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Chapter 1: The Slaying of Madhu and Kaiṭabha

OṀ namaś caṇḍikāyai

OṀ. Salutation to Caṇḍikā


OṀ aiṁ mārkaṇḍeya uvāca

1.1 OṀ aiṁ. Mārkaṇḍeya said:


sāvarṇiḥ sūryatanayo yo manuh kathyate ’ṣṭamaḥ
niśāmaya tad utpattiṁ vistarād gadato mama

1.2 Sāvarṇi, who is Sūrya’s son, is called the eighth manu. Listen while I relate the story of his birth


mahāmāyānubhāvena yathā manvantarādhipaḥ
sa babhūva mahābhāgah sāvarṇis tanayo raveḥ

1.3 and of how, by Mahāmāyā’s authority, he—the illustrious son of the sun god—came to be the lord of an age.


svārociṣe ’ntare pūrvaṁ caitravaṁśasamudbhavaḥ
suratho nāma rājābhūt samaste kṣitimaṇḍale

1.4 Long ago in the age of the manu Svarociṣba, there arose from the line of Caitra a king named Suratha, who ruled over the whole earth.


tasya pālayataḥ samyak prajāḥ putrānivaurasān
babhūvuḥ śatravo bhūpāḥ kolāvidhvarhsinas tadā

1.5 He looked after his subjects justly, as if they were his own children. But there were princes at that time who attacked the native hill tribes and became his enemies.


tasya tair abhavad yuddham atiprabaladaṇḍinaḥ
nyūnair api sa tair yuddhe kolāvidhvamsibhir jitaḥ

1.6 Though mightily armed and resolved to fight against them, he suffered defeat in battle, despite his enemies’ inferior forces.


tataḥ svapuram āyāto nijadeśādhipo ’bhavat
ākrāntaḥ sa mahābhāgas tais tadā prabalāribhiḥ

1.7 And so, with only his native province left to rule, he returned to his own city. There, powerful adversaries set upon him, the illustrious Suratha,


amātyair balibhir duṣṭair durbalasya durātmabhiḥ
kośo balam cāpahṛtaṁ tatrāpi svapure tataḥ

1.8 now bereft of strength. His ministers, mighty, corrupted, and disposed to evil, seized power and plundered the treasury, even there in his own city.


tato mṛgayāvyājena hṛtasvāmyaḥ sa bhūpatiḥ
ekākī hayam āruhya jagāma gahanaṁ vanam

1.9 Thus robbed of his dominion, the king mounted his horse on the pretext of hunting and rode off alone into the dense forest.


sa tatrāśramam adrākṣīd dvijavaryasya medhasaḥ
praśāntaśvāpadākīrṇaṁ muniśiṣyopaśobhitam

1.10 He came upon the hermitage of Medhas, chief among the twice-born, and beheld a forest retreat, graced by the sage’s disciples. There he saw beasts once wild now peacefully abiding.


tasthau kañcit sa kālaṁ ca muninā tena satkṛtaḥ
itaś cetaś ca vicaraṁs tasmin munivarāśrame

1.11 Welcomed by the sage, he remained at the hermitage for some time, wandering here and there about the enclosure.


so ’cintayat tadā tatra mamatvākṛṣṭamānasaḥ

1.12 In that setting, self-centered concerns came to seize his mind, and he reflected:


matpūrvaiḥ pālitaṁ pūrvaṁ mayā hīnaṁ puraṁ hi tat
madbhṛtyais tair asadvṛttair dharmataḥ pālyate na vā

1.13 I have left behind the capital that my ancestors governed before me. Are my perverse officials overseeing it justly or not?


na jāne sa pradhāno me śūro hastī sadāmadaḥ
mama vairivaśaṁ yātaḥ kān bhogān upalapsyate

1.14 My prized elephant, valiant and of unceasing prowess, has fallen into the hands of my enemies. I know not what comforts he’ll now enjoy.


ye mamānugatā nityam prasādadhanabhojanaiḥ
anuvṛttiṁ dhruvaṁ te ’dya kurvanty anyamahībhṛtām

1.15 Those retainers of mine, constantly eager for favor, wealth, and feasting, now surely submit to other lords.


asamyagvyayaśīlais taiḥ kurvadbhiḥ satataṁ vyayam
sañcitaḥ so ’tiduḥkhena kṣayaṁ kośo gamiṣyati

1.16 Their habitual squandering will soon deplete the wealth I so laboriously amassed.


etac cānyac ca satatam cintayāmāsa pārthivaḥ
tatra viprāśramābhyāśe vaiśyam ekaṁ dadarśa saḥ

1.17 While pondering those and other questions, the king caught sight of a lone merchant approaching the sage’s hermitage.


sa pṛṣṭas tena kastvaṁ bho hetuś cāgamane ’tra kaḥ
saśoka iva kasmāt tvaṁ durmanā iva lakṣyase

1.18 “Who are you,” he asked, “and what brings you here? Why do you look so sorrowful and dejected?”


ity ākarṇya vacas tasya bhūpateḥ praṇayoditam
pratyuvāca sa taṁ vaiśyaḥ praśrayāvanato nṛpam

1.19 Hearing the king speak in friendship, the merchant bowed respectfully and replied.


vaisya uvāca

1.20 The merchant said:


samādhir nāma vaisyo ’ham utpanno dhanināṁ kule
putradārair nirastaś ca dhanalobhād asādhubhiḥ

1.21 “I am a merchant named Samādhi, born in a wealthy family. My wife and children grew wicked through avarice and cast me out.


vihīnaś ca dhanair dāraiḥ putrair ādāya me dhanam
vanam abhyāgato duḥkhī nirastaś cāptabandhubhiḥ

1.22 Destitute of riches, wife, and children, my wealth taken from me, I have arrived in the forest, distressed and forsaken by trusted kinsmen.


so ’ham na vedmi putrāṇāṁ kuśalākuśalātmikām
pravṛttiṁ svajanānāṁ ca dārāṇāṁ cātra samsthitaḥ

1.23 Being here, I know not whether good fortune or ill has befallen my children, wife, and family.


kiṁ nu teṣāṁ grhe kṣemam akṣemaṁ kiṁ nu sāmpratam

1.24 At present is well-being or misfortune theirs at home?


kathaṁ te kiṁ nu sadvṛttā durvṛttāḥ kiṁ nu me sutāḥ

1.25 How are my children? Is their behavior virtuous or vile?”


rāj ovāca

1.26 The king said:


yair nirasto bhavāṁl lubdhaiḥ putradārādibhir dhanaiḥ

1.27 “Those greedy sons, wife, and others who dispossessed you of your wealth—


teṣu kiṁ bhavataḥ sneham anubadhnāti mānasam

1.28 why does your mind still cherish them?”


vaiśya uvāca

1.29 The merchant said:


evam etad yathā prāha bhavān asmad gataṁ vacaḥ
kiṁ karomi na badhnāti mama niṣṭhuratām manaḥ

1.30 “Even as you say it, this very thought occurs to me. But what can I do? My heart is not inclined to rancor


yaiḥ santyajya pitṛsnehaṁ dhanalubdhair nirākṛtaḥ
patiḥ svajanahārdaṁ ca hārdi teṣv eva me manaḥ

1.31 but still turns with affection to those who drove me away, scorning love for father, husband, and kinsman, out of lust for wealth.


kim etan nābhijānāmi jānann api mahāmate
yat premapravaṇaṁ cittaṁ viguṇeṣv api bandhuṣu

1.32 I recognize this, O wise one. Still, I do not understand how my thoughts are drawn in love to my unworthy kinsfolk.


teṣāṁ kṛte me niḥśvāso daurmanasyaṁ ca jāyate

1.33 Because of them I sigh, overcome with despair.


karomi kiṁ yan na manasteṣv aprītiṣu niṣṭhuram

1.34 What can I do, since the pain has failed to harden my heart?”


mārkaṇḍeya uvāca

1.35 Mārkaṇḍeya said:


tatas tau sahitau vipra taṁ muniṁ samupasthitau

1.36 Then together they approached the sage,


samādhir nāma vaiśyo ’sau sa ca pārthivasattamaḥ

1.37 that merchant named Samādhi and Suratha, the best of kings.


kṛtvā tu tau yathānyāyaṁ yathārhaṁ tena saṁvidam
upaviṣṭau kathāḥ kāścic cakratur vaiśyapārthivau

1.38 Having observed the respect that was the sage’s due, the merchant and the king sat down to tell their stories.



1.39 The king said:

bhagavaṁs tvām ahaṁ praṣṭum icchāmy ekaṁ vadasva tat

1.40 “Revered sir, I wish to ask you one thing. Please reply.


duḥkhāya yan me manasaḥ svacittāyattatāṁ vinā

1.41 Without control of my thoughts, my mind is coming to grief.


mamatvam gatarājyasya rājyārigeṣv akhileṣvapi
jānato ’pi yathājñasya kim etan munisattama

1.42 I remain possessive toward my lost kingdom and all parts of the realm as if unaware that they are no longer mine. Venerable sage, how can this be?


ayaṁ ca nikṛtaḥ putrair dārair bhṛtyais tathojjhitaḥ
svajanena ca santyaktas teṣu hārdī tathāpyati

1.43 And this fellow has been humiliated by his children and wife, deserted by his servants, and forsaken by his own people. Still he feels exceeding affection for them.


evam esa tathāhaṁ ca dvāvapyatyantaduḥkhitau
dṛṣṭadoṣe ’pi visaye mamatvākṛṣṭamānasau

1.44 It is the same with me. We both are distressed to the utmost, held by attachment to things, even though we see their faults.


tat kenaitan mahābhāga yan moho jñāninor api
mamāsya ca bhavaty eṣā vivekāndhasya mūḍhatā

1.45 Venerable sir, how is it that we who should know better can be so deluded? Ours is the perplexity of those who are blind to right understanding.”


ṛṣir uvāca

1.46 The seer said:


jñānam asti samastasya jantor viṣayagocare
viṣayās ca mahābhāga yānti caivaṁ pṛthak pṛthak

1.47 “Illustrious king, through the perceptions of the senses, every living being has knowledge of the manifest universe. The objects of sense-perception reveal themselves in various ways.


divāndhāḥ prāṇinaḥ kecid rātrāv andhās tathāpare
kecid divā tathā rātrau prāṇinas tulyadṛṣṭayaḥ

1.48 Some creatures are blind by day, and others are blind by night. Some creatures see equally by day and night.


jñānino manujāḥ satyaṁ kintu te na hi kevalam
yato hi jñāninaḥ sarve paśupakṣimṛgādayaḥ

1.49 Truly, humans are endowed with the power of perception, but they are not alone, for cattle, birds, wild animals, and all other living creatures also perceive.


jñānaṁ ca tan manusyāṇāṁ yat teṣāṁ mṛgapakṣiṇām
manuṣyāṇāṁ ca yat teṣāṁ tulyam anyat tathobhayoḥ

1.50 That awareness which humans have, birds and beasts possess also; and their awareness, humans have, too. In other ways also the two are similar.


jñāne ’pi sati paśyaitān patangāñ chāvacañcusu
kaṇamokṣād ṛtān mohāt pīḍyamānān api kṣudhā

1.51 Look at these birds. Though feeling the pangs of hunger, out of delusion they still busy themselves by dropping food into the beaks of their young.


mānuṣā manujavyāghra sābhilāṣāḥ sutān prati
lobhāt pratyupakārāya nanv etān kiṁ na paśyasi

1.52 Illustrious sir, humans long for offspring, surely expecting gratitude in return. Do you not see this?


tathāpi mamatāvarte mohagarte nipātitāḥ
mahāmāyāprabhāveṇa samsārasthitikāriṇā

1.53 In this very manner they are hurled into the whirlpool of attachment, the pit of delusion, by the power of Mahāmāyā, Who produces the continuing cycle of this transitory world.


tan nātra vismayaḥ kāryo yoganidrā jagatpateḥ
mahāmāyā hareś caiṣā tayā sammohyate jagat

1.54 Do not be astonished. This same Mahāmāyā is Yoganidrā, the meditative sleep of Viṣṇu, the lord of the world. By Her this world is deluded.


jñāninām api cetāmsi devī bhagavatī hi sā
balād ākṛṣya mohāya mahāmāyā prayacchati

1.55 She, the blessed Goddess Mahāmāyā, seizes the minds of even the wise and draws them into delusion.


tayā visṛjyate viśvaṁ jagad etac carācaram
saiṣā prasannā varadā nṛṇāṁ bhavati muktaye

1.56 She creates all this universe, moving and unmoving, and it is She Who graciously bestows liberation on humanity.


sā vidyā paramā mukter hetubhūtā sanātanī

1.57 She is the supreme knowledge and the eternal cause of liberation,


saṁsārabandhahetuś ca saiva sarveśvareśvarī

1.58 even as She is the cause of bondage to this transitory existence. She is the sovereign of all lords.”



1.59 The king said:


bhagavan kā hi sā Devī mahāmāyeti yāṁ bhavān
bravīti katham utpannā sā karmāsyāś ca kiṁ dvija

1.60 “Revered sir, Who is that Goddess whom you call Mahāmāyā? How did She originate, and in what ways does She Act?


yat prabhāvā ca sā Devī yat svarūpā yad udbhavā

1.61 And whatever Her Glory, this Goddess, whatever Her Form and Origin,


tat sarvaṁ śrotum icchāmi tvat to brahmavidāṁ vara

1.62 all that I wish to learn from you, who are supreme among the knowers of Brahman.”


ṛṣir uvāca

1.63 The seer said:


nityaiva sā jaganmūrtis tayā sarvam idaṁ tatam

1.64 “She Is Eternal, having the world as Her Form. She Pervades All This.


tathāpi tat samutpattir bahudhā śrūyatāṁ mama

1.65 Yet She Emerges in various ways. Hear it from me.


devānāṁ kāryasiddhyartham āvirbhavati sā yadā
utpanneti tadā loke sā nityāpy abhidhlyate

1.66 Although She Is Eternal, when She Manifests to accomplish the purpose of the Gods, She Is said to be Born in the world.


yoganidrāṁ yadā viṣṇur jagaty ekārṇavīkṛte
āstīrya śeṣam abhajat kalpānte bhagavān prabhuḥ

1.67 At the end of the cosmic day, when the universe dissolved into the primordial ocean, the blessed lord Viṣṇu stretched out on the serpent Śeṣa and entered into meditative sleep.


tadā dvāv asurau ghorau vikhyātau madhukaiṭabhau
visṇukarṇamalodbhūtau hantuṁ brahmāṇam udyatau

1.68 Then two fearsome asuras, the notorious Madhu and Kaiṭabha, issued forth from the wax in Viṣṇu’s ears, intent on slaying Brahmā,


sa nābhikamale viṣṇoḥ sthito brahmā prajāpatiḥ
dṛṣṭvā tāv asurau cograu prasuptam ca janārdanam

1.69 who was seated on the lotus that grew from Viṣṇu’s navel. When he saw the raging asuras and the sleeping Viṣṇu,


tuṣṭāva yoganidrāṁ tām ekāgrahṛdayaḥ sthitaḥ
vibodhanārthāya harer harinetrakrtālayām

1.70 Brahmā could think of nothing but to awaken him, and to that end he extolled Yoganidrā, Who had settled over Viṣṇu’s eyes


viśveśvarīṁ jagaddhātrīṁ sthitisaṁhārakāriṇīm
nidrāṁ bhagavatīṁ viṣṇor atulāṁ tejasaḥ prabhuḥ

1.71 as his blessed sleep. The resplendent lord Brahmā extolled Her Who rules the universe, Who Sustains and Dissolves it. He extolled Her Who Is Incomparable.



1.72 Brahmā said:


Tvaṁ svāhā Tvaṁ svadhā Tvaṁ hi Vaṣaṭkāraḥ Svarātmikā
sudhā Tvam akṣare nitye tridhāmātrātmikā sthitā

1.73 ‘You Are The Mantras of Consecration to the Gods and the ancestors. At Your Bidding They Are Uttered, and they are your very embodiment. You Are The Nectar of Immortality, O Imperishable, Eternal One. Truly, You Abide As The Transcendent Being,


ardhamatra sthitā nityā yānuccāryāviśeṣataḥ
Tvam eva sā tvaṁ sāvitrī Tvaṁ devajananī parā

1.74 yet in every moment you abide, inseparable and inexpressible, as the eternal source of all becoming. Indeed You Are That. You Are Sāvitrī, the Source of All Purity and Protection; You Are the Supreme Mother of The Gods.


Tvayaitad dhāryate viśvaṁ tvayaitat sṛjyate jagat
Tvayaitat pālyate Devi Tvam atsy ante ca sarvadā

1.75 By You is this universe supported, of You is this world born, by You is it protected, O Devī, and You always Consume it at the end.


visṛṣṭau sṛṣṭirūpā tvam sthitirūpā ca pālane
tathā samhṛtirūpānte jagato ’sya jaganmaye

1.76 You Are the Creative Force at the World’s Birth and Its Sustenance for as long as it endures. So even at the end of this world, You Appear as Its Dissolution, You Who Encompass it all.


Mahāvidyā Mahāmāyā Mahāmedhā Mahāsmṛtiḥ
Mahāmohā ca Bhavatī Mahādevī Mahāsurī

1.77 You Are The Great Knowledge and The Great Illusion, The Great Intelligence, The Great Memory and The Great Delusion, The Great Goddess and The Great Demoness.


prakṛtis Tvam ca Sarvasya Guṇatrayavibhāvinī
Kālarātrir Mahārātrir Moharātriś ca dāruṇā

1.78 You Are Primordial Matter, Differentiating into the Threefold Qualities of Everything. You Are The Dark Night Of Periodic Dissolution, The Great Night of Final Dissolution, and The Terrifying Night Of Delusion.


Tvaṁ śrīs Tvam īśvari Tvaṁ hrīs Tvaṁ buddhir bodhalakṣaṇā
Lajjā puṣṭis tathā tuṣṭis Tvaṁ śāntiḥ kṣāntir eva ca

1.79 You Are Radiant Splendor; You Reign Supreme Yet Are Unassuming; You Are The Light Of Understanding. Modesty Are You, And Prosperity, Contentment, Tranquillity and Forbearance.


khaḍginī śūlinī ghorā gadinī cakriṇī tathā
śankhinl cāpinī bāṇabhuśuṇḍīparighāyudhā

1.80 Armed With Sword And Spear, And With Club And Discus, Waging War With Conch, Bow And Arrows, Sling And Iron Mace, You Inspire Dread.


saumyā saumyatarāśesasaumyebhyas tv Atisundarī
parāparāṇāṁ Paramā Tvam Eva Parameśvarī

1.81 Yet, You Are Pleasing, More Pleasing Than All Else That Is Pleasing, and Exceedingly Beautiful. Transcending Both Highest and Lowest, You Are Indeed The Supreme Sovereign.


yac ca kiñcit kvacid vastu sadasadvākhilātmike
tasya sarvasya yā śaktiḥ sā Tvaṁ kiṁ stūyase Mayā

1.82 Whatever exists, true or untrue, and wherever it may be, O Soul of Everything, You Are The Power Of All That. How can I praise You?


yayā Tvayā jagatsraṣṭā jagatpātātti yo jagat
so ’pi nidrāvaśaṁ nītaḥ kastvāṁ stotum iheśvaraḥ

1.83 By You, even he Who Creates, Protects, and Devours the world is Subdued with Sleep. Who here can praise You?


viṣṇuḥ śarīragrahaṇam aham īśāna eva ca
kāritāste yato ’tas Tvāṁ kaḥ stotum śaktimān bhavet

1.84 You have caused even Viṣṇu, Śiva, and Me to assume Our embodied forms. Who then can truly praise You?


sā Tvam ittham prabhāvaiḥ svair udārair Devi samstutā
mohayaitau durādharṣāv asurau madhukaiṭabhau

1.85 Thus Extolled, O Devī, may You with Your Exalted Powers Confound Those Unassailable asuras, Madhu and Kaiṭabha.


prabodham ca jagatsvāmī nīyatām acyuto laghu

1.86 Let Viṣṇu, the lord of the world, be quickly awakened from his slumber


bodhaś ca kriyatāmasya hantum etau mahāsurau

1.87 and be roused to slay the two great asuras.’”


ṛṣir uvāca

1.87 and be roused to slay the two great asuras.’”


evaṁ stutā tadā Devī tāmasī tatra vedhasā
viṣṇoḥ prabodhanārthāya nihantum madhukaitabhau

1.89 “Praised thus by the creator to rouse Viṣṇu into slaying Madhu and Kaiṭabha, then and there The Dark Goddess


netrāsyanāsikābāhuhṛdayebhyas tathorasaḥ
nirgamya darśane tasthau brahmaṇo ’vyaktajanmanaḥ

1.90 Emerged from his eyes, mouth, nostrils, arms, heart, and chest, and appeared before Brahmā, Who is born from the Unmanifest.


uttasthau ca jagannāthas tayā mukto janārdanah
ekārṇave ’hisayanāt tataḥ sa dadṛśe ca tau

1.91 And released by Her, Viṣṇu, the Lord of the world, arose from his serpent couch on the undifferentiated ocean and beheld


madhukaiṭabhau durātmānāv ativīryaparākramau
krodharaktekṣaṇāv atturh brahmāṇaṁ janitodyamau

1.92 the evil-natured Madhu and Kaiṭabha, exceedingly strong and courageous, seeing red with anger and determined to devour Brahmā.


samutthāya tatas tābhyāṁ yuyudhe bhagavān hariḥ
pancavarṣasahasrāṇi bāhupraharaṇo vibhuḥ

1.93 Then the blessed, all-pervading Viṣṇu rose up and fought with them in hand-to-hand combat for five thousand years.


tāv apyatibalonmattau mahāmāyāvimohitau

1.94 And they, mad with the arrogance of power and confounded By Mahāmāyā,


uktavantau varo ’smatto vriyatām iti keśavam

1.95 exclaimed to him, ‘Ask a boon from us! ’


śrī Bhagavān uvāca

1.96 The blessed lord Viṣṇu said:


bhavetām adya me tustau mama vadhyāv ubhāv api

1.97 ‘Since you are pleased with me, so be it. I will surely slay both of you now.


kim anyena vareṇātra etāvad dhi vṛtaṁ mama

1.98 What other boon is there to ask?”’


ṛṣir uvāca

1.99 The seer said:


vañcitābhyām iti tadā sarvam āpomayaṁ jagat
vilokya tābhyāṁ gadito bhagavān kamalekṣaṇaḥ

1.100 “Thus deceived, and beholding that the world consisted entirely of water, they addressed the lotus-eyed Viṣṇu, saying:


āvāṁ jahi na yatrorvī salilena pariplutā

1.101 ‘Slay us where water does not flood the earth.’”


ṛṣir uvāca

1.102 The seer said:


tathety uktvā Bhagavatā śankhacakragadābhṛtā
kṛtvā cakreṇa vai chinne jaghane śirasī tayoḥ

1.103 “‘So be it,’ said Viṣṇu, the wielder of conch, discus, and mace. Taking the two of them onto his lap, he cut off their heads with his discus.


Evam eṣā samutpannā Brahmaṇā saṁstutā svayam
prabhāvam asyā Devyās tu bhūyah śṛṇu vadāmi te

1.104 Thus did The Devī Herself appear when praised by Brahmā. Hear still more of Her Glory, which I will tell you.”