[Advaita-l] Mahishasuramardini

Venkata sriram P venkatasriramp at yahoo.in
Fri Oct 19 02:47:13 CDT 2012

Here is the gist of dEvI mahAtmyaM from Shri TV Kapali Sastri of Aurobindo Ashram:
Devi mahatyam is the text comprising of the three episodes or charitas which is a chronicle of battle fought between Devi and Divine forces on one side and Demoniac and Anti-forces on another. The first charita is described the greatness of Mahakali and her encounter with Madhu and kaitabha. The 2nd deals with Mahalakshmi and her battle with Mahishasura. The 3rd deals with Maharaswathi and her battle with Dhumralochana, Chanda, Munda, Rakthabija, Shumbha and Nishumbha.
Life itself is a battle, a struggle. A war between good & evil, light & darkness, knowledge and ignorance, truth and falsehood, delight & delusion, immortality and death.  There are certain forces in this creation whose sole purpose is to hinder the process of evolution. And there are equally powerful forces that encourage him at every step, lift him up when he stumbles, help him to reach the victory post. This struggle is found in Rig Veda. Indra, the Master or King of Illumined mind is confronted with Vrittasura. This is the struggle between light – the Illumination and Ignorance. 
The anti-divine is inherent in the very process of creation. This fact is brought out in 1st chapter. The all-pervasive principle of preservation (Vishnu) sleeps on Infinite (Anantha) during the period of non-creation (kalpantha). Ocean is symbol of eternal existence which is of Blissful nature (milky ocean is a symbolic representation of blissfulness). When creation is about to start, there is a throb or vibration.  This is called Nada or Sound. This nada rises from the navel of primordial person. Brahma is symbol of Nada – the principle of creation.  The field of activity of sound is Ear. As soon as Nada is born, an obstruction comes in the ear hampering the reaching of Nada in the form of Wax.  They are Madhu and kaitabha. These 2 anti-divine forces are as natural as formation of wax in the ear and they last as long as creation exists. Though they are vanquished and their gross forms are annihilated, they exist in subtle nature in the form of
 Shumbha and Nishumbha the creation is dissolved.  This is shown in 12th chapter.  Kaitabha is desire to be many and Madhu is the Pleasure.  These 2 are the samskaras that arise from creation which are in the form of Desire to be many and experience the pleasure.  
These anti-divine forces are so much like divine that they possess tremendous strength, power, light, will power, penance and knowledge. But they are opposed to Divine Law and truth. They hijack the position of divine force. They have the exaggerated ego-sense. Their work is of the nature of distortion and perversion. He is Mahishasura.  This distortion and perversion is annihilated with the concentrated effort of one’s consciousness which should be fierce and mighty.  The force is Durga. Lion is the symbolic representation of Dharma / Righteous Path.  
Then comes the demon Dhumralochana which means Smoky / hazy / obscured Vision. Smoky vision leads to wrong perceptions. This is Avidya. Then comes the demon Rakthabija. This is the symbolic representation for the Desire to continue one’s own identity and individuality.  
Then come the demons Udyudha, Kambu, Kotivirya, Dhaumra, Kalaka, Daurhruda, Maurya, Kalakeya.  These 8 demons represent 8 fetters or bondages of an individual that bar him from attaining the Supreme Consciousness.  They are called Ashta Pasas in Tantra. These 8 bondages are Ghrina (Hate), Lajja (Shame), Bhaya (Fear), Shankaa (Doubt), Jugupsaa (Reproach), Kula Abhimana (Caste), Jaati (Creed), Sheela (Modesty).  The devi in the form of ashta matrikas (8 mothers) as Brahmi, Maheshwari, Kaumari, Vaishnavi, Varahi, Narasimhi, Indrani, Chamunda cut asunder these 8 bondages and free the individual from the 8 weaknesses. 
The next 2 demons are Shumbha and Nishumbha.   They usurp the posts and functions of all the Gods and begin ruling the 3 worlds. But their light does not come out of the Sun of Truth, theirs is a reflection of Ego. They want to possess all the rare things on the earth, all that is best, and also the Devi, who is the gem among the women.  Since, they have certain characteristics of divine but entirely for different purpose. And hence, their battle was very long and prolonged one.
So, the tantric analysis for Dhumrolochana, Chanda, Munda, Rakthabija, Shumbha and Nishumbha is Avidya (Ignorance), Raga (attachment), Dvesha (aversion), abhinivesha (desire to continue one’s identity),  Asmitha (I-ness) and Mamatha (My-ness). 
So, sapthasathii teaches that whole life is a battle and for one who has taken the spiritual path, the opposition from anti-divine forces is all the more. If seeker admits the God and divine forces into himself, if he is receptive to divine forces, they nourish and lead us to Victory – Vision of Self. 
So, in this battle, armed with the sword of navAshari mantra, he has to put on the shield / armour of Devi Kavacha, bolt the armour with Argala Stotra and lock it with Kilaka Stuti.  
Thus, he is safe and the kingdom of heaven is in his hands. 

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