Chapter 3: The Slaying of Mahiṣāsura
3.1 The seer said:
nihanyamānaṁ tat sainyam avalokya mahāsuraḥ
senānīś cikṣuraḥ kopād yayau yoddhum athāmbikām
3.2 “Now when he saw the army being slaughtered, Cikṣura, the great asura general, went forth in fury to battle with Ambikā.
sa Devīṁ śaravarṣeṇa vavarṣa samare ‘suraḥ
yathā merugireḥ śṛṅgaṁ toyavarṣeṇa toyadaḥ
3.3 He rained showers of arrows on the Devī in the combat, just as a raincloud showers the summit of Mount Meru.
tasya chitvā tato Devī līlayaiva śarotkarān
jaghāna turagān bāṇair yantāraṁ caiva vājinām
3.4 But easily shattering his volley, the Devī killed his steeds and charioteer with Her arrows.
ciccheda ca dhanuḥ sadyo dhvajaṁ cātisamucchritam
vivyādha caiva gātreṣu chinnadhanvānam āśugaiḥ
3.5 Like lightning, She slashed through his bow and highflying banner. Having destroyed his bow, She wounded him in the limbs with Her swift arrows.
sa chinnadhanvā viratho hatāśvo hatasārathiḥ
abhyadhāvata tāṁ Devīṁ khaḍgacarmadharo ‘suraḥ
3.6 With bow broken, chariot wrecked, and horses and charioteer slain, the asura, armed with sword and shield, rushed at the Devī.
siṁham āhatya khaḍgena tīkṣṇadhāreṇa mūrdhani
ājaghāna bhuje savye Devīm apyativegavān
3.7 First striking Her lion on the head with his sharp-edged sword, he violently struck the Devī’s left arm.
tasyāḥ khadgo bhujaṁ prāpya paphāla nṛpanandana
tato jagrāha śūlaṁ sa kopād aruṇalocanaḥ
3.8 O king, as soon as the sword touched Her, it shattered. Then, the great asura, his eyes red with rage, seized his blazing lance
cikṣepa ca tatas tat tu bhadrakālyāṁ mahāsuraḥ
jājvalyamānaṁ tejobhī ravibimbam ivāmbarāt
3.9 and flung it at Bhadrakālī, as though he were hurling the very sun from the sky.
dṛṣṭvā tad āpatac chūlaṁ Devī śūlam amuñcata
tac chūlaṁ śatadhā tena nītaṁ sa ca mahāsuraḥ
3.10 Seeing it approach, the Devī released Her lance and shattered the great asura and his weapon into a hundred pieces.
hate tasmin mahāvīrye mahiṣasya camūpatau
ājagāma gajārūḍhaś cāmaras tridaśārdanaḥ
3.11 When Mahiṣa’s mighty general lay slain, Cāmara, the afflictor of the gods, advanced, mounted on an elephant.
so ‘pi śaktiṁ mumocātha devyās tām ambikā drutam
hunkārābhihatāṁ bhūmau pātayāmāsa niṣprabhām
3.12 He dispatched his spear toward the Devī. Quickly Ambikā’s contemptuous outcry sent it hurtling powerless to the ground.
bhagnāṁ śaktiṁ nipatitāṁ dṛṣṭvā krodhasamanvitaḥ
cikṣepa cāmaraḥ śūlaṁ bāṇais tad api sācchinat
3.13 Seeing it fallen and shattered, the enraged Cāmara flung a lance, and that, too, She destroyed with Her arrows.
tataḥ siṁhaḥ samutpatya gajakumbhāntarasthitaḥ
bāhuyuddhena yuyudhe tenocchais tridaśāriṇā
3.14 Her lion then leapt up and, astride the elephant’s forehead, engaged fiercely in direct combat with the enemy of the gods.
yudhyamānau tatas tau tu tasmān nāgān mahīṁ gatau
yuyudhāte ‘tisaṁrabdhau prahārair atidāruṇaiḥ
3.15 Struggling, the two fell from the elephant to the ground, still locked in dreadful combat.
tato vegāt kham utpatya nipatya ca mṛgāriṇā
karaprahāreṇa śiraś cāmarasya pṛthak kṛtam
3.16 In a flash the lion sprang skyward, then alighted and severed Cāmara’s head with a single blow of its paw.
udagraś ca raṇe Devyā śilāvṛkṣādibhir hataḥ
dantamuṣṭitalaiś caiva karālaś ca nipātitaḥ
3.17 In the fighting the Devī assailed the asura Udagra with rocks and trees; and biting, punching, and slapping Karāla, She felled him, too.
Devī kruddhā gadāpātaiś cūrṇayāmāsa coddhatam
bāṣkalaṁ bhindipālena bāṇais tāmraṁ tathāndhakam
3.18 Enraged, the Devī crushed Uddhata to a pulp with the blows of Her mace. She killed Bāṣkala with Her javelin and Tāmra and Andhaka with Her arrows,
ugrāsyam ugravīryaṁ ca tathaiva ca mahāhanum
trinetrā ca triśūlena jaghāna parameśvarī
3.19 and with Her trident the supreme three-eyed Goddess slew Ugrāsya, Ugravīrya, and also Mahāhanu.
biḍālasyāsinā kāyāt pātayāmāsa vai śiraḥ
durdharaṁ durmukhaṁ cobhau śarair ninye yamakṣayam
3.20 With Her sword She struck Biḍāla’s head from his body, and with Her arrows She dispatched both Durdhara and Durmukha to the abode of death.
evaṁ samkṣīyamāṇe tu svasainye mahiṣāsuraḥ
māhiṣeṇa svarūpeṇa trāsayāmāsa tān gaṇān
3.21 While his army thus met destruction, Mahiṣāsura terrified the Devī’s hosts with his own buffalo form,
kāṁścit tuṇḍaprahāreṇa khurakṣepais tathāparān
lāṅgūlatāḍitāṁś cānyān śṛngābhyāṁ ca vidāritān
3.22 jostling some with his snout and pawing others with his hooves. Others he lashed with his tail and lacerated with his horns.
vegena kāṁścid aparān nādena bhramaṇena ca
niḥśvāsapavanenānyān pātayāmāsa bhūtale
3.23 He toppled some of them to the ground with the unleashed force of his bellowing and wheeling about, and the blast of his breath brought still others down.
nipātya pramathānīkam abhyadhāvata so ‘suraḥ
siṁhaṁ hantuṁ mahādevyāḥ kopaṁ cakre tato ‘mbikā
3.24 After destroying the great Goddess’s forces, Mahiṣāsura rushed forward to slay Her lion. At that, Ambikā became enraged.
so ‘pi kopān mahāvīryaḥ khurakṣuṇṇamahītalaḥ
śṛṅgābhyāṁ parvatān uccāṁś cikṣepa ca nanāda ca
3.25 But Mahiṣāsura, great in valor, struck the earth angrily with his hooves, flung mountains skyward with his horns, and bellowed frightfully.
vegabhramaṇavikṣuṇṇā mahī tasya vyaśīryata
lāngūlenāhataś cābdhiḥ plāvayāmāsa sarvataḥ
3.26 Under his frenzied wheeling, the trampled earth broke apart. Lashed by his tail, the ocean overflowed all around.
dhutaśṛṅgavibhinnāś ca khaṇḍaṁ khaṇḍarh yayur ghanāḥ
śvāsānilāstāḥ śataśo nipetur nabhaso ‘calāḥ
3.27 Thrashed by his horns, the clouds fragmented and dispersed. Tossed about on his blasting breath, mountains by the hundreds fell from the sky.
iti krodhasamādhmātam āpatantaṁ mahāsuram
dṛṣṭvā sā Caṇḍikā kopāṁ tad vadhāya tadākarot
3.28 When She saw the great asura approaching, inflated with rage, Caṇḍikā aroused Her wrath and prepared to slay him.
sā ksiptvā tasya vai pāśaṁ taṁ babandha mahāsuraṁ
tatyāja māhiṣaṁ rūpaṁ so ‘pi baddho mahāmṛdhe
3.29 She threw Her noose over him and bound him. Fettered thus in the fierce battle, the great asura left his buffalo form
tataḥ siṁho ‘bhavat sadyo yāvat tasyāmbikā śiraḥ
chinatti tāvat puruṣaḥ khadgapāṇir adṛśyata
3.30 and assumed the shape of a lion. No sooner had Ambikā severed his head than he appeared as a man with sword in hand.
tata evāśu puruṣaṁ Devī ciccheda sāyakaiḥ
taṁ khaḍgacarmaṇā sārdhaṁ tataḥ so ‘bhūn mahāgajaḥ
3.31 Instantly, with Her arrows the Devī cut him to shreds along with his sword and shield. Then he took the form of a great elephant
kareṇa ca mahāsiṁhaṁ taṁ cakarṣa jagarja ca
karṣatas tu karaṁ Devī khaḍgena nirakṛntata
3.32 and dragged Her mighty lion along with his trunk, but while he trumpeted loudly, the Devī chopped off his trunk with Her sword.
tato mahāsuro bhūyo māhiṣaṁ vapurāsthitaḥ
tathaiva kṣobhayāmāsa trailokyaṁ sacarācaram
3.33 Once more the great asura assumed his buffalo form and caused the three worlds, with all that is moving and unmoving, to tremble.
tataḥ kruddhā jaganmātā Caṇḍikā pānam uttamam
papau punaḥ punaś caiva jahāsāruṇalocanā
3.34 Angered, Caṇḍikā, the Mother of the worlds, drank a divine potion, and with eyes reddened She laughed again and again.
nanarda cāsuraḥ so ‘pi balavīryamadoddhataḥ
viṣāṇābhyāṁ ca cikṣepa Caṇḍikāṁ prati bhūdharān
3.35 The asura bellowed in return, intoxicated with his own might and valor, and with his horns he hurled mountains at Caṇḍikā.
sā ca tān prahitāṁs tena cūrṇayantī śarotkaraiḥ
uvāca taṁ madoddhūtamukharāgākulākṣaram
3.36 Her volley of arrows reduced them to dust. Her face flushed with inebriation from the divine drink, and She addressed him excitedly.
3.37 The Devī said:
garja garja kṣaṇaṁ mūḍha madhu yāvat pibāmy aham
mayā tvayi hate ‘traiva garjiṣyanty āśu devatāḥ
3.38 ‘Bellow, you fool, bellow for now while I drink this potion. After I have slain you, the gods will cheer in this very place.”’
3.39 The seer said:
evam uktvā samutpatya sārūḍhā taṁ mahāsuram
pādenākramya kaṇṭhe ca śulenainam atāḍayat
3.40 “Having declared that, She leapt upon the great asura, pinned his neck down with Her foot, and pierced him through with Her spear.
tataḥ so ‘pi padākrāntas tayā nijamukhāt tataḥ
ardhaniṣkrānta evāsīd Devyā vīryeṇa saṁvṛtaḥ
3.41 Trapped there under the Devī’s foot and crushed by Her might, he emerged half-way in his true form from his buffalo mouth.
ardhaniṣkrānta evāsau yudhyamāno mahāsuraḥ
tayā mahāsinā Devyā śiraśchittvā nipātitaḥ
3.42 Half-revealed and fighting still, that great asura fell to the Devī, beheaded by Her great sword.
tato hāhākṛtaṁ sarvaṁ daityasainyaṁ nanāśa tat
praharṣaṁ ca paraṁ jagmuḥ sakalā devatāgaṇāḥ
3.43 Then crying out in alarm, the whole demon army perished, and all the divine hosts exulted.
tuṣṭuvus tāṁ surā Devīṁ saha divyair maharṣibhiḥ
jagur gandharvapatayo nanṛtuś cāpsarogaṇāḥ
3.44 Together with the great heavenly seers the gods praised the Devī, the celestial musicians sang, and throngs of cloud-nymphs danced.”