The Markandeya Purana

by Frederick Eden Pargiter | 1904 | 247,181 words | ISBN-10: 8171102237

This page relates “the eulogy of the goddess” which forms the 91st chapter of the English translation of the Markandeya-purana: an ancient Sanskrit text dealing with Indian history, philosophy and traditions. It consists of 137 parts narrated by sage (rishi) Markandeya: a well-known character in the ancient Puranas. Chapter 91 is included the section known as “the devi-mahatmya”.

Canto XCI - The Devī-Māhātmya: The Eulogy of the Goddess

The gods offered a hymn of praise to the goddess.—She granted them the boon that she will always become incarnate and deliver the world whenever it is oppressed by demons.

The ṛṣi spoke:

When the great lord of the Asuras was slain there by the goddess, Indra and the other gods led by Agni offered praise to her, Kātyāyanī, because they had gained their desire;[1] and their faces shone forth, and their hopes became manifest.[2]

“O goddess, who removest the sufferings of thy suppliants, be gracious!
Be gracious, O mother of the whole world!
Be gracious, O queen of the universe! safeguard the universe!
Thou, O goddess, art queen of all that is moveable and immoveable!
Thou alone hast become the support of the world,
Because thou dost subsist in the form of the earth!
By thee, who existest in the form of water, all
This universe is filled, O thou inviolable in thy valour!
Thou art Viṣṇu’s energy, boundless in thy valour;
Thou art the germ of the universe, thou art Illusion sublime!
All this world has been bewitched, O goddess;
Thou indeed when attained[3] art the cause of final emancipation from existence on the earth!
All sciences are portions of thee, O goddess;
So are all females without exception in the worlds[4]!
By thee alone, as mother, this world has been filled!
What praise can there he for thee? Thou art beyond praise, the sublimest expression![5]
When as being the goddess, who constitutes every created thing,
And who bestows Svarga and final emancipation from existence,
Thou are praised—for thy praise again
What sublime words can be sufficient?
O thou, who abidest under the form of Intelligence
In the heart of every living creature;
O goddess, who bestowest Svarga and final emancipation from existence,
O Nārāyaṇī, reverence he to thee!
Thou in the form of minutes, moments and other portions of time,
Dost bring results to pass;
O thou who art mighty in the death of the universe,
O Nārāyaṇī, reverence be to thee!
O thou who art beneficent with every happiness,
O lady auspicious, who accomplishest every petition,
O giver of refuge, O Tryambakā, O brilliant one,
O Nārāyaṇī, reverence be to thee I
O eternal goddess, who constitutest the energy
Of creation, permanence and destruction,
O thou abode of good qualities, who consistest of good qualities,
O Nārāyaṇī, reverence be to thee![6]
O thou who ridest in a heavenly car yoked with swans,
Who assumest the form of Brahmāṇī.[7]
O goddess who sprinklest kuśa-grass-steeped water,[8]
O Nārāyaṇī, reverence be to thee!
O thou who boldest a trident, the moon and a serpent,
Who art borne on a huge bull,
With the natural character of Māheāvarī,[9]
O Nārāyaṇī, reverence be to thee!
O thou who art attended by the peacock and cock,
Who bearest a great spear, O sinless one;
O thou who takest thy station in Kaumārī’s[10] form,
O Nārāyaṇī, reverence be to thee!
O thou who holdest as thy finest weapons
A conch, discus, club, and the bow Śārṅga,
Be gracious, O thou who hast Vaiṣṇavī’s[11] form;
O Nārāyaṇī, reverence be to thee!
O thou who graspest a huge formidable discus,
Who hast uplifted the earth with thy tushes,
O auspicious one, who hast a hog-like form,[12]
O Nārāyaṇī, reverence be to thee!
O thou who in the fierce man-lion[13] form
Didst put forth thy efforts to slay the Daityas,
O thou who art connected[14] with the deliverance of the three worlds,
O Nārāyaṇī, reverence be to thee!
O thou who hast a diadem and a great thunderbolt,
Who art dazzling with a thousand eyes,
And who tookest away Vṛtra’s life-breath, O Aindrī,[15]
Nārāyaṇī, reverence be to thee!
O thou who with the nature of Śivadūtī[16]
Slewest tḥe mighty hosts of the Daityas,
O thou of terrible form, of loud shrieks,
O Nārāyaṇī, reverence be to thee!
O thou who hast a face formidable with tushes,
Who art decorated with a garland of heads,
O Cāmuṇḍā, who grindest shaven heads,
O Nārāyaṇī, reverence he to thee!
O Lakṣmī, Modesty, Wide-Knowledge!
O Faith, Nourishment, Svadhā, Immoveable!
O Great-Night, Great-Illusion![17]
O Nārāyaṇī, reverence be to thee!
O Mental-Vigour, Sarasvatī, Choice One!
O Welfare, Wife of Bahru,[18] Dark One!
O Self-controlled Queen, be thou gracious!
O Nārāyaṇī, reverence be to thee![19]
O thou who hast the Dature of all, Queen of all!
O thou who possessest the might of all!
From terrors save us, O goddess!
O goddess Durgā, reverence be to thee!
Kindly is this thy countenance,
Which is adorned with three eyes;
May it guard us from all created things!
O Kātyāyanī, reverence be to thee!
Formidable with flames, exceedingly sharp,
Destroying the Asuras without quarter,
May thy trident guard us from fear!
O Bhadrakālī, reverence be to thee!
Thy bell, that fills the world with its ringing
And destroys the glories of the Daityas,
May thy bell guard us, O goddess,
Even us like,children from sins!
Besmirched with the blood and fat of the Asuras
As with mire, gleaming with rays,
May thy scymitar be for our welfare!
O Caṇḍikā, to thee we bow!
Tbou destroyst all sicknesses, when gratified;
But when wrathful destroyed all longed-for desires.
No calamity befalls men who have sought unto thee!
They who have sought unto thee become verily a refuge themselves!
This slaughter that thou hast now wrought
On the great Asuras who hate righteousness, O goddess,
By multiplying thy body in many forms,—
O Ambikā, what other goddess achieves that?
In the sciences, in the scriptures, which need the lamp of discrimination,
And in the ancient sayings, who but thou
Within the pit of selfishness, wherein is exceeding great darkness,
Causes this universe to whirl about most grievously?
Wherever dwell Rākṣasas and virulently-poisonous Nāgas,
Wherever foes exist, wherever the powers of the Dasyus,
And where flaming fire appears amid the ocean,
There abiding thou dost safeguard the universe!
O queen of the universe, thou safeguardest the universe!
Thou hast the nature of the universe, for thou upholdest the universe.
Thou art the lady worthy to be praised by the lord of the universe. They are
The refuge of the universe, who bow in faith before thee!
O goddess, be gracious! Protect us wholly from fear of our foes
Perpetually, as thou hast at this very time saved us promptly by the slaughter of the Asuras![20]
And bring thou quickly to rest the sins of all the worlds
And the great calamities which have sprung from the maturing of portents!
To us who are prostrate he thou gracious,
O goddess, who takest away affliction from the universe!
O thou worthy of praise from the dwellers in the three worlds,
Bestow thou boons on the worlds!”

The goddess spoke:

I am ready to bestow a boon. O ye hosts of gods, choose whatever boon ye desire in your mind; I grant it as a thing that benefits the worlds.

The gods spoke:

O queen of all, complete thou[21] thus indeed the pacification of every trouble of the three worlds, and the destruction of our enemies.

The goddess spoke:

When the twenty-eighth age has arrived, in the Vaivasvata Manvantara, two other great Asuras shall be born, Śumbha and Niśumbha. Then born as the offspring of Yaśodā’s womb in the cowherd Nanda’s house, and dwelling on the Vindhya mountains, I will destroy them both. And again becoming incarnate in a very terrible form on the face of the earth, I will slay the Vaipracitta[22] Dānavas; and when I devour those fierce and great Vaipracitta Asuras, my teeth shall become red like the flowers of the pomegranate. Hence the gods in Svarga and men in the world of mortals praising me shall always talk of me as “Red-toothed.”[23]

And again after a period of a hundred years during which rain and water shall faū, praised by the munis I shall be born, but not womb-begotten, on the earth. Then because I shall behold the munis with a hundred eyes, mankind shall therefore celebrate me as “Hundred-eyed.”[24]

Next, O ye gods, I shall support[25] the whole world with the life-sustaining vegetables, which shall grow out of my own body, during a period of heavy rain. I shall gain fame on the earth then as Śākambharī;[26] and in that very period I shall slay the great Asura named Durgama.

And again when taking a terrible form on mount Himavat I shall destroy Rākṣasas for the sake of delivering the munis, all the munis bowing their bodies reverently shall laud me then; hence my name “The terrible goddess”[27] shall become celebrated.

When Aruṇākṣa[28] shall work great trouble in the three worlds, I shall take a bee-like form, the form of innumerable bees, and shall slay the great Asura for the welfare of the three worlds, and folk shall then extol me everyone as Bhrāmarī.[29]

Thus whenever trouble shall arise caused by the Dānavas, at each such time I shall become incarnate and accomplish the foes’ destruction.

Footnotes and references:


For iṣṭa-lambhād read iṣṭa-lābhād with the Bombay edition.


The Bombay edition reads vikāśi-vaktrābja-vikāśītāśāḥ, which means much the same.


Prapannā; but p rasannā, “well-pleased” in the Bombay edition is better.


The Bombay edition reads—

striyaḥ samastāḥ sakalaṃ jagacca.

So are all females, and so is the whole world.”


Paroktiḥ; or “the expression of the sublime.”


The Bombay edition inserts a verse here—

O thou who art the Supreme Way for the salvation
Of those that seek refuge, of the woe-begone and of the afflicted!,
O goddess who takest suffering away from every one,
O Nārāyaṇī, reverence be to thee!


The Energy (śakti, fem.) of Brahma. The swan is his vehicle.


The Commentary translates kṣarikā as kṣepaṇa-kāriṇī or ā-śektrā.


The Energy (śakti) of Maheśvara or Śiva. The trident, moon and serpent are his emblems and ornaments, and the bull is his vehicle.


The Energy of Kumāra or Kārttikeya. The peacock is his vehicle, and the cook is an attendant of his parents, Śiva and Pārvatī.


The Energy of Viṣṇu. The conch, discus, club and how are his weapons.


The Energy of Viṣṇu in his incarnation as a hoar.


The Energy of Viṣṇu in his incarnation as a lion-headed man.


Another reading is Trailokya-trāṇa-mahite,

“O thou who art honoured with the deliverance of the three worlds.”


The Energy (śakti) of Indra, the slayer of Vṛtra. The diadem is his ornament, the thnnder-bolt his weapon, and he has a thousand eyes.


See canto lxxxvii, verse 25.


The Calcutta edition reads “Wide-knowledge” again here.


I.e., Śiva.


The Bombay edition inserts a verse here—

O thou, the limit of whose hands and feet is everywhere,
Whose eyes and head and mouth are everywhere,
Whose ears and nose are everywhere;
O Nārāyaṇī, reverence be to thee!


For yathā swa-badhād read yathāsura-badhād.


For tvathā read tvayā.


The descendants of Vipracitti.






I.e., nourish.


“Herb-bearing” or “Herb-nourishing.”


Bhīmā Devī.


Or Aruṇāhhya in the Bombay edition; “When the Asura named Aruṇa shall work, &o.”


“The bee-like goddess.”

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