by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,545,880 words
This page describes Greatness of Katyayani which is chapter 24 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 twenty-fourth chapter of the Arbuda-khanda of the Prabhasa Khanda of the Skanda Purana.
1. Then O best king! one must visit the Goddess dwelling inside the cave. The Goddess Kātyāyanī, the killer of demon Śuṃbha abides here.
2. In olden days, there was a demon by name Śuṃbha on the surface of the earth. With his victory over the gods, his influence had spread throughout the world.
4. Then all the gods went to the summit of Arbuda and began penance in the first half of the day with the sole aim of bringing down Śuṃbha to earth. They began to worship the Goddess of gods in her well-manifested form there.
5. Thus being pleased she appeared before them and told, “I will grant you all a boon. Tell as to what you all want to get done.”
6-7. The gods said, “This bad soul demon Śuṃbha, O Goddess! has snatched away everything of ours. O giver of welfare! please kill him for he cannot be killed in a war. We have been earlier protected by you from Bāṣkila. O Goddess with a beautiful smile! there is no other way for our freedom than your protection.”
8. After the gods said like this, the Goddess went to the dwelling of Śuṃbha and began to humiliate him repeatedly so that he would be instigated into a war through anger.
9. O king! after having come to know that he is being incited for a war by a woman, the demon as well as his fellow demons began to nurture a sense of utter disrespect.
10. Catch hold of that wicked and bad-mouthed woman and bring her alive to me. Then, give her the harsh punishment beyond any doubt, and without waiting for my orders.
11. Then all the demons having faith in the calling as per their master’s orders went hurriedly, encircled her from ten directions and called her bad names.
12. The Goddess reduced the demons to mere ashes by merely looking at them. Then Śuṃbha, as it is, got enraged and arrived himself.
13-14. Raising his powerful sword he said, ‘Wait! wait’. But then, O great king! as soon as the Goddess looked at him, he met with his final destruction by turning into ashes instantly like a kite on fire. Then with the killing of the demon, the remaining demons who used to be continuously there on earth, left it and like the wind having no existence in the lower region of earth, went to the nether world, i.e., Hell out of fear.
15. Then becoming pleased and uttering hymns in praise of the Goddess of gods, the gods told the Goddess to ask for whatever boon occupying her mind.
The Goddess said:
16. O good gods! let me always be here in this Arbuda mountain. As I desire this mountain within, Jet it be named as Arbuda.
The gods said:
17. With you present there and after having a look at you, the mortals will go to heaven. The road to Heaven will be shorter without the religious conduct of Yajña, i.e., the sacrificial fire and offering of presents. There is no other reason which can prevent us to deny this to you.
The Goddess said:
18. O gods! there, I shall be staying inside the charming but desolate cave. Only a living being miniature in shape can have access to me there. For the purpose of having a sight of mine, people need to proceed ahead towards the mountain only.
19. The gods said, “Let it be so as desired by you and let you, O Goddess with a gentle smile do accordingly. We shall ever come there to have a look of yours on the eighth day of the bright fortnight of moon every month.
20. After the Gods having said like this, they pleased as they were, entered the heaven. The Goddess also, O king! went there to the mountain Arbuda.
21. She got well settled for ever there inside the cave for the welfare of the world. Separated from all but truly happy within herself, she is difficult to attain for gods as well as humans.
22. Thus having a look of her on the eighth day of the rising period of Moon with the mind completely withdrawn towards her always results in the attainment of desires nurtured in the mind, O king! even though those may be difficult to attain.