by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 1,763,776 words
This page describes Greatness of Camatkari Durga which is chapter 64 of the English translation of the Skanda Purana, the largest of the eighteen Mahapuranas, preserving the ancient Indian society and Hindu traditions in an encyclopedic format, detailling on topics such as dharma (virtous lifestyle), cosmogony (creation of the universe), mythology (itihasa), genealogy (vamsha) etc. This is the sixty-fourth chapter of the Tirtha-mahatmya of the Nagara-khanda of the Skanda Purana.
It was by her that the demon in the form of a buffalo (Mahiṣa) was killed in battle. The demon who could wield thousands of Māyās was defeated by the goddess who adopted the Kaumāra Vrata (holy vow of celibacy).
When the noble-souled king built the city there, O Brāhmaṇas, she too was installed there for its protection.
4. She was there for guarding that city and to protect all the leading Brāhmaṇas, the inhabitants of that city, because they had purified their minds by means of devotion.
5-6. If any one adores her duly on the day of Mahānavamī, he will not have any cause of fear during the entire year from goblins, corpses, ghosts, vampires, enemies in particular, illness, thieves, wicked people or others.
7. A man should be pure in body and mind on the eighth lunar day in the bright half of the month. Whatever he thinks of at the time of worshipping devoutly, he attains it undoubtedly.
8. The truth has been averred by me that by the grace of the goddess a person (worshipping her) without any desire will undoubtedly attain liberation from Saṃsāra quite easily.
10. One who is endowed with faith and scrupulously circumambulates her every day for a year, can avert being born in a brutish womb.
11. Listen attentively. I shall narrate unto you the great miracle that happened formerly in her shrine.
12. Formerly there was an excellent king named Citraratha. was well-known as, the overlord of the Dasārṇa country and as the slayer of all enemies.
13. Always on the eighth lunar day of the bright half of the month, he faithfully and devoutly circumambulated the goddess a hundred and eight times.
14. Thereafter, he used to bow down to the goddess and then go home surrounded on all sides by his army consisting of the four divisions.
15. Thus, a great deal of time passed by even as the leading king continued to be devoted to the goddess scrupulously making the circumambulations.
16. Once, when that king went there, he saw some excellent Brāhmaṇas resting in the shrine of the goddess.
17. Then the king circumambulated the goddess and bowed down with concentration to all the Brāhmaṇas stationed before.
18. Thereafter, he sat down along with them (listening to) the narration of splendid stories of saintly kings and ancient Brāhmaṇa-sages.
19. At the conclusion of one story-session, the king was asked as he stood there politely by those excellent Brāhmaṇas who were very curious (to know the king):
20-22. “O king, we are asking you out of curiosity. Hence recount in detail if there is no secret about your engagements. Always, in every month, on the eighth lunar day in the bright half, you come here from a very distant place and carry out your rite of circumambulation. You carefully avoid all other pious rites such as worship etc. Indeed you may be knowing the entire benefit that accrues from circumambulation.”
The king said:
23. This is the truth, O excellent Brāhmaṇas; what you say is true. Even a secret has to be shared with you by narrating it to you.
24. Formerly I was a parrot in this splendid shrine of the goddess. I had built a nest in the western section of the temple and lived there.
25. Every day I went out of the temple and returned later. This constituted a circumambulation of the goddess, O excellent Brāhmaṇas.
26. In due course death overtook me here in the temple itself. As a result thereof, I was reborn as a king with the power to recollect the previous birth and activities.
27. That is the reason why, O excellent Brāhmaṇas, I come here over a long distance and circumambulate the goddess with concentration and mental purity.
28-29. Earlier I had no devotion at all, and I stayed in a nest But I circumambulated the goddess. Thereby I became a king. Now I circumambulate with full faith but I do not know what (better) welfare is in store for me, O excellent Brāhmaṇas.
30-31. On hearing it, the Brāhmaṇas’ eyes widened with surprise. Joyously they congratulated the king. Then the king bowed down to all the Brāhmaṇas, received their assent and went homewards along with his army.
32. Now, one who is endowed with faith and performs the circumambulation, shall be liberated from all sins and obtain the desired benefit.
33-35. Ever since then, those Brāhmaṇas endowed with great devotion and others as well, circumambulated the deity for the sake of salvation. They did attain great Siddhi they desired, by its power. The Siddhi they attained in this world and in the other world has been rarely achieved even by gods. Hence by all means, one should resort to that goddess stationed in that holy spot bestowing all desires on men.