The Markandeya Purana

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

This page relates “the slaying of sumbha and nisumbha concluded” which forms the 92nd 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 92 is included the section known as “the devi-mahatmya”.

Canto XCII - The Devī-Māhātmya: The slaying of Śumbha and Niśumbha concluded

The goddess descants on the merits of this poem and the beneficent results of reading and listening to it.—The gods regained their rights and the Daityas departed to Pātāla.—Her attributes and beneficence are extolled.

The goddess spoke:

And whoever with mind composed shall praise me constantly with these hymns, I will quiet down every trouble for him assuredly. And those who shall celebrate the destruction of Madhu and Kaiṭabha, the slaughter of the Asura Mahiṣa, and the slaying of Śumbha and Niśumbha likewise; and those also who shall listen[1] in faith to this poem of my sublime majesty on the eighth day of the lunar fortnight, on the fourteenth and on the ninth, with intent mind, to them shall happen no wrong-doing whatever, nor calamities that arise from wrong-doing, nor poverty, nor indeed deprivation of their desires.[2] Never shall he experience fear from enemies, from robbers, nor from kings, nor from weapon or fire or water-flood. Hence this poem of my majesty must be read by men of composed minds and listened to by them always with faith, for it is the supreme course of blessings. Now may this poem of my majesty quell all kinds of calamities, which arise from grievous pestilence,[3] and the three-fold portent. Where this poem is duly read constantly at my sanctuary, I will never forsake that place, and there my presence is fixed. At the offering of the bali, and during worship, in the ceremonies with fire, and at a great festival, all this story of my exploits must verily be proclaimed and listened to. I will accept with kindliness both the bali worship that is paid, and the oblation by fire that is offered, by him who understands or him who understands not. And at the great annual worship that is performed in autumn time, the man, who listens filled with faith to this poem of my majesty, shall assuredly through my favour be delivered from every trouble, and be blessed with riches, grain and children. From listening to this poem of my majesty moreover come splendid issues and prowess in battles, and a man becomes fearless.[4] When men listen to this poem of my majesty, enemies pass to destruction, and prosperity acorues and their family rejoices. Let a man listen to this poem of my majesty everywhere, at a ceremony for securing tranquillity, and after seeing an ill-dream and when planets are greatly eclipsed. Thereby portents turn into calm, and also dreadful eclipses of the planets, and also an ill-dream which men have seen; and a sweet dream appears. It produces peacefulness in children who have been possessed by the demon that seizes children,[5] and it is the best promoter of friendship among men when union is dissolved; it is the most potent diminisher of the power of all men of ill livelihood; verily through reading it, comes the destruction of Rākṣasas, goblins and Piśācas. All this poem of my majesty brings aman near unto me. And by means of cattle, flowers, arghya offerings and incenses, and by the finest perfumes and lamps, by feasts given to brāhmans, by oblations, by sprinkled water day and night, and by various other objects of enjoyment, by gifts yearly— the favour which comes by such means, such favour is won from me when this story of my noble exploits is once heard. When heard it takes away sins and confers perfect health. This celebration of me preserves created beings from future births, even this story of my exploits in battles, the annihilation of the wicked Daityas. When it is heard, no fear, that is caused by enmity, springs up among men. And the hymns which ye have composed, and those composed by brāhman ṛṣis, and those composed by Brahmā bestow a splendid mind.[6] He who is surrounded by a raging fire in a forest or on a lonesome road, or who is enoompassed by robbers in a desolate spot, or who is captured by enemies, or who is-prowled after by a lion or tiger or by wild elephants in a forest, or who is under the command of an enraged king, or who is sentenced to death, or who has fallen into bonds, or who is whirled around by the wind, or who stands in a ship in the wide sea, or, who is in the most dreadful battle with weapons falling upon him, or who is afflicted with pain amidst all kinds of terrible troubles— such a man on calling to mind this story of my exploits is delivered from his strait. Through my power lions and other dangerous beasts, robbers and enemies, from a distance indeed, flee from him who calls to mind this story of my exploits.

The ṛṣi spoke:

Having, spoken thus the adorable Caṇḍikā, who is fierce in prowess, vanished there, while the gods were gazing indeed on her. The gods also relieved from fear, their foes being slain, all resumed their own dominions as before, participating in their shares of sacrifices.

And the Daityas—when Śumbha, that most fierce foe of the gods, who brought ruin on the world and who was peerless in prowess, had been slain by the goddess in fight, and Niśumbha also great in valour was slain —all came to Pātāla.

Thus that adorable goddess, although- everlasting, yet taking birth again and again, accomplishes the safeguarding of the world, O king. By her this universe is bewitched she verily gives birth to the universe. And when besought, she bestows knowledge; when gratified, she bestows prosperity.

All this egg of Brahmā, O king, is pervaded by her, who is Mahākālī at Māhākāla,[7] and who has the nature of the Great Destroying Goddess.[8] She indeed is Mahāmārī at the fated time; she indeed is creation, the Unborn; she indeed the Eternal gives stability to created beings at their fated time. She indeed is Lakṣmī, bestowing prosperity on the houses of men while 37 she abides with them; and she indeed when she is absent becomes the goddess of Ill Fortune[9] unto their destruction. When hymned and worshipped with flowers, and with incense, perfumes and other offerings, she bestows wealth and sons, and a mind brilliant in righteousness.

Footnotes and references:


The Bombay edition reads stoṣyanti, “shall celebrate in song.”


Iṣṭa-viyojana; or “separation from loved ones.” Viyojana is not in the dictionary.


Mahā-mārī ; or “cholera.”


The text as it stands is incorrect, for parākrama is masc., and parākra-mam, acc., has no verb. I have read therefore parākramaś ca for parākra-mam ca. The Bombay edition reads tathotpattīḥ pṛthak śubhāḥ parākra-māṃś ca, and the commentary translates the verse thus—

“From listening to this poem of my majesty, and to my splendid diverse appearances in the-forms of the Energies, and to my feats of prowess in battles, a man becomes fearless.”


Bāla-graha; see canto li.


Or gatim, “course” or “issue.”


A shrine sacred to Śiva at Ujjain; see Raghu-Yaṃśa, vi. 32-34-; and. Megha-Dūta i. 34.


Mahā-mārī; see verse 7 above.



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