Chapter 2: The Slaughter of Mahiṣāsura’s Armies
OṀ hṛīm ṛṣir uvāca
2.1 OṀ hrīṁ. The seer said:
devāsuram abhūd yuddhaṁ pūrṇam
abdaśataṁ purā mahiṣe ‘surāṇām adhipe devānāṁ ca purandare
2.2 “Long ago, when Mahiṣa was chief of the asuras and Indra was chief of the gods, there was a war between their forces for a full hundred years.
tatrāsurair mahāvīryair devasainyaṁ parājitam
jitvā ca sakalān devān indro ‘bhūn mahiṣāsuraḥ
2.3 The valorous asuras vanquished the army of the gods, and after all were conquered, Mahiṣa became the lord of heaven.
tataḥ parājitā devāḥ padmayoniṁ prajāpatim
puraskṛtya gatās tatra yatreśagaruḍadhvajau
2.4 Then led by Brahmā, the lord of beings, the defeated gods went to Viṣṇu and Śiva
yathāvṛttaṁ tayos tadvan mahiṣāsuraceṣṭitam
tridaśāḥ kathayāmāsur devābhibhavavistaram
2.5 and related in detail what had happened. The thirty gods told how Mahiṣāsura had wrought their defeat:
sūryendrāgnyanilendūnāṁ yamasya vanmasya ca
anyeṣām cādhikārān sa svayam evādhitiṣṭhati
2.6 ‘He has usurped the authority of Sūrya, Indra, Agni, Vāyu, and Candra, and of Yama, Varuṇa, and all the others.
svargān nirākṛtāḥ sarve tena devagaṇā bhuvi
vicaranti yathā martyā mahiseṇa durātmanā
2.7 Cast out from heaven by the evil Mahiṣa, all the multitudes of gods wander over the earth as mere mortals.
etad vaḥ kathitaṁ sarvam amarāriviceṣṭitam
śaraṇaṁ vaḥ prapannāḥ smo vadhastasya vicintyatām
2.8 We have related all that this foe of the gods has done, and we seek refuge in You. Be pleased to devise a means for his destruction.’
itthaṁ niśamya devānāṁ vacāmsi madhusūdanaḥ
cakāra kopāṁ śambhuś ca bhrukuṭīkuṭilānanau
2.9 When Viṣṇu and Śiva heard the entreaties of the gods, they knit their brows in fury and contorted their faces,
tato ‘tikopapūrṇasya cakriṇo vadanāt tataḥ
niścakrāma mahat tejo brahmaṇaḥ śaṅkarasya ca
2.10 whereupon a great radiance came forth from Viṣṇu’s rage- filled countenance, and so, too, from Brahmā’s and Śiva’s.
anyeṣāṁ caiva devānāṁ śakrādīnāṁ śarīrataḥ
nirgataṁ sumahat tejas tac caikyaṁ samagacchata
2.11 And from Indra’s body and from the bodies of all the other gods, a very great light issued, and it united and became one.
atīva tejasaḥ kūṭaṁ jvalantam iva parvatam
dadṛśus te sūrās tatra jvālāvyāptadigantaram
2.12 The gods saw before them a peak of light like a mountain, blazing brightly and pervading the sky in every direction with its flames.
atulaṁ tatra tat tejaḥ sarvadevaśarīrajam
ekasthaṁ tadabhūn nārī vyāptalokatrayaṁ tviṣā
2.13 Unequaled light, born from the bodies of all the gods, coalesced into a female form and pervaded the three worlds with its splendor.
yad abhūc chāmbhavaṁ tejas tenājāyata tan mukham
yāmyena cābhavan keśā bāhavo viṣṇutejasā
2.14 From Śiva’s light came that which formed the Devī’s face. Yama’s radiance formed Her hair, and Viṣṇu’s effulgence became Her arms.
saumyena stanayor yugmaṁ madhyaṁ caindreṇa cābhavat
vāruṇena ca jaṅghorū nitambas tejasā bhuvaḥ
2.15 The moon god’s soft light formed Her breasts, and Indra’s brilliance became Her waist. Varuṇa’s light became Her legs, and earth’s splendor formed Her hips.
brahmaṇas tejasā pādau tad aṅgulyo ‘rkatejasā
vasūnāṁ ca karāṅgulyaḥ kaubereṇa ca nāsikā
2.16 Her feet took shape from Brahmā’s light and Her toes from Sürya’s brilliance. From the Vasus’ light Her fingers formed and from Kubera’s light, Her nose.
tasyāstu dantāḥ sambhūtāḥ prājāpatyena tejasā
nayanatritayaṁ jajñe tathā pāvakatejasā
2.17 From Prajāpati’s lustre came Her teeth, and from Agni’s radiance Her three eyes were born.
bhruvau ca sandhyayos tejah śravaṇāv anilasya ca
anyeṣāṁ caiva devānāṁ sambhavas tejasāṁ śivā
2.18 Dawn and dusk became Her eyebrows, the wind god’s splendor shaped Her ears, and all else born of the other gods’ light shone too as the auspicious Devī.
tataḥ samastadevānāṁ tejorāśisamudbhavām
tāṁ vilokya mudaṁ prāpur amarā mahiṣārditāḥ
2.19 Then, beholding Her who appeared from out of their amassed light, all those gods, tormented by Mahiṣa, rejoiced.
tato devā dadus tasyai svāni svānyāyudhāni ca
śūlam śūlād viniṣkṛṣya dadau tasyai pinākadhṛk
2.20 Then the gods bestowed on Her their own weapons and adornments. From his trident Śiva drew forth another and gave it to Her,
cakraṁ ca dattavān kṛṣṇaḥ samutpāṭya svacakrataḥ
śaṅkhaṁ ca varuṇaḥ śaktiṁ dadau tasyai hutāśanaḥ
2.21 and Viṣṇu bestowed a discus spun out from his own. Varuṇa gave Her a conch; and Agni, the eater of oblations, gave Her a spear.
māruto dattavāṁś cāpaṁ bāṇapūrṇe tatheṣudhī
vajram indraḥ samutpāṭya kuliśād amarādhipaḥ
2.22 Vāyu, the wind god, presented a bow and two quivers filled with arrows. Extracting a thunderbolt from his own, Indra, the lord of the immortals,
dadau tasyai sahasrākṣo ghaṇṭām airāvatād gājāt
kāladaṇḍād yamo daṇḍaṁ pāśaṁ cāmbupatir dadau
2.23 the all-seeing one, gave it to Her along with a bell from his elephant Airāvata. From his staff of death Yama produced another staff, and Varuṇa, the lord of waters, gave a noose.
prajāpatiś cākṣamālāṁ dadau brahmā kamaṇḍalum
samastaromakūpeṣu nijaraśmīn divākarah
2.24 Brahmā, the lord of beings, gave prayer beads and an ascetic’s waterpot. Sūrya, the bringer of day, bestowed his rays of sunlight on all the pores of Her skin;
kālaś ca dattavān khaḍgaṁ tasyāś carma ca nirmalam
kṣīrodaś cāmalaṁ hāram ajare ca tathāmbare
2.25 and Kāla, the lord of time, presented a sword and shining shield. The ocean of milk bestowed a necklace of flawless pearls, ever-new garments,
cūḍāmaṇiṁ tathā divyaṁ kuṇḍale kaṭakāni ca
ardhacandram tathā śubhraṁ keyūrān sarvabāhuṣu
2.26 a celestial crest-jewel, earrings, and bracelets, a radiant crescent-shaped ornament, armlets for all Her arms,
nūpurau vimalau tadvad graiveyakam anuttamam
aṅgullyakaratnāni samastāsvangulīṣu ca
2.27 a pair of shining anklets, a necklace beyond compare, and bejeweled rings for all Her fingers.
viśvakarmā dadau tasyai paraśuṁ cātinirmalam
astrāṇy anekarūpāṇi tathā ‘bhedyaṁ ca daṁśanam
2.28 Viśvakarman gave Her a gleaming ax, weapons of all kinds, and impenetrable armor.
amlānapankajāṁ mālāṁ śirasy urasi cāparām
adadaj jaladhis tasyai pankajaṁ cātiśobhanam
2.29 Garlands of unfading lotuses for Her head and breast the ocean gave to Her, and yet another magnificent lotus to grace Her hand.
himavān vāhanam siṁhaṁ ratnāni vividhāni ca
dadāv asūnyaṁ surayā pānapātraṁ dhanādhipaḥ
2.30 Himālaya, the lord of mountains, gave Her a lion to ride upon and jewels of many kinds; and Kubera, the lord of wealth, presented a drinking vessel ever-brimming with wine.
śeṣaś ca sarvanāgeśo mahāmaṇivibhūṣitam
nāgahāraṁ dadau tasyai dhatte yaḥ pṛthivīmimām
2.31 Śeṣa, the lord of serpents, who supports this earth, gave Her a garland of snakes, adorned with precious gems.
anyair api surair Devī bhūsaṇair āyudhais tathā
sammānitā nanādoccaiḥ sāṭṭahāsaṁ muhur muhuḥ
2.32 Honored also by the other gods with adornments and weapons, the Devī laughed thunderously and defiantly again and again.
tasyā nādena ghoreṇa kṛtsnam āpūritaṁ nabhaḥ
amāyatātimahatā pratiśabdo mahānabhūt
2.33 She filled the entire sky with Her terrible roar, and from the immeasurable din a great echo resounded.
cukṣubhuh sakala lokāḥ samudraś ca cakampire
cacāla vasudhā celuḥ sakalāś ca mahldharāḥ
2.34 All the worlds shook, and the oceans churned. The earth quaked, and the mountains heaved.
jayeti devās ca mudā tām ūcuḥ simhavāhinīm
tuṣṭuvur munayaś caināṁ bhaktinamrātmamūrtayaḥ
2.35 In joy the gods exclaimed, ‘Victory! ’ to the lion-mounted Devī; and with bodies bowed in devotion, the sages praised Her.
dṛṣṭvā samastaṁ saṁkṣubdhaṁ trailokyam amarārayaḥ
sannaddhākhilasainyāste samuttasthur udāyudhāḥ
2.36 When the enemies of the gods saw the three worlds in upheaval, they readied all their forces for battle and rose up as one, with weapons held high.
āḥ kim etad iti krodhād ābhāṣya mahiṣāsuraḥ
abhyadhāvata taṁ śabdam aśeṣair asurair vṛtaḥ
2.37 ‘Aha! What is this?’ Mahiṣāsura bellowed in wrath. Surrounded by countless asuras, he rushed toward the sound
sa dadarśa tato Devīṁ vyāptalokatrayāṁ tviṣā
pādākrāntyā natabhuvaṁ kirīṭollikhitāmbarām
2.38 and then beheld the Devī, who pervaded the three worlds with Her radiance, bending the earth under Her tread, scraping the sky with Her diadem,
kṣobhitāśeṣapātālāṁ dhanurjyāniḥsvanena tām
diśo bhujasahasreṇa samantād vyāpya samsthitām
2.39 shaking all the nether regions with the resonance of Her bowstring, and standing there, penetrating every direction with Her thousand arms.
tataḥ pravavṛte yuddhaṁ tayā Devyā suradviṣām
śastrāstrair bahudhā muktair ādīpitadigantaram
2.40 Thereupon, the battle began between the Devī and the enemies of the gods. Swords and missiles, hurled in every direction, lit up the quarters of the sky.
mahāsurah yuyudhe cāmaraś cānyaiś caturangabalānvitaḥ
2.41 Mahiṣāsura’s general, the great asura named Cikṣura, battled there, and Cāmara led cavalry, charioteers, elephant-drivers, and foot soldiers.
rathānāmayutaiḥ ṣaḍbhir udagrākhyo mahāsuraḥ
ayudhyatāyutānāṁ ca sahasreṇa mahāhanuḥ
2.42 The great asura called Udagra commanded sixty thousand chariots, Mahāhanu gave battle with his ten million,
pañcāśadbhiś ca niyutair asilomā mahāsuraḥ
ayutānāṁ śataiḥ ṣaḍbhir bāṣkalo yuyudhe raṇe
2.43 and the mighty Asiloman fought with forces fifty million strong. With sixty million Bāṣkala fought in the conflict.
gajavājisahasraughair anekaiḥ parivāritaḥ
vṛto rathānāṁ koṭyā ca yuddhe tasminn ayudhyata
2.44 Encircled by streaming multitudes of elephants and horses, Parivārita fought in that battle with ten million chariots,
biḍālākhyo ‘yutānāṁ ca pañcāśadbhir
athāyutaiḥ yuyudhe saṁyuge tatra rathānāṁ parivāritaḥ
2.45 and he who is called Biḍāla, with five billion chariots surrounding him, engaged in combat there.
anye ca tatrāyutaso rathanāgahayair vṛtāḥ
yuyudhuḥ samyuge Devyā saha tatra mahāsurāḥ
2.46 Amid chariots, elephants, and horses, myriads of other great asuras battled with the Devī,
koṭikoṭisahasrais tu rathānām dantināṁ tathā
hayānāṁ ca vṛto yuddhe tatrābhūn mahiṣāsuraḥ
2.47 their countless chariots, elephants, and horses surrounding Māhiṣāsura there in the fray.
tomarair bhindipālaiś ca śaktibhir musalais tathā
yuyudhuḥ samyuge Devyā khaḍgaiḥ paraśupaṭṭiśaiḥ
2.48 With lances and javelins, spears and clubs, swords and axes, and sharp-edged spears, they fought with the Devī.
kecic ca cikṣipuḥ śaktīḥ kecit pāśāṁs tathāpare
Devīṁ khaḍgaprahārais tu te tāṁ hantuṁ pracakramuḥ
2.49 Some hurled spears while others threw nooses; intent on killing Her, they began an assault with their swords.
sāpi Devī tatas tāni śastrāṇy astrāṇi Caṇḍikā
lllayaiva praciccheda nijaśastrāstravarṣiṇī
2.50 But She, the Devī Caṇḍikā, showered down all manner of weapons and cut through their armaments as if in play.
anāyastānanā Devī stūyamānā surarṣibhiḥ
mumocāsuradeheṣu śastrāṇyastrāṇi ceśvarī
2.51 Praised by gods and seers, She remained serene, even while unleashing Her weapons at the asuras’ bodies.
so ‘pi kruddho dhutasaṭo Devyā vāhanakesarī
cacārāsurasainyeṣu vanesv iva hutāśanaḥ
2.52 Her lion-mount, shaking its mane in fury, stalked among the demon throngs as fire rages through a Forest.
niḥśvāsān mumuce yāṁś ca yudhyamānā raṇe ‘mbikā
ta eva sadyaḥ sambhūtā gaṇāḥ śatasahasraśaḥ
2.53 The sighs that Ambikā heaved while fighting became at once Her legions by the hundreds and thousands.
yuyudhus te paraśubhir bhindipālāsipaṭṭiśaiḥ
nāsayanto ‘suragaṇān Devīsaktyupabṛmhitāḥ
2.54 They fought with axes, javelins, swords, and sharp- edged spears, and drawing strength from Her power, they destroyed the demon hordes.
avādayanta paṭahān gaṇāḥ śankhāms tathāpare
mṛdaṅgāṁś ca tathaivānye tasmin yuddhamahotsave
2.55 Some of Her throngs beat war drums resoundingly, some blew conches, and others drummed upon tabors in their zest for battle.
tato Devī triśūlena gadayā śaktivṛṣṭibhiḥ
khaḍgādibhiś ca śataśo nijaghāna mahāsurān
2.56 Then the Devī, with Her trident, club, and volleys of spears, with Her swords and other weapons, slew great asuras by the hundreds
pātayāmāsa caivānyān ghaṇṭāsvanavimohitān
asurān bhuvi pāśena baddhvā cānyān akarṣayat
2.57 and brought down still more with the confounding din of Her bell. Binding other asuras with Her noose, She dragged them along the ground.
kecid dvidhākṛtās tīkṣṇaiḥ khaḍgapātais tathāpare
vipothitā nipātena gadayā bhuvi serate
2.58 Her swordstrokes slashed others in two, while crushing blows from Her mace brought still more down,
vemuś ca kecid rudhiraṁ musalena bhṛśaṁ hatāḥ
kecin nipatitā bhūmau bhinnāḥ śūlena vakṣasi
2.59 and those bludgeoned by Her club vomited forth blood. Others fell to the ground, pierced through the chest by Her trident.
nirantarāḥ śaraugheṇa kṛtāḥ kecid
raṇājire śalyānukāriṇaḥ prāṇān mumucus tridaśārdanāḥ
2.60 Her steady stream of arrows made some on that battlefield resemble bristling porcupines, and those tormenters of the gods breathed their last.
keṣāñcid bāhavaś chinnāś chinnagrīvās tathāpare
śirāmsi petur anyeṣām anye madhye vidāritāḥ
2.61 Some had their arms severed, others their necks broken. The heads of others rolled, and still others had their bodies ripped apart.
vicchinnajanghās tv apare petur urvyāṁ mahāsurāḥ
ekabāhvakṣicaraṇāḥ kecid Devyā dvidhākṛtāḥ
2.62 Great asuras, their legs cut from under them, toppled to the ground. Some, severed lengthwise by the Devī, were left one-armed, one-eyed, one-legged.
chinne ‘pi cānye śirasi patitāḥ punar utthitāḥ
nanṛtuś cāpare tatra yuddhe tūryalayāśritāḥ
2.63 While others there in the battle danced to the throbbing drums, those that She decapitated fell and rose again,
kabandhāś chinnaśirasaḥ khadgaśaktyṛṣṭipāṇayaḥ
tiṣṭha tiṣṭheti bhāṣanto Devīm anye mahāsurāḥ
2.64 headless bodies, still grasping swords, spears, and lances in hand. ‘Stop! Stop!’ other great asuras cried out to the Devī.
pātitai rathanāgāśvair asuraiś ca vasundharā
agamyā sābhavat tatra yatrābhūt sa mahāraṇaḥ
2.65 Where that great battle raged, the earth was impassable with fallen chariots, elephants, horses, and corpses.
śoṇitaughā mahānadyaḥ sadyas tatra visusruvuḥ
madhye cāsurasainyasya vāraṇāsuravājinām
2.66 Torrents of blood, like mighty rivers, gushed from elephants, asuras, and horses there in the midst of the demon army.
ksaṇena tan mahāsainyam asurāṇām tathāmbikā
ninye kṣayaṁ yathā vahnisṭṛṇadārumahācayam
2.67 In an instant, Ambikā led that vast legion of foes to its destruction, as quickly as fire consumes a heap of straw and wood.
sa ca simho mahānādam utsṛjan dhutakesaraḥ
sarīrebhyo ‘marārīṇām asūn iva vicinvati
2.68 And Her lion, roaring thunderously and shaking its mane, prowled about in search of life- breath still issuing from the enemies’ bodies.
Devyā gaṇaiś ca tais tatra kṛtaṁ yuddhaṁ tathāsuraiḥ
yathaiṣāṁ tuṣṭuvur devāḥ puspavṛṣṭimuco divi
2.69 So did the Devī’s hosts wage war against the asuras. So also did the gods in heaven shower down flowers in praise.”