Lalitopakhyana (Lalita Mahatmya)

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

This page describes flight of vishanga which is Chapter 25 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 25 - Flight of Viṣaṅga

Note: This chapter describes how Nityā Śaktis repulsed the surprise attack on the rear of the army by demons under Viṣaṅga, under cover of darkness.

Hayagrīva continued:

1. “Thereafter, on hearing the killing of those (Daityas) though they had the power of Penance, Bhaṇḍa, the great Asura, sighed deeply like the Lord of Black serpents.

2. Desirous of victory in the battle, Bhaṇḍa of fierce haughtiness, called his brothers and took counsel with them in a solitary place.

3. The crown prince too in the company of Viṣaṅga, the younger brother, made obeisance to Bhaṇḍāsura and went to the counsel chamber in anger.

4. With his mind turbulently agitated (the lord of Daityas) held consultations with his very trustworthy ministers beginning with Kuṭilākṣa regarding the conquest of Lalitā.

Bhaṇḍa said:

5. “Alas! the downfall of Daityas (enemies of the Suras) is imminent. Powerful fate has begun to be indifferent now.

6. The heaven-dwellers used to run away even at the very mention of the names of my servants. This adverse calamity has befallen such great men as we were.

7. Durdhātā (wicked fate) and the inevitable future convert a strong man into a eunuch, a rich man into a poor man and a man of longevity into one without long life.

8. Where (how powerful) is the intrinsic strength of our arms? Where is woman, the wicked Lalitā? This cruel decision has been arrived at by Fate suddenly and unexpectedly.

9. The generals who had become excessively aggressive on account of Māyā of Sarpiṇī, have been struck down in the battle ground by her whose heroism is of extraordinary nature.

10. If a woman who possesses unrestricted pride thus and who makes use of Māyā strikes at us, fie upon our strength earned by the use of powerful arms.'

11. My tongue feels ashamed to (have been compelled to) speak of this context. Should a woman of wicked pride suppress and smash my army?

12-13. Hence, in this connection, let endeavour be made for cutting off her roots. Her activity has been understood by me through spies. That woman of great strength stays behind all the armies. The army consisting of horses, elephants, chariots etc. is moving in front.

14. In this very opportune moment make an arrangement for someone to attack her from the rear. Perhaps Viṣaṅga may be competent enough to carry out this task of attacking her from the rear.

15. Let fifteen generals who had proudly served in many battles and who are genuinely proud of their rich experience as veterans, go along with him with earnest desire for war.

16. She has not many attendants in the back. She is perhaps guarded by a few. For that very same reason, she can easily be taken captive.

17. Hence, O Viṣaṅga, make an elaborate preparation and be aggressively proud of it. Carry out the attack from the rear, very cautiously and secretly.

18. Only a limited number of soldiers need accompany you. But let some valorous generals proud of their conquest of the guardians of cardinal points come with you fully equipped.

19. Let fifteen Akṣauhiṇīs of soldiers proceed ahead (in the usual manner). But in a disguise, you pounce upon that wicked woman and kill her.

20-25a. She alone is the greatest root cause of all Śaktis. If she is exterminated along with the roots the entire troop of Śaktis will perish like the cluster of leaves of a lotus in the water when the bulbous root at the bottom is cut off.

A brilliant chariot is moving on behind all other chariots. The body of. that chariot is ten Yojanas in height. A great umbrella studded with pearls shines above all. It carries in it four Cāmaras frequently moved to and fro. Its lofty flag staffs scrape the region of clouds. That wicked fawn-eyed woman is coming in that chariot. After finding her out by means of these signs, you quietly pounce upon her. Defeat that woman of evil conduct. Drag her by the tresses and smash her.

25b-29. When the army of great intrinsic strength has proceeded ahead, that woman guarded by only women will soon come under your control.

Listen to the names of generals who shall assist you and whose duty it is to help you in the war, without any lethargy.

The first one is Madanaka by name. Dīrghajihva is the second. Then the following:

Humbaka, Hulumulla, Kalkaśa, (v.l. Karkaśa), Kalkivāhana, Pulkasa, Puṇḍraketu, Caṇḍabāhu, Kukkura, Jambukākṣa, Jṛmbhaṇa, Tīkṣṇaśṛṅga, Trikaṇṭaka, Candragupta, (v.l. Caturgupta in Supra 21.80). These are the fifteen generals mentioned.

30. These generals of great strength, begṃning with Madana, will come with you. Each of them will have an Akṣauhiṇī (of army) with him.

31. Carry out this attack from the rear by doing everything in closely guarded secret, so that the enemy’s camp does not understand your movement.

32. In this matter you adopt the maturity (of experience) of great men. O Viṣaṅga, you will attain excellent victory”.

33. After the work of deliberation was thus completed, Dānava Bhaṇḍa with many wicked ministers despatched Viṣaṅga well guarded by the generals.

34. Then, when the younger brother of the crowned prince began an attempt to attack from the rear on Śrī Lalitā Devī, the sun came to the mountain of setting.

35. When the first day of the war was over, the first day that was terrifying to all the worlds, darkness set in with a desire to drive it out.[1]

36. A dense darkness that had smoke-like colour like that had the lustre of the body of a wild Boar and that had the splendour of the blue throat of a peacock spread everywhere.

37-42a. It was as if rolled into a lump among the bushes; it seemed to run through the joints; it appeared to come out from thousands of crevices of the earth; it appeared to come out densely from the caves of mountains; whenever at any place the light of lamps spread it appeared to act like a coward; it was given support as it were in the lustre of the blue lotus on the ears of women; it seemed to have combined together in the mature elephants of the quarters as well as in collyrium; it appeared to have secured the friendship of the shining verdant meadows; it appeared to have the loving embrace of glittering swords; it appeared to have secretly penetrated the thickly grown trees of the forest. Gradually the dense darkness increased and spread everywhere. The entire universe was enveloped by ḍarkness that appeared to have the lustre of thé blue bodice and jacket of the woman (in the from of) night.

42b-46a. To the wicked Asuras, the night time (is favourable as it) contributes their increase in strength, as their skill in the use of Māyā is enhanced in it.

When the assemblage of ḍarkness increases like the splendour of polished swords, the army was deployed (into action by the highly powerful Viṣaṅga).

The generals beginning with Damana put on dark-coloured coats of mail. They wore dark-coloured turbans. All their equipments were ḍark-coloured. It seemed as if they became one with dense darkness. They went behind Viṣaṅga after he had made obeisance to the elder brother.

46b-50a. He was desirous of conquering Maheśvarī (the great goddess). He put on round his chest the armour named Meghaḍambaraka [Meghadambaraka?]. His dress and accoutrement were fitted for the nocturnal battle. In the same manner, the entire army too had dark-coloured armour and other things.

No Dundubhi was sounded. The roaring rumbling sound of the Mardala was not heard. The sound of Paṇavas, Ānakas and Bherīs did not rise up. Enveloped in darkness, they proceeded ahead with concealed movements that could not be seen by the enemies. They had taken their swords out of their scabbards.

50b-54. Through the northern path they surrounded the army of Lalitā that was proceeding towards the west. They then resorted to the eastern part. They proceeded ahead slowly and cautiously at every step without making any noise even in breathiṅg. Taking their steps very slowly, they went back once again in the direction of the city. There they pointed out the army of Lalitā to their own people who asked about it. For the purpose of attacking the rear, Dānavas returned quietly with the armours covering their bodies. They saw the lofty chariot Cakrarāja that resembled the mountains Meru and Mandara and was surrounded by the excessively refulgent Śaktis.

55-56. There (he saw) the goddess in the excellent chariot staying under the umbrella studded with pearls. She resembled a thousand suns (in refulgence). She was seated facing the west. She was being served by Kāmeśvarī and other “Nityā” deities who had the same affluence as she herself, through pleasant conversations and other pastimes in their excellent chariot.

57-58. She was eagerly and joyously looking at the great army proceeding ahead. Viṣaṅga considered that lady who had been preparing for an extra-ordinary battle in such circumstances (as mentioned before) as the goddess herself. That wicked-souled Daitya attacked the rear of that leading Chariot with his soldiers.

59. It was there that the encircling army of Śaktis beginning with Aṇimā (potency of assuming minute form) and hundreds of soldiers beginning with Aṇimā made a great tumultuous sound.

60-65. The Dānavas of great inherent strength started war in diverse ways smashing (the army of Lalitā) by means of sharp-edged spears, hammers, javelins hurled with hands, Bhuśuṇḍis (a sort of missile) and through spears named Śaktis the blows from which were as ruthless as those of thunderbolt. The group of Śaktis seated in that chariot became suddenly excited and agitated when their enthusiasm for the battle was suddenly upset, when their bodies were afflicted by adverse circumstances. By that time the demons had come and occupied the ninth step of the leading chariot Cakranātha. With invisible weapons called Vipāṭas they began to split and tear.

The troop of Śaktis was caught in a difficult situation. Their vulnerable points were wounded when the armours were hit and split by the arrows of Dānavas whose forms were hidden by darkness and whose weapons and coats of mail were invisible. Hence the troop of Śaktis lamented before Lalitā. A great fear beset them as before.

66-68. On hearing about this, Lalitā became furious. In the meantime Bhaṇḍa who was fierce as well as efficient in secret manoeuvres, sent Kuṭilākṣa of great prowess along with ten Akṣauhiṇīs of soldiers to the battle-field for destroying the army of Lalitā. Kuṭilākṣa fought a great battle in such a way that the army proceeding ahead could not return on hearing the tumultuous sound from behind.

69-70. Thus, the battle was two-sided both in the rear as well as in front. There was a great chaotic and tumultuous sound int the army of Śaktis. The Daityas who are powerful at night were enveloped in darkness and were highly haughty, brought about a great deal of disorder in the camp of the goddess.

71. Crores and crores of enemies (of Dānavas) fell down, after being girt and bound by evil-souled Viṣaṅga, the generals beginning with Madana (Damana) and the excellent soldiers,

72. The chariot Cakrarāja encircled by the volleys of arrows and (hundreds of other) missiles of Daityas shone like a lordly mountain surrounded by flights of cranes.

73. An arrow discharged by the vicious-souled Viṣaṅga who had occupied the lowest step (of the chariot) shattered the royal fan of the goddess.

74. When the troops of Śaktis became bewildered by this accidental mishap, the Nityā deities, the chief of whom was Kāmeśvarī became excessively furious.

75. On observing the lotus-like face of Śrīdevī marked by the brows knitted slightly, the Nityā deities became greatly worried and exerted themselves all the more.

76. These Nityā deities were Kālasvarūpiṇīs (having time units for their forms). Everone of them had a Tithi (Lunar day) for her physical form. On seeing the fury of the empress, they exerted themselves for the fight.

77. They bowed to the goddess the great queen of great dignity and magnificence. With their voice choked on account of their eagerness for fighting that had risen in them suddenly they spoke.

78-79. Tithinityā deities said:

“O Empress, O goddess of the Devas, cowardly and vicious Daityas eagerly devoted to Māyā and deceit are prepang to attack your army sent ahead and guarded well by great Śaktis beginning with Daṇḍinī, Mantranāthā and others. By attacking from the rear they are pressing hard the excellent chariot.

80. Hence, we shall suppress the pride of the enemies of gods who have concealed their bodies behind darkness. Just observe it for a few moments.

81. There are two Nityā deities: one Vahnivāsinī, the other Jvālāmālinī. In the battle with the light kindled by them both, Daityas will be clearly seen by us.

82. After suppressing the pride of these Daityas engaged in attacking from the rear, we shall immediately return, to serve the lotus-like feet of (Your Highness). Command us, O great queen for the suppression of vicious fellows”.

83-84. When this was submitted by the Nityā deities, she said, “Let it be so”. Then the deity Nityā named Kāmeśvarī bowed to goddess Lalitā. It was she who was sent by them to kill those Daityas of evil conduct who were bent upon fraudulentine war. She assumed a face reddened due to anger and blazing like the rising sun. She kept her bow ready drawn and said.

85. “O sinful fellows, stop. You are engaged in fraudulent war after getting the help of darkness. I shall cut you off”.

86. She taunted them thus. After extracting arrows from the quiver, she stepped down (from the last rung) while her movement faltered a little due to anger.

87. Other Nityā deities too moved on, such as Bhagamālā and others. They had bows in their hands. They too got down from the step.

88. The Nityā deities Jvālāmālinī and Vahnivāsinī got ready for the battle. They brightened the battle field by means of their refulgence.

89. When the area of the battle was thus illuminated, the wicked Dānavas became excessively furious as their bodies, could be seen clearly.

90. Those fifteen Nityā deities beginning with Kāmeśvarī with weapons in their hands and roaring like Hons smashed Daityas easily as though in a play.

91. There in the battle-field a great tumultuous sound arose as though the waves of the ocean were lashing at the shores, when it was stirred by the Mandara mountain (while churning for Amṛta).

92. Those Nityā deities drew their Prāṇakodaṇḍas (life-breath-bow). With their arms where bangles were moving to and fro they commenced a dreadful war.

93. The battle thus went on for three Yāmas (watches; one Yāma—three hours). The Akṣauhiṇīs were killed by the sharp arrows of Nityā deities.

94-97. At first with her arrows Kāmeśī killed the the wicked Damana (Madana). Bhagamālā tore up the general Dīrghajihva. The deities Nityaklinnā and Bheruṇḍā killed Humbeka and Hulumallaka (v.l. Halamulluñca supra

III.iv.22-79). Vahnivāsā killed Kaklasa (v.L Karkaśa) with her sharp arrows. With her arrows Mahāvajreśvarī split up Kekivāhana (v.l. Kalkivāhana). Śivadūtī sent Pulkasa to the abode of Yama (god of Death). Tvaritā tore asunder Puṇḍraketu with mighty arms. The Nityā deity Kulasundarī killed Caṇḍabāhu and Kukkura.

98. Nīlapatākā and Vijayā proud of their victory made a sacrificial offering of Jambhaṇa in the battle-field. The Nityā deity Sarvamaṅgalikā chopped off Tīkṣṇaśṛṅga. The Nityā deity Jvālāmālinī killed the terrible Trikarṇaka (i.e. Trikaṇṭaka).

99-101. Citrā killed Candragupta (v.l. Caturguptu) of great evil conduct.

When all the wicked generals had been killed, Viṣaṅga became extremely angry. The powerful Daitya moved ahead. When only two ghaṭis remained of the last Yāma of the night for two Ghaṭikās that vicious fellow fought with the Nityās. In view of the impossibility of victory he wished to run away.

102. Viṣaṇga’s armour was split by the sharp arrows issuing from the bow drawn by the hand of Kāmeśvarī. He became bewildered in his mind very much. He fled along with the soldiers who survived killing.

103. This wicked Dānava was not killed by them because he was to be killed only by Daṇḍanāthā’s arrow, the refulgence of which was like that of the staff of Kāla.

104. When the wicked Viṣaṅga, the brother of Bhaṇḍa fled, the night too dawned. All the cardinal points became bright.

105. “It is not proper to chase a warrior who flees from the battle-field”. Thinking thus, the Nityā deities refrained from fighting at that time.

106. The Nityā deities who were proud of their victory and whose bodies were drenched in blood oozing from the wounds made by the weapons of Daityas, bowed down to goddess Śrīlalitā.

107-109. Thus a great terrifying battle took place there at night. On hearing the news the great queen looked at the forms of Nityā deities wounded by the weapons. She glanced at them with her merciful side-glance. By that mere glance all the wounds were healed. Lalitā became pleased with the exploits of Nityā deities.

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

Here ends the first day of the battle.

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