Today is the Third Night of The Divine Mother's Nine Nights -
Day 3 - The third aspect of Goddess Durga is Chandraghanta. On the third day of Navaratra worship her Vigraha (image) is worshipped. This particular aspect of the Goddess gives extreme peace and provides ultimate good. She has a half moon in her forehead in the shape of a bell. This is why she is called Chandraghanta. The hue of her body is golden bright. She has ten arms. In her ten hands, she holds weapons like sword etc., and missiles like arrow etc. Her vehicle is the lion. She is always in a gesture as if prepared for fighting. Her roaring voice is like a tumultuous sound of a bell that always causes the atrocious Danava, Daitya and Raksasas- all to tremble.
In the Durga worship of Navaratra the third day worship is of great importance. This day the mind of the striver enters Manipura Chakra. At this stage by the grace of mother Chandraghanta he becomes capable of seeing unearthly and divine things. He smells the divine fragrance and many types of divine sound become audible to him. On this day and in this stage of discipline the striver is required to be most careful.
By the grace of Mother Chandraghanta all the sins of the striver are burnt up and obstacles removed. Her worship is instantly fruitful. She is always in a gesture as if ready to proceed for the battlefield and thus she removes the difficulties of devotees very promptly. Her vehicle is lion and so her worshipper becomes valorous and fearless like a lion. The sound of her bell always protects her devotees from evil spirits. As soon as the striver invokes her, her bell immediately becomes active and starts ringing to protect the devotee under her shelter.
Even though she keeps her always busy in killing and suppressing the wicked, yet to her devotees and worshippers she looks most serene, gentle and peaceful. A very good quality that is developed in her devotees, who worship her, is the striver cultivates bravery and fearlessness accompanied by serenity and humility. His face, eyes and the entire body get effulgent. His voice becomes divinely sweet. Wherever the devotee worshippers of mother Chandraghanta go, they disperse peace and blessings among the people. From the body of such a striver there always takes place an invisible radiation of divinely lighted atoms. The divine action is beyond the perceiving capacity of physical eyes but the striver himself and his associates go on experiencing this fact every now and then.
By purifying his mind, words, deeds and body through prescribed manner we should worship the mother Chandraghanta and take shelter under her feet. Through worshipping her we can get rid of all worldly sorrows, and attain the supreme goal spontaneously. We should always try to advance on the path of spiritual discipline by contemplating on the sacred image of the mother. Contemplating on her, we can attain the mundane perfection and ultimate good in the other world.
Below is a part translation of one of my favourite sacred texts - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brahmanda_Purana
Brahmananda Purana - 3
Tormenting of the three worlds:
When the kingdom was well established, Bhandasura called for a meeting of his brothers and ministers and said:
A) Devatas (Gods) are our enemies. As long as Manmatha was alive, their lineage continued without any problems. They also enjoyed many pleasures.
B) Now, because of our luck, we have taken birth from the ashes of Manmatha. The gods are trying to see that Manmatha is born again. We should not allow that to happen. Before they try anything like that, we should kill the Devatas.
C) But, if we go in our present form, we can not win. Let us therefore assume the form of air and enter their bodies. D) After having so entered their bodies, let us dry up their body fluids, especially the semen.
E) If semen dries up, the strength of other tissues and organs will automatically diminish. Then they will automatically be annihilated.
F) Let us torment the beings of all the three worlds by entering their bodies in the form of air and by drying up their body fluids.
Hearing this, the entire army of the demons cheered with joy. Without wasting much time, Bhandasura and his army of 1000 Akshouhinis assumed the invisible form of air and entered the heaven. First of all, they entered the minds of the angels and dried up their mental faculties. Subsequently they entered the face of the angels, robbed them of their beauty and made them ugly looking. All the women and men in the heaven became impotent and sterile. Not only that, their love for one another was also lost. They lost enthusiasm to do anything. Even the plants and animals suffered the same fate.
Vishukra, along with his troupes entered Bhooloka (earth) and meted out the same treatment to the beings there. People on the planet earth stopped smiling. They lost all happiness. No one had any respect for another. No one thought of helping the other. They lost interest in their activities. The situation was stone-like, devoid of any life and feelings.
Vishanga, along with his troupes entered Rasaatala (one of the seven netherworlds). He created similar havoc there also. In the Naga Loka (land of serpents) everyone became afflicted with grief for no apparent reason. Everyone started hating everyone else. Everyone became drained of energy and potency. Rasa, the fluid principle is the basis for the accomplishment of the four-fold aims of life (Purusharthas). Let us see how.
A. Rasa itself is the form of Paramatma, the Almighty.
B. From Rasa are created Shukla (sperm) and Shonita (ovum). These two are collectively called as Veerya.
C. From Veerya comes Kanti (radiance), Utsaaha (enthusiasm), Ullasa(happiness), Dharma (righteousness), Daya (compassion), Preeti (love),Buddhi (intellectual capabilities), Vikasa (development), Parakrama (valour)Shastra Vijnana (scientific knowledge), Kala Asakti (interest in arts), Soundarya Drishti (proper concept of beauty) etc.
D. In plants, the Rasa enhances the fire energy, which is hidden in them. Only when the fire energy is harnessed, the plants can branch out and bear flowers and fruits. Because of this fire principle, the dried logs catch fire easily and burn.
E. The Vedas have declared that beings can experience happiness only if Rasais present. F. Rasa is nothing but Prana (vital energy). G. Having known all these secrets, Bhandasura devised the plan of entering the bodies of all beings in the form of air and drying them up.
Vasanta, the close friend and associate of Manmatha observed this immediately and consoled Rati (Manmatha's wife). He said "Even the sun, the moon and the stars have lost their brilliance. Even Goddess Parvati seems to have become dull and has engaged in Tapas. Therefore, the day when your dead husband will come to life again is not very far. That day will come very soon. So, stop grieving." On hearing this, Rati Devi prepared to undertake penance.
In the heaven, all the Devatas including Brahma, could not comprehend what was going on and what had caused the situation. Not knowing the remedy for their hardship, they approached Lord Sri Hari. When they finally reached the abode of Lord Sri Hari, they saw that even He was sitting still with his eyes closed. It appeared as though He was merged in the bliss of Sushupti.
After the angels praised His glory for a long time, Lord Sri Hari slowly opened His eyes. "What is this? Why are you all looking drained of your energies?" asked Lord Sri Hari. He called everyone by their names and said:
A. Your present condition is due to the invisible foul play of Bhandasura.
B. Even I have lost the affinity for Goddess Lakshmi. What to say about other lesser beings?
C. Myself, Brahma and Rudra are Karana Purushas (causal beings for the manifest creation). Even then, because we are also inhabiting this creation, even we can not escape the torture of Bhandasura. D. There is however one Almighty God who is beyond this manifest Brahmanda. He is called Maha Shambhu. Parashakti is constantly in His Company.
E. He is devoid of form. He is not dependent on anything. He has nomodifications. He is greater than the greatest. He is the ultimate.
F. He is not influenced by the foul play of Bhandasura, who is born from the ashes of Manmatha.
G. He can rescue us from our difficulties. Therefore, let us all take refuge in Him and praise Him. Follow me.
So saying, Sri Hari led all the angels to the brim of the Brahmanda (Universe). There was a huge wall like fence there. The angels summoned the celestial elephants to break the wall. After toiling continuously for one year, a breach was formed in the wall. After passing through the breach, they saw Chinmaya Akasha, which was Niralamba (independent), Nirajnana (untainted) and which was devoid of the five elements. They all stood in that Chinmaya Akasha and sang the glory of Maha Shambhu, who was of the form of Chidakasha. Then Maha Shambhu appeared before them. He was dark like clouds. He had two hands. He was holding a Shoola (spear) in one hand and a Kapala (skull) in the other. He had three eyes. Parashakti also appeared before them. She was holding Aksha Mala (rosary of beads) and Pustaka (book) in Her hands. She was bright and cool like the moon.
The great Maha Shambhu smiled and said
A. I am aware why you have all come here.
B. Pralaya (destruction) is of three types. (i) Avaantara Pralaya (ii) Maha Pralaya and (iii) Kama Pralaya.
C. I am the one who is responsible to rescue the world from Maha Pralaya. Vishnu is the one who rescues from Aavantara Pralaya. It is Lalita Parameshwari who rescues from Kama Pralaya.
D. These three kinds of Pralaya take place in a cyclic pattern in every Kalpa. Now, Kaamika Pralaya has taken place because of the destruction of Kama and subsequently due to the actions of Bhandasura.
E. Only Lalita Devi can rescue from this situation. Parashakti alone can create another Lalita Devi. Therefore, take shelter in her. Beg her to help you.
Hearing this, the Devatas did not know what to do. They again prayed to Maha Shambhu to teach them the method of appeasing Parashakti.
Maha Shambhu explained:
A. This is called as Maha Yaga. (great fire sacrifice)
B. I am (assuming the form of Vayu) the Hota (the priest who makes the offerings in a Homa) in this Yaga (fire sacrifice).
C. My Chidagni itself is the fire in this Yaga.
D. The last of the seven seas, i.e., Jala Samudra (Water Sea) has now dried up. The huge pit so formed itself is the Homa Kunda (fire pit where Homa is performed)
E. The remaining six great oceans constitute the six drops of ghee which is used as offering.
F. Srishti (creation) is of five types (i) Manasa Srishti (ii) Jarayavee Srishti (creation-taking place through the womb.
G. Human beings), (iii) Anda Srishti (creation taking place through eggs) (iv) Swedaja Srishti (creation taking place through sweat) and (v) Udbhijja Srishti (creation taking place by sprouting). These five Srishtis (creations) are the sacrifice animals in this Maya Yaga.G. Bhoomi (land), Parvata (mountains), Jala (water), Vayu (air) and Akasha (space) these five are the substances used in this fire sacrifice. Agni element (one of the five elements) being a part of my Chidagni can not be a substance to be offered.
H. At the end of this great fire sacrifice, all of you (the performers of the Yaga) should jump in to the Homa Kunda (fire pit). While doing so, you must possess absolute devotion.
I. Then, Lalita Parameshwari will manifest.
J. She will be seated in a chariot called Chakra Raja Ratha.
K. She will create Parabrahma in the name of Kameshwara and will have Him as Her consort.
L. This couple will re-create the entire universe, which will turn out to be more beautiful than the previous creation.
M. Lalita Parameshwari will bring Manmatha back to life.
N. She will create four weapons, namely (i) Ikshu Dhanus – a bow of sugarcane (Mano roopekshu kodanda – is one of the 1000 names of Goddess Lalita) (ii) five Pushpa Banas – flower arrows (Pancha tanmatrasaayaka is one of the 1000 names), (iii) Paasha – noose (Raaga svaroopapaashaadhyaa – is one of the 1000 names of Lalita) and (iv) Ankusha (a hook, especially an elephant driver's hook) (Krodha-akaaran kushojjvala is one of the descriptions of Lalita)
O. With the help of these weapons, she will destroy Bhandasura.
P. She will bring Manmatha back to life.
Q. She will give you fresh bodies.
R. If you all agree, I will begin this great sacrifice myself.
The angels became very pleased and begged Maha Shambhu to be the Hota and carry on the sacrifice. Parashakti and Maha Shambhu disappeared. The angels also returned to their abode.
After some time, Maha Shambhunatha, accompanied by Parashakti started chanting the Lalita Maha Mantra and entered the Universe in the form of the seven-layered Vayu (air). Parashakti assumed the form of His Kriya Shakti (energy of action). With the help of Kriya Shakti, Vayu blew the Jala Samudra with all his energy. The Jala Samudra (water ocean) became totally dry. In the pit thus formed He kindled the Chidagni with the help of fire emanating from the third eye. This Agni raged from the Patala (a region in the nether-world) to the Brahma Loka. He decorated the periphery of the Homa Kunda with the stars just as one decorates a sacrificial fire pit with flowers. After this, he performed the Yaga as ordained by the Vedas. He used the Pralaya Meghas (clouds appearing during Pralaya), namely Pushkala and Aavartakaas Srik and Sruva (the two spoons which are used to offer ghee in fire worship). As the Homa progressed, the Chidagni emanating from it spread to vast area. He then offered the first six oceans and then the five-fold creations to this Agni. In the end, the gods too decorated themselves and sat on the Srik and Sruva, ready to be offered to Agni. Maha Shambhunatha offered them to Agni. After this, Maha Shambhunatha discarded his Vayu form and assumed his real form. He then chanted 8 special mantras and performed 8 Homas.
(to be continued tomorrow ... :)
Happy Navratris !!