Lalitopakhyana (Lalita Mahatmya)

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

This page describes march of victory along with the army which is Chapter 16 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 16 - March of Victory along with the army

Hayagrīva continued:

1. “Then Lalitā, the great goddess, the mother of worlds, set out in order to conquer Bhaṇḍa Daitya, a thorn unto the three worlds.

2. She gathered together the seven oceans in the form of a Mardala (drum). The soldiers filled the sky with tremendously loud sound of the drum.

3-6. Many other instruments equally produced loud reports. They were of different types of drums[1] viz. Mṛdaṅgas, Murajas, Paṭaha, Ḍhakkā (A double drum), Līṅgaṇas (? [Līṅgaṇa?]) Selukas, Cymbals like Jhallarīs and Rāndhas[2], small druṃs of different shapes like Huḍukas (drums producing Huḍuk sound), Huṇḍukas, Ghaṭas, big drums like Ānakas, Paṇavas, Gomukhas, Ardhacandrikās, Yavamadhyas, Muṣṭimadhyas, Mardalas, Diṇḍimas, Jharjharas, Bharītas, those of the types of Liṅgyas and Āliṅgyas, Uddhakas, Etadaṇḍas, Niḥsāṇas, Barbaras, Huṃkāras, Kākatuṇḍas and other instruments of music. When the preparation for the battle started these musical instruments were sounded by the soldiers of Śakti.

7. A deity named Sampatkarī rose out of the goad, a missile of Lalitā Parameśānī. She moved on along with the other Śaktis.

8. Sampadīśvarī (i.e. deity Sampatkarī) was reddish in colour like the midday sun. She was served by many crores of rows of elephants, horses and chariots.

9. She mounted an elephant named Kaṇakolāhala. It was in a state of excitement, huge in size like a mountain. It appeared to relish a fierce battle.

10. A great army shouting fiercely followed her, hitting the thick clouds by the fluttering clusters of banners and emblems.

11. The horripilation of that deity Sampannāthā, hemmed firmly within her stout breasts, shone like her desire within her heart for an elaborate preparation for war.

12. A vibrant thin-bladed sword held in her hand shone dreadfully like the terrifying knitting of eyebrows of Kālanātha (God of death).

13. Excellent elephants, crores and crores in number, followed her like huge mountains blown by the portentous whirl-winds.

14. Then (the deity) Atitvaritavikrānti[3] (Extremaly speedy like Horse gallop) born of the lustrous weapon, noose of goddess Śrī Lalitā moved ahead, steated [seated] on a horse.

15. Along with her, an army consisting mainly of horses moved ahead digging and tearing the surface of the ground by means of their hoofs as though by means of hoes.

Their neighing sound reverberated.

16-22. Different kinds of well-bred horses having various auspicious marks followed her.[4] They were (designated according to their land such as) Vanāyujas, Kāmbojas, Pāradas, Sindhudeśajas, Ṭaṅkaṇas, Parvatīyas (of mountainous regions), Pārasīkas, Ghaṭṭadharas (of great stirring ability), Daradas, Kālavandijas, Vālmīkodbhūtas, Yāvanodbhūtas and Gāndharvas. There were horses of eastern territories, Kairātas, those born of frontier lands etc. They were well trained. They used to bear the riders properly. They had good speed. They were of steady minds. They could particularly comprehend the minds of their masters. They could withstand the rigours of great battles. They had many good characteristics. They had control over anger and fatigue. They had been trained well in the five different kinds of paces[5]. They were modest. They could gallop well. They had the auspicious marks (by means of curly hairs etc.) such as Phalaśukti, Śvetaśukti, Devapadma (Divine lotus), Devamaṇi (Divine gem), Devasvastika (Divine symbol of svastika), Svastikaśukti, Gaḍura (a kind of humplike bend) and Puṣpagaṇḍikā (smooth and flowery neck). The horses had all these auspicious marks and characteristics that could bestow victory and kingdom. They had the velocity of the wind.

23-28. The great goddess rode on a horse named Aparājita. It was exceedingly refulgent and it moved (fast). It had tall (and stately) figure. The bridle glistened in its mouth. Thick clusters of manes fell on either side and shone. It used to shake its bushy tail when the clouds were scattered all round. It shone brilliantly with the jewels and tinkling bells tied to its shanks. It appeared to produce loud sounds of musical instruments by fiercely stamping the ground with its hoofs. In order to achieve increasing victory, it appeared to sound the musical, instrument viz. the Earthly zone. Very frequently, it exhibited different kinds of (trotting and galloping) movements. When the chowries shook on either side, it appeared to possess wings, too. Its trappings and harness were very pleasant and fascinating.. Clusters of bells adorned it beautifully. The sound of these bells and trappings appeared to be its Huṃkāra (a roar of defiance) against the Asuras. The great goddess mounted this horse and proceeded ahead.

29. With her four hands she held the noose, the goad, the cane and the bridle of the horse. Her exploits shone splendidly.

30. She resembled the midday sun with blazing splendour of the girdle spreading everywhere. Seated on the horse, she moved up and down as though causing the horse to dance.

31. The loud sound of the War-drums of Śrīdaṇḍanāthā (the lady in command of the horse Army or cavalry) at the time of setting out, resembled the rambling sound of the agitated sea and deafened the entire universe.

32. A few Śaktis rose up with arms wonderfully hard as rocks. They pierced the ten quarters with terrible adamantine arrows.

33. A few fierce Śaktis of Śrīdaṇḍanāthā kept watch over the vanguard of the army (of Śrīdaṇḍanāthā). With swords and shields they leapt and sprang about.

34. Śaktis with canes in their hands tossed and struck them hundreds of times to avoid the jamming of soldiers. They moved about here and there.

35. The Śaktis moved in front holding aloft tall banners and flags marked with pictures of buffaloes, deer and lions.

36. Thousands of Śaktis held the white umbrella of Śrī Daṇḍanāthā with their lustrous hands and moved ahead.

Footnotes and references:


VV. 3-6 give a ist of musical instruments of the mediaeval period. Many of these are seen in the frescos and panels of cave-temple at Ajanta, Ellora, etc. Out of these Niḥsāṇa is a Sanskritisation of a Persian word. In Marathi historical records they are called ‘Niśāṇ’.


Here N. reads Jhallarī-saṅgha—A group of cymbals. ‘Jhariharas and carṣarītālas of the types of Liṅgya and Āliṅgya’—N. XI.5.


The goddess in charge of cavalry (of women, as these are śaktis) is significantly named “(a śakti capable of) extremely speedy horse-gallop”.


VV. 16-22 enumerate the different breeds of horses and the regions from which they came.


Such as Āskandita etc. sec Mallinātha’s comm. on Śiśupālavadha—V.60.

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