This is the first of a series of posts on Devi Mahatmyam. These were short summaries given at our UAE Satsangh.
Thanks to Chitraji for providing the material for sharing with all of us.
1st chapter – THE SLAYING OF MADHU AND KHAITABHA
The whole story of Devi Mahatmyam was narrated by Sage Markandeya to his disciple Krasustukhi Bhaguri, explaining how Saavarni, the son of Surya became the Lord of the 8th Manvantara by Mahamaya.
The curtain rasier for the first chapter has two individuals who meet at the hermitage of sage Medhas. One is a king named Suratha. The other is the merchant named Samadhi. Both were afflicted with pain, the king being relieved of his treasury and army by his own powerful evil disposed ministers and the merchant, even though born in a wealthy family had been cast out by his sons and wife who were wicked thru greed of wealth. Both of them took refuge in hermitage in the forest.
Even though they were in the forest they could not leave the thoughts of their respective losses. The king was constantly remembering about the kingdom up to the finest details. The merchant too was always engrossed in thinking about his sons’ lives. “ How is it that the mind despite knowing the attachment towards the object whose defects we do know is still prone to love even towards worthless kinsmen? How are we getting deluded even though we are aware of it?” they asked the rishi with due respects.
The rishi said, “Sir, every being has the knowledge of objects perceivable by the senses. An object of sense reaches it in various ways. Some beings are blind by day, and others are blind by night; some beings have equal sight both by day and night. Human beings are certainly endowed with knowledge but they are not the only beings for other creatures also can cognize the objects of senses.
The knowledge that men have, birds and bees too have; and what they have, men also possess. And the rest like eating and sleeping is common to both of them. Look at these birds, which though they possess knowledge and are themselves distressed by hunger are yet, because of the delusion engaged in dropping grains in to the beaks of their young ones. Human beings are attached to their children because of greed for return help.
Even so men are hurled in to the whirlpool of attachment, the pit of delusion thru the power of Mahaa maaya who makes the existence of the world possible. This mahaa maya is the yoga nidhra of Vishnu, the Lord of the world. It is by her the world is deluded. This mahaa maya forcibly drawing the minds of even the wise, throws them in to delusion. She is the supreme knowledge, the cause of final liberation and eternal. She is the cause of bondage of transmigration and the sovereign over all Lords.”
Now the king wanted to know more about that mahaamaya. The sage continued to narrate the story of madhu and khaitabha. At the end of a kalpa, when the universe was one ocean and the Lord Vishnu took to mystic slumber on Sesha, two terrible asuras, the well known Madhu and Khaitabha sprung in to being from the dirt of Vishnu’s ears. They wanted to slay Brahma. Brahma ji, seeing these two fierce asuras and Vishnu asleep and with a view to awaken Vishnu, with concentrated mind extolled Yoganidhra dwelling in Hari’s eyes. Brahma praised Yoganidhra to the extent that mother Maha maaya drew herself out from Vishnu’s eyes, mouth, nostrils, arms, heart and breast. Lord Vishnu quitted by her, rose up from his couch, saw those two evil asuras with eyes red in anger. Vishnu fought with those asuras using his own arms as weapons. The asuras proud of their exceeding power, and deluded by mahaamaya exclaimed to Vishnu, “Ask boon from us”. Bhagwan said, “If you are satisfied with me you must both be slain by me now. There is no need for any other boon here. This is my choice.” The two asuras bewitched by mahaa maya gazing then at the entire world turned in to water told Bhagwan to slay at a spot where the earth is not flooded with water. Bhagwan saying, “Be it so”, took them on his loins and severed their heads with his discus.
Here ends the story of the destruction of Madhu and Kaitabha of Devi Mahatmyam.