The Slaying of Rakthabhija, Nishumba and Shumbha – Devi Mahatmyam 4
October 29th, 2009 by Sowmya

This is the fourth post 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.

After the daityas Chanda and Munda and many of the battalions were destroyed, the lord of the asuras, with mind overcome by anger went forth attended by many thousands of big forces. Seeing that most terrible army approaching, Chandika filled into space between the earth and the sky with the twang of her bow-string. On hearing the roar of the Devi, the enraged asura battalions surrounded the lion, the Devi Chandika and Kaali on all the four sides.
At this moment in order to annihilate the enemies of the Devas, the great strength from the bodies of Brahma, Shiva, Guha, Vishnu and Indra along with the form of those Devas went to Chandika. Whatever was the form of each Deva, and whatever his ornaments and vehicle, in that very form his shakti advanced to fight with the asuras.
In a heavenly chariot drawn by swans advanced Brahma’s shakti carrying rosary and a Kamandalu. She is called Brahmaani.
Maaheshwari arrived, seated on a bull, holding a fine trident, matrikaswearing bracelets of great snakes and adorned with a digit of the moon.
Ambika Koumaari, in the form of Guha, holding a spear in hand riding on a fine peacock, advanced to attack the asuras.
Likewise, the shakthi of Vishnu came, seated upon Garuda, holding conch, club, bow and sword in hand.
The shakthi of Hari, who assumed the incomparable form of a sacrificial boar, also advanced there in a boar-like form.
Naarasimhi arrived there, assuming a body like that of a Narasimha, bringing down the constellations by the toss of her mane.
Likewise, the thousand eyed Aindri, holding a thunderbolt in hand and riding on the lord of elephants arrived just like Indra.
Then Shiva, surrounded by those shakthis of the Devas , said to Chandika, “ let the asuras be killed forthwith by you for my gratification”.
Thereupon from the body of Devi issued forth the Sakthi of Chandika and she told Shiva,” Go, my Lord, as an ambassador to the presence of Shumbha and Nishumbha. Ask them to give the three worlds to the Devas back, if they wish to live. But if through pride of strength, they are ready for a battle, let them come to me. Let my jackals be satiated with their flesh”.
Because that Devi appointed Shiva himself as Dhoota, she was known as Shiva-dhuti.
Hearing the words of Devi through Shiva, the king of asuras rushed to the place where Kaatyaayini stood. The terrible war began with numerous weapons. Seeing the asuras harassed by the band of Maatras, the great asura Rakthabhija strode forward to fight in wrath.
Whenever from his body there fell to the ground a drop of blood, at that very moment rose up from the earth asura of his stature. As many drops of blood fell from his body, so many persons came into being, with his courage, strength and valour. The world was pervaded by thousands of great asuras who were like Rakthabhija.
The Devas got intensely alarmed at this. Seeing the devas dejected, Chandika laughed and said to Kaali,” O, Chamunda, open out your mouth wide; with this mouth quickly take in the drops of blood generated by the blow of my weapon and the great asuras born of the drops of blood of Rakthabhija. Let this great asura, with his blood emptied perish”.
The Devi smote Rakthabhija with her various weapons, as and when Chamunda went on drinking his blood. Stricken with various weapons and bloodless, the great asura Rakthabhija fell lifeless on the ground.

After Rakthabhija was slain and other asuras were killed in the fight, the asura Shumbha and Nishumbha gave way to unbounded wrath. Supported by the great army, the two great asuras went for the fight. Then commenced a severe combat between the Devi on one side and the two asuras like two thunder-clouds on the other.
The Devi assailed the heroic Danava, Nishumbha who was advancing with battle-axe in hand, and laid him low on the ground. When his brother Nishumbha of terrific prowess fell to the ground, Shumbha got infuriated in the extreme and strode forward to slay Ambika.
The sound of the bell, bow-string, loud roars filled all the worlds which started destroying the strength of the asuras. The Devi split the arrows shot by Shumbha and Shumbha also split the arrows discharged by her. Then Chandika became angry and smote him with a trident. Wounded therewith, he fainted and fell to the ground.
Meanwhile, Nishumbha, regaining the consciousness, seized his bow and struck the arrows on the Devi, the Kali and the lion. As Nishumbha was advancing with the dart in hand, Chandika pierced him in the heart with a swiftly hurled dart. Thus Nishumbha and the other asuras were destroyed by Devi.

Seeing his brother Nishumbha slain, who was dear to him as his life, Shumbha angrily said to Devi” O Durga, you are puffed up with the pride of strength, don’t show your pride here. Though you are exceedingly haughty, you, resorting to the strength of others fight”
The Devi said:”I am all alone in the world here. These goddesses are but my own powers, entering into my own self!”
Then all those, Braahmani and others, were absorbed in the body of the Devi. Ambika alone remained.
The Devi said, “the numerous forms which I projected by my power here – those have been withdrawn by me, and now I stand alone. Be steadfast in the fight”
Then began a dreadful fight between them both on the earth and in the sky, while all Devas and asuras looked on. Various weapons were released by the asura and all were broken down by the power of Devi. The Devi pierced Shumbha’s chest with a dart, and threw him down on the earth. Pierced by the pointed dart, he fell lifeless on the ground, shaking the entire earth with its seas, islands and mountains.
The Devas became happy. The sun became very brilliant and tranquil became the strange sounds that had risen in different quarters. Praises were sung on the great Kaatyayini by the Devas .
Here ends the story of the slaying of Shumbha and Nishumbha of Devi Mahatmyam.

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One Response  
  • Dr.J Rao writes:
    January 27th, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    Raktabeeja was a great devotee of Sri Devi.He advised and later pleaded with Shumbha to surrender to the Divine Mother and save the kingdom of demons from complete destruction but Shumbha chided him as coward running away from the battle field which enraged him to fight with Sri Devi against his will.However before the fight began,he begged her pardon for his act.

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