The understanding of God as mother is a significant feature of Hindu Dharma. Our sages and seers had a profound knowledge of this, realising that the relationship between mother and child is deep and intimate. A child takes comfort in his mother without hesitation, or doubt, and his mother forgives his mistakes and embraces him.
Therefore, the worship of Devi Durga, who is the mother of the whole universe, has a prominent place in our Dharma. Devotees have a deep longing to attain Her grace and pray for nine nights continuously at least twice a year. Devotees believe that, although they make innumerable mistakes, as mother of the whole universe, Devi Durga will forgive them and provide refuge. She personifies tender love and unwavering affection. The mother Durga is the goddess of Sakti, force and energy. She is also known as the Supreme Goddess and Adi Sakti, the primordial cause of everything. She is the inscrutable power which gives life and energy to the whole universe. As in our worldly life, in which energy is required to undertake any task, God also needs energy to create, sustain and destroy. Devi Durga is the energy through which God governs this creation.
Devi Durga has many names and forms. On one hand, she is Gauri, that is, pale, beautiful, peaceful, calm and mild, and on the other hand she is Kali, dark, furious, violent and terrible. Each form is a manifestation of Her, either peaceful or violent. She is the supreme knowledge (Para Vidya) and all forms of knowledge, arts and sciences are expressions of Her.
Vidya: Samasta: Tava Devi Bheda:
Striya: Samasta: Sakala Jagatsu (Durga Saptasati 11-6)
O Devi! All the aspects of knowledge are represented in you. So are all women in the world your reflection.
The glory of Devi Durga, the mother of the universe, has been sung in Durga Saptasati, a religious text which contains seven hundred verses and is known as Saptasati. It is also known as Devi Mahatmyam or Sri Candi. It is a portion of the Markandeya Purana comprising the 13 chapters from 81 to 93 but it also has an independent status. It relates how Devi Durga killed the mighty and invincible demons and accomplished the great cause of the devas. This work is so highly revered that each shloka is considered to be a sacred mantra of the Devi and its chanting is believed to confer whatever boons the devotee requests.
In the first chapter, the sage Medha narrates the glory of Devi to king Surath and a merchant named Samadhi. The former was cast out by his trusted kinsmen and the latter was disowned by his own family. Grief stricken, they came to forest and on meeting sage Medha, they both narrated the events that had forced them to come to the forest. They were unable to understand why they were still affectionate towards those who had caused their miserable condition. The sage then explained about Mahamaya who acts upon the minds of even the wise and throws them into delusion. It is She who, when propitious, becomes a boon-giver to human beings. She is the cause of liberation and at the same time she is the cause of the bondage of transmigration.
This chapter also deals with the slaughter of Madhu and Kaitabha, the two demons, by the Great Devi. It also includes a hymn of praise by Brahma known as Ratri Sukta, to sing the glory of Devi.
The second chapter talks about the avatar of Devi who came into being from the assembled lights of all the devas, who were oppressed by Mahisasura. It tells also of the slaughter of the armies of the same asura by Devi.
The other six chapters (three, and from six to ten) recount a battle between the Goddess and Her divine manifestations on the one side, and demons like Mahisasura, Dhumralocana, Canda-Munda, Raktabija, Nisumbha and Sumbha who were finally killed by Devi, the mother of the universe, on the other.
The fourth and eleventh chapters are the hymns sung in praise of Devi by Indra and other gods; and the fifth chapter is a conversation between Devi and the messenger of Sumbha who brought the proposal of his master's marriage with Devi.
While the twelfth chapter is the eulogy of the merits of Devi, the thirteenth chapter gives an account of king Surath and the merchant Samadhi, who perform severe penance chanting the glory of Devi to obtain Her vision. Devi was pleased to grant them any boon they wished for. The king chose a kingdom, imperishable in this and other lives, while the wise merchant asked for supreme knowledge which loosens worldly attachment. Devi granted them the boons that they requested.
One of the main objectives of the Ramayana Centre is to provide guidance and support for the intellectual and spiritual advancement of the Hindu Community and society at large. To achieve this objective, since its inception the Ramayana Centre has understood the importance of publishing and disseminating important texts. This compilation of selected verses from Durga Saptashati, is again a symbol of our focused effort to sing the glory of Devi Durga.
Many devotees asked the Ramayana Centre to publish a booklet containing key selected verses of Durga Saptashati to help them in their worship of Maa Durga. As in the past, this time again we asked Dr (Mrs) Vinoo Arun, a scholar of Sanskrit, Hindi and Indian Philosophy, to undertake this assignment.
We are very grateful that she has completed the task with full dedication and devotion.
To reach a wider range of devotees this booklet has been prepared bilingually. In it, verses are given in Devnagri as well as in Roman, together with their translations in Hindi and English.
We firmly believe that this book will be as helpful to the devotees, both in Mauritius and beyond, as our other publications, such as, Samskar Ramayana, StutiSuman , Hanuman Chalisa, Sunder Kanda and Aarti Archan etc.. have been. We thank all our well-wishers and supporters for their ongoing help and assistance.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
Children’s Books (39)
Brahma Sutras (85)
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