LalitopakhyanamNumber of names which are in Lalita Sahasranamam are explained in this story.
The narration is written in the form of conversation between Hayagreeva and the sage Agastya.
Agastya said, “Hayagreeva! Kindly let me know in detail which form of Para Shakti (The Divine Mother, the Supreme Power) will bestow both food and salvation to the devotees in the Kali Yuga”.
Hayagreeva replied, “Lalita Devi is the only Goddess who has the power to do so. Listen to her story”.
Birth of Bhandasura. At a point in time after the burning of Manmatha by Shiva's anger, Chitrakarma, the commander of one of the Rudra Ganas one day started toying with the ash of the burnt Manmatha and prepared a doll out of it. He took this doll to Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva’s intentions are indeed unfathomable. As soon as the doll neared Lord Shiva, it sprang to life and the boy thus born prostrated before Lord Shiva and Chitrakarma. Chitrakarma was overwhelmed with joy. He gave the boy the Upadesha of Shata-Rudreeya Mantra and asked him to undertake penance. When the penance reached the stage of fruition, Lord Shiva appeared before him. He asked Lord Shiva to grant him a special boon “Anyone who fights against me should immediately lose half of his strength and that strength should be added to my strength. None of the weapons of my opponents should be able to bind me” was his request. Immediately Lord Shiva granted the boon and added, “I am also bestowing on you the boon of ruling the kingdom for sixty thousand years”. After giving these boons, Lord Shiva disappeared. He became surprised and a bit apprehensive by the words of Lord Shiva. But soon he forgot it.
Lord Brahma, who was witnessing all this, grew frustrated and swore “Bhand” “Bhand” (meaning shame, shame). From then on, he got the name “Bhanda”. Because of his qualities he became an Asura (demon) and entered the domain of Asuras. This is how he got the name ‘Bhandasura’.
In the mean time, from the remnants of the ash of Manmatha were born two demons – Vishukra and Vishanga. These two became the main brothers of Bhandasura. In addition, thousands of Rakshasas (demons) were born out of the ash of Manmatha. All of them became followers of Bhandasura. They formed a strong army of 300 Akshouhinis (one Akshouhini consists of 21870 elephants, 65610 horses and109350 soldiers). Having come to know about the birth of thousands of Rakshasas, Shukracharya (the guru of Rakshasas) came there and assumed the role of the Guru for all those Rakshasas and initiated them to undertake regular Anushthanas (daily rituals). He also summoned Maya, the architect-builder of demons and asked him to create a new city in the province of Mahendra Mountains. He named the city as ‘Shoonyaka Pattana’
Shukracharya asked all the demons to move to the new city. He crowned Bhandasura as the king of the newly formed kingdom and made Vishukra and Vishanga the Yuvarajas (princes) of that kingdom. Bhandasura had four wives. 1. Sammohini, 2. Kumudini, 3. Chitrangi 4.Sundari. Under the guidance of Shukracharya, activities like fire sacrifices, Vedic education and penance went on uninterruptedly in every house.
Tormenting of the three worlds: When the kingdom was well established, Bhandasura called for a meeting of his brothers and ministers and said:
A) Devatas (Gods) are our enemies. As long as Manmatha was alive, their lineage continued without any problems. They also enjoyed many pleasures.
B) Now, because of our luck, we have taken birth from the ashes of Manmatha. The gods are trying to see that Manmatha is born again. We should not allow that to happen. Before they try anything like that, we should kill the Devatas.
C) But, if we go in our present form, we can not win. Let us therefore assume the form of air and enter their bodies. D) After having so entered their bodies, let us dry up their body fluids, especially the semen.
E) If semen dries up, the strength of other tissues and organs will automatically diminish. Then they will automatically be annihilated.
F) Let us torment the beings of all the three worlds by entering their bodies in the form of air and by drying up their body fluids.
Hearing this, the entire army of the demons cheered with joy. Without wasting much time, Bhandasura and his army of 1000 Akshouhinis assumed the invisible form of air and entered the heaven. First of all, they entered the minds of the angels and dried up their mental faculties. Subsequently they entered the face of the angels, robbed them of their beauty and made them ugly looking. All the women and men in the heaven became impotent and sterile. Not only that, their love for one another was also lost. They lost enthusiasm to do anything. Even the plants and animals suffered the same fate.
Vishukra, along with his troupes entered Bhooloka (earth) and meted out the same treatment to the beings there. People on the planet earth stopped smiling. They lost all happiness. No one had any respect for another. No one thought of helping the other. They lost interest in their activities. The situation was stone-like, devoid of any life and feelings.
Vishanga, along with his troupes entered Rasaatala (one of the seven netherworlds). He created similar havoc there also. In the Naga Loka (land of serpents) everyone became afflicted with grief for no apparent reason. Everyone started hating everyone else. Everyone became drained of energy and potency. Rasa, the fluid principle is the basis for the accomplishment of the four-fold aims of life (Purusharthas). Let us see how.
A. Rasa itself is the form of Paramatma, the Almighty.
B. From Rasa are created Shukla (sperm) and Shonita (ovum). These two are collectively called as Veerya.
C. From Veerya comes Kanti (radiance), Utsaaha (enthusiasm), Ullasa(happiness), Dharma (righteousness), Daya (compassion), Preeti (love),Buddhi (intellectual capabilities), Vikasa (development), Parakrama (valour)Shastra Vijnana (scientific knowledge), Kala Asakti (interest in arts), Soundarya Drishti (proper concept of beauty) etc.
D. In plants, the Rasa enhances the fire energy, which is hidden in them. Only when the fire energy is harnessed, the plants can branch out and bear flowers and fruits. Because of this fire principle, the dried logs catch fire easily and burn.
E. The Vedas have declared that beings can experience happiness only if Rasa is present. F. Rasa is nothing but Prana (vital energy). G. Having known all these secrets, Bhandasura devised the plan of entering the bodies of all beings in the form of air and drying them up.
Vasanta, the close friend and associate of Manmatha observed this immediately and consoled Rati (Manmatha’s wife). He said “Even the sun, the moon and the stars have lost their brilliance. Even Goddess Parvati seems to have become dull and has engaged in Tapas. Therefore, the day when your dead husband will come to life again is not very far. That day will come very soon. So, stop grieving.” On hearing this, Rati Devi prepared to undertake penance.
In the heaven, all the Devatas including Brahma, could not comprehend what was going on and what had caused the situation. Not knowing the remedy for their hardship, they approached Lord Sri Hari. When they finally reached the abode of Lord Sri Hari, they saw that even He was sitting still with his eyes closed. It appeared as though He was merged in the bliss of Sushupti.
After the angels praised His glory for a long time, Lord Sri Hari slowly opened His eyes. “What is this? Why are you all looking drained of your energies?” asked Lord Sri Hari. He called everyone by their names and said:
A. Your present condition is due to the invisible foul play of Bhandasura.
B. Even I have lost the affinity for Goddess Lakshmi. What to say about other lesser beings?
C. Myself, Brahma and Rudra are Karana Purushas (causal beings for the manifest creation). Even then, because we are also inhabiting this creation, even we can not escape the torture of Bhandasura. D. There is however one Almighty God who is beyond this manifest Brahmanda. He is called Maha Shambhu. Parashakti is constantly in His Company.
E. He is devoid of form. He is not dependent on anything. He has nomodifications. He is greater than the greatest. He is the ultimate.
F. He is not influenced by the foul play of Bhandasura, who is born from the ashes of Manmatha.
G. He can rescue us from our difficulties. Therefore, let us all take refuge in Him and praise Him. Follow me.
So saying, Sri Hari led all the angels to the brim of the Brahmanda (Universe). There was a huge wall like fence there. The angels summoned the celestial elephants to break the wall. After toiling continuously for one year, a breach was formed in the wall. After passing through the breach, they saw Chinmaya Akasha, which was Niralamba (independent), Nirajnana (untainted) and which was devoid of the five elements. They all stood in that Chinmaya Akasha and sang the glory of Maha Shambhu, who was of the form of Chidakasha. Then Maha Shambhu appeared before them. He was dark like clouds. He had two hands. He was holding a Shoola (spear) in one hand and a Kapala (skull) in the other. He had three eyes. Parashakti also appeared before them. She was holding Aksha Mala (rosary of beads) and Pustaka (book) in Her hands. She was bright and cool like the moon.
The great Maha Shambhu smiled and said
A. I am aware why you have all come here.
B. Pralaya (destruction) is of three types. (i) Avaantara Pralaya (ii) Maha Pralaya and (iii) Kama Pralaya.
C. I am the one who is responsible to rescue the world from Maha Pralaya. Vishnu is the one who rescues from Aavantara Pralaya. It is Lalita Parameshwari who rescues from Kama Pralaya.
D. These three kinds of Pralaya take place in a cyclic pattern in every Kalpa. Now, Kaamika Pralaya has taken place because of the destruction of Kama and subsequently due to the actions of Bhandasura.
E. Only Lalita Devi can rescue from this situation. Parashakti alone can create another Lalita Devi. Therefore, take shelter in her. Beg her to help you.
Hearing this, the Devatas did not know what to do. They again prayed to Maha Shambhu to teach them the method of appeasing Parashakti.
Maha Shambhu explained:
A. This is called as Maha Yaga. (great fire sacrifice)
B. I am (assuming the form of Vayu) the Hota (the priest who makes the offerings in a Homa) in this Yaga (fire sacrifice).
C. My Chidagni itself is the fire in this Yaga.
D. The last of the seven seas, i.e., Jala Samudra (Water Sea) has now dried up. The huge pit so formed itself is the Homa Kunda (fire pit where Homa is performed)
E. The remaining six great oceans constitute the six drops of ghee which is used as offering.
F. Srishti (creation) is of five types (i) Manasa Srishti (ii) Jarayavee Srishti (creation-taking place through the womb (iii) Anda Srishti (creation taking place through eggs) (iv) Swedaja Srishti (creation taking place through sweat) and (v) Udbhijja Srishti (creation taking place by sprouting). These five Srishtis (creations) are the sacrifice animals in this Maya Yaga.
G. Bhoomi (land), Parvata (mountains), Jala (water), Vayu (air) and Akasha (space) these five are the substances used in this fire sacrifice. Agni element (one of the five elements) being a part of my Chidagni can not be a substance to be offered.
H. At the end of this great fire sacrifice, all of you (the performers of the Yaga) should jump in to the Homa Kunda (fire pit). While doing so, you must possess absolute devotion.
I. Then, Lalita Parameshwari will manifest.
J. She will be seated in a chariot called Chakra Raja Ratha.
K. She will create Parabrahma in the name of Kameshwara and will have Him as Her consort.
L. This couple will re-create the entire universe, which will turn out to be more beautiful than the previous creation.
M. Lalita Parameshwari will bring Manmatha back to life.
N. She will create four weapons, namely (i) Ikshu Dhanus – a bow of sugarcane (Mano roopekshu kodanda – is one of the 1000 names of Goddess Lalita) (ii) five Pushpa Banas – flower arrows (Pancha tanmatrasaayaka is one of the 1000 names), (iii) Paasha – noose (Raaga svaroopapaashaadhyaa – is one of the 1000 names of Lalita) and (iv) Ankusha (a hook, especially an elephant driver’s hook) (Krodha-akaaran kushojjvala is one of the descriptions of Lalita)
O. With the help of these weapons, she will destroy Bhandasura.
P. She will bring Manmatha back to life.
Q. She will give you fresh bodies.
R. If you all agree, I will begin this great sacrifice myself.
The angels became very pleased and begged Maha Shambhu to be the Hota and carry on the sacrifice. Parashakti and Maha Shambhu disappeared. The angels also returned to their abode.
After some time, Maha Shambhunatha, accompanied by Parashakti started chanting the Lalita Maha Mantra and entered the Universe in the form of the seven-layered Vayu (air). Parashakti assumed the form of His Kriya Shakti (energy of action). With the help of Kriya Shakti, Vayu blew the Jala Samudra with all his energy. The Jala Samudra (water ocean) became totally dry. In the pit thus formed He kindled the Chidagni with the help of fire emanating from the third eye. This Agni raged from the Patala (a region in the nether-world) to the Brahma Loka. He decorated the periphery of the Homa Kunda with the stars just as one decorates a sacrificial fire pit with flowers. After this, he performed the Yaga as ordained by the Vedas. He used the Pralaya Meghas (clouds appearing during Pralaya), namely Pushkala and Aavartakaas Srik and Sruva (the two spoons which are used to offer ghee in fire worship). As the Homa progressed, the Chidagni emanating from it spread to vast area. He then offered the first six oceans and then the five-fold creations to this Agni. In the end, the gods too decorated themselves and sat on the Srik and Sruva, ready to be offered to Agni. Maha Shambhunatha offered them to Agni. After this, Maha Shambhunatha discarded his Vayu form and assumed his real form. He then chanted 8 special mantras and performed 8 Homas.
Manifestation of Lalita Devi. At the end of the Homa, Lalita Devi came out of the Chidagni Homa Kunda, seated on a special chariot called “Chakra Raja Ratha”. Therefore, we find the descriptions such as “Chidagnikunda sambhoota” “Deva kaarya samudyataa” and “Chakra Raja Rathaa Roodha Sarvaayudha Parishkritaa” in Lalita Sahasranama.
The Sri Chakra Raja Ratha had the following dimensions:
A. Width 4 Yojanas (1 Yojana is approximately 9 miles)
B. Height 10 Yojanas
C. Parvas (landings) 9 in number
D. Chakras (wheels) – the four Vedas.
E. Horses – the four-fold aims (Purusharthas)
F. Flag absolute bliss.
G. The seat at the topmost landing is the Bindu Peetha.
H. Form - of the form of Meru Prastara.
I. The material that was used to make this was ‘Tejas’.
The Lalita Parameshwari so manifested, created a male form from within Herself. His name was Kameshwara. By her power of will, she created 4 different weapons. They were (i) Ikshu Dhanus (ii) Five arrows, (iii) Pasha (noose) and 4 Ankusha (a special hook). She held all these weapons in her hands. We see the description – “Chaturbahu samanvitaa” in the Lalita Sahasranama. She was shining like the morning sun, with crimson color. (Udyad bhanusahasraabhaa is a description found in Lalita Sahasranama). Her beauty was full in all aspects. (Sarvarunaanavadyangee sarvaabharanabhooshitaa – Lalita Sahasranama). She always appears as though she is 16 years of age. (Nityaa shodashikaaroopaa is a description in Lalita Sahasranama. This description has two meanings. One meaning is that she always appears as one who is sixteen years of age. The other meaning is, there are 16 Nityaa Devis. She is of the form of these 16 Nityaa Devis. Maha Shambhunatha praised Her in many ways.
Order of Creation. She extended Herself in both male and female forms and continued the process of creation.
A. From the left eye, which was of the nature of Soma (moon) came Brahmaand Lakshmi Devi.
B. From the right eye, which was of the nature of Soorya (sun) came Vishnu and Parvati.
C. From the third eye, which was of the nature of Agni (fire), came Rudra and Sarasvati.
D. Lakshmi & Vishnu, Shiva & Parvati and Brahma & Sarasvati became couples.
E. Lalita Devi directed them to continue the process of Creation. She herself continued to create certain things. (i) From her long hair she created darkness. (ii) From her eyes, she created the sun, the moon and the fire. (iii) From the pendent hanging in front of her forehead came the stars (iv) From the chain above her forehead came the nine planets. (v) From the eyebrows, she created the penal code. (vi) From her breath, she created the Vedas. (vii) From her speech, she created poetry and plays. (viii) From her chin she created the Vedangas. (ix) From the three lines in her neck, she created various Shaastras. (x) From her breasts, she created mountains.(xi) From her mind, she created the power of bliss. (xii) From her fingernails, she created the 10 incarnations of Vishnu. (xiii) From her palms, she created the Sandhyas. (xiv) She created other things as narrated in the Purusha Sookta. (xv) From her heart, she created Baalaa Devi. (xvi) From her intellect, she created Shyamala Devi. (xvii) From her ego, she created Vaaraahi Devi. (xviii) From her smile, she created Vighneshwara.(xix) From the Ankusha (a special hook), she created Sampatkaree Devi. (xx) Form the noose, she created Ashwaa Roodha Devi. (xxi) From her cheeks, she created Nakuleshvari Devi. (xxii) From her Kundalini Shakti, she created Gayatri. (xxiii) From the eight wheels of the Chakra Raja chariot, she created 8 Devatas.(xxiv) In the 9th landing, in the Bindu Peetha, she herself was seated. (xxv) Afterwards, she created the Devatas who would protect the Chakra Raja chariot.
After having thus completed the great creation, Lalita Devi requested her consort, Shiva Kama Sundara to create the Shiva Chakra. He immediately brought out a big humming sound and from this, the Shiva Chakra Devatas numbering 23 manifested. Later, Lalita Devi crowned Shyamala Devi as the prime minister. Therefore Shyamala Devi is called Mantrini Devi. Lalita Devi handed over the finger ring to Mantrini Devi.
She made Vaartaalee Devi the chief of her army. Therefore Vaartaalee Devi is also called as Dandanaathaa Devi. She is also called as Vaaraahee Devi. Lalita Devi created a mace (a weapon) from her eye brows and gave it to Dandanathaa Devi. After this, Lalita Devi created two chariots from her chariot and gave them to Mantrini Devi and Dandanatha Devi. Mantini Devi’s chariot is called “Geya Chakra Ratha”. This chariot used to make musical sounds whenever it moved. Dandanatha Devi’s chariot is called “Kiri Chakra Ratha”. Later, Lalita Devi hummed with rage. From this hum, 64000000 Yoginis were born. Another 64000000 Bhairavas were also born. Innumerable Shakti Senas (armies) were also created by her hum.
Devi vijaya yatra (Devi’s victory procession)
Later Lalita devi, making the noise emanating from the four oceans as the drums and accompanied with several other instruments proceeded for the battle against Bhandasura. From Lalitha devi’s Ankusham (=spear), ‘Sampat karidevi’, came out along with crores and crores of elephants and started following Lalita devi (sampatkarisamarudha sindhura vraja sevita). Sampatkari Devi was sitting on the elephant named ‘Ranakolahalam’ (=battlebustle, battle uproar). From Lalita devi’s Pasham (=whip) arose Ashwaroodha devi along with a big army of horses and was moving in front of Lalita devi.(ashwarudhadhishtishtaswa koti kotibhiravruta) . The horse carrying Ashwaroodha devi was named ‘Aparajitam’ (=one whichcannot be defeated). Later , commander of the army Dandanatha devi played the drums to startmarching. As the march started Dandanatha devi got down from her chariot and sat down on the lion. The lion is named ‘Vajraghosham’ (kirichakra ratha rudha damdanadhapuraskruta). All her soldiers started praising her by twelve different names. (Panchami dandanatha cha sakjeta samayeshwaritatha samaya sakjeta varahi potrini tathavartali cha maha sena pyajna chakreshwari tathaarighni cheti samproktam nama dwadasakam yune). Later Mantrini devi played the drums of marching. Her soldiers were mainly decorated sensuously. They were playing veenas and singing. Mantrini devi was moving in her Geyachakra ratha (circle of army formed by singers) [geyachakra ratha rudha mantrini parisevita). She was being praised by sixteen names. (Sangeeta yogini shyama shyamala mantra nayikamantrini sachiveshani pradhaneshi shukapriyavina vati vainiki cha mudrini priyakapriyanipapriya kadambeshi kadamba vanavasinisadamada cha namani shodashaitaini kumbhaja) One who recites this strotra can conquer all the three worlds.
Then, from the bird in the hands of Mantrini devi, appeared god Dhanurveda with a spectacular bow in his hand and said “Mother! this bow is called chitrajeevam. This quiver is akshaya (=one which is unlimited, fills up spontaneously). Please accept them for demolishing the demons.” Now Lalita devi started moving with sugarcane, bow, arrows, spear and whip in the ‘srichakraraja’chariot. She is being praised with 25 names - simhasanesi lalitha maharajni varankusha sundari chakranathacha samrajni chakrini rathachakreshwari mahadevi kameshi parameshwari kamaraja priyakamakotika chakravartini mahavidya shivananga vallabha sarvapatalakulanatha amnayanatha sarvamnaya nivasinishringara nayika cheti panchavimshati namabhih. One who recites this stotra attains ashta siddhi (8 spiritual accomplishments) Bandasura vadhodyukta shaktisena samanvita in Lalita sahasranama stotram means one who is ready with her army (shakti sena) to annihilate Bhandasura.
Bhanda’s war preparation: While Lalita devi was proceeding for the war, many bad omens were observed in Bhanda’s ‘Shunyaka’ town. Bhandasura called upon an urgent meeting along with his brothers Vishukra and Vishanga to assess and evaluate the situation. In the meeting Vishukra spoke thus:
a.) All gods have burnt themselves by jumping into fire, out of despair.
b.) From that fire arose mother goddess, who rejuvenated all gods
c.) She is coming for a war with us, along with an army of women
d.) Those gods are trying to cut stones using tender leaves
e.) Even then we should not neglect that woman. We must send our army immediately.
a.) Any work should only be done after properly thinking about it.
b.) First we must send spies and see how powerful their army is.
c.) We must not under estimate the enemies army.
d.) In the past Hiranyakashipa was killed by an animal.
e.) Sumbha and Nishumbha were killed by a woman.
f.) So, we must get more information about her
g.) Who is she ? Who is supporting or protecting her? What does she want? All these queries should be answered.
Listening to this Bhandasura shuddered at the proposal with a sarcastic grin. "Even if all the gods are behind her, we have nothing to fear. Do not entertain such useless thoughts and spoil your mind".
Immediately Bhandasura ordered ‘Kutilaksha’, Commander-in-chief of his army, to protect the fort. He ordered the priests and ministers to perform abhichara (black magic) homa. He ordered Lalita to be dragged to him holding her hair. Now, the demons played the war drums. Kutilaksha sent the first batch of army with demon Durmada as the commander..At Shunyapura Kutilaksha made arrangements for protection - Eastern entry _ Tala jangha, Southern entry - Tala bhuja, Western entry -- Talagriva, Northern entry - Tala ketu were placed along with 10 akshohini army each. For each corner of the town another 10 akshohini was allocated for protection.
Shakti senas’s uproar. Durmada was confronted by Sampatkaridevi and her army of elephants (who arose from Lalita devi’s spear). Realising that his army was being defeated Durmada himself came for the war seated on a camel. Sampatkari devi who was seated on ‘Ranakolahala’ her elephant, faced him. In the ferocious battle Durmada was able to destroy one gem from the crown of Sampatkari devi. Angry with this, Sampatkari devi killed Durmada with her arrows which pierced his heart. With that the remaining demons fled back to their town out of fear.
Listening to this Bhandasura was very angry and sent Durmada’s elder brother Kurunda for battle. He is an expert in maya yuddha (war using mystical powers). Full of vengeance he attacked Sampatkari devi. In the meanwhile Ashwarudha devi who had taken birth from Lalita devi’s whip came forward and pleaded Sampatkari devi to give her a chance to fight with this demon. Now Ashwarudha devi along with her army pounced upon Kurunda. Ashwarudha devi mounted on ‘Aparajita’ was herself leading the army. In that battle she killed Kurunda by piercing his chest with her spear. Remaining demonsfled for their lives.
Bhanda became furious. He sent a huge army this time (100 akshohini) along with 5 commanders. They materialised serpent gods by name ‘Ranashambari’ which attacked shaktisena. The demons had previously defeated gods using these mystic powers. Crores and crores of serpents, which arose from the serpent gods, started torturing the shaktisena. They were taking birth again and again even after being killed a number of times. Then Nakuli devi mounted on garuda came to the battlefield. From her mouth came out 32 crores of mongooses. These mongooses started gobbling up all the newborn serpents immediately after birth. Then Nakuli devi killed Ranashambari with Garudastram. All the five commanders now attacked Nakuli devi. Nakuli devi’s mongoose army attacked them from the rear. In that ferocious battle Nakuli devi who was mounted on Garuda was making aerial strikes on the demons who were not able to catch her. She killed the five commanders by chopping of their heads.
Bhanda after listening to this sent Valahaka and other seven commanders along with 300 akshohini army. These seven demons are sons of demoness named Kikasa. In the past they obtained a boon from sun god that at the time of war sun would reside in theireyes. As soon as these demons entered the battlefield the shakti sena army started becoming blindfolded and incapacitated unable to face the brilliance of their eyes. Demons started becoming ferocious. Immediately the bodyguard of Dandanatha devi –named Tiraskarinika devi, entered the battle field mounted on an aeroplane named ‘Tamoliptam’.At the order of Damdanatha devi she discharged an arrow named ‘Andhanastra’ and the seven commanders were forced to close their eyes. Now shakti sena started pouncing back. Keeping Tiraskarinika devi in the forefront, other gods killed the sevencommanders. With this blow Bhandasura lost his senses. He called upon his two brothers for a discussion.
In that meeting it was decided that Vishanga would attack devi’s army from its rear side in a treacherous way (This is called Parshti grahamu). This decision was taken because they got information from their spies that Lalita devi was having less army and protection at her rear end and it was easier for them to approach Lalita devi directly and attack her, if they approached from the rear. After the first day’s war, at dusk, Vishanga with a small army proceeded to the rear of Lalita devi’s army noiselessly without any drums. By then Lalita devi’s army was moving westward. Vishanga along with his army moved north wards and then turned to reach eastern side. He was able to see Srichakraraja chariot very near to him. Lalita devi was looking forward observing the movement of the army. She was not having much army close to her. Taking this opportunity Vishanga attacked devi’s chariot from the rear, all of a sudden.
Anima and other gods who were present there were taken back at this sudden attack but quickly recovered themselves and prepared for a counter fight. Exactly at the same time Kutilaksha along with ten akshohini army attacked from the front side. Seeing attack from both ends Lalita devi was a little angry. In the mean while, struck by an arrow from Vishanga, the fan present in Lalita devi’s hand fell down andbroke. Seeing this Tithidevatas got very angry. They went and requested Lalita devithat Vahnivasini and Jwalamalini nitya devas have property and capacity of self illumination. If they glow then the demons who are in the dark will all becomevisible. With the permission of Lalita devi, Vahnivasini and Jwalamalini devis started glowing like fireballs. All the demons who were hiding in darkness now becamevisible. Now the 16 nitya devi’s became outrageous and attacked Vishanga’s army. All the commanders in the demons army died. Wounded all over the body Vishanga fled for his life shamelessly. Even Kutilaksha who attacked from the front also fled. (In Lalita sahasranama - nityaparakrama topa nirikshana samatsuka =seeing the valour of nityadevatas, Lalita devi was very pleased). Mantrini devi and Dandanatha devi felt unhappy about this unprecedented attack in the night They felt very sorry that their arrangements of protection were not up to the mark. Agni prakara (compound wall made of fire). Both of them went to Lalita devi, expressed sorry for what had happened and made arrangements for protection. At the instance of Lalita devi, Jwalamalini devi made a compound wall of fire around the devi’s army The fire wall is 100 yojana wide and 30 yojana tall. (1 yojana is approximately 8 miles). At the southern end of fire wall is a 1 yojana long entry, to enable devi’s army to go out and fight because Shunyapuram is facing this end. (L.S.N—jwalamalinikashipta vahniprakaramadhyaga)Stambhini devi a member of Dandanatha devi family along with 20 akshohinisenas was protecting this entry point. She is also called Vighna devi. By then it was dawn.
Knowing all this news Bhandasura was in despair and started thinking what to do. This time he sent all his 30 sons for the war. After listening to this news Lalita devi’s daughter Baladevi wanted to fight these demons herself. Baladevi is the only daughter of Lalita devi .She resembles Lalita devi very much but is always only years old .She stays permanently with her mother.. Baladevi approached her mother and requested for permission to fight in thebattlefield.. At the outset Lalita devi denied but looking at the courage and will power exhibited by Bala devi she ultimately gave permission. Seeing Bala devi coming for the war Mantrini and Dandanayaka were astonished and they stood as her body guards. Now Baladevi started ferocious fighting with Bhanda’s sons. Every one was surprised at her valor. Whole of the second day Baladevi fought. That evening she shot 30 arrows at a time and killed the 30 sons of Bhanda. Lalita devi was very happy and she embraced her daughter (Bhanda putra vadhodyukta bala vikrama nandita). Bhanda was grief stricken. Desperately he himself started off for the war. Vishukra and Vishanga pacified Bandasura.
Vighnayentra nashnam (Destruction of the mystic symbol of obstacles).
Now Bhanda sent Vishukra to the warfront. In the darkness Vishukra approached the Vahniprakara (firewall) –on a flat stone he drew a mystic symbol and performed some black magic. He then threw that mystic symbol forcefully. It fell in the firewall at some point. With the affect of that yantra (mystic symbol) laziness crept into the minds ofthe devi’s army. Some started arguing that war itself was wrong. (b.) Some said, “Why should we fight on behalf of the gods”. (c.) Some said, “Who is this Lalita devi? Who has given her superior ship over us?” (d.) Some said, “If all of us together decline not to fight what can Lalita devi do?” (e.) All of them fell into sleep of ignorance. After midnight Vishukra along with 30 akshohini sena surrounded the firebarrier. Even then none of the members of shakti sena moved under the influence of the ignorance caused by the Vighna yantra. However, Vighnayentra was not able to affect Mantrini and Dandanatha. But they were both very sad worried seeing the state of their army. Not knowing what to do they went and enquired Lalita devi. Then Lalita devi looked at the Kameshwara’s face and passed a gentle smile. From her smile Ganapathi took birth. He immediately searched in the firewall and noticed the ‘vighnayentra shila’ at one place. He broke the shila into pieces and powder with his tooth.(kameshwaramukhaloka kalpita sri ganeshwara Mahaganesha nirbhinna vighnayentra praharsita). With that shaktisena’s ignorance and sleep was dispelled, they immediately got ready for the war. Now Vighneswara along with this army came out of the fire barrier and started fighting with Vishukra.
Vishukra sent Gajasura to attack him but soon Gajasura was slayed. Seeing this Vishukra ran away.
Annihilation of Vishukra and Vishanga.
After discussing with Bhandasura, Vishukra came back to war, along with his brother Vishanga and son-in-law. With this the third day war had started. Mantrini and Dandanatha both started to fight simultaneously. In the front was Dandanatha devi mounted on her kirichakra ratha with her plough weapon (halayudha) swirling it rapidly. Behind her was Mantrini devi mounted on Geyachakra ratha as an archer with bow and arrows. Dandanatha devi attacked Vishunga. Mantrini devi confronted Vishukra.. Ashwarudha, Sampatkari and others attacked the son- in-law of the demons who had come..The army of the demons started slackening. Noticing this Vishukra discharged Trushastram (weapon which produces thirst). Shaktisena’s army started to experience intense thirst. Then Dandanatha devi invited ‘Madyasamudra’(=ocean of liquor) devata from her kirichakra and quenched their thirst. Madyasamudra deva showered liquor rains. With that the army quenched their thirst and rejuvenated.. By sunset most of the demons including Bhanda’s son-in-law had died. Then Shyamala devi (Mantrini) fought with Vishukra and killed him with ‘Brahmashironamakastra’ (a powerful weapon named brahmashira). Dandanatha devi (Potrini) killed Vishanga with her plough weapon and pestle. However in Lalita sahasranama it is mentioned that Vishukra was killed by Varahiand Vishanga was killed by Mantrini-Mantrinyamba virachita vishanga vadhatoshitaVishukra prana harana varahiveryanandita. By then it was past midnight.
Only Kutilaksha the commander in chief was left over to console Bhandasura. Bhanda along with Kutilaksha started towards the battlefield. 2185 akshohini army along with 40 commanders followed him.
A). He boarded a chariot named ‘Aabhilamu’(=dreadful). It is dragged by 1000 lions instead of horses.
B). His sword is named Yatana (= torture in hell).
Noticing this Lalita devi herself started moving in her Srichakra raja ratha towards the warfront. Behind her was Mantrini in the Geyachakra ratha followed by Potrini in kirichakraratha. Other shakti deities followed her in crores. In the usage of sastra’s (mystic weapons) and pratyastra (corresponding neutralising weapons), none of them were drawn aback (LSN—Bhandasurendra nirmukta shastra pratyastra varshini)
Now Bandasura by his mystical powers regenerated Madhukaitabha, Raktabija and other old demons. Then Lalita devi made a violent frenzied laughter –Durga devi and other deities described in chandi saptashati were born and slayed these demons. Now Bhanda generated Somaka and other demons. Then Lalita devi generated the 10 incarnations of Vishnu from the finger tips of her hands (LSN – Karanguli nakhotpanna narayana dasakrutih). Sun was about to set. Lalita devi decided not to delay any more. She then discharged Narayana astra and Pashupata astra and destroyed the demons and their commanders who were all turned into ashes (Mahapashupatastragni nirdagdhasura sainyaka) .Now Bhandasura was the only one left. Lalita devi discharged the Mahakameshawarastra and annihilated Bhandasura. Immediately his shunyaka town got burnt down. (Kameshwarastra nirdagdhasabhandasura sunyaka.
Gods proclaimed victory of Lalita devi on the drums and they showered flowers, lighted camphor blazes and shouted victory slogans.
Kama sanjeevanam (rebirth of kama). Brahma, Vishnu, Indra and other gods praised Lalita devi’s grandeur (LSN—Brahmopendra mahendradi deva samstuta vaibhava). In that praise they proclaimed thus:
A.) Mother! Bhanda is dead but his friend Taraka is still alive to trouble us.
B.) To annihilate him Shiva must have a son
C.) We were trying for the same but in the mean while Manmadha (god of love) died and all these events happened
D.) Therefore kindly give rebirth to Manmadha and perform the marriage of Shiva and Parvathi.
Lalita devi smiled compassionately and looked at Kameshwara. From her looks Manmadha took rebirth .(Haranetragni sandagdha amasanjeevanaushadhih - meaning Lalita devi is the sacred herb sajeevini which gave rebirth to Manmadha who was destroyed by the fire from Shiva’s eye). Rati and Manmadha prostrated to the mother goddess and praised her.
The mother goddess blessed them and instructed:
A.) Manmadha! Now you need not fear
B.) Go once again and cast your magical arrow on Shiva
C.) Shiva will loose to you and will marry Parvathi
D.) With my blessings Shiva will do you no harm.
E.) From now on you can enter every ones body and cause aesthetic/ sensuous pleasures to them.
F.) Protect my devotees.
At the instructions of mother goddess Manmadha with his family went and cast his magic charm on Shiva. This time Shiva left renunciation and started searching vehemently for parvathi. Then Manmadha cast magical arrows on Parvati also. Shiva was very pleased with parvathi’s penance. He appeared before her, granted a boon and married her. Kumaraswamy was born to Shiva and Parvathi .He became the commander of Gods army and annihilated Tarakasura. He then married Devasena devi, the daughter of Indra.
After helping all the gods Manmadha left to Sripura to serve goddess Lalita devi.
Sripura varnanam (description of Sripura )
What does Sripura mean? After the annihilation of Bhandasura, Trimurtis called upon the cosmic architect Viswakarma and the architect of demons Maya , and instructed them to construct 16 palaces in 16 kshetras (sacred places) for the residence of Lalita & Shiva Kameswara. Meru and other gigantic mountains (9) Jalasamudra and other oceans (7) – total 16 Kshetras. The palatial buildings of mother goddess located in these kshetras are called Sripura. Wherever a Sripura is located , its dimensions are like this.
1.) Mount Meru has 4 peaks One on the eastern side, one on north west, one on the south west. Each is 100 yojanas tall and 100 yojanas wide these are trimurtis worlds. In the center of these is the fourth, which is 400 yojanas tall and 400 yojanas wide.
2.) Sripura is on the Middle peak. Sripura has got metallic compound walls 7 in number they are square shaped. Each wall is separated from the next one by one a distance of 7 yojanas.1. Kalayasa (iron) wall – The perimeter of this wall is 16 thousand yojanas2. Kansya (bronze) wall—Between these two is the first chamber. Several trees and gardens are located here. Mahakali and Mahakala are the gate keepers here. Kalachakra is their throne.
3. Tamra (copper) wall - Here is a forest of Kalpavruksha (wish granting tree). This is also called as Kalpavatica. This is the second chamber. Vasanta (spring) is its protector .Madhusri and Madhavasri are his consorts.
4. Seesa (lead) wall - Here is a forest of santana trees (progeny granting). This is the third chamber Grishma (summer) is the ruler . Shukrasri and Shuchisri are his consorts.
5. Aarkuta (brass) wall - This is the fourth chamber. Here is a forest of Hari chandanavruksha (yellow fragrant sandal wood). The ruler is varsharutu (rainy season. Nabhasri and Nabhasyasri are his consorts.
6. Panchaloha (five metal) wall—In this fifth chamber is a garden of mandara trees(Calotropis gigantea).Sharadrutu is the protector. Ishasri and Urjasri are his consorts.
7. Raupya (silver) wall – Sixth chamber.Parijata tree forest .Hemantarutu is the protector. Sahasri and Sahasyasri are his consorts.
8. Hema (gold) wall - Seventh chamber. Kadamba forest. Sisira (winter) s the protector. Tavasri and Tavasyasri are his consorts. This is where Mantrini devi resides in a temple. She has one more quarter very close to that of Lalita devi in Mahapadmatavi( forest of lotuses). When she is on duty she stays in that quarter. In this seventh chamber near Mantrini’s residence Matanga kanyas are constantly singing and dancing.
Matanga kanyaka charitra (story of Matanga kanya). In the olden days a sage named Matanga used to expand the creation byvirtue of the power of his penance.362. His son Matanga was a great saint and practitioner of penance. He was the friend of Himavanta. Once Himavanta started boasting saying that he was the father of Gauri devi. With that Matanga felt humiliated and started great penance for Mudrini devi(Mudrinidevi is none other than Mantrini devi who had received a ring from Lalita devi. She is also called Shyamala devi.
She was very happy with his penance and gave boon that she herself would be born as a daughter to him. A few days later Shyamala devi appeared in the dream of Siddhamati devi (consort of Matanga). Shyamala devi gave her a flower from the bunch decorating the formers ear. Very soon she had a female child who was named Laghushyama as she was born in a very short duration (Laghu = short, small). She was also called Matangi, Matanga Kanyaka. With her power she generated crores of virgins, who stay near Mantrini devi’s house and keep singing her praises all the time.
The Compounds of precious stones: Inside the golden compound, there are eleven prakaras (compounds) one inside the other and inside them there are six more compounds described hereunder. All these compounds are perfect squares. Here also, the distance between one compound and the other is Seven yojanas. (yojana is a measurement of length of about nine miles).
1. Pushyaraga Prakara (The compound of Topaz) The area between the golden compound and this one is called Pushyaraga area. Here male and female Siddhas reside. Those who were born earlier in the race of Siddha and who obtained attainment (Siddhi) in their spiritual practices worshipping the Divine Mother, stay here as Siddhas and gladly continue to worship Her.
2. Padmaraga Prakara (The compound of Ruby) Here celestials of the species called Caranas reside. Those who were born in Carana world and worshipped the Mother are reborn here, after attaining Her grace.
3. Gomedhika Prakara (The compound of Agate) In this arena, Kala Sankarshani devi resides. She is worshipped by the Yoginis and Bhairavas.
4. Vajra Prakara (The compound of diamonds) Apsaras and Gandharvas (divine dancers and singers) stay in this arena. They are ever engaged in the Japa (repetition) of the Divine Mother’s names and stay here happily. The river Vajranadi flows in this place. The Goddess Vajreswari stays here. When the demon Bhanda swallowed the diamond weapon (Vajra Ayudha) of Indra, he could get back his weapon by worshipping the Mother here.
5. Vaidurya Prakara (The compound of Cat’s eye) Those of the netherworld, who attained spiritual achievements by worshipping the Mother, stay in this arena. The emperor Bali also resides here.
6. Indraneela Prakara (The compound of Sapphire) Those people who were born on the earth stay in this area enjoying pleasures, after their worship of Lalita during their lifetime there. Soon after the effect of their punya (merit) is exhausted, they will be born again as human beings on the earth. By the effect of their previous pious deeds, they again worship the Mother and return once more to this pious place. Due to the blue colour of these precious stones, the dark effect of likes and dislikes persists in them. Hence they are born again and again. Those who can control their senses to merge in the ultimate state of salvation, i.e., in the Divine Mother. They do not have rebirth.
7. Mukta Prakara (The compound of pearls) Several rivers named Tamraparni, Mahaparni, Sadamukta, Sadodaka etc. flow in this area. The celestials who worshipped the Mother and chanted her Mantras stay here. The cities of the rulers of the eight sides exist here. (The eight sides are East, West, North, South, North-East, South-East, North-West and South-West).
8. Marakata Prakara (The compound of Emerald) The abode of the Goddess Dandanatha also called Varahi exists in this area. There is a garden of golden palm-trees here. The Goddess Unmattabhairavi, Svapnesvari, Tiraskarinidevi, Kirapadadevi reside in this area. When Goddess Dandanatha is on duty, she stays in a separate palace in the forest of Mahapadma (Big lotuses).
9. Vidruma Prakara (The compound of Coral) In this area, Brahma along with sages like Marica stays and worship the DivineMother.
10.Manikya Prakara (The compound of Gem) This area is also called the hall of gems i.e. Manikya Mantapa. Her Vishnu worships the Mother.
11. Navaratna Prakara (The compound of nine precious stones) In this area exists a huge hall with thousands of pillars. Here Siva along with his attendants constantly supervises the activities being done as per the orders of Lalita Devi.
12. Manomaya Prakara (The compound of mind) The entire area is a big well of Amruta (nectar). The Goddess Tara resides here. Along with her attendants, she rows a big boat and takes her devotees inside along with Her.
13. Buddhi Prakara (The compound of the intellect) The entire area is a big well of Bliss. The captain of the ship in this arena is the Goddess Varuni. She is also called as Sudha malini and Amruteswari.
14. Ahankara Prakara (The compound of Egoism) The entire area is a big well of criticism and nectar; The water of this well is nothing else than the nectar in the nerve Sushumna (The central nerve between Ida and Pingala nerves of one’s backbone). The captain of the ship in this area is the Goddess Kurukulla.
15. Suryabimba Prakara (The compound of the Sun) Here brilliance comparable to the light of the rising Sun exists always. Plenty of flowers called Kuruvinda are abundant here. The Sun performed penance here and obtained brilliance. Martanda Bhairava stays here. He has a very luminous form. His three wives are Mahaprakasa Sakti, Cakshusmati Sakti and Chayada Sakti (The powers of great brilliance, eyesight and shade).
16. Candrabimba Prakasa (The compound of the Moon) Moonshine ever exists here. The Moon performed penance here and attained illumination. Somanatha, the Lord of the stars is the chief deity of this area.
17. Srungara Prakara (The compound of eroticism) This area is full of waters of eroticism. Here Manmatha, (Cupid-the god of love) does Japa of the Mother’s sacred names, rowing in a boat. Only those who are of pure mind by nature can cross this area.
18. Cintamani Gruha (The abode of Gems) This is the great palace of Sri-chakra. It is called Mahapadmatavi also. Around the mansion, hundreds of thousands of lotus like palaces exist. To the east of this place, there is a large vessel with a diameter of one Yojana. This is called Arghya Patra (the vessel used to wash hands) b) At the south-east corner exists Cidagnikunda (The fire pit of knowledge). At the south-west exists Sricakra Ratha, the vehicle of Sricakra. At the north-west exists the Geya Cakra Ratha of the Goddess Mantrini. At the north-east exists the Kiri Cakra Ratha of the Goddess Dandini. In between the East and the south-east exists Mantrini gruha - the abode of the Goddess Mantrini. In between the East and the north-east exists Dandini gruha – the abode of the Goddess Dandini.
The description of the Palace of Cintamani
1. This palace is centrally located in Sripattana – The City of Sri (Wealth).
2. The walls of the palace are built with Cintamani gems.
3. The roof also is made of the same stones of Cintamani.
4. The palace has three towers by names Iccha Sikhara, Kriya Sikhara and Jnana Sikhara i.e. the towers of desire, action and knowledge.
5. The palace has four doors. They are called Amnaya devas. They are Purva, Dakshina, Pascima and Uttara – Amnaya devas (on the East, South, West and North sides). Amnaya means Veda.
6. Bindu Peetha (central seat of power) is centrally located in the palace.
7. This seat of power (peetha) has steps on four sides.
8. The entire structure described above is of the design of Sricakra.
9. All the male and female deities of Sricakra reside here.
10.The Bindu Peetha is called Sri Peetha, Maha Peetha, Vidya Peetha andAnanda Peetha also (The seat of prosperity, greatness, knowledge andbliss).
11.On the pedastal exists the cot of the five brahmas.
12.The cot has four legs namely Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesana and Iswara. These four deities have attained female form by worshipping Mother.
13.The plank resting on these legs is Sadasiva.
14.To the east of this cot, there are 36 steps, representing the 36 aspects of spiritualism.
15.There is a foot-rest in front of the cot.
16.There is swan like bed on the cot.
17.On the cot, there are two pillows for the head and one pillow for the legs.
18.A light red blanket is spread on the bed.
19.The Lord Kameswara sits on the cot facing the East. He is ever in the form of a sixteen year old boy. He has four hands and three eyes. He wears erotic costumes.
20.On His lap sits Lalita Devi. She is ever in the form of a sixteen year old girl. Her complexion is rosy. She wears erotic costumes. She has four hands. Her decoration is the moon.
21.As she pleases Sadasiva, she is called Lalita (Lalana - to please) Siva Kameswarankastha Siva Svadheena Vallabha Sumeru madhya srungastha Srimannagara nayika. Cintamani gruhantastha Panca Brahmasana sthita. Maha Padmatavi samstha Kadamba vana vasini Sudha sagara madhyastha Kamakshi Kamadayini The above names in the Lalita Sahasra nama indicate the Srinaara, the Cintamani gruha (the palace of the Mother) and her other divine aspects described above. The Mother incarnated to kill the demon Bhanda. She is the Supreme Mother as per these divine names, will achieve everything auspicious