The Skanda Purana

by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,142,515 words

This page describes Manifestation of Kelishvari (Keli-ishvari) which is chapter 149 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 one hundred forty-ninth chapter of the Tirtha-mahatmya of the Nagara-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 149 - Manifestation of Kelīśvarī (Keli-īśvarī)

Note: Chapters 149-150 describe how demon Andhaka defeated Devas. Lord Śiva created Goddess Kelīśvarī for killing Andhaka. Śukra also propitiated the same Devī by oblating his own flesh in the Homa.

The sages said:

1-5. O Sūtanandana, a goddess is heard about as Kelīśvarī. Tell us her origin and greatness in detail.

At what time did she originate? What benefit results from her adoration and obeisance?

Kātyāyanī was described by you and also Cāmuṇḍā, the goddess of Suras. Śrīmātā, is also born as goddess of Suras. Śrīmātā and goddess Tārā, the destroyer of enemies, have been described. Kelīśvarī was not described. Hence, extol her now.

Great curiosity and interest has been created in us, O Sūtanandana.

Sūta said:

6. The primordial single goddess established herself in many forms for the welfare of Devas and destruction of Daityas.

7-11. Whenever any distress occurs anywhere unto Devas, that great Śakti which pervades the entire universe incarnates on the earth.

For the destrucion of Mahiṣāsura she descended to the earth as Kātyāyanī. The great form of the goddess extended all over the three worlds.

When the two Dānavas, Śuṃbha and Niśuṃbha became haughty on account of their strength, she hereself incarnated assuming the form of Cāmuṇḍā.

When Kālayavana striking terror into the Devas rose up, she was born on the earth in the form of Śrīmātā.

For the destruction of Andhāsura, Goddess Kelīśvarī was created by Śaṃbhu who occupied her mind and the entire universe was pervaded by her.

12. Then by her power, all the Daityas were killed entirely. Afterwards, Andhaka who caused great distress to all the three worlds was killed.

The sages said:

13. Whose son was Andhaka? What was his power? How was he killed? Why. was he killed in battle? Do narrate everything in detail.

Sūta said.

14. There was a daughter of Dakṣa named Diti. She was the abode of all good qualities. She had a son named Hiraṇyakaśipu.

15. Śakra and other Devas were conquered by him in battle. The great soul ruled over the kingdom of Svarga himself.

16. Afraid of him, all the Devas made various kinds of weapons of great importance along with coats of mail and shields.

17. Viṣṇu, the powerful Lord, angrily placed him on his back on the knees and tore him up with his claws.

18. Two sons of great vigour and exalted virtues were born to him. The elder one is called Prahlāda and the second one was Andhaka.

19. When Hiraṇyakaśipu entered the world of the god of death, the groups of his friends and ministers humbly requested Prahlāda:

20. “Take up this hereditary kingdom and rule. Bear the weight of administration of the dominion. Strike down Devas in battle.”

Prahlāda said:

21. I will not rule over the earth at any cost. Why? Listen to my words and understand now.

22. The Devas with Śakra as their leader never like the rule of Daityas. Viṣṇu, the Lord, is himself their protector always.

23. I would rather give up my life. I shall forsake all my possessions without any doubt. I am incapable of fighting with Hari.

24. This Lord of Suras has been bowed to and adored always by me. I will not engage myself in war against him on any account.

Sūta said:

25. When the kingship which was devolved on him from his father was refused by Prahlāda, Andhaka was established there by the ministers after having mutual consultation.

26-27. This son of Hiraṇyakaśipu could destroy the arrogance of Devas as well as of Dānavas. He entrusted the kingdom to the care of the ministers and performed penance for a long time meditating on Pitāmaha. He eschewed lust, anger, hypocrisy and rivalry.

28. He kept his soul quiescent and the sense-organs well controlled. He was impartial to all the creatures. With a calm and delighted mind, he resorted to the root of a tree.

29. For a period of a thousand years, his diet consisted of fruits alone. Then for another thousand years, he ate only withered and decayed leaves.

30. Day and night he meditated on Pitāmaha, the Lord of Devas. Then, O excellent Brāhmaṇas, his diet consisted of air only, for an equal time.

31. Then at the close of the fourth set of thousand years, Brahmā himself joyously approached him and said:

Brahmā said:

32. O dear one, I am pleased with you. O devotee of excellent Vratas, choose your boon. I am pleased. I shall grant you even the rarest of objects.

33. O Brahmā, if you wish to give the boon cherished in the mind then, O most excellent one among Suras, grant me the cessation of old age and cause of death.

Śrī Brahmā said:

34. Nobody devoid of old age exists on the surface of the earth. There is no one who is born on the earth and is without death.

Andhaka said:

35. Still, I shall grant it unto you devoted as you are to many pious rites. Hence, O highly fortunate one, go back to your abode and rule over the kingdom.

36. The kingdom shall be rich with many good things even if it is like a cremation ground overgrown with thorns and persons of ruthless activities (it will turn out into a home of happiness).

Sūta said:

37. After saying thus the Four-faced One vanished. Once thereafter, urged as if by the activities of Kāla, he recollected the enmity of his father and spoke to the ministers:

Andhaka said:

38. Our father as well as our mighty uncle were killed by Devas by fraud and not heroic fight. Hence I will kill them.

39. Of what purpose is a son born, who does not show himself at the forefront everywhere by means of well-prised activities like the banner at the top of the flagstaff!

The Misisters [Ministers] said:

40. O highly esteemed one, what has been said by you is but proper. Devas who are our enemies should all be killed.

41. All these worlds are ours. Who are these Devas? Who are the Brāhmaṇas? After killing Suras including Śakra, we shall take away our share in the Yajñas.

42. After resolving thus, they, accompanied with a powerful army, hurried to the place where Śakra was present.

43. On seeing the army of the Dānavas and noticing that they had launched a surprise attack Śakra rode on the elephant Airāvata and set out for the battle.

44-47. He was accompanied by all the groups of Devas including Vasus, Rudras and Ādityas. In the meantime Śakra, the destroyer of enemies, aimed at Andhaka and discharged his extremely terrible Vajra. On being struck by it, the excellent Danuja laughed and said to Śakra in a loud voice with great delight: “O Śakra, after a long time, the might of your arm has been seen by me in this battle. Now, O destroyer of Bala, you yourself see ours.”

Sūta said:

48-49. After saying thus, he hurled with great force a huge mace that was made by Viśvakarman. It produced the loud sound of a hundred bells. It was fully made of iron and very huge as though it was another tongue of Yama. It ex-tenḍed to a hundred Hastas (hands) and increased the fright of all living beings.

50. On being struck by it Śakra fell into a swoon with all his sense-organs disorganized. With the support of the flagstaff, he fell on the head of the elephant.

51. On seeing Śakra unconscious in a swoon, Skanda became furious. He discharged his Śakti that was never ineffective and resmebled the thunderbolt.

52. On seeing it coming, the Dānava made it turn back with sharp arrows. The mighty one did this sportingly.

53. Then Skanda took up his bow and discharged arrows against him resembling furious serpents whose very breath was poisonous. By this he displayed how easily he could wield missiles.

54. In the meantime, all the Devas showered volleys of weapons and covered the army of the Dānavas all round.

55. All the Dānavas thereafter inflicted pain on the army of the Devas by a series of blows. The Heaven-dwellers fled then.

56. Then the Bull-vehicled Lord with his Gaṇas saw the Suras shattered. So he revealed himself thereby consoling the Devas as it were:

57-58. “O ye Devas, do not be afraid. See my act.” Saying thus Lord Śaṃbhu invoked the excellent Parāśakti (the great power), the goddess of the universe, reciting Ātharvaṇa Mantras. On Being summoned thus, the greatest Śakti went near Hara.

59. On seeing that she had come before him, Lord Śaṃbhu bowed down along with all the Devas and eulogized her devoutly by means of his prayer:

Śrī Bhagavān said:

60. Obeisance unto you, O goddess of the chiefs of Devas. Obeisance to you, O goddess endeared by devotion. O omnipresent one, O bestower of everything, O goddess, O sustainer of the Universe, obeisance to you.

61. Obeisance to you who are the cause of creation and dissolution in the form of Śakti. Obeisance to you, O refulgent one one with earrings shining like lightning.

62. You are Svāhā; you are Svadhā, O goddess; you are the creation. You are purity. You are fortitude (Dhṛti). You are Arundhatī and Indrāṇī. You are Lakṣmī. You are Pārvatī.

63. This is the conclusion of all the scriptures that all those things in all the three worlds which are in female form are your forms.

Śrī Devī said:

64-65. Explain to me: why did you invite me with terrible Mantras from the Atharvaveda, O Bull-vehicled One, so that I shall carry out that entirely as per what you say.

Śrī Bhagavān said:

66. All the Devas including Śakra have been expelled from Svarga, O highly esteemed one, by Andhaka, the overlord of Daityas.

67. Listen. I am proceeding ahead to kill him. Render assistance unto me. I shall kill him in the battle.

68. All these groups of Mothers are given unto you now. Emaciated with hunger, they will kill the Dānavas who are standing in front.

69. You have assumed a sportive form with various hideous forms in thousands. You have been invoked in this from the middle of fire.

70. Hence, you will be known all over the three worlds by the name Kelīśvarī. A devotee should worship you in this form alone with devotion.

71. He should worship you on the eighth and fourteenth lunar days. He shall attain what has been desired.

When the time of battle arrives, a devotee should eulogize you by means of his prayer.

72. A king who eulogizes with this hymn shall be victorious in battle even if this army is small and he has only a small cavalry.

73. Undoubtedly, with your favour he will be certainly victorious.

Thus goddess Keliśvarī [Kelīśvarī?] was addressed by the Lord of Devas then.

74. On being told thus by the Lord, the goddess Kelīśvarī went ahead of the army of Bhava joyously. She was accompanied by all the groups of Māṭrs whose shouts were extremely terrible.

75. They went along with the groups of Rudras keenly enthusiastic in fighting and striking with many kinds of weapons.

The Dānavas saw the army of women coming in this manner.

76. They were hideous in forms and features. They cried hideously with weapons lifted up in their hands. They were eager for fighting.

77. Some of the Dānavas laughed boisterously. Some rebuked them. Others knowing that they were women did not stoop to hit them.

78. On being hit by them, in return they felt bashful as they were conscious of their manliness (and did not retaliate).

In the meantime Nārada, the excellent sage, came there.

79-84. He told Andhaka the fact entirely: “O excellent Dānava these are not mere women. They have come for fighting.”

This woman who is seated on a lion and has notably a discus in hand is the Kṛtyā (ogress of black magic) created by Rudra for killing you. Her name is Kelīśvarī. She come out of the fire pit when Homa was performed by means of his own blood by Śaṃbhu, the Lord of Devas. By resorting to the efficacy of the Mantras, she came out along with these Rudras (terrible ones created by Rudra). Here comes the furious Lord himself near you.

In front of Parameṣṭhin he has declared that you will be killed. He has kept all the excellent Suras in his own palace for the purpose of battle. Understand this, O highly esteemed one, and do what is proper.

Andhaka said:

85. I am not afraid of Rudra or anyone else. But I will not strike a woman. I will maintain the vow of manliness.

Sūta said:

86. Even as the noble-souled Dānava firmly said thus, there arose a loud cry all round in that place.

87. Some Dānavas were eaten. Others were killed. Others perished even as their bodies were partially eaten.

88. Other fighting Dānavas though themselves powerful, were being eaten along with their weapons and vehicles by the Mātṛs.

89. On hearing that loud tumult, Andhaka became highly furious. He seized his sword and rose up saying, “What is this? What is this?”

90. He saw those Dānavas who were very proud on account of their might, killed. Others were being eaten and still others were bent on fleeing.

91. He saw the beloved wives of others killed. They were standing near them and crying in the height of their misery.

92. On seeing that havoc, Andhaka was at the zenith of his anger. He rebuked all those Yoginīs engaged in battle.

93. They were not at all afraid of that Daitya. They simply continued the slaughter and ate up the Dānavas.

94. That Dānava noticed their activity angrily. Frightened much, he tried to guard his own body.

95. He terrifically yelled and discharged the missile of Tamas (Darkness). In an instant in the meantime all the three worlds were enveloped in darkness.

96. Nothing similar or dissimilar was seen anywhere there. Only the leading Dānava could see everything. None else.

97. With sharp arrows he killed those Yoginīs. Other women of the same form immediately cropped up.

98. On seeing the inordinate increase in the number of the Yoginīs, that Dānava withdrew that missile in great agitation due to fear.

99. He approached Śukra in a wretched condition with palms joined in reverence. He said: “O foremost one among the descendants of Bhṛgu, see the havoc perpetrated by the women in my case.

100. Though I am a Rākṣasa, these women cannot be killed by my weapons on account of the power of Mantras. They have cropped up in plenty and all my armies are killed.

101. Hence, O highly intelligent one, you also employ the same Vidyā if you wish my good; otherwise there is no hope of victory in the battle.”

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