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The Devi Mahatmya’s Teaching through Myth

Myth is a very effective ancient way of teaching. What cannot be conveyed through philosophical discussions and logical debates can be transmitted more easily through myth and metaphor. Sacred myth speaks in multiple ways both rational and non-rational. In such regard The Devi Mahatmya presents different levels of truths as follows:

  • At one level The Devi Mahatmyam chronicles the battle between The Devi and the asuras.
  • At another level The Devi Mahatmya deals with the battle of life.
  • At yet another level The Devi Mahatmya deals with the inner battle between The Divine and the demoniac forces within the human psyche, between the positive and negative.

Symbolic Significance of Battlegrounds

The battlegrounds represent human consciousness.

The events symbolize individual experiences.

  • The demons are symbolic of the psychic forces within the shadow. They represent all the evils in the external world that have been internalized. Whatever has been internalised in turn again manifests externally in one’s life.
  • The Divine Mother Is our own True Being, our inherent Divinity and Wholeness.
  • Her clashes with the demons symbolize the outward and inward struggles we face daily.
  • The Devi, Personified simultaneously as The One Supreme Goddess and also The Many Goddesses, Confronts the demons of ahamkara or ego (one’s mistaken notion of who one is or what one identify oneself with), of excessive tamas and rajas, that in turn give  birth to other demons of excessive craving, greed, anger and pride, and of incessant citta vrttis (compulsive inner thought processes springing from past karmic residue).
  • In the ultimate sense the dichotomy between the bad and the good is also a false one. There is no duality both good and bad are part of one single paradoxical reality, which The Devi Mahatmya drives home beautifully.