Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Brahmananda Purana Part 5

Today is the Fifth Night of The Divine Mother's Nine Nights -

Day 5 - The fifth aspect of Mother Durga is known as Skandamata. She is the mother of Kumara or Skanda or Kartikeya, who was chosen by gods as their commander in the war against the demons. His glory has been narrated in the Puranas and he is referred to as Kumara and Saktidhar. His vehicle being Peacock known as Mayuravahana.

Thus being the mother of Skanda she is Skandamata. She is particularly worshipped on the fifth day of Navaratra. This day striver\'s mind reaches Vishuddha Cakra and stays therein. In her image the Lord Skanda in his infant form is always found. She holds him in her lap.

This Mother Goddess has four arms. She holds Lord Skanda in her right upper arm and a lotus flower in her right lower hand, which is slightly raised upward. The left upper arm is in a pose to grant boon and in left lower hand, which is raised, she again holds lotus. The hue of her body is very bright. She is seated on lotus flower in Padmasana.

The scriptures are very eloquent in glorifying the fifth day of Navaratra period. As the mind of the aspirant, on this day, is in the Vishuddha Cakra. So all his actions internal as well as external completely stop and the mind bereft of all thought-waves, is calm like a wave less ocean. It would be advancing towards the state of pure consciousness. It is completely submerged in the meditation of Mother Padmasanaa, quite devoid of worldly thoughts or coats of Maya. It is time when the aspirant should be most careful and cautious on the path of his Sadhana.

By worshipping the goddess in the form of Skandamata, the devotee gets all his desires fulfilled. He starts tasting the Supreme joy even in this very mortal world. The gateway for salvation to him is spontaneously opened. Her worship automatically includes the worship of Lord Skanda in his child form. Only she has got this pride of place. So the striver should particularly be attentive to her worship. Being the presiding deity of sun god, she bestows an uncommon luster and radiance on her devotee. He is always surrounded by an invisible divine halo, which always maintains his Yoga-Ksema.

Therefore, we should try very sincerely to take refuge under her. There is no better way to cross-mire of this mundane existence.

Below is a part translation of one of my favourite sacred texts -

Brahmananda Purana - 5

Bandasura vadhodyukta shaktisena samanvita in Lalita sahasranama stotram means one who is ready with her army (shakti sena) to annihilate Bhandasura.

Bhanda's war preparation:

While Lalita devi was proceeding for the war, many bad omens were observed in Bhanda's 'Shunyaka' town. Bhandasura called upon an urgent meeting along with his brothers Vishukra and Vishanga to assess and evaluate the situation. In the meeting Vishukra spoke thus:

a.) All gods have burnt themselves by jumping into fire, out of despair.

b.) From that fire arose mother goddess, who rejuvenated all gods

c.) She is coming for a war with us, along with an army of women

d.) Those gods are trying to cut stones using tender leaves

e.) Even then we should not neglect that woman. We must send our army immediately.

Vishanga said:

a.) Any work should only be done after properly thinking about it.

b.) First we must send spies and see how powerful their army is.

c.) We must not under estimate the enemies army.

d.) In the past Hiranyakashipa was killed by an animal.

e.) Sumbha and Nishumbha were killed by a woman.

f.) So, we must get more information about her

g.) Who is she ? Who is supporting or protecting her? What does she want? All these queries should be answered.

Listening to this Bhandasura shuddered at the proposal with a sarcastic grin. "Even if all the gods are behind her, we have nothing to fear. Do not entertain such useless thoughts and spoil your mind".

Immediately Bhandasura ordered 'Kutilaksha', Commander-in-chief of his army, to protect the fort. He ordered the priests and ministers to perform abhichara (black magic) homa. He ordered Lalita to be dragged to him holding her hair. Now, the demons played the war drums. Kutilaksha sent the first batch of army with demon Durmada as the commander..At Shunyapura Kutilaksha made arrangements for protection – Eastern entry _ Tala jangha, Southern entry – Tala bhuja, Western entry — Talagriva, Northern entry – Tala ketu were placed along with 10 akshohini army each. For each corner of the town another 10 akshohini was allocated for protection.

Shakti senas's uproar. Durmada was confronted by Sampatkaridevi and her army of elephants (who arose from Lalita devi's spear). Realising that his army was being defeated Durmada himself came for the war seated on a camel. Sampatkari devi who was seated on 'Ranakolahala' her elephant, faced him. In the ferocious battle Durmada was able to destroy one gem from the crown of Sampatkari devi. Angry with this, Sampatkari devi killed Durmada with her arrows which pierced his heart. With that the remaining demons fled back to their town out of fear.

Listening to this Bhandasura was very angry and sent Durmada's elder brother Kurunda for battle. He is an expert in maya yuddha (war using mystical powers). Full of vengeance he attacked Sampatkari devi. In the meanwhile Ashwarudha devi who had taken birth from Lalita devi's whip came forward and pleaded Sampatkari devi to give her a chance to fight with this demon. Now Ashwarudha devi along with her army pounced upon Kurunda. Ashwarudha devi mounted on 'Aparajita' was herself leading the army. In that battle she killed Kurunda by piercing his chest with her spear. Remaining demonsfled for their lives.

Bhanda became furious. He sent a huge army this time (100 akshohini) along with 5 commanders. They materialised serpent gods by name 'Ranashambari' which attacked shaktisena. The demons had previously defeated gods using these mystic powers. Crores and crores of serpents, which arose from the serpent gods, started torturing the shaktisena. They were taking birth again and again even after being killed a number of times. Then Nakuli devi mounted on garuda came to the battlefield. From her mouth came out 32 crores of mongooses. These mongooses started gobbling up all the newborn serpents immediately after birth. Then Nakuli devi killed Ranashambari with Garudastram. All the five commanders now attacked Nakuli devi. Nakuli devi's mongoose army attacked them from the rear. In that ferocious battle Nakuli devi who was mounted on Garuda was making aerial strikes on the demons who were not able to catch her. She killed the five commanders by chopping of their heads.

Bhanda after listening to this sent Valahaka and other seven commanders along with 300 akshohini army. These seven demons are sons of demoness named Kikasa. In the past they obtained a boon from sun god that at the time of war sun would reside in theireyes. As soon as these demons entered the battlefield the shakti sena army started becoming blindfolded and incapacitated unable to face the brilliance of their eyes. Demons started becoming ferocious. Immediately the bodyguard of Dandanatha devi –named Tiraskarinika devi, entered the battle field mounted on an aeroplane named 'Tamoliptam'.

At the order of Damdanatha devi she discharged an arrow named 'Andhanastra' and the seven commanders were forced to close their eyes. Now shakti sena started pouncing back. Keeping Tiraskarinika devi in the forefront, other gods killed the sevencommanders. With this blow Bhandasura lost his senses. He called upon his two brothers for a discussion.

In that meeting it was decided that Vishanga would attack devi's army from its rear side in a treacherous way (This is called Parshti grahamu). This decision was taken because they got information from their spies that Lalita devi was having less army and protection at her rear end and it was easier for them to approach Lalita devi directly and attack her, if they approached from the rear. After the first day's war, at dusk, Vishanga with a small army proceeded to the rear of Lalita devi's army noiselessly without any drums. By then Lalita devi's army was moving westward. Vishanga along with his army moved north wards and then turned to reach eastern side. He was able to see Srichakraraja chariot very near to him. Lalita devi was looking forward observing the movement of the army. She was not having much army close to her. Taking this opportunity Vishanga attacked devi's chariot from the rear, all of asudden.

Anima and other gods who were present there were taken back at this sudden attack but quickly recovered themselves and prepared for a counter fight. Exactly at the same time Kutilaksha along with ten akshohini army attacked from the front side. Seeing attack from both ends Lalita devi was a little angry. In the mean while, struck by an arrow from Vishanga, the fan present in Lalita devi's hand fell down andbroke. Seeing this Tithidevatas got very angry. They went and requested Lalita devithat Vahnivasini and Jwalamalini nitya devas have property and capacity of self illumination. If they glow then the demons who are in the dark will all becomevisible. With the permission of Lalita devi, Vahnivasini and Jwalamalini devis started glowing like fireballs. All the demons who were hiding in darkness now becamevisible. Now the 16 nitya devi's became outrageous and attacked Vishanga's army. All the commanders in the demons army died. Wounded all over the body Vishanga fled for his life shamelessly.

Even Kutilaksha who attacked from the front also fled. (In Lalita sahasranama – nityaparakrama topa nirikshana samatsuka =seeing the valour of nityadevatas, Lalita devi was very pleased). Mantrini devi and Dandanatha devi felt unhappy about this unprecedented attack in the night They felt very sorry that their arrangements of protection were not up to the mark. Agni prakara (compound wall made of fire). Both of them went to Lalita devi, expressed sorry for what had happened and made arrangements for protection. At the instance of Lalita devi, Jwalamalini devi made a compound wall of fire around the devi's army The fire wall is 100 yojana wide and 30 yojana tall. (1 yojana is approximately 8 miles). At the southern end of fire wall is a 1 yojana long entry, to enable devi's army to go out and fight because Shunyapuram is facing this end. (L.S.N—jwalamalinikashipta vahniprakaramadhyaga)Stambhini devi a member of Dandanatha devi family along with 20 akshohinisenas was protecting this entry point. She is also called Vighna devi. By then it was dawn.

Knowing all this news Bhandasura was in despair and started thinking what to do. This time he sent all his 30 sons for the war. After listening to this news Lalita devi's daughter Baladevi wanted to fight these demons herself. Baladevi is the only daughter of Lalita devi .She resembles Lalita devi very much but is always only years old .She stays permanently with her mother.. Baladevi approached her mother and requested for permission to fight in thebattlefield.. At the outset Lalita devi denied but looking at the courage and will power exhibited by Bala devi she ultimately gave permission. Seeing Bala devi coming for the war Mantrini and Dandanayaka were astonished and they stood as her body guards. Now Baladevi started ferocious fighting with Bhanda's sons. Every one was surprised at her valor. Whole of the second day Baladevi fought. That evening she shot 30 arrows at a time and killed the 30 sons of Bhanda.

Lalita devi was very happy and she embraced her daughter (Bhanda putra vadhodyukta bala vikrama nandita).

Bhanda was grief stricken. Desperately he himself started off for the war. Vishukra and Vishanga pacified Bandasura.

Vighnayentra nashnam (Destruction of the mystic symbol of obstacles). Now Bhanda sent Vishukra to the warfront. In the darkness Vishukra approached the Vahniprakara (firewall) –on a flat stone he drew a mystic symbol and performed some black magic. He then threw that mystic symbol forcefully. It fell in the firewall at some point. With the affect of that yantra (mystic symbol) laziness crept into the minds ofthe devi's army. Some started arguing that war itself was wrong. (b.) Some said, "Why should we fight on behalf of the gods". (c.) Some said, "Who is this Lalita devi? Who has given her superior ship over us?" (d.) Some said, "If all of us together decline not to fight what can Lalita devi do?" (e.) All of them fell into sleep of ignorance. After midnight Vishukra along with 30 akshohini sena surrounded the firebarrier. Even then none of the members of shakti sena moved under the influence of the ignorance caused by the Vighna yantra. However, Vighnayentra was not able to affect Mantrini and Dandanatha. But they were both very sad worried seeing the state of their army. Not knowing what to do they went and enquired Lalita devi. Then Lalita devi looked at the Kameshwara's face and passed a gentle smile. From her smile Ganapathi took birth. He immediately searched in the firewall and noticed the 'vighnayentra shila' at one place. He broke the shila into pieces and powder with his tooth.(kameshwaramukhaloka kalpita sri ganeshwara Mahaganesha nirbhinna vighnayentra praharsita). With that shaktisena's ignorance and sleep was dispelled, they immediately got ready for the war. Now Vighneswara along with this army came out of the fire barrier and started fighting with Vishukra.

Vishukra sent Gajasura to attack him but soon Gajasura was slayed. Seeing this Vishukra ran away.

Annihilation of Vishukra and Vishanga. After discussing with Bhandasura, Vishukra came back to war, along with his brother Vishanga and son-in-law. With this the third day war had started. Mantrini and Dandanatha both started to fight simultaneously. In the front was Dandanatha devi mounted on her kirichakra ratha with her plough weapon (halayudha) swirling it rapidly. Behind her was Mantrini devi mounted on Geyachakra ratha as an archer with bow and arrows. Dandanatha devi attacked Vishunga. Mantrini devi confronted Vishukra.. Ashwarudha, Sampatkari and others attacked the son- in-law of the demons who had come..The army of the demons started slackening. Noticing this Vishukra discharged Trushastram (weapon which produces thirst). Shaktisena's army started to experience intense thirst. Then Dandanatha devi invited 'Madyasamudra'(=ocean of liquor) devata from her kirichakra and quenched their thirst. Madyasamudra deva showered liquor rains. With that the army quenched their thirst and rejuvenated.. By sunset most of the demons including Bhanda's son-in-law had died. Then Shyamala devi (Mantrini) fought with Vishukra and killed him with 'Brahmashironamakastra' (a powerful weapon named brahmashira). Dandanatha devi (Potrini) killed Vishanga with her plough weapon and pestle. However in Lalita sahasranama it is mentioned that Vishukra was killed by Varahiand Vishanga was killed by Mantrini-Mantrinyamba virachita vishanga vadhatoshitaVishukra prana harana varahiveryanandita. By then it was past midnight.

(to be continued tomorrow ... :)

Happy Navratris !

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