Durga is a wrathful form of Parvati
(consort of Shiva). She is represented with many arms with a weapon in
each hand, shown sitting astride her mount, the lion, holding celestial
weapons. Though popularly She is depicted with ten hands, but other of
her popular forms present her with four, six, eight, sixteen, eighteen,
and even, a thousand hands. Her face always remains calm and gentle. As Durga, the Goddess is ''beyond reach'' or ''inaccessible''. She is Devi
Mahishasuramardini (Goddess Killer of the Buffalo Demon) who appears to
her devotees as both saumya (gentle and mild) and ghora (frightful and
terrible). According to Skanda Purana, she is none other than Parvati
who takes on the role of warrior at Siva' request to kill a giant demon.
The demon cannot be killed by any of the gods because he is protected
against the torments of any male by a special boon. Thus Parvati alone
is able to kill him, and in doing so, the goddess is named Durga. The demon then takes the form of a buffalo, an apparition that again appears in the famous Devi-Mahatmya tale of the slaying of Mahishasura, the buffalo demon (mahisha means buffalo).
The story from 'Markandeya Chandi'
("Mahishasur-Vadh" or 'The Killing of Mahishasura'-episode from the book):
All the gods, headed by Lord Brahma, came over to Kailasha (a peak in
the Himalayas), where Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva were busy in divine
conversations. They narrated the whole story of how the demon-king Mahishasura
dethroned Indra from the heaven. They added that, the demon is severely
putting an end to the devotees of Vishnu and Shiva, by killing them
cruelly. The Asura (demon) wants all in the universe to worship him
as god, and not anyone else. First, There's no yajna (worship through
divine fire in the altar) for long, and the gods of heaven are leading
a life in disguise in the mountain caves, away from the clasp of Mahishasura.
Hearing the story, the faces of Vishnu and Shiva turned red in wrath.
Their faces glowed up. A sudden effulgent, fiery glow came out of their
faces, and at a single point, the energy, the 'jyoti' (divine glow and
aura), of all the gods coalesced and formed a gigantic mountain of fire.
Soon, this 'jyotipunjah' (heap of 'jyoti') took the form of a young
woman. She had the complexion of molten gold, and her 'jyoti' touched
the heavens high above. Her face was from the light of Shiva. Her ten
arms were from Lord Vishnu. Her legs were from Lord Brahma. Where as,
her hair from Yama, her hips from the force of the goddess Earth, her
breasts from the Moon-god, and so on. The dispossessed gods were drawn
to Durga. They praised her and gave to her their divine gifts: Pinakadhrik
(Shiva) gave her a trident - "Trishula". Lord Vishnu gave her a disc
- "Chakra". Varuna, the god of water, gave her a conch - "Shankha",
and the god of fire gave her a missile. From the wind, Vayu, she received
arrows. The king of gods, Indra, gave her a thunder-bolt, and the gift
of Indra's white-skinned elephant Airavata was a bell, or "ghanta".
From Yama, the god of death, Durga received a rod - "Kaaldanda",
and from the Ruler of Waters she was given a noose - "Paash". Durga
received many other precious and magical treasures -- gifts of jewels,
new clothing, and a garland of immortal lotuses for her head and breasts.
Heaven's architect Vishwakarma gave her a bright axe and magic armor.
God of the Himalayas, Himavat, gave her jewels and a magnificent lion
to ride into battle as her mount ("vahan"). Now equipped with the fearsome
weaponry of the gods and dressed in golden armor and jewels she set
off, seated gracefully upon that lion. His thunderous roars shook the
three worlds. Oceans boiled and surf poured overland. Continents were
torn at their granite foundations as whole new chains of mountains rose,
while older ranges crumbled, cracked, and gave way to dust in a thousand
landslides. Seeing these cataclysms rippling in waves through all the
three worlds, Mahishasura and his demon allies found their attention
drawn from heaven to Earth. Though confident of their power and control
in heaven, even the conquering demon host could not help being awestruck.
demons had little time to admire the radiant visage of their new
adversary, for soon she engaged them on the battlefield. First the army
of Chikasura and then that of Chamara, Mahishasura's chief commanders
were met. They were destroyed in a great battle. At first, confident of
his overwhelming power, Mahishasura held in reserve his personal demon
army. But seeing the setbacks being dealt his commander's troops on
every side, it soon became obvious to Mahishasura that even his personal
guard must be completely committed or he would surely be cast out of
heaven. Or worse. Onto the battlefield swarmed that most elite and
despised assemblage, with its gruesome hordes of infantry gleefully
wielding their unearthly collection of dark iron axes and halberds,
gorey bludgeoneers side by side with squadrons of demon-archers. Leading
this evil array in its mad and desperate charge were thousands of
charioteers and cavalry of horses and elephants. Surrounded by chants of
praise, the blowing of horns the beating of drums and songs of worship Durga
roamed the battlefield on her mighty lion. From her divine breath her
army was constantly replenished with new warriors, each able, brave and
resolute. With her bell she confused the demons, and many were dragged
away bound and chained. With her divine sword she cut them to bits. So
many demons and elephants and horses died that a river of blood flowed
across the battlefield. The ground was left littered with the broken
limbs and body parts of the defeated demon army. Durga was then attacked by the demon commanders, who were all killed immediately, and without mercy.
Mahisha, the king of the demons and usurper of the throne of
heaven, was shocked and enraged by the disastrous events on the
battlefield. He reverted to his own form, a buffalo, and charged about
on the battlefield. He ran wildly at Durga's divine soldiers goring
many, biting others and all the while thrashing with his long, whip-like
tail. Durga's lion, angered by the presence of the demon-buffalo,
attacked him. While he was thus engaged, Durga threw her noose around his neck. To escape this trap, Mahishasura discarded the buffalo and assumed the form of a lion. Durga beheaded the lion, and the demon escaped in the form of a man. Without hesitation, Durga
dispatched the man with a flight of sharp arrows. Mahishasura and Lion
Yet again the demon escaped, and this time took the formidable shape of a
huge elephant, which battered Durga's lion with a tusk. With her sword Durga
hacked at the tusk until it too was broken. Weakened, the demon
reverted once more to his own form the wild buffalo. He retreated into
the mountains where he hurled boulders at Durga with his horns. The Mother of the Universe drank the divine wine, gift of Kuvera. She said:
"Garja garja Kshanam moorha, madhu yavat pivamyaham |
Mayaa twayi hatehtraiva, garjishyantyashu devatah ||"
--- Take thou time to squall and scream as long as I don't
finish up my divine wine, o, foolish Mahishasura! I will soon slain you
(after I finish my drink), and the gods of heaven would burst in the joy
Immediately after this, the goddess jumped onto Mahishasura,
pushing him to the ground with her left leg. She grasped his head in one
hand, pierced him with her sharp spear held in another, and with yet
another of her ten hands she wielded her bright sword, beheading him. At
last he fell dead, and the scattered surviving remnants of his once
invincible army fled in terror. The gods returned to heaven, and along
with the sages of the earth, they sang praises to the Goddess Durga. Henceforth, and to this day, the Goddess Durga
is worshipped by all the gods in heaven, and all human beings on earth.
As he requested, Mahishasura is there too--frozen in his moment of
final defeat, impaled by Durga's spear and prostrate beneath her left
Glory of the Goddess
Once in the land of the gods, a huge and terrible battle raged
for hundreds of years. The gods were finally defeated, kicked from their
celestial abode by the terrible leader of the demons, Mahishasura. The
gods, who had fought the battle and lost, appeared before the greatness
of Brahma, Vishnu and Siva, explaining their defeat. The major gods
became furious, and from their faces ''came forth a great fiery
splendor, and also from the...bodies of all the gods, Indra and
others...and it congealed into a single form''.
Quote Thomas Coburn' translation of the Devi-Mahatmya at this point will give a feel for the power of the tale of Durga'
appearance: A stupendously fiery mass like a flaming mountain the gods
saw there filling the firmament with flames. That matchless splendor,
born from the bodies of all the gods, came together in a single place,
pervading all the worlds with its lustre, and it became a woman...Devi
bellowed aloud with laughter over and over again. The entire atmosphere
was filled with her terrible noise, and from that deafening,
ear-shattering noise a great echo arose. All the worlds quaked, and the
oceans shook. The earth trembled, and the mountains tottered. The gods,
utterly delighted, cried, "Victory!" to the one who rides on a lion.
The Stories of Sati and Parvati
What appeals to me the most about Hinduism is that one is
allowed to doubt and question. In fact you will be surprised to learn
that most of our scriptures are entirely conversations And discussions
between Master and disciple. The Bhagavad Geeta would not have been a
Scripture of such excellence, in terms of knowledge and wisdom if, Arjun
would not have challenged and questioned and questioned Krishna' word
over and over again. It is only in the last Chapter that Arjun asserted:
'Nashto Mohaa...' Arjun stated that his delusion was destroyed through
the Lord' Grace, He claimed that his doubts were now gone and he
professed that he would now act according to Krishna' advice. Note, that
not once did Krishna express His displeasure at Arjuna' constant
arguments. The Ramayan starts with Sati , the consort of Lord Shiva
wondering and questioning. She said to Shiva that she could not agree
that Shri Ram was the Lord God Himself in whom Shiva had such intrinsic
faith. How could Shri Ram be so disconsolate, when he lost Seeta and
could not find her? How could he tearfully ask every tree and shrub
where Seeta was? Sati scoffed and wondered aloud. Though Shiva explained
that that was the (Leela) sport of the Lord, Sati wanted to test it out
for herself. So Sati impersonated Seeta and planted herself near Shri
Ram. The latter addressed her as 'Ma' Sati had not managed to deceive
the Lord Shri Ram. When Shiva asked Sati about her whereabouts, she lied
It is said that Shiva, when he learnt that she had impersonated Devi
Seeta, could not accept her as a sexual mate. Shiva had nothing against
the fact that she doubted or that she questioned. He was against her
impersonation. The above is what we are mostly guilty of. We pretend to
be that which we are not. That leads to lies, to those who we love And
who have so much trust in us. We not only deceive others but ourselves.
It is the above trespass that makes us incarnate again for another try.
That is the point that I am trying to make. The above is one of the
reasons why Sati had to return as Parvati in her next incarnation. As
Parvati, she again showed a desire to learn about the feats and
greatness Of Shri Ram. Shiva, this time round was happy to comply with
Parvati' Divine Desire. That is how the Great Narration of the Ramayan
again there was a Divine Plan in action. One more time for the benefit
of Humanity. This story appears in the Shiva Puraanam:-
Sati' father, King Daksha performed severe penance for 3000
years. The pleased goddess manifested before him and promised to take
birth as his daughter Herself. When Sati or Gauri as she was named, grew
up, she performed intense penance to attain Shiva as her husband.
Daksha was not very happy at Sati' choice of husband. So Daksha did not
invite Shiva and Gauri (Sati) to a great Yagna (Spiritual sacrifice)
that he was about to perform. Sati, noting that all the celestial
vehicles were headed towards her father' place, felt peeved at the fact
that she had received no invitation. She insisted on attending the
function anyway, despite the disapproval of Shiva. When Sati entered her
parental palace, her father Daksha ignored her. To add insult to
injury, Daksha proclaimed that his other daughters and their husbands
were finer and more distinguished than Sati and Shiva and as such were
more worthy of honour than Sati and Shiva. The Goddess Sati approached
the Sadas (The area of the site of sacrifice where the main priests
sit.) She thundered: "Let all those who sit here give ear to the
Mistress of the Universe. My husband, the Lord of Lords has been
insulted for no good reason. No fault exists in Him. It is claimed in
the Scriptures that those who steal knowledge, those who betray a
Teacher and those who defile the Lord are great sinners and ought to be
After uttering these words, the offended Goddess threw herself
in the glowing sacred fire. Daksha' Yagna had been desecrated. A
celebration turned into a funeral. The invitees disappeared afraid that
they could be avenged. Shiva was enraged on learning that his wife had
sacrificed herself. He created a being called Veerbhadra by tearing a
lock of his hair. Mighty Veerbhadra tore off King Daksha' head and
tossed it into the same sacrificial fire. However because it was
proclaimed that the Yagna should not be left incomplete, the head of a
sacrificial goat was placed on Daksha. Lord Shiva was very sad at the
death of Sati. He began to wander in the three nether worlds carrying
the dead body of Sati in his arms. So violent was his stride that the
universe began to tremble and there was suffering everywhere. In order
to break this attachment of Shiva and to save the universe, Vishnu shot
some arrows from his bow and cut the corpse of Sati into fifty one
pieces. The pieces fell in 51 different parts of the country. These are
known as Shakti Pithas.
so the Great Goddess is born, ready to fight the enemies of the gods.
In her battle with the demons, she easily wins, and must finally
confront the general, Mahisha himself. For this battle she is called
Chandika, ''The Violent and Impetuous One'', in part because Mahisha so
infuriates her by changing form every time she attempts to kill him. The
goddess charges and he changes into a lion. She cuts off his head, and
he emerges from that body as a man, armed for battle. She kills him, and
an elephant appears in his place. She chops off the trunk, and the
buffalo is once again before her. Needing something to channel her
focus, Chandika drinks her fill of wine and becomes intoxicated. She
laughs at Mahisha as he roars and throws mountains at her during her
break. She yells at him that soon it will be the gods who are roaring
over his death and defeat. Downing her last gulp, the goddess leaps
across the battlefield at Mahisha, stands upon his neck to stop him from
changing into any other form, pierces him with her spear and chops off
his head. She is indeed victorious with this manoeuver, and the gods
sing her praise. She so loves their devotion that she tells them she
will come again to their aid if they merely call. With this boon, she
The most detailed and glorious tale of Durga'
battlefield prowess comes when the gods, who remember her earlier
promise, again call upon her. This time, She is asked to defeat the
demons Sumbha and Nisumbha (two brothers). These demons had somehow
managed to amass so much power that they deprived the gods of
sacrificial offerings for a long time. This caused the gods tremendous
stress because the offerings are what sustains their purpose-if they are
not honored, they are depotentiated. This had been going on for so long
that none of the gods could live in heaven any longer. The gods
therefore sung out to the goddess, praising her for all things, hoping
that she would help save them a fate of anonymity. When called, She came
in her most beautiful aspect as Ambika. When Sumbha' generals, Chanda
and Munda, saw her, however, they immediately reported back to Sumbha of
her splendor. They told him that she would be most worthy of his
favors. Sumbha, being vain and wanting all things of beauty for his own,
decided to have his minions ask for her hand in marriage on his behalf.
generals then go to the goddess, but she tells them of a vow taken in
her youth to only marry the one who can defeat her in battle. Upon
hearing this from his emissaries, Sumbha is angry to think that a ''mere
woman'' would thus suggest challenging him. He calls another of his
generals, Dhumralochana (Smoky-Eyes), and tells him to take sixty
thousand of his forces, grab the woman by the hair and return her to
him. Dhumralochana goes forth to Chandika and at first tries to persuade
her to come peacefully to Sumbha. She is not so inclined, and when
Dhumralochana attempts to attack her, Chandika turns him and his
battalions to ashes. The goddess is not easily had. Sumbha quickly hears
about his general' defeat. He is so filled with hatred and desire to
overcome and possess the goddess that he next summons Chanda and Munda,
his most trusted officers. These two, acting on their commander' request
head off with the rest of the demon entourage and find Chandika in the
Himalayas. They immediately begin firing arrows at her, and with this,
the goddess lets her rage be known. She turns black in anger and fury,
and from her brow, Kali emerges. This emanation of the goddess is her
most fierce and gruesome.
She is depicted as emaciated, with red eyes, protruding tongue
set for lapping up blood, black countenance, and wild, long, disheveled
hair. She carries multiple weapons, a skull-topped staff, and emits
alternatively hideous shrieks and deafening roars. Her only clothing, if
any, is a tiger-skin wrapped about her waist, and she wears as
ornaments a garland of freshly severed human heads and dead infant
earrings. Kali easily slays the generals and offers their heads to
Chandika, who then names her Chamunda, or slayer of Chanda and Munda.
Then, both Chandika and Kali set out to kill Sumbha and his remaining
gods at this point send their power, or shakti, to the aid of the
goddesses. Together, these forces, along with the sakti of Chandika,
called Aparajita, decimate all foes while those demons still able to do
so flee the battleground in terror. One demon though, named Raktabija
(Blood Seed, or Drops of Blood), comes forward again to fight. He has
the special gift of being able to multiply wherever one of his drops of
blood falls upon the earth. But Chandika and Chamunda team up to defeat
him. Chandika lances the demon, weakening him, while Chamunda laps up
his blood before it can reach the ground, thus ensuring his death. Now,
only Sumbha and Nisumbha are left to challenge the goddesses. To make a
long story short, however, Devi
withdraws Her emanations back into herself, kills Nisumbha first and
renders Sumbha powerless, finally destroying him with one fatal pierce
of her spear. The Goddess is yet again victorious.
Goddess Durga and a few of her various forms:
is possibly one of the most powerful of all Indian Goddesses. She is
worshipped in numerous forms and personas. The Goddess is seen by many
of her devotees to be the supreme deity, as powerful as the supreme male
deity. Although many Goddesses have consorts, Goddess Durga is independent. One of the many popular images of Goddess Durga
is that of her slaying a demon. This is the buffalo demon Mahishasura
who, upon being slayed by the Goddess, begged her forgiveness, and asked
that he too be worshiped along with her. As a result, three of her
forms often depict her slaying the demon, or with the demon at her feet.
According to Legend, Durga
is a fierce Goddess and she created Goddess Kali to help her in her
battles. As Kali, she is the destroyer of all evil. She is black, and
wears a garland of skulls around her neck. Kali was created to destroy
the demon Raktavera. If a drop of his blood would spill on the floor,
another demon would sprout forth from this drop. Unknowingly, Goddess
Kali attacked Raktavera, and soon she was surrounded by numerous demons
or asuras. Kali then went on to swallow the asuras. She then pierced
Raktavera with a spear, and drank his blood as it gushed out, until not a
drop of blood was left. The blood-smeared image of Kali which is often
seen in pictures and in temples depicts this scene.
Kaushiki and Chamunda
When two demon brothers, Shumbha and Nishumbha, forcibly drove
the gods out of heaven, they prayed to the mother Goddess to help them.
Parvati heard their prayers when bathing, and shed her skin to create
the beautiful Kaushiki. Kaushiki was spotted by Chanda and Munda, two
assistants of Shumbha and Nishumbha. Chanda and Munda were astounded by
her beauty, and praised her to Shumbha and Nishumbha, who sent a message
via Chanda and Munda that she marry them. A battle then assumed, and
Kaushiki wiggled her eyebrows. Out of her third eye sprung an elderly
black Goddess, who slayed Chanda and Munda and brought them to Kaushiki.
Kaushiki was pleased at her work, and bestowed on her the name of
Chamunda. Chamunda is a persona of Goddess Kali. While Goddess Kali is
young and may be portrayed as beautiful, Chamunda is portrayed as old
and frightening. Kaushiki then killed Nishumbha and when she defeated
Shumbha, the other personas merged into Kaushiki, and she killed
also equated with the Goddess Mahamaya, the creator of illusion and
attachment. According to legend, Goddess Mahamaya once granted a boon to
two demons of choice of death. These two demons then started disrupting
the universe. Lord Vishnu tried to slay them, but could not as they
were protected by the boon. He then approached Mahamaya for help. Using
the power of illusion, she tricked the demons into helping Lord Vishnu
to kill them. However, they laid forth the condition that he did so only
where there be no earth, water, air, ether, mind, intelligence or false
ego. Taking this opportunity, Lord Vishnu squashed the two demons on
his thigh, since Lord Vishnu's was a transcendental body.
Markandeya Chandi or Durga-Saptashati
The 'Durga-Saptashati', or 'Markandeya Chandi', or 'Devi Maahaatmya' is a 700-verse poem ("Saptashati"), and a part of the Markandeya Puraana. It is auspicious to read the Devi Mahatmya Katha on or before Dassera, but the same can also be read any time.
The best technique for the achievement of 'Moksha' is worship.
Moksha consists of the march of the human soul to its freedom. Freedom
from what? It is freedom from desires that goad a man from birth to
death and the dissatisfaction that results despite their fulfillment.
The object of any form of worship is the attainment of Divine Grace. The
Devi Mahatmya is a
brilliant poem in Sanskrit, that describes the three stages of
transformation of the obstacles that a human soul encounters in the
journey towards freedom. What are these obstacles?
The narration starts with the story of king Suratha. He is dejected
because he has been defeated by his enemies. He lands up in the
hermitage of Sage Medha. There he meets a merchant called Samadhi.
Samadhi had not only lost his wealth but his own family, as the latter
has turned him out. Both Samadhi and king Suratha are confounded at the
fact that their mind keeps reverting to the very family and
circumstances that have been the cause of so much sorrow in their lives.
They both request Rishi Medha to throw light on this mysterious aspect
of the mind. The Sage replies that this sorrow that they were
experiencing was due to the veiling power of the Divine Mother which is
called 'Maya'. This delusion emanates from the Lord Himself. It is
through this power that the Lord creates, preserves and dissolves back
everything into its Pure State. It is depicted in the Devi Mahatmya that Ma Durga, Ma Kali, MahaLaxmi and MahaSaraswati are not different. They are three separate aspects of the same 'Shakti' energy.
- Desire and anger.
- Restlessness of the mind.
MADHU AND KAITABHA
Once Lord Vishnu withdrew His power of Maya and went into a Yoga
Nidra (sleep). The whole Universe at that time was dissolved in the
causal waters. Brahma, the creative power of the Lord had also gone to
sleep. The earth had been broken up and was floating around in the
causal waters, These pieces of dirt lodged themselves in the ears of
the Lord. He swept these out with His fingers. That dirt, because of
the Lord's touch sprang into life and became enormous demons 'Asuras'.
They were called Madhu and Kaitabh. They attacked Brahma. The latter
invoked the Divine Mother to wake Vishnu. The Lord took the Asuras and
placed them on His thighs and cut their heads off. The Lord then created
the earth with the fat (Medas) of the demons. That is the reason for
the earth being called 'Medini' It is believed that the earth is
situated in the thighs in the Cosmic Body of the Lord. It is interesting
to note that the earth was created again from the fat of the same
demons, Madhu and Kaitabh.
Mahishaasura was a buffalo-headed demon . He was granted a boon
whereby he would be protected from anyone. Intoxicated by the above
gift, he set out to conquer the world. Mahishaasura defeated Indra, the
king of the gods. Indra implored Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh to help him.
The Divine Trio amalgamated their shakti (power) and created Durga. Ma Durga
fought Mahishaasura for 9 days and beheaded him on the 10th day. The 9
days are those of Navratri and the 10th victorious day is called
Vijaydashami. A point to note is that as Mahishaasura was attacked, the
latter would change its forms to elephant, bull, buffalo, until
ultimately it is killed. The buffalo also represents the base animal
instinct in a human being. Goddess Durga
is powerful enough to control Evil that comes in disguise. She ends
this tyranny and protects Her devotees. These transformations of
Maahishaasura also denote the fickle mind and different desires that
manifest in some manner or another. The Trident that the Goddess uses to
destroy the Impure is a 3 pronged weapon which protects the mental,
intellectual and physical aspects of life. Her sword cuts the evil of
ignorance. Her bell drives away unholy thoughts and the twang of Her bow
instills alertness in Her devotees.
DHOOMRALOCHANA AND CHANDA & MUNDA
Ma then proceeded to annihilate Dhoomra- Lochana. The latter was a
powerful general of the terrible Asura, Sumbha. The Goddess uttered the
sound 'Hum' and the demon turned to ashes by the powerful vibration of
the sound. The form of Ma Kali who emerged from the forehead of the
angry face of Ambika (form of Durga)
killed the Asuras Chanda and Munda. Chanda means a person who is
short-tempered and Munda means a shaven-headed man. Together they imply
the anger of a champion fighter. Because of this victory over Chanda
and Munda , Kali Mata is known as Chamunda.
Hearing the news of the death of Chanda and Munda, the
infuriated King Sumbha mobilised the Asuric forces and surrounded the
Mother from all sides. Then, from the Great Devas (Spiritual Beings)
emerged Powers which entered the Form of the Mother.
- From Lord Vishnu emerged the power of Vaishnavi, and subforms from His 'avatars' - Vaaraahi and Naarasimhi.
- From Brahma, emerged the power called Brahmaani.
- From Lord Shiva, emerged Maheshwari and Veer Bhadra.
- From Lord Shiva's son Kartikeya (or Kumar), emerged the power of Kaumari.
- From Indra emerged the power of Aindri.
Raktabeeja was the son of Krodhaavati, the sister of Shumbha and
Nishumbha. Krodha means anger. Raktabeeja was an Asura who enjoyed a
unique blessing. If a drop of blood were to drop from his body and touch
the earth, then a demon of his might and form would spring from it. So
if he were to get wounded during battle, the drops of blood would give
rise to a thousand demons like himself. It is for the above reason that
Kali spread her tongue so that she could suck Raktabeeja's blood before
it touched the earth. Raktabeeja fell on the ground dead as his body was
completely drained of blood.
SHUMBHA AND NISHUMBHA
Finally Sumbha and Nisumbha were slain by Devi
Mahasaraswati. Mahasaraswati stands for knowledge and Wisdom. Knowledge
and Wisdom are forever victorious over Ignorance and delusion. The
first 3 days of 'Navratra' are dedicated to 'Ma Kali' to annihilate the
enemies within The next 3 days are dedicated to 'Ma Laxmi' and the last 3
days are dedicated to Ma Saraswati. After 9 days of struggle, Ma Durga
beheaded Mahishaasura on the 10th day. This victorious day is called
Vijaydashmi. On this day Shri Ram killed the 10 headed Ravana. This day
is known as Dassera. On the 10th day a Bonfire is lit to burn the Self
arrogating Ego. So on this Vijaydashmi day or call it Dassera if you
wish let us also sound the bugle of Victory over our struggle with our
base nature tendencies. But how do we do that? Lord Krishna advises the
Spiritual seeker in the Geeta, "Verily this divine Maya of mine made up
of the three gunas is difficult to cross over. Those who take refuge in
Me, they alone cross over it" ~ Bhagwat Geeta - VII-14.