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The Devi Mahatmyam's Hidden Truths Series


Verses did commence

Verses did culminate

Message Divine

Will intrinsically reverberate.

Devi is strident.

Devi is compassionate.

Confront your demons.

Allures, you will annihilate.

Devi is with you.

Set sail, do not procrastinate.

Pray to Her.

All your evils will sublimate.




Poem composed for’s special Devi Anushtanam, by the late

Shri Vijay Kumar Jayaswal in May 2004, Downey, California



evidenced as


The Fully Endowed and All pervasive Goddess

As revealed through her Three Glorious Stories


RISHI  DHYAANAM – Contemplation on Shri Markandeya Rishi

Om dvibhujam jatilam soumyam subuddham chiranjeevinam maarkandeya nato bhaktyaa poojayet prayatah sadaa. Aayushprada mahaabhaaga somavamsha samudbhava. Mahaatapo munishreshta maarkandeya namostutey.

Om, I bow to markandeya, illustrious sage, the great tapasvin,*

Who has two hands, with hair matted, of a pleasant countenance

Who is enlightened and is always alive,

Bestower of life span, fully qualified, born of the lunar race

To whom I pray always with a head bowing in devotion.


*tapasvin -one who is adept at focusing his energy effectively to achieve the goal.


I bow to all of you who are devotees and are as my own Self.


1. So here we are at this place, at this time, occupying space with this particular body. This body that we have got, is an interest on a deposit. It is this body that houses the indwelling Atman, our Core-Self. This serves as a Wonderful Instrument for the Indweller, is it not?  So for the next 9 days we shall address this Body, this Wonderful Instrument, this Body Complex which is composed of the Physical, the Mental, the Intellectual and the Psychic.   

2. We will also be honoring, glorifying while getting close to  MAAYAA by acquainting ourselves with the Devi Mahatmyam. A very important thing to keep in mind is that MAYA here is based on the concept of Maya as evidenced in the Vedas prior to the inception of Upanishadic revival , that we now know today as Vedanta. MAYA APPEARS PROMINENTLY AS AN ILLUSION ONLY AT THE TIME OF THE BUDDHA.  IT WAS LATER REAFFIRMED BY SHANKARA  AND OTHERS. Therefore, it is very important to know that here Maya is not an illusion. It is a Power to be reckoned with.  It is also better to consider it as a Veiling as well as an All Pervasive Power.  Tirodhaana Shakti is the veiling power of maya.  

3. MAYA is defined as MEEYATEY iti MAYA . The power by which all is measured. The power by which a Bheda buddhi, a sense of differentiation exists. This Bheda buddhi facilitates us to see things as different from me.

4. MAYA is intrinsic to Ishvara, the Cosmic Divine. It is the Aavarana ( Veiling) and Vikshepa ( Projecting) Power that results in Creation being the Srishti Kalpana of Ishvara i.e.  it is the projected aspect of Ishvara in the form of Creation. This entire creation is itself the divine and thus viewed as a whole, cannot hold concepts of evil and good. It is only through the lens of Maya that indeed we can classify the transient, everchanging concepts of good and evil.

5. I am going to give you the meaning and then quote a beautiful question from  the text, Sadhana Saamraajyam---We should be asking this again and again too!!The great Shri Kapali Sastriar says-

So okay, Let the Paramaatmaa Bhagavan be with or without Maya. But why does he start this world, so called futile, again and again??

Amaayee maayaa vaa bhavatu paramaatma sa bhagavaan.

Katham bhooyo bhooyo jagadidam anartham prakuruthaam??

Therefore we shall take a special attitude towards MAYA

Indeed as the world plays divinely before us, we shall look with eyes blooming and face smiling and know that this creation, is the home of the Lord of the world, and therefore fit to be adored.

Hasannetrey vaktrey sphurati sati daivasya lasitey . Jagatraajyam poojyam bhavati jagadeeshasya bhavanam.

6. We shall learn to look upon Maya therefore as a Mother.

Vishnumaayaa Gaayatri Group Chanting

OM BHOOR BHUVAH SVAH- Each one of us and thus all of us ,evidenced by our very existence here and now,  have accessed the planes of bhooloka, bhuvarloka and svarloka.

TAT MAARKANDEYAAYAA VIDMAHEY – We now wish to know the Principal Deity known as MAARKANDEYEE , the deity conceived by Rishi Maarkandeya.

VISHNUMAAYA DHEEMAHEE- For that purpose we contemplate on the all pervasive yet veiling divine force known as VISHNUMAAYAA.

TANNO DEVI PRACHODAYAAT - To make that possible may the feminine divine source of illumination, the DEVI, propel us.

Rhythm is to the Count of 4 times 9 = 36 represent the 36 tattvas. With this gayatri we are making the declaration of the intention i.e. the sankalpa for the parayana of this great text- The Devi Mahatmyam.


I. The Markandeya puranam

I am sure you all know who rishi Markandeya is. I say is because he is a chiranjeevi like Hanuman. In other words he is in an energy field that is accessible to us.  There is a puranam credited to him called the Markandeya puranam. What is the definition of a puranam? That which speaks of the old but will always be new or relevant. Why relevant?  Because it addresses our subconscious.  This is why one story may be slightly or greatly different in the various puranas but the thread that holds them will be the same. This is true also of various folk tales and legends worldwide. The thread is the dreamer. The dreamer in all of us has an amazing resemblance. There is a commonality of dreams throughout the world as studied by psychologists and mythologists. Unfortunately in this modern trend we Indians go to psychologists rather than to our puranas.  

All puranas have lakshanas or distinguishing features such as geographical, cultural, ritual and lineage details. Often one godhead may be highlighted. Puranas were actually composed by different authors at different times and they lived in different areas of modern India and a little more beyond. For instance scholars who have researched say that the Padmapurana was composed somewhere in the region of modern Orissa, the Brahmavaivaartapurana in the regions of Bihar and Bengal, the Skanda purana south of the Vindhyas and the Markandeya purana in modern Maharashtra.

Typical of all puranas,  the Markandeya puranam  too covers lineages such as the various manvantaras. After the section on Vaivasvata manu, the 7th manu  ( the period we are in now) we have next the period of Saavarni manu, the Eighth. This is the manu for the next kalpa. The person who becomes Saavarni, his story begins during the time of the 2nd manu, Savarochisha. This story then is the  Devi Mahatmyam. Each manu gains his kingdom by some upasana. Vaivasvata gained his manudom through the grace of Matsyamurti, an avatara of Vishnu... It is Saavarni while a king, by the name Surattha, who gains his manudom, through the grace of Bhagavati Vishnumaya.

The Devi mahatmyam  is found covering chapters 81 to 93 of the puranam. Those of you who are familiar with prayers such as Argala, Kavacha, Kilaka, Vaikriti and Murti rahasya and the Devi sukta, need to know that though they are all good, they are not in this puranam.  All these other than the Sukta have been developed for ritualistic and upasana purposes and are found in various tantric texts.  The Devi suktam of course is from the Rgveda.   There is nothing wrong in reciting them. As a matter of fact it is good to recite them. However it is also very good to know the sources. We Bharatiyaas are negligent in this respect. e.g. LALITASAHASRANAMA strangely is not found in the Brahmanda puranam yet we find that  our recitations contain the statement that books that it is there.  

It is very important to know that even though the popular Navarna mantra Om aim hreem kleem chaamundaayaiy vicchey is used during the Navaratri rituals, in my humble opinion after having done upasana of this text for over 36 years, I can tell you, that the Navarna mantra is not really based on the Devi Mahatmyam.  However, it is definitely applicable to a similar set of stories found in another puranam, the Devi Bhagavatam.  Chaamunda, in this mantra means the killer of asuras, Chanda and Munda. In the Devi Mahatmyam, the killer of Chanda and Munda is only an emanation from the main deity of this Mahatmyam. She is not the main dity as reflected in the Devi Bhagavatam, where Camunda is the main deity.The main deity in the Devi Mahatmyam is Vishnumaya or Chandi and the emanation is Kali. So Kali is Chaamunda, here. The Navarna mantra should not in reality be used here for the main deity is not Chamunda. You may repeat the mantra in connection with the Devi Bhagavatam, but if you used it with the Devi Mahatmyam it will not work!  

II. Navaraatri


1. Raatri =night

Why are the prayers from this text often called Chandi and Durgashaptashati, recited during the Navaratri?  To understand that we need to first learn, a little more about Navaratri itself.  Raatri which we often call night according to the Rgveda, is the Day-bringer of darkness. This is the time for us to lessen our extrovert activities, wind down and do some introspection. This has been so in the past when we did not have so much illumination such that even night looks like day! To add to that we also have many people working at so many jobs at night!

During Vasanta navaratri, which is what we are celebrating here, it is customary in some parts of India to dress Ambaji in yellow, to offer yellow flowers and yellow colored sweets, for yellow is the colour of the Advent of Spring,  not green. You see even the sprouts are first yellowish before they turn green. Yellow is the color of Peetaambara , the lower garment of Lord Vishnu too. Yellow is the colour of Satisfaction, of a Joyful Contentment. This attitude we shall try to develop in ourselves during these 9 days. So to remind us of this I have here yellow colored raksha threads that have been sanctified. Anyone who wishes to have them may come one by one in an order and take one to tie to your wrist. Have the person next to you to tie it for you. While this goes on you can join me in a stuti that I  composed to the the charamurti, DEVI VIDYA MUKAMBIKA whose presence was housed first in Westchester(LA), California, then Orlando, Florida followed by Eugene, Oregon and now she resides in Portland Oregon. The North American continent by the way is called the Turtle Island by the Native Americans.

Koormadveepa nivaasini vidya mukaambikey sreevidyamukaambikey………


2. Sandhya

During the 24 hour period in a day there are special times conducive for prayer and contemplation. These are the sandhyas. Technically there are three sandhyas, one before sunrise, one at midday and the other immediately after sunset. So too between seasons we have sandhi kaalas. Between spring and summer, between summer and fall, between fall and winter and between winter and spring. Navaratris are celebrated at these times. Thus we really have 4 navaratris, namely in the months of Magha, Chaitra, Ashaadha and Ashvina. Of these the Sharat navaratri that falls between autumn and winter when the cold sets in, is the most popular.  It is said that Shri Ram invoked the Devi at this time so that she may enter the weapon with which he killed Ravana. The next popular one is Vasant navaratri in April when the warmth sets in between winter and spring. That is what we are observing here.

3. Nava

Why the Nine nights? 9 is a renewable number. 9+9=18 +=8=9, 18+ 9= 27 2+7+9 and so on. This is a perfect number of days therefore to renew ourselves. Get rid of old habits, form better ones, understand our personality, turn inwards, disengage to whatever extent possible from the world outside and thus put quality time for ourselves. The process of renewal is best done when a disengagement precedes it.  

4. Parayanam

Those who wish to do parayanam I.e. Reading or listening to the text,  at home,  please note the order I am observing so you can do the same order in reading the chapters and get benefit

            1   2&3   4   5&6   7&8   9    10   11  12&13 Just one among the many sampradayas.

If you can read Devanaagari script then the text is available on the net www.

4. Devata/Devi/Deva

Let me digress al little here and get you all pondering over the word DEVATA/DEVI/DEVA. All these words are defined as Deeyatey iti = ..  That which shines or, is a source of illumination. Thus in the Vedas, the Divine was recognized everywhere.They observed it first in Agni, the fire, in  Ratri, the night, in Ushas, the Dawn, in Sarasvati, the river, in Rudra, the Cosmic Inflictor, in Marut, the Wind and Storm etc. They not only observed outside in the environment but also connected it to occasions and attributes to do with mankind. There is the absence of a Puranic Bhagavan concept, for the Divine in the Vedas had no birth, no particular gender, no lineage, no history etc. In the puranas however we see devatas, devis, devas clearly as ones with births, families, lineage and history. All puranic deities have their seed origin from concepts in the Vedas. The  word god when it is used to translate the word deva or devi or devata becomes incredibly inadequate.

5. Why the Devi/ Why the Feminine Source of Illumination?

So why then is the Feminine Divine Principle, Devi so important during Navaratri ?  In our personal lives who do you think can, inspite of our failings, continue to have faith in us and therefore give us chances to renew ourselves again and again?  Our mothers who gave us birth, is it not?  If so what then should we say about the Mother of us all, the Universal Mother, Devi, Ambaji?  Our physical mother carried us for 9 months in her womb and nourished us. For 9 nights therefore we turn towards our Universal mother to nourish us in her womb and give us strength. Therefore let us resort to the Universal Mother in each one of us. Let us ask her help in this Renewal process that first begins with Shuddhikaranam or Cleansing.


III. The Devi Mahatmyam

36 years of UPASANA on this text has resulted in me taking it up in 3 graduating levels. During these pravachans I will be taking up only Level I.

This Devi mahatmyam or Glories of the Devi is an allegory. It has 3 major stories covering 3 major and several minor battles. It is an allegory because it represents our battles in life through our personal experiences. Aasuric forces inside and outside of us are always confronting Daivic forces inside and outside of us. This is the process of true human evolution into the Spirit.

Tell me do we need help in times of battle? Where all do we need help? In 3 main areas.

A. Help in making the right choice of action.

B. Gain strength and support i.e. energy and human or service support.

C. In getting the proper weapons.


The conglomeration of the Daivic forces in us is the Devi herself. The 700 shlokas contained within this mahatmyam are considered as 700 mantras. Therefore this text is a Maala mantra I.e. A mantra garland.  It is very good to do an akhand ( non stop)  reading of this text during Navaratri. This takes about one and a half hours. In Kerala among the Nambudiri families even young children have the entire text committed to memory!

1. Mantras

A mantra is a very powerful tool that yields results. It is a technology that can be used by anyone. It does not discriminate the yielding of its results from a bad person or a good person.  In a way it is very mechanical in its result. There are plenty of examples in our puranas where rakshasas and asuras have gained boons from doing mantric tapas. An excellent example of this is seen in the Puranic Story of the ASHTAVINAYAKAS. Please refer under Homestudy Courses-Ganapati Upanishad- Ashtavataras of Ganesh.

A mantra is a sound body or shabdaartha of a devata. It is the commodity, product or grossification of the deity produced by the sounds in context. It is indeed very specific. Om namo bhagavatey vaasudevaaya  has a different result from Om namo naaraayanaaya. The first is to the son of Vasudeva, who is Krishna and the other is to Narayan.

So here by reciting the entire Devi Mahatmyam as the 700 mala mantras, we bring into our lives the presence of the deity of that text, who is  Vishnumaya, not Durga as popularly thought of. Do you know how important this specificity is?? It is as useless as a son who calls in Gujarati, his mother Ba as Bahenji or  say you call your Mother as hey sister!. !!!  Durga is the Devi as mentioned in this text itself as the killer of Durgamaasura. Her other names being Shataakshi and Shaakambari. To call the Main Deity of this text, CHANDI, is fine but how come this text is called Durga shaptashati, is a whole different discussion that will take time. It all boils down to lack of consistency and a failure on our part to check the sources.

2. Why Sanskrit?

There is a beauty and sweetness  to bhajans when sung in regional languages. Is it not ? Ghazals are best sung in Urdu. Tevarams in Tamil . Prabhaatiyas in Gujarati. Devaranama in Kannada etc. The best language for business in this world is English, the vyaapaara bhaashaa. The best language to explain and formulate for us the divine is Sanskrit, the Devabhaashaa.

3. What this recitation will do for us.

Think what happens to the body when we take a bath? How do we feel afterwards? Same way this recitation will start a process of purification and thus prepare it for refining. What are we purifying? The three stories contained within are used for cleaning our Shareera traya, three shareeras. These are the three bodies which has resulted in our embodiment! They are Kaarana ( Causal, that we don’t know about ), Sthoola ( gross, the more visible as we can see it occupy space) and   Sookshma (Subtle, that we know is there ) bodies. The three stories are also geared towards our three states of being, that is Avastthaatraya, our Sushupti (Deep Sleep), Svapna (Dreaming)  and Jaagrat (Waking) states. Please note that there are cosmic equivalent states corresponding to these.  We also use these three stories to regulating our Gunatraya, three basic gunas that operate as our varying nature throughout living. These are then Tamas ( Inertia),  Rajas ( Passion) and Sattva (altruistic). When associating with the psychic chakras  then the stories are  connected to the untying of psychic knots our Granthi traya  such as Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra. So much for the Number 3.

Now the significance of number 13.  The thirteen chapters are to be deeply connected to the components of our total shareera such as the 5 karmendriyas, systems of action, our 5 jnaanendriyas our systems of perception , and the 3 antahkaranas such as  our manas, buddhi and chitta. They are also connected to the thirteen psychic centers or chakras namely moolaadhaara, svaadhistaana, manipoora, hrit, anaahata, vishuddhi, taalu or lalanaa, agnaa, manas, indu, nirvana, guru and sahasraara.

The question may be asked as to why we should bother to purify ourselves. Well at some point or other we all have asked the question, why am I here? The simple answer is, that I am here only for one reason and that is to TRANSFORM MY NATURE. Evolution is possible for us only by Transformation of our nature The first thing to bear in mind is, that no transformation is possible without a regular cleansing. When something is wrong with an equipment, we like it to be fixed. Once we know what the problem is, then we clean it and then fix it well. EXAMINE -CLEAN -FIX,  This is the order then. These are 3 magic words. All the components of our shareera mentioned earlier have intrinsic limiting conditions or doshas. These have to be swept or cleaned from time to time. One time cleaning is not enough.  Therefore, as I do the recitation,whether you know Sanskrit or not it does not matter. Pay close attention to the words as I read. Let them imprint your mind via the ears. We can thus allow the Purification process to begin.







Remember that the names of personages are never just names. There is a deeper meaning to all the names in the Puranam.
The story begins as a conversation between Rishi Markandeya and the scholar Kroushtuki Bhaaguri.  Markandeya tells Kroushtuki how king Surattha became Saavarni, the manu. The good and dharmic king Surattha ruled his subjects as if they were his own children. Then his kingdom was attacked by a group of invaders who defeated another clan called the Kolas. They were proponents of Adharma.  They defeated him even though they were not as well qualified as he was in battle. Bereft of his treasury and his strength—kosho balam chaapahritham he is  restricted to stay within his pura or fort/city. Then one day he takes off all alone, to the woods, on a horse, under the pretext of hunting. Ekaakihayamaaruhya jagaama gahanam vanam. He travels towards the ashram of Rishi Medhas. His mind is consumed with thoughts regarding his spoiled ministers and their doings. He worries about his treasury that was built up by his ancestors, now becoming depleted. He wonders about how well his favourite elephant is being treated. While pondering thus he meets with a merchant by name Samaadhi, whose face reveals much sorrow. Upon inquiring, the merchant explains that once he was the head of a rich family. But his sons and wives overcome by greed have chased him out of the family. So here in the woods the merchant says he cannot help wondering about his sons and wives even though he knows how cruel they are. The two then end up at the beautiful and peaceful ashram of Rishi Medhas. After spending sometime within the precincts they meet the rishi himself. The king opens the topic of the puzzle as to why though totally aware and  knowledgeable of the situation, both he and the merchant are yet drawn to those that have hurt them.
Rishi Medhas then talks about this awareness-knowledge. Jnaanam, the rishi explains are various types of awareness. Some that are like instincts and cognition, the result of sense perception, are common to all living things. Some are unique to each creature. So, in other words he says don’t think that you and Samadhi uniquely possess knowledge. He gives examples about those animals that have night vision and others that have day vision.
Then he moves on to the next thing that is Moha. He points out to a mother bird feeding her young even though she herself is hungry. This phenomenon is called Moha he says.  In the case of human beings he says a good example of Moha is seen between parents and offspring. He says that, there is a hidden sense of expectation or reciprocation in parents with regard to their children. It is this expectation that is Moha and so inevitably it brings forth disappointments inspite of knowing. This Moha for the individual is Maya with regard to all of creation.
I am breaking away from the story a little to explain the following.

SEE , MAYA IS here NOT AN ILLUSION AS MUCH AS A POWER. Maya is not a problem, it is a power to be reckoned with. A power that changes static truth into dynamic truth, through separate individualized forms. By Maya’s power the Unmanifest becomes Manifest. For those who consider Maya as an illusion to them Maya is what prevents them from seeing the Truth behind. But for those who see Maya as a power, to them it is MAYA that enables a phenomenal existence to the Divine. i.e. MAYA IS THE POWER TO CREATE the FINITE as forms OUT OF INFINITE REALITY.

Continuing the story,  the rishi says that it is this Maya that keeps the world moving . This Maya he calls as  Cosmic Feminine Divine Principle, that is all pervasive as well as veiling in nature, hence the name Bhagavati Vishnumaya. By referring to it as Bhagavati we must conclude its Divine Nature. Vishnu refers to the pervasive nature and Maya to the veiling nature. None are free from Maya or Moha, not even the wise, for he says Jnaaninaamapi cheytaamsi devi bhagavati hi saa, balaataakrishya mohaaya mahaamaaya prayacchati. Therefore, it is important we resort to Her for dealing with Moha and Maya.

Surattha then asks the rishi to explain the origin and function of this Devi. Then the rishi explains that she does not have a birth as such for she is eternal.Yet people say she is born when she makes herself apparent. Her reason for becoming apparent is for fulfilling the needs of the devas, which she does again and again -devaanaam kaarya sidhyartham aavir bhavati.  Thus she protects the lokas or realms in the world. It is she who is intimately involved in Ishvara tattva, the Cosmic triple processes of Creation, Maintenance and Dissolution. She is indeed the cause of  Sansaar and it is she who is the cause of release from the same when appeased.

Medhas then narrates a story as an example how even Bhagavan Vishnu was under the clutches of Vishnumaya. Aeons ago when the world had undergone pralaya, deluge at the end of a kalpa, when the building blocks of creation are scrambled ,Vishnu, the maintainer was lying on Shesha.,  Two asuras emerged out of the ear wax of Vishnu. The asuras Madhu and Kaitabha who were playing in the ocean, ksheerasaagara, noticed Brahma seated in the lotus from the navel of Vishnu. The two decide to fight with him. Brahma in desperation looks down to see his saviour Vishnu fast asleep and not available to come to his rescue. Then he begins to pray to the Power of Sleep, Yoganidra mahamaya begging her to quit Vishnu’s body.  
Daivic Significance
Who then is this Devi that emerges from Vishnu’s shareera ? She is not Durga, Lakshmi, Kali, Sarasvati and not even Parvathi. She is specifically known as Thaamasi. This is declared in Shloka 89 in the Shapthashathi text. Rishi Markandeya states “ Evam sthutha thadaa devi thaamasi thathra vedasa. “. Thus praised by the Creator of the Vedas ( Brahma) issued devi Thaamasi.

The beautiful praise to this devi covers many aspects. She is described as the power in the mantras svaahaa and svadhaa. She is the half syllable “ m”  in the mantra Om. She is in the twilights and in solar power. She is in the triple processes of srishti- stitthi -samhaara, creation, maintenance and dissolution. She is Mahamaya as well as Mahavidya. She is Mahadevi as well as Mahasuri and so on.  The Devi then issues out of the eyes, hands and chest of Vishnu. Naturally Vishnu awakens and then engages in a fist battle with the asuras for 5000 years. Nobody wins! Then the asuras convinced of their superiority and enamoured by the beauty of the Devi who is watching this battle, begin to show off. They ask Vishnu to request a boon. Smart Vishnu says “ May you two be killed by me!” The asuras get even smarter and say
“ Okay. Kill us then where there is no water.” So Vishnu raises his lap from above the water, lifts the two asuras and places them on his lap.  Then he slices their heads off with his chakra, discus-wheel weapon.
Rishi Medhas then tells the King and the Vaishya that he will narrate about another occasion when the Devi made herself apparent.




This rishi is the one who won over mortality as his name indicates. Thoughts of mortality always bothers us. Therefore one of the ways to address that is to resort to our scriptures.
Saavarni Surya tanaya
Our daily life is connected with the sun. By regulating our daily cycle in accordance with the sun we will not only be in accordance with the universe’s rhythm but also allow for the full reaping of our potentialities. Our life becomes colorful ( varna) once we are in obedience like the son( tanu)  to the  Sun  surya).
“One with the beautiful chariot” is Surattha. In many of our scriptures our body-mind equipment is compared to a chariot. This is indeed a fine equipment that we have that needs to be respected, taken care of and utilized for daivic purposes.
“One with a mind that is equanimous”.  Dhee is the intelligent factor that we have, that is supportive in nature. Our capacity for wisdom therefore should be aimed towards equanimity.
This is the capacity of our intellect to understand and apply our scriptures to life.
Moha and Maya
These are powers that we experience. We cannot avoid them just the way we cannot avoid Stress. All we can learn to do is recognize and then manage them.
It is the feeling of being bound to the world, or being tied down to the world. For the individual it is the result of a lack of understanding of human nature combined with inadequate behaviour management.
This is the result of having understood human nature, followed by successful behaviour management, that ends in perfect harmony with universal processes. This results in freedom from the feeling of being tied down to the world.
Pralaya, Vishnu, Ksheerasagara and Sesha
Pralaya is not quite deluge. It is a phase when the building blocks of creation are in a scrambled or unmanifested state that is represented in this story as the unmanifest ocean, sagara. Within this ocean are all potentialities. It has all the essence, ksheera=milk, in it.  It is like as if one makes a pot out of clay and them mushed it all up and then it is ready to be formed into something of shape again. During this period, the maintainer has no work to do, so he rests on this unmanifest ocean lying on Shesha or what remains.  
Creation has not yet taken place so the Creative Process too is not at work and not effective therefore.

Madhu and Kaitabha
The byproducts of living or going through life, is like the ear wax that is formed. These are called vaasanas or tendencies. They are of a sweet, madhu and of a bitter or kaitabh nature. We carry these tendencies from one birth to birth. These are evident in our Causal body i.e. karana shareera
Vishnu Chakra
It is significant that it is the chakra that is used to destroy the asuras. Vishnu’s chakra is named as Sudarshana Chakra. Both in rituals and in Ayurveda, the principle of Sudarshana is a toxic remover.

The body or shareera is defined in Sanskrit as “Sheeryathey iti shareera”, that which is capable of disintegration. Our causal body, our gross body and our subtle body together constitute the individual’s body. All three are capable of disintegration and therefore not permanent.
Devas and Asuras
Deva is a source of illumination while asura is the illumination blocker. These forces are within us and without. One helps us move forward directly, the other by blocking the path allows for us to engage in a battle whereby our movement forward becomes irrevocable.

Mangalam song
Shakti pranava hreem kaarini namoh,
Kaarana shareera nivaasini namoh
Thaamasi devi namoh namoh,  
Shri Thaamasi devi namoh namoh,
Madhukaitabha naashini namoh namoh.




Story 2 and 3


I will give you the gist of the 2 episodes one after another.

Rishi Medhas then narrates how long ago Mahishasura becomes so powerful that he battles with Indra and other devatas and defeats them. Unable to bear the atrocities the devas led by Brahma go to Vishnu and Shiva. On hearing the stories not only Shiva and Vishnu but all other devas get furious. From their faces emerge rays of fury that coalesce to form the body of a light mass. Then the mass begins to take the shape of a woman Ekasttham tadabhoonnaaree vyaapta loka trayam tvishaa. Her face issued from Shiva, her eyes from Agni, her nose from Kubera, the two brows from the sandhyas, her ears from Vayu  her hair from Yama, her arms from Vishnu, her teeth from Prajapati, her toes from Surya and her fingers from the Vasus, breasts from Chandra, waist from Indra, shanks and thighs from varuna , hips from Prithvi etc.  and so on.  Each devata then issues a weapon from his signature weapons and arms this devi with it. Thus she receives the trishul from Shiva, chakra from Vishnu, vajra from Indra, danda from yama and so one. In addition she receives beautiful ornaments and clothes too from them.

The devi begins her journey with a laugh that shakes the mountains and the earth. As she strides forward, the devas praise her and the rishis bend their head in awe. They all know what her mission is!  Mahishasura alerted by the laughter sends his army led by several weird looking asuras. Bidala-  has eyes like a cat, Asiloman-  has hair that rose like needles, Chikshura has protruding facial features and Chamara has ears like the whisks. There is Durdhara, the bearer of evil and Durmukha whose face itself proclaims evil. You have Mahaahanu- with the abnormally big chin and Ugraasya, Ugraveerya and Udagra, all formidable asuras.  The encounter does not last very long as the battle was just a play for the devi. The first battle ends with rivers of blood flowing with horses, chariots and the corpses of the soldiers floating in the current. The first contingent of Mahishasura’s army is thus defeated.
The second battle is fought on land and in the air. The Devi matches the asura weapons in a very precise manner and kills them all.  No more generals are left so Mahishasura himself comes on. Just like a buffalo/bison, he is well aware of his size and strength and pushes himself into any area. He does put up a good fight! Look at the many ways he uses his body to fight.  He head bangs, gores with his horns, slashes with his tail, runs at high speeds, bellows loudly and exhales with big puffs. All very damaging moves by which he defeats the devi’s ganas or attendants. Then he tries to attack the devi’s lion. It is then that the devi throws the noose and tries to strangle him. He changes his form to a lion. When the lion’s head is cut off by the devi he turns into an elephant. The devi takes a break and drinks from her goblet “the drink of delight” or madhu. She says Garja garja kshanam mooda, madhu yaavat pibaamyaham, Mayaa tvayihateystraiva garjishyanthaashu devataa.……. “ Oh fool, go ahead and roar while I drink for soon it will be the turn of the devas to roar with joy when you will be killed !” She jumps on him, pins him down which causes him to release his original form. She chops his head  with her sword.The rest of the asuras who are alive flee to Patala.  The Devas praise, the apsaras dance and the gandharvas sing to celebrate the victory over Mahishasura.




1. As mentioned earlier Devas are sources of illumination while asuras are blockers of illumination. Asuras tend to take over what is not theirs. So too in our life we must be cognizant of our roles as mother, father, husband, wife, son, daughter, employee, employer and so forth. Disharmony results in the home or the work place if functions of others are taken over. So too politically nations must know when to keep their noses out of other nation’s internal problems. If we obeyed that,  we would have less wars and therefore be peaceful.
2. The greatest number of interactions takes place during our waking state. This is the state we relate to the most. Outside influences and reactions to them from within begin to set into our personality. This is the mahisha we have to handle. Size and strength is so obvious in this story. We are competing for space and competing for greater power/ balam so much daily. We must ask the question how much space do we really need?  How much bala do we really need?
3.The ugly asuras are all our negative traits. Why do they describe them particularly with ugly faces.  When we look at anyone, the first thing that registers is the face. So too no matter how many good qualities a person may have that one negative trait a person has is the one that all will remrember.
4. Weapons of so many varieties are the many strategies we must employ to wound and destroy our negative traits.
Trishul with the 3points - Some traits have to be attacked in a 3 point formation, the physical, mental and the environmental Eg. Addictions Trishul with the 3points - Some traits have to be attacked in a 3 point formation, the physical, mental and the environmental Eg. Addictions
The noose that can be thrown from far—Handle seeds of negative behaviour now before they grow to burdensome proportions in the future.
Sword- Ruthless slashing
Club- Dashing again and again at old habits
Arrow- Needs precision that can result from a good self analysis
5. The devi who is the coalesced fury from all th devas is Thvisha. She is deeply connected with our Sthoola Shareera or Gross Body. This is our body -sensory equipment.  The control it has on us is powerful. Hence the Asura is Mahisha= buffalo, enormous therefore.




Shakti pranava hreem kaarini namoh
Sthoola shareera nivaasini namoh
Tvishaa devi namoh namoh
Shree Tvishaa devi namoh namoh
Mahishaasura mardini namoh namoh



Story -4
Conclusion to the Story of the Second Emanation


The praise here is a token of gratitude. The devas express their inadequacy to praise her in full, right at the start. Why, not even the Creator, nor the serpent who having many heads who has many mouths, can do it! A few salient points in this prasise are, the devi is  present in utterances such as svaahaa ( addressed to devas)  and svadhaa( addressed to pithrus). She is the Great Vow, Mahavrata, which is the vow of upholding the Truth. She is shabda in the Sama veda recitations. She is Varta, the science of agriculture and animal rearing. She is Medha, the cuty that can glean from our scriptures, and she is Durga, the fort against evil . They go on next to a poetic slant in wondering how come Mahishasura did not run away seeing her anger. They pose the thought it is perhaps the seing of her beautiful face that distracted him. Why did it take so long to defeat the asuras? She allowed for their purification via contact with her weapons! The praise closes with requesting her to protect them with not only all her weapons but also with her beautiful and her fierce forms. Unlike Abrahamic religions, here even asuras can attain purification, salvation though tremendour engagement and toture at the hands of righteousness.
The Devi pleased with the praises asks them to request boons.
They ask
1. Please come to our aid at times of great difficulties/ calamities.
2. To grant all the comforts of life to those who recite this prayer.   


Mangalam Song
Shakti pranava hreem kaarini namoh
Sthoola shareera nivaasini namoh
Tvishaa devi namoh namoh
Shree Tvishaa devi namoh namoh
Mahishaasura mardini namoh namoh


End of Part 3
Series to be continued...



Stories 5& 6



Previously in story One we have the appearance of what I would call “ black collar asuras”. Then Mahishasura would be a “ red collar asura”. Now in the third story we have two “ white collar asuras”. While the first are capable of crimes of stupidity, the second of obvious and heinous crimes, the third set commits what we in the modern world know to be sophisticated crimes. So we have here in the third story two asura brothers, Shumbha and Nishumbha, the Shining and then the brother, one with the lesser shine or the one that goes along with the Shining one. The two as usual I am sure having done tapas and having gained much power. They get corrupted by the same power and begin to aggrandize. They take over the function of the devas. This is always clearly indicated in puranic stories as asuras partaking of havan sacrifices that truly belong to the devas. Is this not in a way, the way life is today? When we recount the total amount of sacrifice and energy one spends in a single day. Who is benefiting most from this sacrifice? Are we able to put quality time into our families or are we drained by our jobs? Think who is benefiting the most? Think who should be benefiting the most? Now think how can we ever have solid families, which has over the centuries been the solid foundation of society and nation, if we are offering so much of our energy to the work place?

This is the way nowadays that countries like America seize patents so that the third world countries where such plants like turmeric, neem, basmati rice, belong have to succumb to the authority of America. First of all I don’t know who has the right to patent anything found in nature. Man did not create the “ turmeric “ plant did he ???

So naturally the functionless devas become “brashta raajyaa paraajithaa”. They are deprived of their kingdom as they are defeated. This picture sort of reminds me of the situation of fathers in modern countries who look so lost once their sons have grown up. It feels that they have been almost robbed of their fatherly status as their sons no longer go to them to consult or to get advice.


The devas remember the devi’s earlier assurance of “ yatthaa aapathsu smrithaakhilaa bhavathaam naashayishyaami tthathkshanaath paramaapadah”. She says” whenever calamities hit you and you call on me, I shall be available to destroy them in an instant”. So, the devas go to the Himalayan area and begin to praise the devi. We have here the opportunity to read and appreciate, one the most beautiful prayers on the universal form of the Feminine Divine Principle. She is recognized in all entities or bhutthaas as universal powers or energies such as sleep, awareness, hunger, hankering, peace, forgiveness, forgetfulness or stupor, remembrance and motherliness and so on

Then Parvati who was coming down to the Ganga to take a bath listens to the praise and asks a very interesting question. She says “Who is being praised here?” At that time from her body issues another devi who says “ I, am being praised by the devas who have been repudiated by Shumbha and Nishumbha!” As she issued from Parvati’s body she comes to be known as Koushiki. Meanwhile Parvati with the issuance of this Devi becomes dark and returns to the Himalaya. She is referred to here as Kaali, the dark one.


News gets to the brothers about this beautiful lady in the Himalayas. His messengers Chanda and Munda say how the mountains shine due to her presence. It is they who convince these brothers that they should seize her like they seized everything good from the devas. Sounds like America doesnt it ?? So a messenger by name Sugreeva, is sent to the Devi by Shumbha to recruit her as a consort. See Sugreeva is the only asura with a nice name. It means “One with a nice neck.” Is it because he is a messenger? You know that messengers always have a special status especially in times of war. They are never to be harmed as they are neutral in attitude. When he comes to the devi, he presents his boss’s eligibility very well. We get to hear of all the treasures that they have seized such as Kubera’s treasures, Varuna’s umbrella, ucchaishravas, parijatha tree and so on. So, they conclude that she must consider going to them to become part of their belongings. The Devi then says “Well whatever you have spoken is true however my condition is this. Long ago I made a foolish vow that only one who can match me in strength, who battles me and thus curbs my pride can be married to me.” Angered by what message he has to take back, Sugreeva reminds her that she could be dragged by her hair to his King’s presence. She holds her ground however.

Shumbha orders Dhumralochana (one with the clouded eyes/ vision ) with an army of 60,000 asuras. Of course, he too warns the Devi like Sugreeva did. The Devi just reduces him and his battalion to ashes with just the uttering of the mantra Hoom. This humkara is a powerful bija mantra for destruction just like svaahaa is for offering and namah is for supplicating.





1. The names Shumbha and Nishumbha can remind us of the age old proverb” All that glitters is not gold”. They exhibit subtle aggrandization based on jealousy and greed. These are the traits that even Sattva guna is not free from!! Why not? Because sattva guna in man is Malina sattva guna for it is mixed with Rajoguna. By the way Sattva guna is not free from sneaky behaviour. A good example from our Puranas is the behaviour of Vishnu. Vishnu is often represented as symbolizing Sattva guna. Many many stories exemplify how tricky he can be !!

2. Specificity of the Devatas. Here we have a good example for, why we are considered as having so many gods. The problem is with the word “ god”. Devata does not mean god. In Judeo Christian thinking and especially the English language has this one confining word, god, to explain everybody else’s concept of the Divine. The Prime Minister cannot be sent to Kargil to handle the battle. It has to be a specific emissary, a qualified emanation that goes there, generally in the form of a particular general of the defence force chosen for that purpose. So too it is not Parvati but the emanation Koushiki that is to handle Shumbha and Nishumbha. It is not the Devi that stood by, while Vishnu fought Madhu and Kaitabha, nor the lustrous devi that fought Mahishasura but yet another devi whose function this is. Remember Tamoguna, Rajoguna and Sattva guna all have their particular peculiarities.

3. This then is the Sukshma shareera or subtle body that is being handled here. This is the awareness or our individual agency that is operational during our dream state. The subconscious as it is referred to, is the dreamer in all of us. Here we have a great commonality with other people and cultures. Listen to folk stories from many cultures and try to observe why we can relate to them so well! Incidentally if you pay close attention to the traditional stories of many lands long before Islam and Christianity swallowed them you will see how similar were our belief systems reflected through them..

4. You will see that we have 6 chapters dedicated to this story. Tells you how tough the sukshma shareera can be.

The impressions of experiences in our waking state as well our previous birth experiences are registered in our sukshma shareera. The mind- intellect complex in us is the subtle body. The perceiver, the feeler and the thinker to quote Swami Chinmayananda is the subtle body. This in turn when it separates from its cover ALONG WITH THE OLD AND NEW VASANAS travel into THE NEXT BIRTH. It gathers unto itself the right body at the appropriate environment.

So we hope by reading the next 6 chapters we begin the purification process of this subtle body.












Mangalam Song


Shakti pranava hreem kaarini namoh,

Sookshma shareera nivaasini namoh

Koushiki devi namoh namoh,

Shri Koushiki devi namoh namoh,

ShumbhaNishumbha Ghaatini namoh namoh.




Story 7



Shumbha on hearing how well the lion and the devi are fighting sends two great generals Chanda and Munda ( the ones who first saw her) to fetch her, even if it means to drag her by her hair. When the Devi sees the approaching army, her face becomes dark with fury. From the knitted eyebrows of her forehead issues another deity. She is seen as one with an emaciated body, fierce ruddy eyes, her tongue hanging out, wearing a garland of skulls and wielding a sword and a noose. This is Kali. By the way have anyone of you seen the movie The Whale Rider ? This is a beautiful movie the whole family can see. There the facial attitudes of the Polynesians during a traditional dance routine will remind you of how this Kali form is so universal a stance.

Kali roams in the battlefield grabbing chariots with asuras in them and simply throwing them into her gaping mouth, she consumes them. Eventually she charges towards the two generals uttering the mantra hum and chops the heads of Chanda and Munda. Holding one in each hand she approaches the Devi and says” Here are the two sacrificial beasts that I bring to offer to you. As for the other two you must kill them yourself.” Pleased, the Devi remarks that since she decimated Chanda and Munda, from then on she will be known in the world as Chamunda.




1.Chanda the furious or the heady one. Munda the headless one meaning one who acts as if he has no head. They are both on the side of the asuras as they have not used their discriminative powers regarding whom to be aligned with.

2. Kali swallowing of the chariots with passengers is very indicative of her name derived from the word kaala or time. Time indeed devours everything.

Note once again the specificity of each devata. Here Kali destroys Chanda and Munda but not the other two. This is for Koushiki to do.

There is much more to know about specificity

When praying in front of or worshipping a murthi or picture, to maximize the result one should be consistent in the dhyaan and in how you address. For eg if the murthi is baby Krishna, then the dhyaana should not be on a teenaged Krishna nor the Krishna of the Bhagavatgeeta! Remember we are not talking of an approach that all devatas are after all aspects of the One. That is transcendental talk. It has its place in advaita but not in murthi worship. It is like if the Secretary of the State came to India and gets addressed as “the President”, just because the person represents the US.

This is the reason why earlier I said that the famous Navarna mantra Om aim hreem kleem chaamundaayaiy vicchey that is being applied by so many worshippers to the main devata of this text, in my thinking, is erroneous. In this text as you can see Kali or Chaminda only as an emanation of Koushiki. It is Kali that kills Chanda and Munda. However if the navarna mantra is applied to the main deity of the same story in the Devi bhagavat then it would be correct. There it is indeed the main deity who kills Chanda and Munda and not Kali.


There is a beautiful sukta in the Rgveda on the River Saraswati that explains how she is like a major freeway into which exits and entrances of other roads are there yet she continues on.

Mandala 7 Sukta 95 Rishi Vasishta Devata Sarasvati

Pra Kshodasaa dhaayasaa sassraa yeshaa sarasvatee dharunamaayasee poohu.

Baabdhaanaa rathyeva yaathi vishvaa mahinaa sindhuranyaa.


The purifying, supporting and of unlimited flow, this Sarasvati is an iron town. Like a major chariotway with her mighty waters she takes on all other river- waters.


So too knowledge comes in, gets clarified, gets ejected but the essence goes on.When n I was in High school I got exposed to Swami Chinmayananda’s lectures on the Geeta. Then on my own I read other people’s commentaries on the Gita.Later I acquired a book that gave I think 6 or 8 major ancient original commentaries in Sanskrit which modern swamis and authors relied on. Then there is also that arrogant book by Swami Prabhupada that is titled “ Bhagavat Gita as it is”. What does that mean?? All commentaries are views held by the commentator. There is therefore no place for a"as it is cannot therefore say that Prabhupada’s book is the correct commentary. All I can say is perhaps Swami Chidbhavananda’s commentary sits well with me, NOW!! Think about why did I say now ?

Because, as you evolve your understanding also develops and so an explanation that satisfied you at suffice at age 16 may be inadequate at age 40. Is it not?



Story -8



Shumbha getting the bad news about Chanda and Munda orders several famous contingents that were his, to proceed to battle. When his huge personal army marches on to the field, from the devas who were observing this spectacle, issue their energies or shaktis in the form of female deities to come to the devi’s aid. Thus Brahmani comes riding on a swan with the kamandalu and akshamala, Koumari on a peacock wielding the lance, Maheshvari on a bull with trishul at hand and Vaishnavi on the garuda with the conch, club, bow and sword. Thus Varahi , Narasimhi, Aindri appear. All these devis surround Siva and then Siva says to the Devi “ May the asuras be killed for my pleasure”. At that moment issues another fierce emanation from the Devi whose howl is like that of a hundred jackals. This devi turns to Siva and deputes him to go to Shumbha and Nishumbha as a messenger and convey the news that either they mend their ways, return what belongs to the devas and retire to patala, or be prepared to be feasted upon by her jackals. Because she deputes Siva as a messenger, this devi becomes famous as Sivaduti.

A fierce battle ensues between the shaktis and the asura armies. Thousands of asuras are killed while many just flee. Seeing this state, a notorious and formidable general by name Raktabija comes on the scene. A strange thing happens. Anytime a drop of blood from a wound in his body falls on the ground, then from that drop another clone, another Raktabija arises. Pretty soon the area is filled with many powerful Raktabijas. Then the Devi hits on a plan. She calls on Kali and says “Open your mouth and while I strike this warrior even before the blood hits the ground, drink it up. This way he will become bloodless by my constant barrage of weapons.” Sure enough this happens and the drained, bloodless Raktabija falls dead to the ground. A great rejoicing takes place when this formidable asura dies.






Our vasanas are locked in our sukshma shareera or subtle body. Each tendency searches for its field of growth, just as the alcoholic searches for the bar or the teen searches for the candy section in the store. These tendencies travel with us into our next birth. Some are more harmful than others. But all thrive in their respective environment. Through these stories we are shown that we have passed from the animal man, to the basic man and then to one with higher mental powers. Or we can say that we have to evolve in this manner, first HAVE A LIFE then HAVE A GOOD LIFE, then move on TO BEYOND A GOOD LIFE. This last one is indeed the Life Divine. Eventually we need to go beyond, beyond even Sattvic. Perhaps this is what Shri Aurobindo referred to as the Supramental State. The way to do is to handle our tendencies head on. The refining process must continue.

Raktabija is a composite form of our total vasanas. Vasanas must therefore be managed and not allowed to go out of hand for they could end up blocking our transformative process.

These tendencies do surface in our dreams. Nowadays Dream Therapy is gaining more interest. This is a subject that takes quite some importance in the courses at Pacifica College, Carpinteria, California. Vajrayana Buddhism also has also several disciplines involving dream practice as in Phowa teachings.












Mangalam Song



Shakti pranava hreem kaarini namoh,

Sookshma shareera nivaasini namoh

Koushiki devi namoh namoh,

Shri Koushiki devi namoh namoh,

ShumbhaNishumbha Ghaatini namoh namoh.






STORY 9 and 10



With a great general like Raktabija killed Shumbha and his brother come on to the field to fight. The battle reaches a peak. At onepoint Nishumbha falls unconscious, then Shumbha takes over while his brother recovers. Then Nishumbha springs many arms and hurls chakras at the devi. The devi’s arrows cut all of his arms except two. Just as he is about to pick up a spear to hurl at the devi, she manages to drive her spear straight into his heart at which point another being issues from his frame that says “stop” to the devi. She however does not hesitate and right away chops his head off and kills him. Meanwhile the other devis are busy handling other asuras.


When Shumbha sees his brother killed he uses his “ smarts” and rebukes the devi pointing out to her that after all she is fighting with the help of other devis so what is the big idea of being so arrogant. To that the devi utters what I call a Mahavakya or a great maxim, “Ekaivaaham jagatyatra dviteeyaakaa mamaaparaa.” “ Indeed I alone exist in this world, who else is there beside me!”

This statement is very similar to the one found in the Devi Bhagavata puranam, where Bhuvaneshvari Devi tells the puzzled baby on the pipal leaf, who is none other than BabyVishnu , not baby Krishna,“ Sarvam khalvidam evaaham naanyadasti sanaatanam.” “Indeed I am all this. Never forever can there be any other.” The entire Devi Bhagavatam is an expansion of this ardhashloki or half shloka.

So then the devi continues to let him know that all the devis he sees there, are all emanations from her. “I shall dissolve them all into me ”she says. “Be prepared to fight alone with me.”

The two fight with a variety of weapons. They fight on ground and in the air. Finally, she lifts him up, twirls and flings him to the ground. Then when he rushes to fight her with his fist she splits his chest with her spear and kills him.

What a change in the environment with his death. The skies clear up, the rivers run their course, the fires blaze peacefully. The gandharvas rejoice with music and the apsaras with dance. All that remains is peace and joy.






1. In the scene where the devi talks about her vibhutis we can ask the question of ourselves. For those of us who crave to see the Lord or Bhagavan or Ishta Devata, are we really prepared for that Sight?? For that matter are we ready to face the consequences that naturally result from various spiritual undertakings?? Often as sadhana increases old friends no longer hold value for you. Things that are of normal interest don’t interest you anymore. Your standard for judging the world has changed. Are we prepared to take every situation, good bad or indifferent as yet another step towards our transformation, our personal evolution? How many of us are ready for such an overhauling of the entire equipment that we are?

Vishnu in the word Vishnummaya means expansive or in other words represents the many manifestations. Maya is the part of seeing the One as Many. You see the beauty in the Many is the beauty of Maya. Pardon me but I would suspect the One and only the One not seen as the Many would be very boring indeed, dont you think ?


2.When asuras are removed then the environment benefits. Today we see here in America the concept of Gaia, Mother Earth gaining prominence. An attitude of respect is growing. Stewardship a word thrown around these days still contains some arrogance. Should man be a caretaker who sets himself apart from the world which is his so called dominion? He has arrogated his presence on earth and ruined it by not realizing that he is part of and not apart from other creatures. In addition to destroying so many indigenous religions and belief systems, man has destroyed so many species of plants and animals and disturbed the very delicate balance of the panchamahabhutas resulting in phenomena such as global warming. Do we need any more examples of asuric behaviour??


3. I wonder what would have happened in many countries if only they had kept their now extinct belief systems and refined them to suit the changing world rather than junk them . Suppose we had developed on our own based on the very darshanas developed by the rishis of that land. For that matter the sages / the wise men, the shamans and wisdom keepers of all lands! We never even gave it a chance and now it seems we are stuck to merely copying everything from the West.


4. Life is a battle indeed. The warrior in us must be trained well and remain fit, all the time, with proper behavioural management schemes. The training involved is not always pleasant but its ultimate value is unquestionable. In the Kabbalah, Sataan is the Opponent. Opponents are necessary to test our skills. Evil Tagore says, is the vestal virgin that has consecrated herself at the altar of the good. Even in sports what good is a football team if it does not compete with an opposing team? This is the Leela we are engaged in. Therefore, like the devas let us too pray for the devi to destroy a mind that is prone to fear, ashubha or that which is inauspicious, in order to protect the world, akhila jagat paripaalanaaya naashaaya cha ashubhabhayasya matim karotu.

All this horror is part of life. Vajrayana Buddhism teaches the upasaka to learn to use horror to grow via the upasana of many terrible looking deities. Blood represents energy, the very sap of life. Do we have parts of our nature that are horrible? Can we consider those as the asuras within us? When we see horror outside are they exaggerations of what is within us?














Shakti pranava hreem kaarini namoh,Sookshma shareera nivaasini namoh

Koushiki devi namoh namoh,Shri Koushiki devi namoh namoh

ShumbhaNishumbha Ghaatini namoh namoh.






Thus all the three stories we have here are to be used for purification or better still for cleansing of our basic Three Part Equipment, so that we can take a new or better ride on a better path in life. We are just taking our vehicle for a good overhauling, cleaning and a tune up. Once we are on our journey then we engage in the next part i.e,. the Transformation. Purification and Transformation are the two main processes of Personal Evolution. This text handles only the Purification part as the 700 mantras do that with the vibration. Each year once at least this vehicle should go for such a mileage check up !! This is what we should do during the autumnal navaratri festival.

The transformation part involves active handling of our nature first by observation of our behaviour, analysis of what is righteous and what is not and then management of our negative and positive tendencies. Please refer to the Study Course on Ganapati, on This provides a first step in transformation.











Shakti pranava hreem kaarini namoh

Kaarana shareera nivaasini namoh

Taamasi devi namoh namoh

Shri taamasi devi namoh namoh

Madhukaitabha naashini namoh namoh.

Shakti pranava hreem kaarini namoh

Sthoola shareera nivaasini namoh

Tvishaa devi namoh namoh

Shree Tvishaa devi namoh namoh

Mahishaasura mardini namoh namoh

Shakti pranava hreem kaarini namoh

Sookshma shareera nivaasini namoh

Koushiki devi namoh namoh

Shri Koushiki devi namoh namoh

Shumbha Nishumbha Ghaatini namoh namoh.








The devas led by Indra and Agni praise Koushiki. This prayer in which we find the popular verse Sarva mangala maangalye, contains a series of praises to the devi addressed as Narayani. All her vibhutis are also praised here. She is recognized as the substratum for mobile and immobile occupants of creation. She is recognized as the very sap of life. She is most evident in the female of the species. (Incidentally you all should familiarize yourself with the works of Joseph Campbell. He clearly explains how the creative processes behind the creation and universe are best represented by the female of the species.) Her benign and her malevolent forms are both appealed to for protection. Pleased with their prayers the devi asks them to request for boons. All they request is that for the benefit of the three Worlds ( bhoor, bhuvar, svarlokas) she be there, to destroy all calamities and enemies of the devas, in the same manner as she did Shumbha and Nishumbha.


Then the devi, as if to reassure the devas, goes on to describe other situations and times when she would be making herself apparent. During Vaivasvata manvantara, born from the womb of Yashoda, she would destroy two other Shumbha, Nishumbha asuras while staying in the Vindhyachal mountains. Then she would kill at another time, the asuras born from Vaiprachitta. At that time, she would be called Raktadanti as her teeth would be red like pomegranate with their blood. Then during a period of severe drought, called upon by the desperate munis, she would appear with a hundred eyes ( Shataakshi) and feed them with greens borne from her ( Shaakambari). At that time, she would kill Durgamasura who caused this calamity and henceforth she would be known as Durga. In the Himalayan area she would appear in a gigantic form called Bhima to save the munis from demise. Again, in the form of a swarm of bees she would kill Arunasura. She would be then on called Bhraamari. So, in this manner she would appear again and again for the protection of this world.



1. NARAYANI- There are many definitions for this name however the one that sits with me well is Naraanaam Aayanum that is the Refuge or Resting place for man. Our ultimate rest is when we completely identify with the Divine in and around us.

2. Stories pertaining to Bhima, Raktadanti, Durga, Bhraamari and Yogamaya are found in the Devi Bhaagavata puranam.






We need to send a message to the universe in a collective way putting aside issues amongst us that divide rather than unite us. It is the greater picture that we have to address, and the answer will surely come. Her assurance is there. Every day a little at a time, increasingly we must learn to flow with the cosmic order, in our daily lives. The cosmic order is RhTM in Sanskrit and when we live our life increasingly in synch with RhTM then we are said to practice SAThYA. The sankalpam taken from the Devi Mahatmyam is made by us on behalf of the whole world.

Shakti pranava hreem kaarini namoh

Kaarana shareera nivaasini namoh

Taamasi devi namoh namoh

Shri taamasi devi namoh namoh

Madhukaitabha naashini namoh namoh.

Shakti pranava hreem kaarini namoh

Sthoola shareera nivaasini namoh

Tvishaa devi namoh namoh

Shree Tvishaa devi namoh namoh

Mahishaasura mardini namoh namoh

Shakti pranava hreem kaarini namoh

Sookshma shareera nivaasini namoh

Koushiki devi namoh namoh

Shri Koushiki devi namoh namoh

ShumbhaNishumbha Ghaatini namoh namoh.







The devi continues to then elaborate on her worship. Here is how it can be grouped.


The best times to worship are ashtami ( 8th lunar day) often called durga ashtami, and navami, ( 9th lunar day) called chandika navami and chaturdashi ( 14th lunar day). The navaratri of spring and especially that of autumn are good. During epidemics and calamities it is particularly beneficial.


One can do poojas, feed the needy and the good, conduct havans i.e. fire offerings, and bali (animal sacrifice of the ancient days). All that is required is not skill as much as the right attitude for her to accept such a worship.


Provides a good life, freedom from poverty, facilitates family bonding and renewal of lost friendships. Graha afflictions particularly for children will be alleviated. It is better to call grahas as celestial grippers rather than call them as planets!


The devi says that whenever this text is read and listened to, we must know that her presence is right then and there itself. (This to me is the most important part of this entire text for this has been my experience, time and time again.)


Then the the devi vanishes inwards. Notice, in every instance the disappearance of the Devi is described in Sanskrit with words suggesting a disappearance into oneself. So, there is nothing out there that is not formed from within us. In other words, we are the source of the other.


Rishi Medhas continues to pick up the first thread where he reiterates that the devi is eternal and unlimited yet she appears again and again for jagatah paripaalanaaya, for the protection of the world. Just like Shri Krishna in the Gita who says dharma sumstthaapanaartthaaya sambhavaami yugey yugey. Medhas says that she brings about this world and she causes the infatuation with this world . She is Mahaamaari (he great killer) during the dissolution, Ajaa

(the unborn) during its birth and is Sanaatani (the eternal) during its functioning. We should resort to her for any resolution.



Here is an affirmation: My world has me as an important individual. With this triple body I am engaged in this world. I experience the coming of things, the lasting of things as well as the disappearance of the same.

I know then whom to resort to, who dwells within me and who manifests outside of me too, for ultimate resolution.






Rishi Medhas continues to suggest that both the king and the merchant take refuge in the devi particularly reminding them of the fact that even intelligent/wise persons like them are bound to be deluded by her power.

For three years the two reside near the banks of a river, worship her in a variety of ways, by puja, by fasting and by bloodletting. Finally, she appears and asks them to request boons. Suratha asks for the return of his kingdom and after this birth to be able to have a kingdom that could never be taken away from him. Samadhi wishes for such a knowledge to be able to handle My-ness that leads to bondage. The Devi tells Suratha that he would regain his kingdom in a few days. After his death he would be born to Vivasvata deva (the sun) and become the Manu Savarni. A manudom can never be seized! Samadhi is granted knowledge to understand the self. After that she merges into them. Markandeya concludes by the grace of the Devi, Suratha becomes the manu Savarni.



Note the requests made by the two seekers. Samadhi asks for knowledge, in other words this is the path of Jnana, best reflected in the Upanishads. Surattha asks for a kingdom that can never be seized This is the path of Saamkhya, best represented today in Tantra combined with Ayurveda. The path chosen by the king is often described as a path as dangerous as a razor knife, and therefore not meant for the average non -integrated person.




You have come this far only by Her Grace. Now I am going to share with you in all humility that knowledge that is not covered in public sermons. At each important step in this sadhana I would check with appropriate authorities in Kerala to make sure that I was not just imagining things. According to them I was going on a path not hitherto revealed to those who had included the upasana of the Devi Mahatmyam in their repertoire of upasanas. They also corroborated the authenticity of the details of the manasa puja that I had devised and practised. Similar unique upasanas on other devatas ( though the exploration of these were shorter in duration) had yielded complete manasa puja rituals that were very consistent with the devata. Example the Worship of Baalanaaraayana- the Infant on the Pipal Leaf and Shaakaambari. Each upasana paddhati was formalized into writing only after several years of abhyaasa and anubhava.


I was advised in 2007 that it was time I released the Devi Mahatmyam puja, to those fit to receive.I needed to confirm primarily that indeed Shri Thaamasi, Shri Thvishaa and Shri Koushiki were the core deities of the three glories. I was still very hesitant however after the Kalamezhuthu that took place in January in Kerala I realised that indeed if I did not do so I would be negligent in my duty. Kalmezhutthu is the ancient art of ritual drawing of deities on the ground followed by invoking, installing of the appropriate energu into them via mantras and sopanam music. This was conducted by a family from Ambalapuzha, who were traditional kalamezhuthu practitioners. This devi concept was new for them but as it fit their stringent requirements surprisingly, they executed it over three days at Kulangarakonam,. On this site came to be a Shree Dakshina Mukambika temple later whose melshanthi priest is Shree Saiprasad Saraswather. Only after the confirmation I devised an Uttama upasana of 3 levels. Thirteen students were the first set to undertake the intense disciplines associated with this paddhathi.


I take no credit for any such hidden knowledge that has come to me. I have the habit of giving all the credit to my Kuladevata, Shri Mukambika, since the 1980s. Shree Mukambika is an icon or murthi associated with my family starting with my father. The temple is located in Kollur, Southern Karnataka, India. She opened for me secrets of Her Glory not known even to the priests who worship her in Kollur. Since then, any text in any religion, that I wish to pursue, would open up hidden truths. So too any devata I wished to do upasana to, would facilitate entry and bonding. She indeed facilitated my entry into Vajrayana Buddhism and the Kabbalah, the Turksish Mystic Tassavvuf tradition and Ancient Hellenism. Upasana covering several years accompanied each tradition.

I do not consider myself a Guru instead I like to think I am a Sahacharee- a travelling companion who will be on the path with the sadhak for the time being.

My love for Sanatana Dharma as practiced in India has concretised itself into the Devi, an icon of Shree Vidya Mukambika. After conducting 16 years of intense worship in Los Angeles, I have given her away as a foster mother would give away her precious daughter in the Indian custom. Shri-Vidya mukambika is housed in a temple with other deities, under the total loving care of Arsha Vignana Mandiram, Portland, Oregon. Through the many traditional activities conducted here, she continues to serve the needs of those who are from the land of Bharat and those who are drawn to its rituals in a deep way. Though the connection is deep I am no longer involved in the workings of the temple there.


Over years of sadhana in many paths originating from many lands I have the conviction that some form or other of Sanatana Dharma has existed all over the world. Ancient ethnic religions were intimately tied with nature and Man. Even though some mercenary religious movements have suppressed these traditions, they are not altogether lost. It is the essence of all of these that has been concretised in the Goddess of the Green Movement, Mother Shaakaambaree ( the Cloud that rains the Greens). She is an icon exquisitively carved in the Hoysala style by Shree Vijekar of Bangalore. She is never adorned with any ornaments, clothes or markings therefore. Her residence is in Petaluma, California, in an Adobe Dome Meditation Shrine since 2010. This is situated in a sacred grove, Kaavu. The emphasis here is not ritual but rather total and silent surrender while seated singly within the shrine. The sacred grove has a subterranean Yoni kundam for fire offerings, a shrine to the ancestors of this land and a Karma Purusha stele. The Karma Purusha represents the sickle held by the the Goddess on the City Seal of Petaluma. This represents the great saying “ As you sow, so shall you reap.” This indeed is the Law of Karma.

Here in the privacy of Her presence, one can

  1. Seek refuge in the Comfort

  2. Bask in the Love

  3. Meditate in the Peace

  4. Get charged with the Energy that only the Feminine Divine Principle can provide.












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