by Syama Charan Banerji | 1915 | 50,976 words
The English translation of the Brihaddharma Purana, one of the several minor or Upa Puranas, and represents an epitome of several important (Major) Puranas. In this book one can observe the attempts made to reconcile the three main forms of Hindu worship, viz. the Shaiva Vaishnava and Tantrika (worship of God in the form of Kali, Durga, Ganga, and ...
The gods descried a Bel tree at an unfrequented place which was difficult for ordinary men to approach. On one of its leaves they saw a tiny creature, resembling a newly born girl, asleep. Her complexion was like melted gold, and her beauty transcended all description. Her body was uncovered. They were delighted to see her, and prostrating themselves before her, chanted a hymn in her praise with the object of awakening and, at the same time, propitiating her. The hymn had the desired effect, and as soon as she arose from sleep, she assumed the form of a young woman; and the gods gave her the name of Ugrachanda Chandi.
She said, “I am well pleased with you. Tell me what you want.”
The gods apologized to her, for having awakened her from sleep and told her the object of their having done so, adding,
“As we have awakened you today which is the ninth day of the dark half of the month of Asvina and is presided over by the Ardra Nakshatra, we shall continue to worship you till Ravana is killed. As long as creation lasts, you will be worshipped in heaven, earth and the lower regions at this time every year”.
The Devi said,
“Let it be so. As you have awakened me, I shall do what you want. Kumbhakarna shall be killed today and the other Rakshasas will follow him in due course. Indrajit will be killed by Lakshmana on the last day of this dark fortnight (Amavasya). On the seventh day of the next fortnight (i.e., the light half) I shall enter into Rama’s arrow. His battle with Ravana will begin on the eighth day and will continue on to the ninth, on the afternoon of which day, the latter will fall. Rama’s delight will be at its highest on the tenth day. Worship me for fifteen days from to-day, and let this be done every year in future. From to-day, upto the sixth day of the next fortnight, people should worship me in the Bel tree, and then take me to their houses on the seventh. There I should be worshipped with various sacrifices and offerings upto the 9th day. All enterprises should be started on the tenth day. He who follows the above directions will be successful in all his undertakings, but he who disobeys them will undergo the tortures of hell, for a long time, himself, and put the gods and his forefathers to trouble.”
Rama duly killed Kumbhakarna that day; and the battle continued for nine days and nights, that is, upto the 2nd day of the ensuing light half of the month. During this period Indrajit, Makaraksha, Devantaka, and other great demon generals were killed, and Ravana himself proceeded to the battle field. Many crores of monkeys lost their lives, but Ravana’s loss was much greater, he having lost five lakh crore and sixteen thousand demon warriors in addition to innumerable horses, elephants and chariots. Many headless trunks danced and trunkless heads shouted forth roars of laughter, while rivers of blood carried millions of heads to the ocean; and the delight of crows who drank blood with uplifted heads, was unbounded.
The third day (Tritya) of the fortnight saw the commencement of the battle of Rama with Ravana. This battle raged with double the fierceness of the nine days’ battle mentioned above, and Rama showered a rain of arrows on Ravana. At last Rama took up a special bow of great size and strength with which ten arrows could be discharged at a time. At the time when Ashtami (eighth day of the fortnight) was in conjunction with Navami (ninth day), or, in other words, when the former was giving way to the latter, Rama discharged ten arrows, and, with them, severed all the ten heads of Ravana from his shoulder, but, lo! no sooner was this done, than the heads adjusted themselves to their proper places and joined with the necks as firmly as ever. Rama cut them off again to see them rejoined immediately after. This process was repeated one hundred and eight times before Ravana finally fell on the afternoon of Navami, shaking the earth to its foundation by his fall.
On the bright morning of Dasami (tenth day) Kama ordered Sita to be brought to him from her prison, and when she came, he found her reduced to a skeleton. The monkeys saw her and were struck with her divine beauty.
They took her to be another Lakshmi, and respectfully prostrating themselves before her, as if before a mother, said,
“Lo! this is the goddess whom we searched for in all the quarters of the globe, for whose sake Sugriva was blessed with Rama’s friendship and Bali was killed, for whom Lanka was burnt, and for whom the sea was bridged over. All hail Janaka’s daughter and Rama’s wife!”
Rama having expressed a doubt as to Sita’s having been able to maintain her chastity during her captivity, the latter gladly consented to undergo an ordeal by fire, but Brahma, Siva and other gods appeared on the scene and pleaded that the trial was beneath her dignity. They, with one voice, acclaimed that she was as pure as ever, and, thereupon, Rama embraced her with joy. Then Indra sprinkled divine nectar on the dead monkeys and bears, and brought them back to life.
Rama crowned Vibhishana as the king of Lanka, and, accompanied by him and all his followers, started for his kingdom where he was received by his subjects with delight.
Thus ended the glorious vow of Rama to fulfil his father’s promise, in the accomplishment whereof the sea was bridged over, and a temple erected in honour of the mighty Siva. After reigning for eleven thousand years he resumed his own form of Vishnu, and went back to his abode in heaven.
Footnotes and references:
Name of a constellation, or the sixth lunar mansion so called.