Saturday, August 13, 2011

Shakambari Devi: Killing of Durgama

In the olden times there lived an asura called Durgama(son of Ruru). In order to defeat the devas he hatched an evil plan. He realized that the oblations of ghee given to Agni(fire) during a sacrifice along with the chanting of Vedic mantras energized the devas. He therefore came to the conclusion that in the absence of the Vedas the devas would no longer be continually energized and therefore would gradually grow weak with time . He performed severe austerities in order to please the creator Lord Brahma. Pleased with his sincerity and devotion Brahma deva offered to grant him a boon. The asura then asked for the boon that all the Vedas should come into his possession and the boon was granted by Brahma. 
Soon the Brahmins forgot all the Vedas and as foreseen by Durgama all the devas lost their powers and their divine lustre. Durgama then took over the heavens and drove out the celestials. It also stopped raining on earth as the homams which were responsible for ensuring regular rainfall were not being performed any longer. Chaos and anarchy reigned the earth as famines and droughts disrupted all forms of life. With drudgery and despondency reaching new heights with every passing day the sages, burdened by oppression, fear and suffering, took shelter in the caves of mount Sumeru. With no other recourse left the sages began to pray to the Highest Devi, the primal force(Adya Shakthi), the one who eternally remains in the company of the most powerful and supreme deity Maha Shambhunatha.
Upon hearing the desperate cries of her children, the divine mother, who responds at once to the call of her devotees, filled with compassion, gave the sages her darshan. She had a blue body with about hundred eyes all over her body(Satakshi). She had four hands. One of them was holding arrows while the other was holding a bow. The other hand was holding a lotus while in another one she was holding a lot of juicy fruits and vegetables(Shakambari). She distributed these fruits and vegetables to everyone and appeased their hunger. Then for nine consecutive days she cried ,with an endless stream of tears flowing down from all the hundred eyes over her body thereby replenishing all the dried up sources of water with the indispensable elixir of life. Thus all the lands became green again ,throbbing with life.
Upon hearing about the appearance of the Devi, the asura Durgama intending to launch an all out assault brought out his entire army of 1000 akshouhinis and marched ahead to meet the devi in combat, with a huge uproar. The Devas ,the Brahmins and the Devi confronted the asura army. The sky was covered with a flurry of arrows which seemed to cast a shadow on the sun. The devi then cast a protective circle around the devas and the Brahmins and stood outside the circle. Multiple forms then emerged from the devi. In an instant the battle field was filled with numerous devis:Kali,Tara,Dhumavati,Bagalamukhi,Chinnamasta,Bhairavi,Matangi,Kamala,Bhuvaneshwari,Tripura Sundari,Tujala Devi,Mohini,Kamakshi,Jambhini,Guhya Kalis and many others. 

Among these sakthis the first ten are prominently known as the Dasa Mahavidyas. With these innumerable number of devis combating the rakshasa army, they were soon obliterated. Then the devi faced the most powerful of them all, Durgama. In order to restore the state of order and peace back to the earth, the Devi unleashed a fatal array of arrows, charged with her divine energy, upon Durgama and thus put an end to the imbalance created by this fiend.
As the devi had killed Durgama she acquired the name Durga. All the devas including the trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra, began to sing glorious hymns praising the Supreme Shakthi. The devi thus restored peace to the three realms and returned the Vedas to the Brahmins reminding them to always remember her, sing her praises and read her glorious deeds.
Reading about the glorious deeds of the Divine Mother gives the reader the benefit of performing several hundred Ashvamedha Yagyas. The one who reads this story or narrates it will be blessed with all kinds of prosperity and happiness in his life. Also the one who remembers and chants the names Satakshi and Durga will be able to unveil the Maya around him ,realize the ultimate truth and will attain Moksha . 
Prior to narrating the story of Sri Satakshi Devi Vyasa(the narrator) makes a specific mention of its ethereal and consecrating nature. This story is to be told only to those who are genuinely interested in knowing about the lilas of the Primeval Shakthi. Those who immerse themselves in the consecrating waters of this episode contained in the Puranic lore are indubitably the chosen ones.
In Devi Mahatmyam it is mentioned that these forms of the Devi viz. Shakambari and Satakshi are rare and therefore a secret fit to be disclosed only to a select few.
Salutations to the Divine Mother who has used my humble self as a tool to relay this great and holy episode, filled with divine nectar, to everyone using this platform.

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