first one to speak. He came forward and asked all the Gods to gift their weapons to the Goddess. 

Kshirasagara, the milky sea, gave her a diamond necklace, and a scarlet silken garment that would never wear or fade. Viswakarma, the architect of Gods, gave her a crest-jewel for her crown that was shining like a hundred moons. He also gave her blinding white diamond earrings, bracelets for her wrists and arms, and anklets like star-clusters. He gave her rings for her long fingers on eighteen crimson hands. 

Varuna, the God of seas and water, brought Maa Durga a crown of ocean lotuses with divine scent, that would never fade. He also gifted her a Vaijayanti garland. 

Himavan, the lord of mountains, brought her a golden lion from his caves to be her mount. Regally, that Devi climbed astride her beast, and the creature’s roar of joy reverberated throughout creation. 

Now, Vishnu extruded a second chakra from his Sudarshan Chakra, a wheel of fusion fires that could slough off any Asura’s grisly head and brought it to the Durga. She took it from him, with one of her hands. He also gave her a feminine version of his mace Kaumodaki, on which a thousand little bells tinkled in the breeze

From Siva’s Trisul sprang another glittering trident, that would spew raging flames of fire, a thousand yojanas long at an enemy, and he brought it to the terrific Durga. She took it from him, with another hand. 

Varuna wrought another deep conch from his primaeval ocean-sankha, as old as himself, and offered it to the Devi, and she took that as well. 

Agni brought her his incendiary weapon, the Shatagni of a thousand fires. Vayu the Wind God offered her a shining bow, more powerful than any other, and a silver quiver full of arrows as bright as sunbeams. Every time that bow’s string was drawn back, it made a noise like ten tempests. 

Indra himself sprang another Vajra from his thunderbolt, and gave it worshipfully, to the Devi. He also gave her the golden bell from around his white elephant, Airavata’s, neck, to fasten around the throat of her golden lion. 

Yama made another staff from his Mrityu-Danda, the Staff of Death. It had the power to reap the lives of all beings when their time is over, and Maa Durga received it in a perfect hand. 

Varuna brought her a fluid pasa, a noose of water, as deadly as any weapon she had yet been given, for it could choke the life from an aksauhini (around 2 lakh warriors) in a moment. 

Brahma gave her a kamandal, filled with holy water from the Ganga. Kaala, The Time’s, offering was an axe that glinted like a mirror of the soul. 

Viswakarma offered a Parasu (Axe) so exquisitely wrought that it brought a smile to Devi’s lips. He also gave her an impenetrable coat of golden mail for her, light as air

Kubera brought her a jewel-encrusted cup to drink from. Varuna again came before her with another lotus of a thousand glowing petals. 

Surya the Sun God gave a gift of his light to that Devi, and she shone brighter than ever. 

And then Maa Durga stood before them, armed, and bearing all their offerings in her many hands. She was glowing like a thousand suns.

Maa Durga with all the gifts from Gods

Durga’s Battle Cry

The Gods of Heaven fell to her feet and said “Jagatmata, the Asura Mahisha torments us, and only you can kill him. We beg you, Mahamaye, deliver us from the Danava!”

Maa Durga laughed gently, and that sound sent a thrill of bliss coursing through them. She blessed the Gods and promised them that she would end their suffering and would bring an end to the reign of darkness over the universe by killing that beastly Mahishasur.

Then she began to laugh. It was the strangest, most dreadful laughter; it was like roaring, and when the Durga threw back her head and laughed like that, the earth shook, the mountains trembled, the sky quaked, and the seas rose in tidal waves and lashed their shores. Even golden Meru, at the heart of the world, shuddered. This was a battle cry from Maa Durga.

In Amravati, the capital of Heaven, Mahishasura heard Goddess’ laughter, and a chill ran down his spine. He was angry. He sent his scouts to discover what the weird thunder was. “Bring me the devil who dares make such a noise. I will drink his blood!”

Mahishasura’s Fascination with Devi

His scouts flew from Heaven, and it was not hard for them to trace the dreadful laughter to its source. Soon, Mahishasur’s men stood before Durga, mounted on her beast. She was so majestic, and so terrible, both at the same time. 

They saw her carrying unearthly weapons in her many hands and drinking wine repeatedly from Kubera’s golden cup. Mahisha’s Danavas took one look at the Devi but couldn’t bear her splendour. They fled howling.

They flew back to their master and cried, “Lord, it is a woman who makes the strange sound. She is neither human nor a Demoness. But she is exceptional and very beautiful. She has many arms and carries a different weapon in each one. She sits astride a golden lion and swills crimson wine from a precious goblet. She drinks endlessly, and then she laughs! The sound you heard is her laughter. She is so refulgent that we could not look at her for more than a moment, and we were seized with a dread worse than that of death. We fled back to you. We don’t know who the strange woman is, nor what she intends.” 

Mahishasur rose from his throne, some feverish passion seemed to have gripped him, some vast excitement. He gave a short bellow, and his deep eyes glowing and a smile crept on his face.

He said, “Fetch her for me! At first, try to coax her here with soft words and priceless gifts. But if these gentler means fail, then bring her by force. But be careful, I do not want her harmed. I want her for myself, I want to make her my queen. For, by her very laughter I can tell that she is fit for me.”

His generals rose from their thrones and left at once.

Durga’s Message for Mahishasura

When Mahishasura’s generals saw Devi, they were awestruck. It was like gazing at a star from too close. Keeping a safe distance, the leader of the Asur army spoke to her with utmost courtesy.

“I am the servant of Mahishasura the Lord of the three worlds. He is invincible, no man of any race can kill him, for he has a boon from Brahma. My Lord heard your laugh and was enthralled. He wants you to be his queen.” 

“Devi, come with us to our master; he can be man or beast, as he pleases, whatever you want him to be.”

When Maa Durga heard the message, she threw back her head and gave another great laugh. The entire Asur army and their generals started shivering with fear. 

Then she said in her voice deep as the rumbling of thunderclouds, “You don’t know me, Asura. I am the Devi Bhagwati and I have come to kill Danavas like you. The Gods live in terror of your master, they have been deprived of their share in the Yagnas of the worlds. The earth has become a sinister place.” 

“Go back to your master, and give him this message:

“O Evil Asura, leave Devaloka (Heaven) at once and burrow down into Paatal where you belong. Or I will cut off your head and send you to Yama’s halls, as I have done with countless Asuras like you before. Listen to me, foolish Asura, for I am showing you mercy. I am no man, that Brahma’s boon will save you from me. I am the Devi, and I have come just to kill you.”

The Asura Generals went back to their master and relayed the message of Devi. Mahishasura’s eyes turned blood red, his dark face became darker because of the anger. His nostrils began to flare, and his mouth began to froth. He stood up from his throne and stomped his foot hard on the ground causing it to crack. Then he ordered his fiercest generals to take an army and bring the Devi to him in chains, and if that is not possible, kill her and bring her head to him.

At once, his generals rose, bowed their heads, and went out to prepare their troops.

The Begining of the End

Fight between Asuras and Durga

The Asura army soon arrived at the Tapovan where Devi was still riding her Lion, unfazed by the arrival of legions upon legions of the Asura army. When Mahishasura’s generals saw this defiance, their eyes became crimson red with wrath. 

They roared like thunderclouds, sent a volley of arrows flying towards her. The arrows were so fierce that they had the power to consume entire armies. But Devi Bhagwati was unmoved. She took her Bow and released her own volley of arrows, with such dazzling speed that even the Asura Generals were in awe. She quickly destroyed all their arrows. 

Shocked by what happened, the Asura generals, gave a war cry to their soldiers and ordered everyone to attack the Devi. The gigantic army of Asuras flew towards Devi Bhagwati from all four sides like thunderous clouds rushing to eclipse the radiant Sun. 

At this sight, the Lion of Devi Bhagwati threw back his head and gave a roar, so loud and fierce, that every Asura fell silent. Fear gripped them, and they all stopped at their feet for a moment. On Devi’s signal, the lion jumped amidst the Asura army. 

And before the Asuras could react, she started a killing spree unseen before this. Using all the weapons given by Gods at the same time, she started desecrating the Asura Army. One moment she was killing the asuras in her front, the next moment she was vanquishing the enemy on her side. The Asura generals and soldiers couldn’t even see her. Even her Lion tore through the Asuras with his razor-sharp claws and dagger-like teeth. And soon all the Asuras were either dead or fleeing for their lives.

All the Gods poured flowers on Devi, and heaven and earth resounded with the music of Gandharvas celebrating Devi’s victory. Devi just stood there smiling.

When Mahishasura came to know about the death of his generals and his soldiers, his anger knew no bounds. He sent the fiercest of his generals and asked them to drag that Devi to him either alive or dead. The generals who themselves were more powerful than any being on heaven or Earth, bowed to their king and went to battle. 

But the result was the same. Devi Bhagwati destroyed the Army of Asuras and killed the most ferocious of Asura Generals, who were considered unbeatable till now. No army of man, Deva or beast could ever defeat them. But there they lied dead, with their limbs and heads severed from their bodies. And all this was done by Devi Bhagwati alone.

Mahishasura Marched to the Battlefield

When the news of Devi’s triumph reached Mahishasura, his anger knew no bounds. Having lost his bravest and fiercest generals to Devi, he decided to take to battle himself. He put on his armour and mounted his chariot. Mahihasura and his army looked like an ocean of black water. As they approached the battlefield, their thunderous cries filled the atmosphere with dread. 

But Devi Bhagwati stood there, smiling. When she saw Mahishasura, at the head of his army, she raised her conch to her lips and blew a bass note on it. The sound was deep as the first sound from which time and place were made.

Mahishasura stopped to stare at her. He could hardly believe that anyone so beautiful could exist. He was mesmerised by her mere appearance. He approached Devi and asked her to relinquish her weapons. He told her that if she agreed to be his wife, he would forgive her. He told her that it was not possible to defeat him in battle, as he was invincible. He was the ruler of Swarg, Prithvi and Paatal.  

Devi Bhagwati threw her head back and laughed. Her laugh filled the hearts of all the warriors in the Asura Army with dread. Then she looked at Mahishasura and with the strangest smile. 

She said, “I see that you are a greater fool than I thought. You dare to even think that you are invincible and immortal. Just look into my eyes and you will see your death.” 

Her words stung Mahishasura like pointed arrows. His eyes started burning with anger. He gave a loud war cry, and the whole world trembled with fear. He asked his army to attack Devi Bhagwati. The huge Asura army charged at Devi with fierce weapons. Their cries and howling filled the atmosphere and everyone’s heart with horror. 

The Final Battle

The Asura army moved like a dark Tsunami ready to destroy everything that came in their path. All the Gods of Swarglok, Gandharvas, Kinnars, People of earth, cowered inside the protection of their homes, and any place they could find, to save themselves.

But Devi Bhagwati just stood there, unperturbed, smiling at the advancing asuras. She just stood her ground waiting for Asuras to reach her. Even the Gods started to feel scared for her safety. Everyone waited for the clash with bated breath. 

However, as soon as the army of Asuras approached her, her Lion gave a loud roar and in a swift action, Devi Bhagwati raised all her eighteen hands and charged the Asuras. After that, no one saw her. Everyone only saw the decapitated bodies of Asuras, their flying limbs, detached from their bodies and their dead bodies lying on the battlefield. In what seemed like just a few moments, the entire asura army was vanquished at the hands of Adi Shakti Maa Bhagwati. 

When Mahishasura saw this massacre, he turned mad with rage. He jumped from his chariot and the earth shook with his anger. He charged Devi with a mace in his hand. Devi’s lion jumped in the Danava’s path, and Mahishasur hit the beast with a stupendous blow. The lion staggered briefly, then leapt at the Demon and raked his chest with claws like iron. Blood flowed down Mahishasura’s black chest like four streams.

He staggered for a while, but then steadied himself and again charged at the Devi.

Devi Bhagwati flung her noose over the great asura and bound him. But Mahishasura soon relinquished his buffalo form and became a lion. Devi took her sword and cut the head of his Lion form, but he took a human form. The Devi slew the human form too immediately.  

Then the evil Mahishasura took the form of a huge Elephant and attached her. He was so immense that even the huge mountains looked like small boulders in front of him. But Maa Bhagwati used the Chakra given by Vishnu and cut off his trunk. 

The asura resumed his buffalo form and shook the three worlds. He charged at Devi with lowered curved Horns. Mahishasur the buffalo tore up vast hills by their roots and hurled them at the Devi. But she smashed them with stunning volleys from her fluent bow.

Mahishasura Mardini

Mahishasura Mardini

The enraged Goddess and Mahishasura continued to battle ferociously, till the Devi jumped in the air and landed herself on the buffalo form of Mahishasura. She crushed his neck under her feet and struck him with her spear. Caught helplessly under her foot, Mahishasura tried to take human form again but could only manage to reveal himself till his waist. Soon he was beheaded by the Devi. 

When great Mahishasura fell, panic seized his Danavas and that army of thousands fled howling in every direction.

The Devas appeared there and fell at Devi’s feet. They began to eulogise the triumphant Devi.

 “Maa Durga, it is by your power that Brahma creates, Vishnu preserves, and Siva destroys the universe! The Trimurti are incomplete without you, O Devi. You are the primal power from which Hari and Hara were born! Mother, we thank you, you have freed us from the terrible Mahishasur. The worlds are liberated from evil’s yoke. We, the Devas, breathe in peace once more.”

Adi Shakti Maa Bhagwati blessed Devas and then vanished. The peace and Dharma were restored in the world. The entire world prayed to Maa Bhagwati and thanks her again and again for saving them from evil and hailed her as Mahishasura Mardani.

The Hidden Message

This story can be analysed simply as Good prevailing over Evil. However, there is a deeper meaning to this story. 

Mahishasura, the Bull demon represents strength, stubbornness, ferocity, tyranny, and brutality. These qualities are present in all of us though in variable quantities. And all these qualities find their seat in Ego. And when Ego is left unchecked. that leads to destruction. 

On the other hand, Devi Bhagwati represents the nature that tames such beasts. She represents nurturing and feminine energy. She is the transformative power that can help tame the inner beast in men.

Another aspect of this story that we need to dwell upon is that the universe runs on the combined power of Man and Woman. Men alone cannot ensure order and balance in the universe. They need the feminine power to create that balance. The balance in the world can only be sustained through the combined effort of Prakriti and Purusha (Nature and Man).

There is no distinction between masculine and feminine prowess. They are the two halves of genderless Parabhramhn. Only when all the Gods combined their feminine powers or Shaktis, they were able to create Maa Bhagwati, the supremely powerful Devi. 

In our Holy Scriptures, we come across many phrases like ArdhnareshwarPrakriti and Purusha that point towards the equality between Man and Woman. Maa Bhagwati is the symbol of strength in all the women in the world, and her divine form destroys all the evil that resides inside us. 

So let us pay our obedience to that Supreme Power, Adi Shakti, Maa Durga by chanting her sacred mantra.

ॐ सर्वमंगल मांगल्ये शिवे सर्वार्थसाधिके।
शरण्ये त्रयम्बके गौरी नारायणी नमोस्तुते।।

So this was the story of Maa Durga, the Mother Goddess.

Tell me what you think of this story and its message. And do you think there is another message that we can incur from the story of Maa Durga?

Keep coming back to Stories for more of such stories from our Puranas. And don’t forget to checkout “Unfolding Beliefs,” a space where I decipher the real meaning of Hinduism. 

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Hope you liked the story. Is there any specific story you want to read from Hindu Mythology? Let me know in the comment box.

Till next time!

Anubhav Bakshi

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1 comment

Saikat November 22, 2021 - 9:40 am

Loved the hidden message… so true… Thanks again for this wonderful story


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