The Durgasaptashati as an Iconography of Bhagabati

The Durgasaptashati, call it the Chandipatha or the Devi Mahatyam, is one of the classical texts dealing with the Motherly Consciousness or the Mother Divine in a highly-pitched voice of admiration and invocation, so stupendously mythical and mystical, metaphysical and abstract, picturesque and imagistic, syllabic and mantric, sacred and sacrosanct, religious and ecclesiastical, metaphysical and theological at the same time we take to read the verses so divinely-inspired and extra-terrestrial, cosmic and transcendental taking us to a higher plane of consciousness. The Divine She, the Womb of Creation, how to explain it the Myths of the World if these lie in shrouded in mystery? How to unfold them? How to say it, who Durga is? There are so many names with which she may be called, remembered with the attributes assigned and the virtues ascertaining them. One hundred and eight names she has got it and so are their identifications attributed with and the iconography of it cannot be resolved so easily. Why is Uma, Sati, Gouri, Chandi, Kalika, how to say it even though the reasons are there? How to say it, are they different from each other or are the attributes of the same in different forms and characters? Some say it that the world is the lila, the spectacle, Play of the Divine. Is She some sort of Mystical Experience? What to say about the Unknowable and the Unseen? The Myths of Darkness, how to resolve them, how to explain them?

Call it Devi Mahatyam, Durga Saptasati or Chandi Patha is one of those classic texts of the Motherly Consciousness which really exalt and enthrall us taking to a higher plane of consciousness and purging through highly pitched mantric, syllabic, rhetoric rhythmic verses with the stress and accent taking a turn, rising high and falling during the spur of the moments of poetic recitation, commemorative of and written in the glory and praise of the Mother Divine, the Motherly Consciousness and as one of the treatises of Shaktism glorifying the victory of dharma over the asuric and satanic forces which lie they within in man in as such ego, hypocrisy, pride, lust, temptation and sin aggravated and accumulated busting, which we are blind to and unaware of while drunken with pelf and pride and muscle prowess and power. The kaash grassy flowers blooming, the cchatim trees in blossom with the bunches of blossoms hanging over, the seuli plants with the seuli tiny bloom specks fallen and littered around soaked in dew and moisture welcome and greet the arrival of the Devi during the autumnal time as if it were the Mother is coming, coming, coming, Bhagabati, Devi Durga is coming, coming, coming. The nights blanketed under the starry galaxy hearing the mystical mantras welcome the arrival of the deity under the shroud of mist and dew.

Mother, Mother Divine, how the Ways of Hers, the Ways of the Mother Divine, how to describe it? The four faces of the Mother Divine, call Her Mahakali, Mahalakshmi, Mahasaraswati or Maheshwari whatever like to call Her, She is Mystery Personified, She is Myth Mystified! She is Chivalry, Valour Personified, appearing as the Battle-queen, She is Third Eye Power, She is Some Force Annihilating!

A battle queen or a warrior? Who is this Durga? How Her names, mythical and mystical? Is it an invocation of the Divine, the Divine Spirit? How the Creational Matter? If everything is wrapped in mystery and supernatural, how to say? But whatever be it, the book is divine no doubt and has the power within. Is it the spirit of valour and chivalry taking to the higher planes of delving? Is it the victory of the self over evil forces of pride, hypocrisy, ego, falsehood, vice, sin, lust and greed? How to awake and arise the forces within? How to balance sin with piety on earth? But the devilish, demoniac forces need to be annihilated.

How the consciousness, the state, the plane of delving and dwelling far? Is She some spiritual force, the meditative contemplation, mythical feeling, mystical experience? What She is, Durga? Bhagabati? How the same Uma, Sati, Parbati in Her? What the myth of Gouri-Shankara? We do not understand, understand the Mystery of the World; the Mystery of Creation. Mahamaya, Mahamedha, Mahasmriti, She is Greater Illusion, Greater Intelligence, Greater Remembrance.

Durga Puja also heralds the change in climate and season, the beauty of light winter and the coming of winter, the harvest to be done, the yield to be collected when the tall grassy and stalked kaash blooms like the grey-beards and white-heads seem to be decorating the landscape, the tiny redolent seulis remain strewn with the blooms scattered around with the dew drops wetted it and the cchatim blooms scenting and under such a scenery She comes, comes.

Against the backdrop of autumn, the coming of the Devi Durga, Bhagabati, the embodiment of power, spiritual strength, She is the Third Eye-power force, She is valour, prowess, chivalry, annihilating force; She is intelligence, super intelligence; She is supersonic annihilating force. She is strength, inner strength.

What is She not? She is sound, sign, symbol. She is Kalratri, Maharatri, Moharatri, the great night of delusion, chaos and darkness, the greater night, the night of delusion, illusion and hallucination. How to understand the theological, cosmological, transcendental. cosmological, meditative, abstract, extraterrestrial, meditative, contemplative and celestial things? What She is? How the face of Hers? How to say it? She is Jagannamata, the Mother of the World, Bisweswari, the Goddess, Mother of the Universe. The whole world, the universe is the Creation of Hers.

Sacred and sacrosanct poetry born out of sadhna and a blissful state, the mantric, syllabic poetry which is but creational dispelling darkness within and around. The Eternal She, the Womb of Creation, the Mythical and Mystical She, how to analyze Her? She is Valour, Chivalry personified, She is Maya, Mahamaya, Kalratri, Maharatri; Jagannamata, Shivaduti, Maheshwari; the Night of Creation, the Great Night, the Night of Moha, Hallucination, Illusion. Call Her Mahakali, Mahalakshi, Mahasaraswati, Maheshwari or what you like to call with. To invoke Her has the beauty of its own. To awaken and invoke Her is definitely mystical in essence.

The idol-makers make the idol of Bhagabati, but how do they without training and learning? Ten-armed Durga with traditional arms and weapons with a lance into the Hands of hers to pierce into the chest of Demon Mahishasura arising from a  buffalo, but who this asuric fellow, the demon and devil? What the intention behind? Is he some force satanic and wild and untamable? Is he the beast, brute within man? Who has made him? Is it symbolic of bestiality, animal prowess, arrogance, physical pride, bloody nature, destructive force, greed and lust? Is She symbolic of daya, maya and karuna, kindness, illusion-infatuation for and pity? Is She symbolic of the Motherly Consciousness always protective? Is Mahishasura the dark spirit of the self, the dark consciousness of the heart? When drunken with power, pelf and arrogance, man understands it not. Man too is an animal as man too used to sacrifice children. We do not know it, how to say it? Some make the idols out of clay, some out of stone and some out of metals. It all depends on art and the artists making. However, may be the faith, but logic must be one’s guide; reason must counsel the mind of man.

Lord Shiva said it the hundred and eight names to Parbati which might please Bhagabati, as such Om Sati, Sadhvi, Arya, Durga, Adya, Trinetra, Satta, Satyanandswarupini, Devamata, Ameyavikrama, Lakshmi, Kalratri, Tapaswini, Karali, Shivaduti, Bhadrakali, Parameshwari and so on, each name with a connotation of own.

Om namaschandikaye
(I salute Om Chandika Devi.)

Markandeya asks Brahma to tell about the most secret thing which can save from all sides in the troublest periods and it will be as such which no one has got and in his answer to him, Brahma told about the covering which none can pierce, smash, the power unpierceable. The Goddess Bhagabati Herself is the Secret of the secrets, the Mystery of the mysteries. She is Herself the Greatest Weapon which can annihilate the most dreaded ones. And if She is happy with, none can annihilate. She is actually Power, Some Power unattainable so easily. The art of narration is extremely lyrical, in a tone of incantation, sound pitching high and low.  As thus, Brahma tells about the Navadurga, Nine Durgas, Nine Faces of Goddess Durga.

Prathamang Shailaputri cha dwitiyang Brahmacharini
Tritiyang  Chandraghantati Kushmandeti chaturthakam,
Panchamang Skandamateti shashthang Katyayaniti cha,
Saptamamang Kalratriti Mahagouriti shashtamam,
Navamang Siddhidatri cha Navadurgah prakrititah.

How do the names come up, Shailaputri, Brahmacharini, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skandamata, Katyayani,  Kalratri, Mahagouri, Siddhidatri, forming the images of Nine Durgas, Navadurga? Chamunda Devi, let She bless us, let She endow us with supernatural, metaphysical, mystical, spiritual powers. The four faces of the Mother Divine, Mahakali, Mahalakshmi, Mahasaraswati and Maheshwari, She is so blissful.

Again, Markandeya begins it as thus:

Om jayanti mangla Kali Bhadrakali kapalini.
Let Good Kali be our guide, the Good Kali with a wreath of human heads beheaded and threaded to wear it.

Vidyawantang yashawantang lakshmiwantang janag kuru,
Rupang dehi jayang dehi dwisho jahi.

Make me knowledgeable, famed, resourceful,
Give me shape, victory, fame, removing my internal enemies.

Let us see it again,

Achintarupcharite sarvashatruvinashini,
Rupam dehi jayang dehi dwisho jahi.

Goddess! Your face and character unconceived, you the annihilator of all enemies,
Give me shape, give me victory, give me fame, destroy you my inner foes.

What it is stated in Ratrishuktam is creational, nightly and interpreted through the nightly awe and anticipation.

Om visveswaring jagadhatring sthatisamharkarinim,
Nidrang Bhagabwating Vishnortulang tejashah prabhuh.

She is Visveswari, Bhagabati, Jagadhatri and for Her the Creation is upheld as thus.

Brahma said it,

Mahavidya mahamaya mahamedha mahasmritih,
Mahamoha cha bhavati Mahadevi mahashurih.
Prakritishtwang cha sarvasya gunatrayabhivawini,
Kalratrirmaharatrirmoharatrishcha daruna.

As the poetic discussion, it comes to that She is Kalratri, Maharatri, Moharati; She is Mahavidya, Mahamedha, Mahamaya, Mahasmritih.

Now we want to sum up with an excerpt from Tantrokta Devishuktam:

Ya devi sarvabhuteshu Vishnumayeti shabdita
Namastasye namastasyey namastasye namo namah.
Ya devi sarvabhutesu chetanetyabhidhiyate,
Namastasye namastasyey namastasye namonamah
Ya devi sarvabhuteshu buddhirupen sansthita,
Namastasye namastasyey namastasye namo namah.

How incantatory and awesme is it to invoke Goddess Durga, to comprehend the nature and beauty of the Divine! One which is as Intelligence, Learning, Light, one which is as Darkness, Nocturnal Force, I salute Her, salute Her, I bow, bow before Her, That Goddess, Shaktirupa, Power-force! One which as Vishu-maya, Illusion, Hallucination, Shadow, Profession, Slumber, Hunger, Pardon, Compassion, Peace, Glow, Wealth, Prosperity, Appeasement, Motherly Consciousness, I salute Her, salute Her! Say, where is She not? What is She not?

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More by :  Bijay Kant Dubey

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