Chapter 2

Chapter 2

The Rishi said:

Once apon a time when Mahishasura was lord of the Asuras, and Indra was lord of the Devas, they fought a war for a hundred years until the asuras won. Then Mahishasura took Indra’s place as Lord of the Heavens.
The defeated Devas, led by Brahma, approached Shiva and Vishnu. The thirty Gods, including Surya, Indra, Agni, Anila, Vayu, Chandramas, Varuna and Yama all described in detail how the evil Mahishasura had thrown them out of Heaven. He had taken their rightful places, forcing them to wander the Earth like mortals. The immortals asked the Lords Shiva and Vishnu to protect them from the wicked conduct of their enemies.
As they heard the Devas’ story, Vishnu and Shiva became furious. Heavy frowns bent their brows. Then, that anger came out as a great light from Brahma, from Shiva, and from all the other Lords and Devas. From Vishnu and from Indra too, from each of them a powerful light emerged. Then this great energy which came from the assembled gods merged and became one extremely bright light. Like the peak of a blazing mountain, that light spread across the sky, illuminating the ten directions.
When that light from the Devas combined, it became a woman whose splendour filled the three worlds.
The light from unconquerable Lord Shiva became Her face; from the light of Yama came Her hair; from Vishnu’s light Her arms; by Soma’s light Her breasts; Her waist by Indra’s light, by Varuna’s light Her legs; and by the Earth Her buttocks and hips. From Brahma’s light Her feet and by the Sun Her toes were made. The Vashus’ light became Her fingers and Kubera’s light Her nose. Prajapati’s light became Her teeth and Her three eyes came from the light of Narayana. Her womb came from Agni’s light and the two Sandhyas gave Her eyebrows. Her ears came from the light of Vayu. So, from the lights of many Devas, the auspicious Devi became visible.
Then, as they gazed at Her, those Gods who’d been so oppressed were suddenly filled with joy.
From His trident Pinaka, Lord Shiva then drew forth Her trident and presented it. Lord Krishna gave Her a discus which He brought forth from His own discus. Varuna presented a conch and Agni a spear. Indra gave a thunderbolt drawn from his own thunderbolt. The Marutas presented Her bow and arrows, while from Indra’s elephant’s bell came Her bell. From His staff Lord Yama drew Her staff. The Lord of the Oceans gave Her a noose. Her necklace and water pot came from Lord Brahma. Surya’s rays illumined the pores of Her skin. Kala the Lord of time bestowed a pure shield and a shining sword. The Milk Ocean brought Her a necklace of pure pearl, two everlasting robes, a glorious jeweled crown, and earrings, bracelets for Her fore-arms and upper-arms, pure anklets and a glorious necklace. Jeweled rings cover all Her fingers and a crescent moon adorns her hair. Vishvakarma gave Her impenetrable armour, a pure axe and many missiles. From the Ocean came garlands of unfading lotus flowers to adorn Her head and breast and a lotus for Her hand. The Mountain Himavan gave Her a lion to ride and adorned Her with jewels. Kubera, the Lord of wealth gave Her a chalice full of ambrosia. Shesha the Lord of serpents, who balances the three worlds, gave Her the jeweled serpent-necklace. And other gods also adorned Her and armed Her.
Then the Devi laughed again and again: so loud, so unrestrained, such long, high terrifying peals of laughter that caused the earth and sky and all the waters to tremble. Every part of the world and its oceans shook with agitation at that roaring sound. The gods were filled with gladness and shouted:

“Victory to Her, the Lion-rider.”

All the sages also praised Her, bowing in devotion.

Alarmed at such total commotion in all the three worlds, the wicked asuras all rushed out brandishing their weapons.
“Hah! What is this?” exclaimed the enraged Mahishasura.
Then, as the asuras all charged towards that terrible challenge of the Devi,
Mahishasura saw Her standing there.

Her splendour pervades the three worlds.
Her footsteps cause the Earth to bend.
Her crown engraves its mark on the heavens.
The twang of Her bowstring agitates the extreme corners of hell.
Her thousand arms fill the four quarters. She is all–pervading.
Thus She commences Her battle with the enemies of the gods.
Swords and daggers clash and whirl.
So many missiles are discharged the whole sky blazes.

Four great divisions of Mahishasura’s armies fought there led by the generals Chikshura and Chamera with their myriads of chariots. Udagra brought his sixty thousand chariots. Mahahanu had ten million chariots. Asiloma brought fifteen million to battle. Baskala had six million. Ugra–darshana and Parivarita came with thousands of elephants and horses and ten million chariots to fight. Bidala also fought surrounded by five hundred crores of chariots. And many many more asuras came with tusked elephants and fiery steeds to fight with the Devi in the battle there.
Then, Mahishasura surrounded by thousands of crores of horses, chariots and elephants, using javelins and cleavers, staves and maces and spears, commenced the battle.
They hurled nooses and clubs at Her. Some attacked Her with swords. But She easily snared their arrows and missiles with Her noose, and playfully amused Herself, extending Her many arms. With Her sword and discus She clove their weapons as effortlessly as She showered them with arrows.
And all the while the Gods and Sages watched and sang Her praises as the weapons of the Devi pierced the bodies of Asuras sending them crazy with pain. She rode Her angry lion as he shook his mane and stalked among the armies of Asuras. They were felled like trees in a forest fire.
Then the delighted Ambika loosed sighs of satisfaction in the battle. Each breath instantly caused hundreds and thousands of Ganas to arise and join Her in the battle. They carried axes and halberks and tridents to wreak destruction on the enemy. Her Ganas were filled with energy by the power of the Devi. They also blew conches and some played mrdangams and tabors. It now became a mighty martial festival.
Then the Devi, with showers of spears, with Her trident and club, as well as Her sword, killed asuras by the hundreds. Hundreds more She threw down, stunned by the sound of Her bell. Some were bound by Her noose and were dragged to the ground. Some She split into two with Her sword. Some lay on the ground crushed by Her mace. Her club hammered others so severely they vomited blood. Some were felled to the ground, as they were pierced in the breast by Her trident.
Her arrows fell like torrents on the enemies of the devas. Being closely massed they were quickly slaughtered, quickly cut to pieces. The arms of some were severed, necks were broken. Some were torn in half. Heads rolled on the ground.
Some great asuras fell as their legs were cut off. Others were cut clean down the middle by Her sword. Others fell and rose again, headless trunks, still fighting, swords in hand, dancing to the rhythm of the drums and trumpets.

And some Asuras shouted:

“Stop! Stop!” at the Devi.

Soon the earth was thickly covered with an impassable tangle: a mass of elephants, horses, Asuras and broken chariots. Rivers of blood flowed among them. Ambika destroyed the whole army as quickly as fire destroys wood and straw. Her lion roared as he stalked among them shaking his mane and seeking the few still breathing. And the Devas watched the triumph of the Devi. showering Her with flowers in their gratitude.

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