Lalitopakhyana (Lalita Mahatmya)

by G.V. Tagare | 1958 | 103,924 words | ISBN-10: 8120838246 | ISBN-13: 9788120838246

This page describes manifestation of mohini which is Chapter 10 of the Lalitopakhyana (or Lalita-Mahatmya), an important scripture within Shaktism embedded as the final part in the Brahmanda-Purana. It is presented in the form of a dialogue between sage Agastya and Hayagriva, which is incarnation of Vishnu and also includes the Lalita Sahasranama.

Chapter 10 - Manifestation of Mohinī

Hayagrīva said:

1. Then, on being accepted and assisted by lord Viṣṇu of great might, the exceedingly courageous Devas with Mahendra as their leader, became highly delighted.

2. Malaka and other Daityas had become adversely disposed towards Viṣṇu, so they were abandoned by Śrī (the goddess of glory and fortune). Hence, they were extremely dejected.

3. So the Daityas snatched away the golden vessel that contained the excellent essence of nectar and that had been held in his hands by Dhanvantari. Thereat a violent dispute arose between the Asuras and Devas.

4. In the meantime, Viṣṇu, the sole protector of all the worlds, earnestly propitiated Lalitā[1] whose form was in union with his own.

5. On seeing the dreadful battle between the Suras and Asuras, Brahmā went back to his own region and Śambhu remained in Kailāsa.

6. Vṛṣā (Indra) fought with Malaka, the leader of the Daityas. All the Suras fought with Asuras.

7. The lord (Viṣṇu), the leader of Yogins, propitiated Māheśvarī. By meditating solely on her, he became identical in form with her.

8. She fascinated and enchanted everyone. She was the very heroine incarnate of the sentiment of love. She was richly clad in a seductively charming dress and she was bedecked with all ornaments.

9. After stopping the terrific battle between the Suras and Asuras, she enchanted the Daityas with her smile and said:

10. “Enough of fighting. Of what avail are the weapons that tear and pierce the vulnerable points? Of what avail are vain and harsh utterances that cause parched throats?

H. I myself shall be the impartial Mediator between you and the heaven-dwellers. Both you and these Devas have worked strenuously in this enterprise.

12. I shall distribute this wonderful nectar equally among all of you. The excellent vessel of nectar should be handed over to me”.

13. On hearing those words of hers, the Daityas were deluded by her utterances. Foolishly they gave the vessel of nectar to her.

14. That lady of exquisite beauty that could fascinate the entire universe, made separate rows of seats for the Suras and Asuras.

15. Standing in between the two rows she spoke to the Suras and Asuras—“All of you be quiet. Everything will be given by me in due order”.

16. All of them unanimously accepted her statement. That lady powerful enough to delude the entire world, began to destribute.

17. She made clinking sounds with her golden ladle. The auspicious bangles jingled and tinkled. Equipped with beautiful ornaments, she shone like the most exquisite of all fine arts.

18. In her beautiful left hand that resembled a lotus, the pot of nectar shone brilliantly. At the outset, she served the nectar in the row of the Devas by means of her ladle.

19. Even as she was serving thus in due order, Saiṃhikeya (Rāhu) who was sitting in the middle (of the row of Devas) was pointed out to her by the moon and the sun. She cut him off with the hand holding the ladle. His head alone that had consumed the nectar went over to the sky.

20. Even after seeing it, the Asuras who were deluded remained quiet. In this manner, she distributed the entire quantity of nectar among the Devas. She placed the vessel in front of the Asuras and vanished.

21. On seeing the empty vessel, all the Daityas and Dānavas became excessively furious. They desired to fight too.

22. Indra and all other Suras had become stronger due to their imbibing the nectar. With their weapons they fought the weaker Asuras.

23. On being hit and pierced by the excellent Suras, hundreds of leading Dānavas went to the ends of quarters and many went to the Pātāla.

24. The lord of the Devas who was glanced at (favourably) by the goddess Śrī, conquered the Daitya named Malaka and got back his own glory.

25. After regaining his throne, Mahendra, the conqueror of demons, protected the three worlds as before, duly attended by the Suras.

26. As before, all the Devas roamed about as they pleased without fear, in the three worlds consisting of mobile and immobile beings. They were delighted in their minds for ever.

27. After observing these activities of Mohinī, sage Nārada, who was surprised very much and who used to move about as he pleased, went to Kailāsa.

28. He was permitted by Nandin to go in. He bowed down to Parameśvara (god Śiva). On being duly received by that lord, he was gratified and he took his seat.

29. When the sage who habitually sported about as he pleased, was seated, the great lord, the consort of Pārvatī, fair in complexion like crystal, asked him.

30. “O holy lord conversant with everything that has taken place, O divine sage who have sanctified the seat you occupy, O sage fond of provoking quarrels, what about the tidings there of the heaven-dwellers?

31. Who has won, the party of Suras or that of Asuras? What is the news regarding the Nectar? What is being done by Viṣṇu?”

32. On being asked thus by Maheśa, the excellent sage Nārada who was extremely delighted and surprised spoke.

Nārada said:

33. “O lord, you know everything because you are omniscient. Still, everything will be reported by me now, since I have been asked by you.

34. When such a terrible battle took place between the Daityas and the heaven-dwellers, Ādinārāyaṇa of glorious brilliance assumed the form of Mohinī.

35. On seeing that lady wearing grand splendid ornaments, the very embodiment of the sentiment of Love and Romantic feelings, the Suras and Asuras desisted from their active fighting.

36. The Daityas who were deluded by her Māyā, were requested (to hand back) the vessel of nectar. Immediately they gave it to her and made her the arbitrator.

37. After receiving it with a captivating smile, that goddess distributed the entire quantity of nectar among the Devas.

38. Not being able to see her because she had vanished and finding the vessel (of nectar) empty, the Daityas became furious. They with their faces blazing (flushed) with anger, rose once again to fight.

39. Since they had imbibed nectar, the immortal ones became more powerful with excessive exploits. Defeated by them and almost destroyed by them, the great Daityas went down to Pātāla.”

40-41. On hearing about this episode, the immutable lord of Bhavānī hurriedly sent away Nārada. Musing constantly on what he (Nārada) reported to him and being wonderstruck, he, accompanied by Pārvatī, but unknown to all his attendants (Pramathas) and (even) to Nandin, Skanda and Vināyaka, approached Viṣṇu.

42. On seeing Lord Śiva accompanied by his consort riding his vehicle (the bull) arrived at the shore of the (milky) ocean, Viṣṇu got up from his seat, the body?? the serpent (Śeṣa) and came over to him.

43-44. After getting down from his vehicle, Īśa stood there accompanied by Pārvatī. On seeing him Acyuta, Viṣṭaraśravas, (i.e. Viṣṇu) hastened to him. He received him duly with materials of welcome and worship. With great joy and love, he embraced the consort of Bhavānī very closely and asked him the purpose of his visit.

45-46. Māhādeva requested him—“O lord Puruṣottama, O glorious Lord and master of great Yogic practice, show me that beautiful form of excellent magnificence, charming in every respect, which had been assumed by you—the form that bewitched and fascinated everyone, and which surpassed the power of the mind (imagination) and of speech (being beyond description).

47. I wish to see that form of yours which is the presiding deity of the sentiment of love. It should, by all means, be seen by me. Indeed, you are like ṭhe divine cow that yields everything that is sought.”

48-49. On being repeatedly requested thus by Mahādeva, Hari the lord and master of great yogic practice, meditated with single-minded devotion on that (supreme deity), by meditating on whom that matchlessly miraculous form had been obtained by him (before). Smiling a little, he said,—“Be it so” and then vanished.

50. Śarva repeatedly sent his glances all round. Then he saw a beautiful garden in a certain place, the like of which had never been seen before.

51. The bees were drinking honey and amusing themselves among rows and rows of full blown blossoms. The quarters were rendered fragrant by the sweet smell from bunches of Campaka (Michelia Campaka) flowers.

52. Cuckoos were revelling and fluttering (by imbibing) the liquor-like nectar from bunches of mango blossoms. Peacocks were engaged in dancing sports among stumps of Aśoka trees.

53. The humming sound of the swarms of bees appeared to be superior to the note of lutes. The garden shone brilliantly on account of Pāṭalī (Trumpet flowers) red in. colour and having excessive fragrance.

54. It had an elegant charm with the clusters of the flowers of Tamāla (Xanthochymus pictorius), Tāla (palm tree) and Hintāla (Phoenix) appearing like a garland. It was welldecorated by means of unsplit splendour and magnificence of lotus blossoms in the ponds along the borders.

55. It abounded in full blown flowers and beautiful sprouts moving gracefully in the gentle breeze. It was rendered fragrant by the continued flow of sweet smell of flowers therein, that excelled even the flowers of heavenly tree Santāna.

56. A beautiful woman was seen at the foot of a Pārijāta tree, there in that garden full of flowers and pleasing to the minds of all people.

57. She was reddish fair in complexion like the rising sun. She was proud of her fresh youthfulness. (Defective text). Her feet, nails and lips were excellent and ruby-coloured.

58. By profuse application of the splendid red dye and lac, her feet were blood-red in colour. She was very charming; with lotus-like feet adorned with anklets producing sweet tinkling notes.

59. Her shanks were capable of suppressing the pride of the quiver of the hero Anaṅga (Lord of Love). She shone charmingly with her thighs resembling the trunk of an elephant as well as the stern of a plantain tree in complexion (as well as shape).

60. Her excellent buttocks were covered with a soft glossy silk of very fine texture and pink colour. She was very brilliant in appearance with big hips and loins.

61. A Golden girdle studded with freshly cut ruby stones heightened her beauty. From her navel of deep depression resembling a deep eddy, the beautiful lustre of her Trivalī (skin in three folds considered to be a symbol of beauty) rose up like waves.

62. Hundreds of pearl necklaces covered her breasts resembling buds about to burst open and moved about as if in swing. Her frail waist was pressed down by her weighty and excessively plump breasts.

63. She had arms tender like the Śirīṣa (Acacia sirissa) flowers. She was bedecked in bangles and bracelets. In her fingers she had rings. Her neck was beautiful like the well polished conch-shell.

64-65. Her chin was curved and shone like a mirror. Her lips were red in colour. Her bright shining white teeth were set in beautiful rows. They resembled the moon. They had the lustre of jasmine bud. She appeared to reveal and radiate moonlight. She shone with nose-rings[2] with big pearls.

66. Her braid of hair tied up neatly and adorned with the inner petals of Ketaka flowers shone well. Her eyes were long and fascinating. Her forehead resembled half the disc of the Moon. Her beautiful forelocks were neatly arranged.

67. Her ears were adorned with ear-rings studded with rubies beautifying the tips of the ears. The betel leaf preparation that she was chewing was rendered fragrant by scented juice, camphor and musk.

68. Her face was as sweet as the disc of beautiful autumnal moon; the mark on her forehead made of Kastūrī (musk) shone gorgeously. She had beautiful tresses of hair thickly grown and bluish black in colour.

69-71. The saffron powder applied on the parting line in the middle of the head increased her lustre. Her ornament Uttaṃsa (a chap let-like ornament worn on the crown of the head) shone like the digit of the moon. Her eyes were tremulous with excessive rapture. She was in extremely romantic and amorous guise bedecked in all sorts of ornaments. On seeing that lady engaged in playing with her ball with the jewels (jewelled ornaments like bangles etc) swinging to and fro, Īśvara (Śiva) immediately left Umā and ran after that lady.

72. On seeing her beloved husband running thus, Umā was very much shaken by surprise. She censured herself and her beauty, overwhelmed with shame and envy, she stood there silently with the head bent down.

73. Śiva caught her somehow and embraced her frequently. Shaking him off repeatedly, she too ran far away.

74. Seizing her once again, Īśa who was completely under the influence of the god of Love embraced her impetuously. His semen dropped down then.

75. Mahāśāstā, the lord of great strength, was born therefrom. He was capable of dispelling the arrogance of many crores of leading Daityas.

76. Due to the contact with the drops of that semen, O suppressor of Vindhya mountain, the earth assumed the colour of silver and gold instantly at different places.

77. Similarly that deity Viśvamohinī (the enchantress of the universe) vanished. Turning back in the company of Gaurī, Giriśa (Śiva) too went to his mountain.

78. I shall tell you a wonderful thing, O husband of Lopāmudrā. Listen, this has been in my heart. It has never been revealed to anyone.

79. Formerly, there was a demon named Bhaṇḍāsura. He was the leader of all Daityas. He had harassed Devas formerly in various ways as he pleased, since he was very clever.

80. From his right shoulder he created a Daitya named Viśukra who was capable of protecting his species. He was on a par with Śukra and conversant with all thoughts.

81. He created Viṣāṅga of defiled crest from his left shoulder. Bhaṇḍa, the Dānava, created a sister too named Dūminī.

82. In the company of his brothers of fierce valour, this demon killed all his enemies. With increased heroism and prowess he hit and hurt the entire cosmos.

83. On seeing him enkindled in spirit and splendour, Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Maheśa began to flee immediately. They stayed in their respective abodes permanently.

84. At the very same time, stupefied on being thrashed by his arms, the groups of heaven-dwellers found themselves incapable of even breathing.

85-86. Utterly bewildered and frightened some of them hid themselves deep within the nether worlds; some in the waters of the ocean; some in the corners of different quarters and some in bushes (on the tops) of mountains. They abandoned their wives, women-folk and children. The Ṛbhus (i.e. Devas) lost their offices of power. They began to roam about in disguise.

87. Bhaṇḍa considered everyone no better than a blade of grass—every one namely Yakṣas, great serpents, Siddhas and Sādhyas, although they were highly arrogant of their ability to fight. He did not mind even Brahmā, Padmanābha (Viṣṇu) and Rudra as well as Indra, the wielder of thunderbolt. Thus Bhaṇḍa ruled over all the worlds.

88-90. It was to kill Bhaṇḍāsura and to protect the three worlds, O sage, that the third form (of the goddess.) rose up from the fire of great sacrifice. They called the goddess of this form Lalitā and Parā devatā (the supreme Deity). Her four arms are adorned with Pāśa (noose), Aṅkuśa (goad), Dhanus (bow) and the highest Śakti, having her form identical with the supreme Brahman. Adept in conducting warfare, she killed Bhaṇḍa the leading Daitya in a battle.

Footnotes and references:


This being the glorious story of Lalitā, Viṣṇu is shown to have propitiated Lalitā to assume the enchanting form of Mohinī. No other Purāna mentions this.


The mention of nose-ring shows that this work (Lalitopākhyāna) must be later than the 10th cent. A.D. (P. K. Gode had adduced adequate evidence to prove this). Rock-cut temples and frescos of pre-10th cent. period do not show nose-rings.

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