Who is Mahalakshmi

Mahakali, Mahalakshmi and Mahasarasvati are threefold manifestations of Adya Shakti Mahamaya, the primal Devi. In Devi Mahatmyah, Devi says that whenever there would be any descripency due to the atrocities of Asuras, She would then and there take up a form to redeem the world.

"ittham yadā yadā bādhā dānavoktā bhavişyasi |tadā tadāvatiryāham karişyāmari sańśayam ||" (Devi Mahatmyah 11:55)

Accordingly, whenever need arises Devi manifests Herself and redeems us.

1) Anecdote of Mahakali-

"khaŕgam cakragadeşu cāpaparighān śūlam bhuśuņđīm śira: | śańkham sańdadhatīm karēstrinayanām sarvāńgabhūşāvřtām || nīlāśmadyutimāsyapādadaśkām seve mahākālikām | yāmastôcćyite harô kamalajo hantum madhum kēțabham ||"

She who holds in Her ten hands sword, discus, mace, arrow, bow, ploughshare, conchshell, trident, club and severed head; She who is three-eyed, who is adorned with all kinds of jewelry and radiant like a blue gem (i.e., of dark complexion); She who has ten faces and ten feet; She whom Brahmā prays to for destruction of Asuras Madhu and Kēțabha when Vişņu is deluded into a Yogic slumber, I meditate upon that Mahākālī.

At the end of Kalpa, when entire creation is dissolved by Rudra and the world turns into ocean, at that time Vishnu spreads the Naga Ananta as bed and reclines to regain energy for the next creation cycle. Due to the mystic spell of Adya Shakti Mahamaya, Vishnu gets deluded into a Yogic slumber, aloof of the events occurring around him.

During this period, in the former times, two great Asuras- Madhu and Kaitabha were born of Vishnu's earwax. They had terrible continence with red eyes. When they saw Brahma seated on lotus, they charged to kill him. Seeing the two Asuras charging at him, Brahma got scared and began to tremble. He turned to Vishnu for protection.

"Vishnu shall be your protector."- this is what Sadashiva had said after creating Brahma and Vishnu. But the same Vishnu was not in his senses at the moment. Brahma understood that in a worst case scenario such as this, only that Mahakali, who is primordial Shakti and seed of Maya, who has playfully subjected Vishnu to a Yogic slumber, could save him.

He called Devi with hymns. Appeased, Devi Mahamaya withdrew Her spell and appeared in full view. She was of dark complexion; three-eyed, four-armed, She carried sword and lotus while displaying Varabhaya Mudras and was seated on a lion. Her hair was unbound and a digit of crescent moon adorned Her crown.

Freed from Devi's spell, the illustrious Vishnu rose to power. Plunging himself into ocean, Vishnu wrestled with Madhu and Kaitabha interchangeably for five thousand Deva years. Gradually Vishnu got fatigued after wrestling continuously. On the other hand, Madhu and Kaitabha were still fresh as when one would wrestle, the other would rest and vice versa. Realising that Madhu and Kaitabha were invincible, Vishnu turned to Devi, who was witnessing the events from sky. Seeing Her devotee in peril, Devi glared at the two Asuras and enchanted them. They ceased wrestling and stared at Devi again and again.

Vishnu said "I am impressed with your martial prowess. Ask me for your desired boon." The haughty Asuras replied "We defeated you; you ask us for your desired boon." Seizing the opportunity, Vishnu said "if both of you are appeased with me, then let your death be at my hands; this is the only boon I desire."

Those two enchanted Asuras said "Oh Vishnu! Kill as in such a place which is not submerged in water." Vishnu said "so be it" and placing Madhu and Kaitabha on his lap, Vishnu beheaded them with his discus.

This way the highest Prakriti Mahamaya Mahakali slew Madhu and Kaitabha by making Vishnu instrumental.

2) Anecdote of Mahalakshmi-

"akşasrakparaśum gadeşukuliśam padmamdhanu: kuņđikām | dańđam śaktimasiņca carmajalajam ghaņțām surābhājanam || śūlam pāśasudarśane ca dadhatīm hastē: pravālaprabhām | seve sēribhamardinīmih mahālakşmīm sarojasthitām ||"She who holds in Her eighteen hands rosary, battle-axe, mace, arrow, thunder-bolt, lotus, bow, water-pot, staff, spear, sword, shield, conchshell, bell, wine-cup, trident, noose, and Sudarśana discus, I meditate upon that Mahālakşmī of formidable prowess, who vanquished Mahişāsura and is seated on lotus.

a) On appearance of Mahalakshmi-

In the year of yore, a Danava called Mahishasura became the king of Asuras. Under his leadership, a fierce battle was fought between Devas and Asuras for hundred human years, at the end of which Asuras prevailed. The defeated Devas were banished from their kingdom of Heaven.

Headed by Brahma, Devas went to Kailasa, where Shiva and Vishnu were already present. Devas narrated to the two Lords of their woeful defeat. As the spoke, the tranquil face of Shiva turned fiery out of rage and Vishnu knit his eyebrows in fury.

Then, from the enraged faces of Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra emerged fiery energies and combined into a single mass. Similar energies emerged from the faces of Devas and joined the mass. It shone brightly like a mountain of fire, scorching the ten directions. Gradually the immense mass of light transformed into a Divine Lady, who was the highest Shakti, Mahalakshmi Ugrachanda.

Her each and every limb was formed of the energy of deities. They offered Devi their weapons. Rudra gave trident, Vishnu gave discus, Brahma gave rosary & water-pot, Kala gave sword & shield, Agni gave spear, Surya gave his rays, Indra gave thunder-bolt, Airavata gave bell, Varuna gave conchshell & noose, Kubera gave wine-cup & mace, Samudra gave garland of lotuses, a lotus bud and ever-fresh garments, Himalaya gave a lion and jewels, Chandra gave digit of crescent moon, Ananta gave a snake-necklace, Yama gave staff, Maruta gave bow & arrows and Vishvakarman gave a battle-axe & an armour.

Armed with celestial weapons, Chandika laughed fiercely again and again. Seeing Devi, deities rejoiced and sages worshiped Her. They prayed to Her again and again to slay Mahishasura and redeem them.

Resonating the ten directions with fierce laughter, Devi descended on earth. Earth shook, mountains rocked, seas trembled and gails of winds blew as Devi rode into the realm of Mahishasura. "Ah! What commotion is this?"- exclaimed thus Mahishasura. Everywhere in the city of Danavas, ill omens were witnessed. This fueled Mahishasura's anger even more, to an extent that he mobilised his army and rushed to the place where Devi had stationed Herself.

Enchanted by Devi's beauty, Mahishasura sent an emisary with marriage proposal. "No matter how aroused a tigress is, she never consorts with a jackal. Similarly, forsaking the pleasure of Sadashiva's embrace, I would never take up a bestial beast born of a buffalo's womb."- said Devi in response.

And the hell broke loose.

Brandishing weapons like swords, spears, clubs, axes etc, holding the Danava lord's banners aloft, Asuras marched and laid a siege on the spot where Devi was stationed. They witnessed Mahalakshmi, death incarnate, whose crown touched the zenith and under whose weight the earth was sinking.

The great Asuras Udagra, Mahahanu, Asiloma, Vaskala, Parivarita, Vidalaksha etc, who were allies of Mahishasura, arrived with their respective four-fold armies consisting of foot soldiers, elephant corps, cavalry and chariots.

From all directions Asuras hurled various weapons at Devi. Drunk with wine, Devi laughed fiercely and countered weapons of Asuras with Her volley of arrows. The lion too out of fury, began to roam amidst the Asuras like forest fire, snatching away their lives.

As Devi heaved in fury, many soldiers armed with celestial weapons were born. These soldiers fell upon Asuras and started butchering them. They played on war drums and horns to mark war-celebrations. Devi fell many brave Asuras with Her trident, mace, arrows, sword, spear etc. Many fell dead due to Devi's bell, while others were bound by noose. Many Asuras lost their limbs while others were beheaded. The battle-field was stacked with heaps of the corpses of Asura soldiers, horses, elephants and broken chariots.

Like an amber reduces mountain of husk to ashes, likewise Mahalakshmi Chandika with utmost cruelty reduced the once great Asura army to nothingness.

b) On killing of Mahishasura-

When Chikshura, the general of Asuras witnessed the destruction of his army, he jumped into the battle-field to kill Chandika. He showered arrows at Devi and Devi countered them with Her own arrows. Thereafter She sliced Chikshura's bow, killed his horses & charioteer and broke his chariot with Her arrows. Chikshura attacked the lion with his sword and charged towards Devi; but She shot him with arrows. Enraged, Chikshura leapt with a spear; but Devi cut asunder his head with Her trident.

Seeing Chikshura dead, Chamara rode on an elephant. He hurled trident, spear, sword and mace towards Devi; but She countered these with Her arrows. The enraged lion of Devi leapt upon elephant's back and began to fight Chamara with paws. While wrestling with one another, both fell down but continued fighting. After a while, the furious lion gained speed and leaping in the air, beheaded the great Asura with a single stroke of his paw.

Devi killed Udagra with stones & trees and Karalasura with Her teeth & fists. She killed Uddhatasura with mace and Vaskala with club. She killed Ugra, Ugravirya & Mahahanu with trident, Vidalaksha with sword and Durdhara & Durmukha with arrows.

Upon seeing his great army slain, the buffalo Mahishasura snorted in fury, passed urine and began to torment Devi's Pramatha army. The soldiers ran amock as Mahishasura fell them with his snout, hooves, horns and tail. The earth shook under his hooves, clouds were stirred by his horns and seas were lashed by his tail, as the Danava charged towards Devi's lion. Upon seeing him thus, Devi bound the buffalo with noose. He immediately transformed into a lion and leapt towards Devi; but She beheaded him with Her sword. Mahishasura took a swordsman's form but Devi fell him with Her arrows; hence the man transformed into a giant elephant. As he bound the great lion with his trunk, Devi lopped off it with Her scimitar.

Mahishasura now took his real form (of a water-buffalo) and charged towards Devi. Snorting in fury, the buffalo uprooted mountains & boulders and hurled them towards Devi. She countered these with arrows and in fury began to drink wine. She laughed fiercely and proclaimed thus:

"garja garja kşaņam mūŕa madhu yāvat pibāmyaham | mayā tvayi hatehatrēva garjişyantyāśu devatā: ||" (Devi Mahatmyah 3:38)Oh fool! Snort to your heart's content till I drink this wine; for when I will slay you, Devas would rejoice.

Saying thus, Devi leapt upon the buffalo and impaled his throat with a trident and pressed his chest with Her feet. Tormented by Devi, Mahishasura began to emerge from buffalo's mouth. Wasting no time, Devi raised Her sword and beheaded that wicked Mahishasura with a single stroke. As the once mighty Danava fell dead at Devi's feet, the remaining Asuras fled to the underworld and Devas rejoiced. Apsaras danced, Gandharvas sang and Deva's praised Devi with hymns and worshiped Her.

Devi said "Devas, you have appeased me. What boons do you desire?" Devas said "Oh Mother Goddess! By slaying Mahishasura, you have given us everything. Please promise us that whenever we call you in the moments of distress, you would save us." Devi said "So be it." and vanished even as Devas watched. This is how, Mahalakshmi Chandika saved the world by slaying wicked Mahishasura.

3) Anecdote of Mahasarasvati-

"ghaņțā śūla halāni śańkha musale cakram dhanu: sāyakam | hastābjērdadhatīm ghanāntavilasacćītām śutulyaprabhām || gôrīdehasamudbhavām trijagatāmādhārabhūtām | mahāpūrvāmatra sarasvatīmanubhaje śumbhādi dētyārdinīm ||"She who holds with Her eight hands bell, trident, ploughshare, conchshell, club, discus, bow and arrow; She who is beautiful like full moon amidst the clouds; She who manifested from Pārvatī's continence and is the root cause of the three worlds; I meditate upon that resplendent Mahāsarasvatī, who is the slayer of Śumbha and other Dētyas.

a) On the appearence of Mahasarasvati-

Not long after the defeat of Mahishasura, the kingdom of heaven was taken away from Devas by the Daityas Sumbha and Nisumbha. They confiscated all weapons of Devas, the gems obtained from churning of ocean, drove Devas out of heaven and appointed Asuras to enjoy the Deva's share of Yajna.

Devas roamed on earth like humans and were in a pathetic condition. Roaming, they pondered thus "When we appeased Devi by worshiping Her in past, She had promised to redeem us from distressful situations. We should pray to that Devi Mahishasuramardini for redemption."

Thinking thus, Devas went to Himalayas and began to pray to Devi with hymns. Around this time, Devi Parvati appeared before Devas under the pretext of going to river Jahnavi for bath.

Devi asked "In this pathetic condition, whom are you praying to?" Before Devas could reply, an ethereal beautiful Lady sprang forth from Parvati's body and said "Defeated by Sumbha and tormented by Nisumbha, they are praying to me."

This Lady was extremely beautiful, having ten arms, fair complexion, three eyes and long unbound hair. This Devi was armed with weapons and was bejeweled. She wore a digit of crescent moon and rode a lion.

Having manifested from Parvati's skin cells, this Mahasarasvati Durga, the absolute truth, was also known as Kausiki. Since Durga had manifested from Parvati's fair complexion, Parvati turned dark in complexion and was know as Kalika.

Durga, the pinnacle of beauty had stationed Herself on the peaks of Himalaya and was served by a host of Sakhis. When Asuras Chanda and Munda, the allies of Sumbha and Nisumbha saw that resplendent Kausiki of smiling continence, they were enchanted. They went to Sumbha and described Devi's beauty. They said "O Sumbha! You are almighty and possessor of all celestial gems. This Lady is gem among women. Only you are worthy of enjoying her."

An enchanted Sumbha sent an emissary called Sugriva to Devi, with marriage proposal. The emissary said "The Daitya lord Sumbha has defeated Devas and snatched all riches from them. He is strong and invincible. He alone is worthy of enjoying the best of all. We consider you to be gem among women. Hence, please accept this proposal; either choose Sumbha or his younger brother Nisumbha and enjoy the celestial riches."

Devi laughed within Herself upon hearing Sugriva's words; but pretending to be coy, Devi said "Sir, Whatever you said is true indeed. Sumbha is strong and Nisumbha is brave, no doubt in that. But listen, oh emissary! As a child and due to vanity, I took a vow before my friends. Listen what vow I took-

"yo mām jayati sańgrāme yo me darpam vyapohati |yo me pratibalo loke sa me bhartā bhavişyati ||" (Devi Mahatmyah 5:120)He who would vanquish me in battle, he who would curb my pride, he who would be equal or greater to me in strength would be my husband.

Oh go to Sumbha and relay my message. Let him do what he deems fit."

Upon hearing these words of Devi, Sugriva was shocked and said "My lady! Sumbha, the lord of Daityas has defeated Devas with their collective forces. You are a woman! How will you withstand him? Please do as I say; accept this proposal. Otherwise if they drag you to Sumbha by your hair, it would be disgraceful for you."

Devi said "I know that it is too foolish of me. But what can I do? I cannot marry Sumbha unless my vow is fulfilled. Hence, without wasting any time, go immediately to Sumbha and convey my message to him."

b) On the killing of Dhumralochana-

Sugriva returned to Sumbha and conveyed Durga's message to him. Upon hearing about Devi's vow, Sumbha said "If that charming lady wants war, then let her have it. Go Dhumralochana and bring that Lady in my presence. If she resists, then bring her by force."

Soon Dhumralochana mobilised a regiment of foot soldiers and marched to the spot where Devi was stationed. On seeing Kausiki of fair complexion, Dhumralochana said "Go to Sumbha and serve him." Devi said "A she-elephant never covets a donkey. Likewise, I, Mahasarasvati, would never forsake Sadashiva for an ogre. Go tell that Daitya to flee to the underworld after handing over the Devas their rights and property, if his life is dear to him. Otherwise I would dismember his limbs with my arrows."

Upon hearing these words of contempt from Devi, Dhumralochana yelled "If you don't come along than I shall drag you to Sumbha by your hair." Devi laughed fiercely and said "Foolish ogre! If you try to force me, do you know what will I do with you?"

Dhumralochana had enough. He charged towards Devi with his sword raised high. Seeing that Asura, Devi opened Her third eye and with the flame born of it, reduced Dhumralochana to ashes.

Seeing their general dead, the Asura army began to shower their pointed weapons at Devi. But that Mahasarasvati Durga cut them off with Her arrows. Devi's mount, the great lion Somsnandin got furious and fell upon Asuras. Shaking his mane, the lion began to roam amidst the battlefield, snatching the lives of Asuras. He tore asunder many, drinking their blood, and ate the flesh of others. Within no time, the soldiers of Dhumralochana were killed. Those who survived, fled to Sumbha and told him about the killing of Dhumralochana.

Hearing their words, Sumbha got angry and told Chanda & Munda thus "Oh Chanda, oh Munda! Mobilise your fourfold army. Take your foot soldiers, elephants, chariots and cavalry to that place and bring that haughty woman in my presence forcibly, by dragging her by her hair. If anyone comes forward to protect her, kill them. If you suspect that woman, kill her as well."

Following Sumbha's orders, Chanda and Munda mobilised their army and marched to the battlefield.

c) On the killing of Chanda-Munda

As the Asuras reach the battlefield, all strewn with corpses of Dhumralochana's soldiers and blood & gore, they saw Devi Kausiki on the peak of snow-capped Himalayas, seated on the great lion and laughing while drinking wine.

The angered Asuras surrounded Devi from all directions and shouted slogans for Sumbha's victory. As Devi saw Asuras, She frowned as Her face turned pitch-black in anger. A form similar to Durga, having dark complexion sprang forth and stood in between Devi and Asuras.

That fierce Kalika of formidable prowess was clad just in tiger-skin and was four-armed, having three blood-shot eyes. Carrying a sword and a noose, She wore a garland of severed heads and was bejeweled, with disheveled hair and a crescent moon as crown. She had a huge body and laughed thunderously, resonating in the ten directions.

As Kali glared at some Asuras, they were reduced to Ashes. She charged towards Asuras, snatching elephants by their trunks and hurling them into Her gaping mouth. Likewise, Kali also ate up chariots, cavalries and foot soldiers. Some were crushed under Kali's feet, some were eaten up by Her; some were choked to death, some were torn asunder; some had their skulls broken with club, some were felled by sword.

Seeing the massacre of their armies by Kalika, Canda and Munda got angry. Chanda shot thousand arrows while Munda hurled thousand Chakras. That Kali of huge body, laughed fiercely and stood their with Her wide mouth open. All stood there shocked as they witnessed those weapons shiny as sun vanishing into the mouth of Kali of the complexion of thunder cloud.

Kali charged and caught hold of Chanda by his hair, and raising that sharp sword, She beheaded him. Seeing his brother dead, an angry Munda with brows knit rushed towards Kali. But She caught him by his neck and felled him with Her mighty sword. Seeing Chanda and Munda dead, the remaining Asuras fled for their lives.

Carrying the two heads to Durga, Kalika laughed fiercely and said-

"mayā tavātropahŕtô caņđa muņđô mahāpaśū | yuddhayağye svayam śumbham niśumbhańca hanişyasi ||" (Devi Mahatmyah 7:24)Oh Durge! In this Yajna of war, I offer you the heads of Chanda and Munda. Kindly annihilate Sumbha and Nisumbha yourself.

Hearing this, Kausiki of smiling countenance said "Oh Kalike! You have appeased me by slaughtering these two wicked ogres. By killing Chanda-Munda, you shall be henceforth be renowned as Chamunda Devi."

d) On the killing of Raktabija-

Upon hearing the news of Chanda and Munda's death, Sumbha's fury knew no bounds. He summoned the great Danava Raktabija, the elder brother of Mahishasura and said "Oh Raktabija! Go and kill that wicked lady who has caused so many causalities. Kill that Kalika and that lion as well. Take Kambojas, Kalakeyas, Mauryas, Daurhridyas and Dusahas along wih you."

As the great Asura army marched into the battle field, Durga made thunderous sound with the twang of Her bowstring and ringing of bell. Kali laughed fiercely and danced. The great lion roared loudly and demoralised the Asuras.

Seeing the massive Asura army march, Durga created Matrikas from Her own person. These Matrikas are Shaktis of all deities, having similar attributes and vehicles as the deities. Shakti of Brahma is Brahmi, Shakti of Shiva is Maheshvari, Shakti of Kartikeya is Kaumari, Shakti of Vishnu is Vaishnavi, Shakti of Varaha is Varahi, Shakti of Narasimha is Narasimhi, Shakti of Indra is Aindri and Shakti of Kausiki is Aparajita.

Seeing Durga surrounded by Matrikas, Shiva appeared before Mahasarasvati and said "Parameshani! If you are affectionate towards me, then kindly slay Asuras quickly and accomplish the task of Devas. For I am your slave, ever desirous of your embraces."

At this, Durga of formidable prowess smiled and said "Parameshvara! I am your beloved forever. Oh paramour! I shall slay Nisumbha and vanquish Sumbha. I shall spare their lives, provided they return the kingdom of heaven to Indra and go back to Patala. Out of love for me, Oh Lord, go to Sumbha and relay my message." Because Kausiki sent Shiva Himself as emissary, She became renowned as Shivaduti.

Shiva relayed Mahasarasvati Durga to Sumbha; but he refused Devi's offer. And with this began a fierce battle, that no one had ever witnessed. Asuras with their weapons held aloft fought fiercely. Brahmi flew on Her swan over the battle field, sprinkling water on Asuras from Kamandalu and making them impotent. Maheshvari on bull and Kaumari on peacock impalled Asuras with trident and spear respectively. Vaishnavi on eagle with discus, Varahi on buffalo with snout, Narasimhi with claws, Aindri on elephant with Vajra and Aparajita on lion with sword, cut asunder Asuras to pieces.

The onslaught of Matrikas was so severe that Asuras began to flee in all directions. Seeing this, a furious Raktabija shouted "Shame on you all! Do not fear these mere women and this puny lion. Come back and fight!" Hearing Raktabija's shouts, Aindri broke his head with Vajra. Blood flowed profusely and with each drop that touched earth, thousand of clones were born, having same form and powers as Raktabija. The Matrikas began attacking Raktabija and his clones with their weapons; but this worsened the situation. Outnumbered by millions of Raktabijas, Matrikas began to loose the battle.

Seeing this, Durga and Kali got extremely angry. Durga addressed Kali thus "Chamunde! Expand your lolling tongue all over the battle field and catch all the drops of blood. Let not a single drop stain earth any more. Devour all the Asuras I slay." Saying thus, Kausiki impaled Raktabija with trident. Kali spread Her tongue and began to drink blood. The lion Somanandin too began to devour the clones. Durga wounded Asuras with sword, trident, mace, discus, arrows, axe, goad and thunderbolt. While lion fell Asuras with his roars while Kali laughed ferociously and devoured them and drank their blood.

With all his clones dead and with all of Raktabija's blood drained, he rushed towards Kausiki to kill Her. Durga resounded with laughter and chopped-off Raktabija's head with a trident.

With Raktabija dead, Devis having drunk wine and blood, made merry by singing.

e) On the killing of Nisumbha-

On learning of Raktabija's death, a furious Sumbha and an enraged Nisumbha decided to fight Devi themselves. Upon entering the battlefield, Sumbha began fighting Matrikas while Nisumbha, biting his lips out of fury, fought with Durga and Kalika.

Arrows shot by Nisumbha were countered by Durga and Kali with their own arrows and vice-versa. When Kali snapped the string of Nisumbha's bow with Her arrow, the Daitya charged with a sword and a shield. Seeing this, Kali laughed, Durga rang blew Her conchshell and the lion roared. These sounds instilled fear among the soldiers but enraged Sumbha and Nisumbha. Sumbha uttered a blood-curdling roar; but it was smothered by Durga's laughter.

Nisumbha charged and attacked Kali and lion with his sword. Seeing this, a furious Kausiki broke the sword and shield with Her arrows. Nisumbha now hurled a spear; but Durga clove it with Her discus. Nisumbha hurled a club but Durga burned it with the flame of Her third eye. Nisumbha hurled an axe but Durga countered it with Her spear. All of a sudden, Durga pierced Nisumbha with arrows and knocked him unconscious.

Seeing this, Sumbha shot arrows at Durga; but She cut them with Her own arrows. Sumbha took a spear and charged at Durga; but She countered it with Her trident and rendered Sumbha senseless with Her club.

By then, Nisumbha regained his senses and hurled discuses at Durga; but She countered them with Her arrows. Nisumbha now rushed with a club; but Durga cut it with Her sword. Nisumbha prepared to attack with a spear; but Durga impaled him with Her trident. From Nisumbha's torn chest emerged a monster, desirous of killing Durga; but She cut off its hands and feet with Her sword. At last, Durga raised Her sword high and beheaded the monster, thus putting an end on Nisumbha.

Kali & lion devoured many Asuras and Matrikas killed many others. Thus Nisumbha's army was defeated.

f) On the killing of Sumbha-

Upon seeing his deer brother dead, Sumbha's fury knew no bounds. He glared at Durga with lips quivering out of anger and yelled at Kausiki thus "Cunning Durge! You should be ashamed of yourself. Taking help of other women, you defeated my Army." Hearing this, Durga laughed and said-

"ekēvāham jagatyatra dvitīyā kā mamāparā | paśyētā duşța mayeva viśantyo madvibhūtaya: ||" (Devi Mahatmyah 10:5)Oh wicked one! I alone exist and am non-dual. All these women are but my various Vibhūtis, even as the merge back into me.

Even as Sumbha watched, Kali and Matrikas merged back into Durga, as a drop of ocean merges back into it. She said "Now I stand all alone in this battle field. Come fight with me."

And then began a dreadful battle. Both Sumbha and Durga shot deadly arrows at one another and cut off each others arrows. Durga cut Sumbha's bow and laughed. At this, Sumbha took up a sword and a shield; but Devi cut it with Her arrows. Sumbha rotated a mace and hurled it at Devi; but She clove it with Her trident. Sumbha then took a trident and hurled it; but Devi rendered it useless with a shrill battle-cry. Sumbha hurled a spear, but Devi cut it with Her discus.

Having destroyed Sumbha's weapons, Durga laughed and blew Her conchshell. At this, Sumbha charged like a raging bull with his clenched fist raised. He punched Durga in the forehead; but Devi slapped Sumbha hard on the face, rendering him unconscious.

Sumbha rose quickly and seizing Devi, leapt up into the sky. In the mid air, a fierce battle was fought by Devi and Sumbha. After sometime, Kausiki of smiling continence caught hold of Sumbha's legs, whirled him and dashed him against the earth. Sumbha was immobilised for a moment, gasping for breath. Recovering quickly, Sumbha leapt skywards to kick Kausiki; but that Durga of formidable prowess, impaled Sumbha's chest with Her trident. Sumbha fell dead, shaking the earth along its seven continents, oceans and mountains.

With the death of the great Daitya, Asuras fled for their lives to Patala. Devas and sages rejoiced; Apsaras danced and Gandharvas sang. Devas worshiped Mahasarasvati and sang hymns in Her praise.

Appeased, the Mother Goddess Jagadhatri said "I am desirous of granting you boons. Ask for your choicest wish." Devas said "Hey Jagadambe! Whenever we are in trouble, be merciful to us and save us the same way you saved us by slaying Mahishasura and Sumbha."

Devi said "In the twenty-eighth Chaturyuga during the reign of Vaivasvata Manu, the Asuras Sumbha and Nisumbha would be reborn. To slay them, I shall incarnate from Yashoda's womb as Ekanamsha, the daughter of Nandagopa race. After accomplishing my task, I shall make Vindhya mountains my residence, and be renowned as Vindhyavasini.

When Ruru Daitya would wreck havoc, I would slay him in a horrible form. At that time, my teeth would get stained by Asura's blood and I shall be renowned as Raktadanta.

In future, when there would be a hundred year long drought, I will shed tears in a thousand-eyed form. Then I shall be known as Satakshi.

During the same time, a great famine would occur. I would then produce fruits, grains and vegetables from my own person and shall be renowned as Shakambhari.

The famine and drought would be cause due to the Daitya Durgamasura taking possession of Vedas. To retrieve Vedas from him and rid the world from troubles, I would slay him in a sixteen-armed form and shall be renowned as Durga, the slayer of Durgamasura. Later, when sages in Himalayas would be in trouble, I shall save them in the form of Bhima Devi of invincible exploits.

When trouble would arise due to Arunasura, I would slay him in the form of a swarm of bees and shall be renowned as Bhramari Devi.

When Dharma would be threatened by Bhandasura, I would incarnate as Lalita Tripurasundari and slay him.

When Darukasura would wreck havoc, I would incarnate as Ugra Tara and behead him. I would drink his blood and stop the slaughter of Asuras only when Shiva suckles my breasts as an infant. Vishnu as Buddha would be the first exponent of the worship of my Tara form, and under his tutelage, the Saptarishi Vashishtha would introduce my worship to the mankind in Kamarupa. I shall be renowned then as Kamakhya.

Thus, whenever trouble should arise due to advent of Danavas, I would incarnate and deliver the world from perils."

Saying thus, Devi returned to Her eternal abode Manidvipa.

Thus, Mahasarasvati Durga saved the world by slaying Sumbha and other Daityas. In future too, when troubles would arise, Adi Parashakti would incarnate as Mahakali, Mahalakshmi and Mahasarasvati to save us.