Chapter 4

Chapter 4

The Rishi said:

When that ferocious, evil army had been destroyed by the Goddess, Indra and the host of Devas bowed reverently, their bodies glowed, their hair stood erect in their excitement as they praised Her:

“We bow to the Goddess Ambika whose body expresses the collective power of the hosts of gods, to Her who evolved the whole world by Her power, She who is all–pervading, may She bless us with auspiciousness. She is Chandika whose peerless majesty and strength cannot even be described by the adorable Lords Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu. May She protect the entire cosmos and turn Her mind to the destruction of grief and fear.
O Devi, we bow to You who abide in the houses of virtuous people in the form of Shri: the Goddess of prosperity. In the houses of the wicked you are the Goddess Alakshmi, causing destitution. You are intelligence in the hearts of the wise, faith in the hearts of the true, and modesty in noble souls. O Goddess, protect the universe!
O Devi, Your form transcends the mind. How can we describe You? How can we speak of Your great might in destroying demons? How can we tell of Your skill in the battles when You overwhelmed the enemies of the Gods?
You are the cause of all the worlds. The three gunas have their origin in You but You have none of their defects. Even Shiva, Vishnu and others cannot comprehend You. All beings come to You for refuge. This whole world is formed from an infinitesimal portion of Yourself. Verily You are the sublime primordial Nature, which can never change.
O Devi, Your complete divinity is expressed as ‘Svaha’, giving satisfaction to all the gods in the sacrificial fires. You are also the ‘Svadha’ who satisfies the ancestral beings. Therefore people chant You as Svaha and Svadha in ceremonies.
You are the one who gives final liberation by performing great and inconceivable penances. You are the power which enables seers desiring moksha to restrain their senses and be cleansed of impurities.
You are the soul of sound. You are the vessel which contains the pure Rik and Yajur and Saman hymns, whose chanting is adorned by the OM. You are Bhagavati, the adorable one, embodying the Vedas.
You are the sustenance of all living things. You are the supreme destroyer of the suffering of all the worlds.
You are wisdom by which the essence of the scriptures may be understood. You are Durga, the boat that takes mankind across the ocean of worldly illusion.
You have no desires.
You are Shri who abides in the heart of Vishnu, the enemy of the demon Kaitabha.
You are Gauri the giver of light and truth who has fixed Her dwelling in Shiva who wears the moon on his forehead.

Your lovely face was gently smiling, pure, like the rays of the full moon, beautiful, like the splendour of finest gold.
It is utterly astonishing that, after seeing Your beauty, Mahishasura struck at Your face in anger!
And how strange, O Devi, that when he saw Your face grow angry with terrible frowns and rosy as the rising moon, Mahishasura did not instantly drop dead. For who can survive the sight of the enraged Destroyer?
O Devi! Be pleased with us! You are the supreme Mother of all life.
When angered You instantly destroy the Asura families for the welfare of the world. We saw this when the vast army of Mahishasura was brought to its end.
You always prosper those who are pleasing to You, they are esteemed by others, they become prosperous and famous and their good deeds never cease, their households are extensive, contented and loving.
By your grace, O Devi, the blessed ones daily perform righteous actions with devotion and by this they attain heaven.
O Goddess! You are definitely the only giver of the fruits of action in the three worlds.
O Durga! When You are called to mind in difficult times You remove terror from all creatures. When remembered by the self-aware You bestow deeper enlightenment. Who beside You dares to dispel poverty, grief and fear? Who else is always kind-hearted to everyone?
You destroy the unrighteous to bring happiness to the world, O Devi. And although their wickedness could keep the Asuras in hell for ages, yet, You think of their welfare by killing them in battle that they may reach heaven.
You kill the enemies of the gods with weapons rather than burning them to ashes with Your gaze. By your weapons’ touch, even the wickedest may be purified and ascend, such kindness You show them.
Only by watching Your face, which resembles the cooling light of the moon, only this protected the eyes of the Asuras from the piercing flash of Your sword or spear point.
O Goddess, Your disposition subdues the conduct of the wicked. And this beautiful nature of Yours is incomparable and beyond thought.
Your supreme power destroys those who challenged the valour of the Gods. Yet You have shown such compassion even to those enemies.
Your prowess is beyond compare. Where else can be found such beauty which strikes terror in the enemies?
In all the three worlds, only in You are found a compassionate heart and invincible battle skill, O Devi, bestower of boons.
You have saved the three worlds by destroying the enemies. Killing them in battle You have led them to heaven. You have vanquished our fear of the frenzied demons. We bow in reverence to You.
O Great Devi protect us with Your spear.
O Ambika protect us with Your sword, by the sound of Your bell, by the twang of Your bowstring!
O Chandika guard us in all four directions with Your spear, O Ishvari!
Protect us and this Earth with those kindly gentle forms as well as with those extremely terrifying forms with which You move about in the three worlds.
O Ambika! Guard us on every side with Your sword, spear, mace and whatever weapons Your tender hands hold.”

The Rishi said:

This praise was offered to the supporter of the worlds as they worshipped Her with offerings of celestial flowers from Nandana and with perfumes and precious ointment and all of them offered heavenly incense with deep devotion.

Smiling sweetly, the Devi spoke to the prostrate Gods:

Your hymns of praise are so beautiful.
Whatever you may ask I will be pleased to do.

The Gods said:

O Great Goddess! Since You have slain our enemy Mahishasura, nothing remains to be done. Yet we pray that whenever we think of You, You will remove our difficulties at that time.
O Mother of purest countenance, any mortal who praises You with these hymns, may You bless him with prosperity, O Ambika, as you have blessed us.

The Rishi said:

O King, after the Gods appealed to Her for the sake of the World and themselves, Bhadrakali replied:

“So it will be.” And vanished.

So now, O King, I have told you about the Devi who desires the prosperity of the three worlds, how She manifested from the bodies of the Gods long, long ago. Listen again. I will tell you how She came as Gauri to slay the wicked demons; Shumbha and Nishumbha, for the protection of the three worlds.
I will tell you exactly what happened.

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