Fearlessness from the Divine Mother
‘Fearlessness from the Divine Mother’: Doesn’t this title bring hope to all those who are
tormented by fear due to various reasons in their life? Truly, no matter how intelligently we try to live by
applying our brains, or no matter how elaborately we plan our various projects and futures, sometimes,
achieving the intended success remains a distant dream. When driven to such a corner in life, our only
hope is in praying to the Divine Mother and obtaining her grace and protection! Then there are various
kinds of diseases and ailments in our lives; even when you live with the greatest care, you may contract
them; and then doctors try all their knowledge and medicines on you and finally give up on you; in such
situations too, our only hope is to run to the Divine Mother in prayer! The tragedy of untimely death, the
unbearable pain of insult and loss of face, getting plunged into abject poverty directly from the heights of
prosperity due to bad investments and financial decisions – to avoid these terrible situations, we have no
better option than to take refuge in the Divine Mother; her protection is the only option. The Divine
Mother herself created this universe; yet there is no dearth of problems and obstacles in our lives. But, if
we can obtain her grace and protection, even in the midst of all these problems and obstacles, we can live
our life completely untouched by any of them.
The famous ‘Devi Kavacha’, a part of the Durga Sapthashati, has been named as ‘Matri-rakshakavacha’
here. By chanting this regularly, how we can obtain her protection is very clearly enunciated
here. The entire Durga Sapthashati was revealed to the Rishis. Hence each verse of this work is indeed a
potent Mantra. All we need to do is chant this mantra with faith and devotion. The impact of the Mantra-
Shakti automatically envelops us.
The Supreme Being is One and impersonal. Yet, the impersonal Being becomes a person, as it
were, and assumes various forms for executing various duties. In order to nurture all living creatures,
which have originated from the Supreme Being and are therefore the Supreme Being’s own children, and
to give them a taste of divine love and affection, the impersonal Supreme Being assumes the form of the
Divine Mother, the Mother of the Universe. The Divine Mother is easily pleased; she confers both
material and spiritual blessings on her children. It is the Divine Mother who appears as affection in all the
mothers in this world. Therefore, the Puranas praise her as follows:
Yaa devi sarva bhuteshu matri rupena samstita;
Namastasyai namastasyai namastasyai namonamaha.
‘We offer our salutations again and again to that Divine Mother who resides in all living
beings in the form of mother.’
That means – the motherhood in all women is the Divine Mother herself. That is the reason
mother’s love shines with a wonderful selflessness. How much they strive for the betterment of their
children! For the sake of their children, mothers forsake their own comforts, forget their own likes and
preferences, and forbear all sorts of discomforts and tribulations. Mothers are known to have even given
up their own lives while protecting those of their offspring. This selflessness, found naturally in all
mothers, is inspired by the Divine Mother. But these earthly mothers can, at best, take care of the physical
well-being of their children. Some mothers may assist their children in establishing themselves in this
world. Manifesting the hidden Atman within man, slaking the thirst for knowledge within man, bringing
about spiritual progress of man, leading man towards the Supreme Being by holding his hands, – these are
possible only by the spiritual mother, the Divine Mother. Realizing this, the Rishis and sages, the
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prophets and incarnations visualized the Supreme Being as Mother, and discovered the amazing path of
relating to the Divine Mother as a child, a path known as Santhaana-bhava. When the child calls out to its
mother, will she not respond? Won’t the Divine Mother come running when the child cries from its heart?
It was Durga Puja period once; Sri Ramakrishna was sitting with his devotees. It must have been
7-7.30 in the evening. Suddenly Sri Ramakrishna got up, and with a beautiful smile playing on his lips, he
went into Bhava-Samadhi. Seeing this sudden transformation, devotees started talking amongst
themselves, ‘This is the moment of the Sandhi-Puja; that is why he went into Bhava-Samadhi.’ The
Sandhi Puja refers to the puja conducted at most auspicious moment when Saptami and Ashtami meet. It
is generally a small time period of around 45 minutes. The Divine Mother is offered special worship
during this most auspicious period.
It was during this auspicious period that Sri Ramakrishna got completely absorbed in the mood of
the Divine Mother. About half an hour later, Sri Ramakrishna regained normal consciousness and said,
(pointing to himself), “I saw a path of light emanate from here till Surendra’s house. Drawn by Surendra’s
devotion, I saw the Divine Mother manifest there. A light was emanating from her third eye. I saw the
row of lamps lit on the portico, in front of the house. All of you please go there today.” Surendra was
deeply devoted to Sri Ramakrishna. He was a great worshipper of the Divine Mother. The Divine Mother
had responded to his fervent devotion.
This is how the Divine Mother comes running to her devotees’ fervent appeals. Having
manifested, she savors the faith & devotion of her devotees. She fulfils all the prayers of her devotees.
She also protects them from all sorts of problems in life. Not only that; in order to awaken faith in her,
once in a while, here and there, she reveals her divine form to some blessed souls. By doing this, she
ensures that she remains ever fresh in the minds of the people of this world.
Once Swami Brahmananda was sitting on the veranda in Belur Math, facing the Ganges. All of a
sudden he saw Mother Durga come in to the Math, walking on the Ganges! She walked under the Bilva
tree in the garden and disappeared. A few moments after this Swami Vivekananda alighted from a boat.
He came straight to Swami Brahmananda and said, “Make arrangements for Mother’s worship
immediately.” Saying this, he explained the vision he had just then seen, “Look here, I vividly saw
Mother being worshipped with great pomp and glory in Belur Math!” Swami Brahmananda then told him
about the vision that he had had just moments ago. Both the great monks had a vision at the same time!
So, without the least delay, preparations for Durga Puja began. That incident was the birth of the tradition
of performing Durga Puja every year in Belur Math. Even today, one has to see Belur Math’s Durga Puja
to experience its pomp and glory.
Innumerable are the books that describe the Divine Mother’s glory. Innumerable are the devotees
that have attempted to realize her in truth. In the Devi Sukta that appears in the Vedas, Mother herself
Ahameva swayam idam vadami justaam devebhirutamaanushebhihi;
Yam kaamaye tam tamugram krinomi tam brahmaanam tam rishim tam sumedhaam.
‘I myself impart the teaching regarding that Divine Truth which is sought after by men and
gods. Him that I love, I make him strong, I make him Brahma, I make him a Rishi, I make him
Describing Mother Durga, the Vedic Rishis sang as follows:
Taamagnivarnaam tapasa jwalanteem vairochaneem karmaphaleshu justaam;
Durgaam deveem sharanamaham prapadye sutarasi tarase namaha.
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‘I surrender to Devi Durga, who is Brilliant as the fire, dazzling with Tapas-shakti,
manifesting in infinite forms, the Shakti of the Supreme Being, the power behind all activities and the
fruits of all actions. O Devi Bhagawati, you are an expert in lifting us above all troubles; you carry us
safely across the ocean of samsara, (transmigratory existence). Salutations to you.’
‘Tarase’ – means ‘one who is an expert in lifting us above all troubles’. How amazing it is that
the Rishis address the Divine Mother by such a name! We see similar names of the Divine Mother in the
Lalitha Sahasranama. One such name in that text is ‘Samsara-panka-nimagna samuddharana pandita’. It
means: this human existence is marked by the inescapable rotation between birth and death; such a
transmigratory existence is nothing better than muck! We are stuck in that dirty muck; and the Divine
Mother is an expert in lifting us above such a trap.
The Divine Mother is ever ready to come to our assistance. She is ever eager to lift us away from
all our troubles. Doesn’t her very name ‘Durga’ signify that? The word Durga means just that – one who
carries us across all problems. But we need to call her; call her with a sincere heart. Only then does she
come to us. Isn’t that the same rule in this world too? Only when the child throws away its toys and cries
out loudly does the mother come running to her child. Until then, she will be busy with her household
It is impossible for the Divine Mother to resist the sincere call of a devotee. The Puranas attest:
Durge smrita harasi bheetimasheshajantoh
Swasthaihi smritaa matimateeva shubhaam dadaasi;
Daaridryaduhkhabhayahaarini kaa twadanyaa,
‘O Durga, you banish fear from all beings who remember you; when people in comfort
remember you, you grant them correct understanding. O Mother, who banishes all poverty, pain and
fear; who else but you has the tender mother’s heart for all living beings?’
The soft mother’s heart of the Divine Mother however, is filled with immense power and
strength. The compassion shown by ordinary human beings has a shadow of weakness. But the Divine
Mother’s compassion is filled through and through with infinite strength. When we recall the scenes of
the Divine Mother quelling the Asuras who tormented the sages, we realize this point clearly. When
punishing the wicked, the Divine Mother assumes the formidable forms of Chandi, Chamundi and
Bhadrakali. She kills the uncontrollable Mahishasura; she cuts Chanda & Munda into pieces; she drinks
the blood of Raktabijasura; she destroys Shumbha & Nishumbha; she systematically, and easily,
destroyed innumerable such Asuras, who delighted in tormenting the good people of this world. You
don’t see her straining in her acts; it is natural to her!
Killing Mahishasura: Asuras have magical powers; they can assume any form they like.
Although Mahishasura was originally an immensely large buffalo, he assumes various forms on the
battlefield. When he attempts to pounce on the Divine Mother in the form of a buffalo, she binds him with
a lasso. Immediately, the Asura forsakes his buffalo form and escapes the noose, and assumes the terrible
form of a lion. By the time she severs the head of the lion, he resurrects in the form of a terrible warrior,
armed with swords. The Divine Mother then destroys his swords and renders him unarmed. But he
doesn’t lose focus. From the dying body of the warrior, he now emerges as a huge elephant. That elephant
starts shouting and teasing the Divine Mother’s vehicle, the lion. By the time Chandi cuts off the trunk of
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the elephant, the Asura remerges in his original buffalo form and starts bellowing in his demoniac voice.
Addressing the Asura, the Divine Mother says:
Garja garja kshanam mudha madhu yaavatpibaamyaham;
Mayaa twayi hatetraiva garjishyantyashu devataaha.
‘O fool, bellow as much as you wish; keep bellowing for the little while that I drink honey; as
soon as I kill you right here, the gods will then bellow in joy!’
Thereafter, the Divine Mother pounces on the Asura, stepping on his fallen body, and drives her
spear through his throat. The Asura then tries to escape from the body of the buffalo. When he was half
through with his escape, the Divine Mother cuts off his head, kills him, and thus establishes peace in all
Killing Shumbha & Nishumbha: Shumbha & Nishumbha were two terrible Asuras who stole the
god Indra’s portion of Yajna, and also usurped his dominion of the three worlds. Completely at a loss, the
gods approached the peerless Mother of the Universe for help. The Divine Mother manifested herself,
assuming a bewitchingly beautiful form. Chanda & Munda were two assistants of the two Asuras. They
saw this bewitching form and described her beauty in glowing terms to Shumbha, instigating him to woo
her and marry her, if need be, even against her wish. Overcome with desire, Shumbha sends his emissary
to the beautiful lady. Learning of the Asura’s desire for her hand, Devi explains her resolve regarding
marriage in these words:
Yo maam jayati sangraame yo me darpam vyapohati;
Yo me pratibalo loke sa me bhartaa bhavishyati.
‘He who defeats me in combat, he who quells my arrogance, he who is my equal in strength,
him only shall I wed.’
Listening to these challenging words from a helpless girl, intense anger started bursting through
every vein of the Asura. He sent the Asura leader Dhumralochana to drag that foolish girl to his feet.
Mother Ambika merely uttered the sound ‘hum’ and the Asura leader Dhumralochana was reduced to
ashes. That is all she did, just utter a sound! Shocked by this news, Shumbha dispatched his trusted
assistants Chanda & Munda along with his entire army. When this formidable army led by Chanda &
Munda approached Mother Ambika, she was sitting on her vehicle, the lion, and smiling sweetly at the
developments. From her third eye sprang forth a dark-skinned divine form called Kali, armed with sword
and a lasso. For Kali, beheading Chanda & Munda was cake walk! Playing with their severed heads, she
rent the skies with her victorious shrieks and danced around in joy. The whole thing was so natural to
Kali, it almost seemed like the death of Chanda & Munda was collateral damage in a small girl’s play!
She then placed their heads at Mother Ambika’s feet and requested Mother Ambika to kill Shumbha &
Nishumbha. When Shumbha heard that the best of his warriors had been killed, and that too so
effortlessly, without a fight, he himself entered the battlefield. The powers of all the gods, seated on the
vehicles of the respective gods, bearing the same weapons as their respective gods, came together and
entered into Mother Ambika. Dazzled by the brilliance of the Divine Mother, the Asura army ran helterskelter.
One among these Asuras was an especially terrible fellow called Raktabija. He now stood facing
the Divine Mother and challenged her to a one-on-one fight. He had a very special power; from every
drop of his blood that would touch the ground, another Asura, as powerful as himself, would spring to
life! So, during the fight, from every drop of his blood that fell on the ground, innumerable Asuras, equal
to him in power of action, vitality, and physical strength emerged. The entire region got filled with
innumerable such terrible Raktabijas very soon. Mother Ambika then tells Kali:
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Raktabindoh praticchatwam vaktrena anena veyginaa.
‘Come on! Lick every drop of this Asura’s blood that gets spilled by the blows of my weapon
on his body.’
So, wherever a drop of Raktabija’s blood would fall from his wounds, Kali licked the blood, and
also swallow in whole, any Asuras that may have sprung to life from the ground. Very soon, deeply
wounded by Mother Ambika’s various divine weapons, and by excessive loss of blood, that Asura fell to
the ground lifeless. Thereafter ensued a most terrible battel between the Divine Mother and the Asura pair
– Shumbha & Nishumbha. They too used a vast armory of exotic weapons on the Divine Mother. When
Nishumbha charged towards her with his spear, the Divine Mother tore him apart with her trident. When
the trident tore open his heart, from its recesses came forth another terrible Asura. Even as he came forth,
he shouted at the Divine Mother ‘Stop!’ His voice could have frozen the blood of a tiger, but the Divine
Mother merely smiled at him and effortlessly cut his head off with one blow of her sword. The Divine
Mother assumes different forms to perform different actions. Now that some really powerful and terrible
Asuras had to be killed, she brought forth many powerful forms of herself. Addressing the Divine Mother
who was fighting the battle by simultaneously manifesting multiple forms such as Brahmaani,
Maaheswari, Kaumaari, Vaishnavi, Vaaraahi, etc, Shumbha says:
Balaavalepadushte twam Durge garvamaavaha;
Anyaasaam balamaashritya yudhyase cha atimaanini.
‘O Durga, drunk with power as you are, don’t be proud of yourself. You are well-known to be
extremely independent-minded. Yet, aren’t you ashamed to use others’ powers in this fight?’
The Divine Mother replies:
Ekaivaaham jagatyatra dviteeyaa kaa mamaaparaa;
Pashyaitaa dushta maiyyeva vishantyo madhvibootayaha.
‘I alone exist in this universe. Who else exists but me! O wicked one, open your eyes and see
how each one of these powers enter into me.’
Right in front of his open eyes, all the goddesses entered into the Divine Mother and became one
with her. Then she alone remained on the battlefield. A terrible battle ensued between the Divine Mother
and the Asura Shumbha. Both used exotic weapons, and the fight seemed evenly balanced. Both of them
therefore flew up into the sky and resumed their fight. After a keenly fought battle, the Divine Mother
caught hold of the Asura, whirled him around like a hammer ball, and flung him on the ground. But he
was tough. Springing up as soon as he hit the ground, he rushed headlong towards the Divine Mother. She
then drove her spear right into the heart of Shumbha, the overlord of all Asuras. When his lifeless body
fell on the ground, the whole earth shook with its weight. The three worlds became free from the torment
of the Asuras with his death. All the gods, overwhelmed with the grace of the Divine Mother on them,
and filled with joy at being freed from the torture of the Asuras, sang her praises freely.
Now, when we look at these terrible fights and bloodshed, we might feel – can a mother, filled
with love and grace, do such things?1 But, the Divine Mother’s destruction is but another form of her love
1 God as Mother: The gentle forms of the deity are very easy to accept. It is much more difficult to stomach the idea of the
terrifying gods and goddesses. The fierce-looking Kali, holding the severed head of a demon in one hand, and a sword in the
other, makes us a little uncomfortable. Durga is somewhat benign compared to Kali, but she too has swords and arrows. Several
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and grace. Killed at the hands of the blessed Divine Mother, those Asuras attain the highest. But, slaves to
our life in the senses that we are, we ask, ‘But, does compassion have to be shown through destruction?’
If you look closely, you will find that death is indeed a great boon of freedom for all living creatures.
Aren’t those Asuras really blessed to have faced death at the hands of the Divine Mother herself? In the
Devi Mahatmya, the Divine Mother has been praised in this way:
Ebhirhatairjugadupaithi sukham tathaitey,
kurvantu naama narakaaya chiraaya paapam;
sangraamamrityumadhigamya divam prayaantu,
matveti noonamhitaan vinihamsi devi.
“O Divine Mother, I am certain of this! ‘The three worlds will live in peace if these Asuras will
cease to exist. Even though their crimes against humanity warrant eternal punishment in hell, let
them attain heaven by being killed in battle against me!’ This was certainly your line of thinking in
engaging in such gory bloodshed. I am certain of this!”
Drushtwaiva kim na bhavati prakaroti bhasma,
SarvaAsuraanarishu yatprahinoshi shastram;
Lokaanprayaantu ripavopi hi shastrapootaah,
Ittham matirbhavati teshwapi tetisaadhvi.
‘Couldn’t you have burnt those Asuras to ashes merely by a glance of your eye? Certainly you
could have! But there was one reason why you fought protracted battles and killed them. Even
though those Asuras considered themselves as your enemies, you wished that even they should attain
to heaven by being purified by your divine weapons. Such was your wish. How noble is your motherheart
that you show compassion even on the most despicable of creatures!’
Therefore, all the killing and destruction unleashed by the Divine Mother are but another form of
her divine grace and compassion. When father beats the child, it runs crying to its mother. But when
mother herself beats the child, it cries and falls into its mother’s lap again. Similarly, when the Divine
Mother destroys someone, all it means is that she took him back into herself! The Sanskrit word for
destruction is ‘samhara’; and this word actually means ‘withdrawing something back into its source’.
What was projected from within herself, is now being drawn back into herself. That is the meaning.
In the Divine Mother, we see two qualities intermingling effortlessly; she has an exquisitely
sweet aspect to her personality which brings peace and happiness to the good people of the world; then
there is a terrible aspect to her personality that is ruthless on the wicked ones.2 The blessed children of the
people question me about this. My reply is: Whom would you prefer to have for a mother? a feeble woman who goes on weeping
helplessly all the time, or a fierce, strong, and bold mother, who can go and fight for you and watch over you? Naturally, we
would prefer the stronger mother. And to a child, the beauty of the mother lies not in her physical appearance, but in her power to
protect. The child has its own concept of beauty regarding its mother. From this point of view, Kali has her own beauty since she
has the power to offer the greatest protection to her children.
- Swami Swahananda
Which aspect of Holy Mother do you like? Only her love and affection? Remember that she is Kali too. If need be, she will tear
open your heart! God is God only when he is the Lord of Srishti, Stithi, and Pralaya, and above all, the God who is also none of
these. Pleasant and unpleasant, all pairs of opposites always exist side by side in the unreal phenomenon. Why not accept it? Why
cling to the pleasant and be afraid of the unpleasant? Why be afraid of death? Life is always followed by death. It is childish not
to recognize it. Accept life as it is, with all its dualities.
- Swami Yatishwarananda
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Divine mother on earth, the saints and prophets, too exhibit this dual nature within their personalities.
‘Vajraadapi kathoraani, mridooni kusumaadapi’ – the heart of the great ones is harder than diamond, and
yet softer than flower petals. Efficiency in any work calls for a balance between a systematic, coldblooded
brain and a soft, feeling heart full of sympathy and compassion. The Divine Mother imparts these
two qualities to those of her children whom she leads by the hand to life fulfilment – a feeling heart and a
rational brain. When Mahishasura was killed, Indra and the gods praise the Divine Mother as follows:
Chitte kripaa samaranishturathaa cha drishtaa,
Twayyaiva devi varade bhuvanatrayepi.
‘O Devi, giver of all boons, compassion in the heart and ruthlessness on the battlefield – in all
the three worlds, we find these two qualities simultaneously only in you.’
Devotees consider it their good fortune to be able to sing the praises of the Divine Mother in the
form of the Sahasranama or the various hymns. She is highly pleased by listening to these songs and
chants. One of her names is ‘Stotrapriya’. In the Lalitha Sahasranama, the Divine Mother who creates,
sustains and withdraws back this entire creation has been praised as Sri Maata, Sri Mahaaraajni, Srimat
Simhasaneswari. The Divine Mother, the sole cause of all creation, has been worshipped and praised by
men and gods, and even by the Great gods – Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara. Children call on their
mothers when they are in trouble, or when they need something. The gods were troubled by the Asuras;
they ran to the Divine mother for help. Men were tormented by the wicked; the Divine Mother got a call
for help. Sri Rama once worshipped Mother Durga in the Kishkinda Forest. He then worshipped her
again in Lanka. He was able to defeat Ravana only after that. Bhagawan Sri Krishna worshipped Mother
Durga in Goloka. Even the Great Lord Maheswara had to worship the Divine Mother before defeating
the dreaded Asura Tripura. Indra worshipped her to escape from the curse laid upon him by the sage
Durvasa. Yudhishthira worshipped her for success during their incognito period. Sri Krishna advised
Arjuna to worship Mother Durga before the Kurukshetra war.
The Divine Mother is an ocean of compassion. She constantly showers her grace on her children.
She constantly pardons her children’s mistakes. When children err, father metes out the logical,
commensurate punishments. But, suffering punishments is not as easy as committing the mistakes! But
father doesn’t care for those details. Mistakes were committed; punishments will be given; end of story.
The mother is nearby, watching all this. She can’t tolerate the suffering that her kids experience. She
showers her love on them and reduces the pain of their suffering. A thinker once said, ‘The Divine
Mother resides as Mother Lakshmi in the heart of Lord Vishnu with the express intent of protecting her
children; if, for some reason, Vishnu gets angry with any of his children, Mother Lakshmi soothes his
heart. As Mother Shive, she shares half the body with her Lord Shiva. When Shiva raises his right hand to
strike down an erring child, Mother, as the motherly left hand, stops his hand. As Mother Saraswati, she
resides on the tongue of Lord Brahma. Out of anger, if Brahma curses one of his children, she ensures
that the words roll down as a boon, and not as a curse.
The Divine Mother’s glory is unending; her divine activities are eternal. How can we, with our
limited brains and myopic minds, understand her in truth? By her own grace can we realize who she
really is! Ramprasad sang:
Who is there that can understand what Mother Kali is?
Even the six darshanas are powerless to reveal her.
The impersonal Supreme Brahman manifests as the Divine Mother for the sake of the spiritual
aspirant. The Divine Mother herself is Durga, Mahasaraswati, Mahalakshmi, Mahakali. Sri Ramakrishna
says, “He who is Brahman is again Mother Kali; the impersonal Brahman is itself the Primal Power
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(Adyashakti), who creates, preserves and withdraws this creation. There is no difference between
Brahman and Shakti; just as fire, and its power of burning are non-different. You can’t separate fire from
its power of burning.”
Vedas and Puranas have exhausted themselves in describing the Divine Mother’s glory. In
various ways, they depict the eagerness of the Divine Mother in lifting up man from this worldly morass
onto her divine lap. Markandeya Purana contains the Devi Mahatmya (also known as Durga Saptashati).
It depicts the glory of the Divine Mother. It revolves around an interesting story. A King named Suratha
and a trader named Samadhi meet. Both of them have fallen into great misfortune. A sage named
Sumedha expounds to them the unparalleled glory of the Divine Mother and makes them recipients of her
divine grace. Enemies had conquered King Suratha’s kingdom. He fled to the forest. There he starts
thinking – will his ministers administer his kingdom justly in his absence? Will his favorite elephant be
taken care of properly? Will wicked people covet and waste all the money that he had so carefully saved?
He has had to flee from his kingdom to save his life. There is no chance of his returning and becoming
king ever again. Even though he knew this very well, his mind used to think along the above lines. This is
indeed the irony of human existence. While he was thinking thus, he saw a dejected trader come along the
same path. He asked him the reason for his dejection. The trader said, “My name is Samadhi. I was very
rich. But lust for money made my wife and children to drive me away from my own home. Now I am a
pauper. But, my mind is still bothered about the well-being of my family members. None of them love
me. Yet, I am unable to understand why I can’t remover my mind from them.” Unable to get out of their
dilemma, they approach a renowned sage who too dwelt in the same forest. His name was Sumedha.
Approaching him, both the king and the trader explained to him the peculiar state of their minds. The sage
then consoled them saying:
Tannatra vismayah karyo, yoganidraa jagatpateh;
Mahaamaayaa hareshchaishaa, tayaa sammohyate jagat.
‘Don’t be surprised by this dilemma you face. This is the Yoga Maya of the Lord of the
Universe Sri Hari. The entire universe is thus in delusion because of her.’
Jnaaninamapi chetaamsi Devi bhagavateehi saa;
Baladakrishya mohaaya mahaamaayaa prayachhati.
‘She is Maha-maya, Maha-Devi, Bhagavati. She forcefully confounds and entraps even the
minds of the great Jnanis,’ But there is a wonderful thing about her.
Saishaa prasannaa varadaa nrinaam bhavati muktaye.
‘If she is pleased, if one can gain her confidence, she grants both worldly prosperity and
Having thus heard about the unparalleled glory of the Divine Mother, and have learnt the
principles of the Primal Power behind this entire universe, both Suratha and Samadhi took the sage’s
blessings and performed spiritual practices. In due course, they realized the Divine Mother. Pleased with
them, the Divine Mother restored to both of them their lost possessions and granted them lasting peace.
Problems in life, problems of the body and mind, are not confined only to Suratha and Samadhi.
We too face these unfortunate and inexplicable problems and situations on a daily basis. We try various
means to free ourselves from all those inimical situations. If we are not educated, that is one type of
problem. If we lose hard-earned money, that is another type of problem. If we get sick that is yet another
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type of problem. We see uneducated people keeping company of the educated ones with a view to getting
educated. People who want to make money try to get close to the rich and the famous. Similarly,
everyone tries to keep company with those from whom they can get what they want. But, one fine day, we
shall realize that mere mortals can never give us enough to satisfy our wants. It is then that we start
longing for the company of the Divine Mother. She is capable of giving whatever we wish for. Instead of
fawning on people here and there, which is generally in vain, apart from being demeaning to us, it is
much better to learn the techniques of pleasing the Divine Mother. She is the origin of all prosperity. If
she is pleased with us, she will grant us whatever we want in this world. Therefore she has been praised in
Te sammataa janapadeshu dhanaani teshaam,
Teshaam yashaamsi na cha seedati dharmavargaha;
Dhanyaasta eva nibritaatmajabhrityadhaaraah,
Yeshaam saddabhyudaya bhavati prasanna.
‘You are the only giver of worldly prosperity. If you are pleased on someone, that person is
respected and honored in every land. They get wealth, success, and fame. They will face no obstacles
in achieving their life-goals. It is only those who have obtained your grace that live happily in this
world with wife, kids and servants.’
It should come as no surprise if a person who has obtained the grace of the loving Divine Mother,
achieves whatever he wishes for in life. Acharya Shankara, in praising the Divine Mother, says:
Shwapaako jalpaako bhavati madhupaakopamaagiraa,
Niraatanko rankoviharati chiram kotikanyakaihi;
Tavaaparne karne vishati manuvarne phalamidam,
Janah ko jaaneete Janani japaneeyam japavidhau.
‘O Divine Mother, if you but listen even once that a person has uttered your name, even
though he be an uncouth, uncivilized, raw-meat-eater, words of high learning will start pouring out of
his mouth and he becomes transformed into a silver-tongued scholar; the poorest wretch will get
transformed into a billionaire and enjoy the greatest luxuries of life; such being the case, can anyone
imagine what lies in store for a person who sincerely and systematically does the Nama-Japa of your
If we have to progress in our spiritual life, we need to adopt a specific relationship with God;
then, we need to perform Japa, dhyana and prayer in accordance with that mood. The experts in spiritual
life say that success in spiritual practice comes fastest to those who look upon God as Mother.
We need to study the unique way by which Sri Ramakrishna obtained the grace of the Divine
Mother. He says, “Looking upon God as Mother is the last stage of spiritual practice.” He reveals some
amazing and invaluable secrets of this mother-son relationship between God and the devotee. If we study
the period of his life when he performed his spiritual practices, we get many more such secrets. Offering
flowers at the feet of the Divine Mother, Sri Ramakrishna prays:
‘O Mother, here is thy ignorance and here is thy knowledge; take them both and give me only
pure love for thee. Here is thy holiness and here is thy unholiness; take them both and give me only pure
love for thee. Here is thy virtue and here is thy vice; here is thy good and here is thy evil; take them all
and give me only pure love for thee. Here is thy dharma and here is thy adharma; take them both and give
me only pure love for thee.’
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May the ever-loving Divine Mother grant pure love to all of us too.
(Divine Mother’s protective armour)
Om namah chandikayai
Om. Salutations to Mother Chandika.
Om. Yadguhyam paramam loke sarvarakshaakaram nrunaam
Yanna kasyachid aakhyatam tanme broohi pitaamaha
Markandeya asked: O revered Elder, please instruct me in that teaching which has been
guarded with utmost secrecy in the world, which can protect man from every sort of trouble,
and which hasn’t been uttered till date.
Asti guhyatamam vipra sarvabhootopakaarakam
Devyaastu kavacham punyam tacchrunushva mahaamune
Prathamam shailaputreeti dvitiyam brahmachaarini
Truteeyam chandraganteti kushmaandaa iti chaturtakam
Panchamam skandamaateti shashtam kaatyaayaneeti cha
Saptamam kaalaraatrischa mahagaureeti chaashtamam
Navamam siddhidhaatri cha navadurgaah prakeertitaah
Uktaanyetaani namaani brahmanaiva mahaatmanaa
Brahma said: O revered sage, the best among Brahmins, there is indeed a teaching that is most
beneficial to all men everywhere, and it has been a closely guarded secret till now. That is the Devi
Kavacha. Listen to it. The first is Shailaputri. The second is Brahmachaarini. The third is
Chandraghanta. The fourth is Kushmaanda. The fifth is Skandamaata. The sixth is Kaatyaayani. The
seventh is Kaalaraatri. The eighth is Mahagauri. The ninth is Siddhidhaatri. These are the nine
famous Durgas. The great Lord Brahma himself uttered these hallowed names.
Agninaa dahyamaanastu shatrumadhye gato rane
Vishame durgame chaiva bhayaartaah sharanam gataah
Na teshaam jayate kinchid ashubham ranasankate
Naapadam tasya pashyaami shokaduhkabhayam na hi
Yaistu bhaktyaa smrutaa nityam tesham vruddhih prajaayate
Ye tvaam smaranti deveshi rakshasi taan na samshayah
Those getting burned in fire, those caught in a terrible battle where the odds are completely
against them, those lost in the densest forest – all such people are utterly terrified by their
situation. But if they take refuge in Mother Durga, even in those horrible situations, nothing
untoward will happen to them. Neither will any calamity befall them, nor will they feel any
grief or pain. I see this clearly. Those who will remember her with devotion will enjoy
enormous prosperity. O Mother of all gods, there is no doubt that you will protect everyone
who but remembers you, under whatever condition.
Preta samstha tu chaamunda vaaraahi mahishaasana
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Aindree gaja samaarudaa vaishnavi garudaasanaa
Maaheshwari vrushaaroodaa kaumaari shikhivaahana
Lakshmeeh padmaasanaa devi padmahasthaa haripriyaa
Shvetaroopadharaa devi ishwari vrushavaahanaa
Braahmi hamsa samaarudaa sarvaabharana bhooshithaah
Ityetaa maatarah sarvaah sarvayogasamanvitaa
Drushyante rathamaarudaa devyah krodhasamaakulaah
A corpse is the seat of Mother Chaamundi. Vaaraahi is seated on a buffalo. Aindree is seated on an
elephant. Vaishnavi has an eagle for her seat. Maaheshwari is seated in a bull. Kaumaari has a
peacock for her vehicle. Lakshmi, the beloved of Sri Hari, holds a lotus in her hand and is seated on a
lotus. Ishwari, with her silver ornaments, has a bull for her vehicle. Braahmi, the power of Brahma,
bedecked in the best of jewellery, is seated on a swan. All these Divine Mothers, bedecked in the
choicest jewellery, possessed of all kinds of divine powers (Yogas), are seen mounted on their
respective chariots, seething with anger.
Shankham chakram gadhaam shaktim halam cha musalaayudham
Khetakam tomaram chaiva parashum paashameva cha
Kunthaayudham trishoolam cha shaarngamaayudhamutthamam
Daityaanaam dehanaashaaya bhaktaanaam abhayaaya cha
Dhaarayanti aayudaaneetham devaanaam cha hitaaya vai
Namasthe tu mahaaraudre mahaaghoraparaakrame
Mahaabale mahotsaahe mahaabhayavinaashini
Traahi maam devi dushprekhsye shatroonam bhayavardhini
My salutations to the Divine Mother, who dispels the greatest fears of her devotees, who has a
form that instils terror in the hearts of the Asuras, who is enthusiasm incarnate, who is most
powerful, who kills the Asuras in order to bestow fearlessness and protection on her devotees,
and for which purpose, has the following incredibly powerful weapons in her armoury –
Shankha, Chakra, Gadha, Shaktyayudha, halayudha, musalayudha, khetaka, tomara, parashu,
paasu, kuntaayudha, trishoola, and the awesome shaarngamayudha. O Divine Mother! It is
impossible to see you properly due to your brilliance; your form strikes terror in the hearts of
the enemies; please protect me.
Praachyaam rakshatu maamaidree aagneyaamagnidevataa
Dakshinevathu vaaraahi nairuthyaam khadgadhaarini
Prateechyaam vaarunee rakshet vaayavyaam mrugavaahini
Udeechyaam paathu kauberee eeshaanyaam shooladhaarini
Oordhvam brahmaani me raksheth adhasthaat vaishnavee tathaa
Evam dasha disho rakshet chamunda shava vaahanaa
May Aindree protect me from the East; may Vaaruni protect me from the West; may Kauberee
protect me from the North; may Vaaraahi protect me from the South; may Shooladharini protect me
from the North-East; may Mrugavaahini protect me from the North-West; may Agnidevataa protect
me from the South-East; may Khadgadhaarini protect me from the South-West; may Brahmaani
protect me from the top; and may Vaishnavee protect me from the bottom. In this manner, may
Mother Chamundi, seated on a corpse, protect me from all the ten directions.
Jaya me cha agrathah paatu vijaya paatu prushtathah
Ajitaa vaamapaarshve tu dakshine cha aparaajitaa
May Jaya protect me from the front. May Vijaya protect me from behind. May Ajitaa protect
me from the left side, and Aparaajita protect me from the right side.
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Shikhaam udyotini me rakshet umaa moordhni vyavasthitaa
Maalaadhari lalaate cha bhruvau rakshet yashasvini
Trinetraa cha bhruvormadhye yamaghantaa cha naasike
Shankhinee chakshushor madhye shrotrayoh dvaaravaasini
Kapolau kaalikaa rakshet karnamoole tu shaankaree
Naasikaayaam sugandhaa cha uttaroshte cha chaarchikaa
May Udyotini Devi protect my tuft. May Uma protect my by residing on my head. May Maladhari
protect me by residing on my forehead. May Yashaswini protect my eyebrows. May Trinetra protect
me by residing between my brows; May Yamaghanta protect me by residing in my nose; May
Shankhini protect me by residing in between my eyes; May Dvaaravasini protect me by residing in
my ears. May Kalika Devi protect both my cheeks. May Shaankari protect the base of my ears. May
Sugandha protect my nose. May Chaarchika Devi protect my upper lips.
Adhare chaamrutakalaa jihvaayaam cha saraswathi
Dantaan rakshtu kaumaaree kantadeshe tu chandikaa
Ghantikaam chitraghantaa cha mahaamaayaa cha taaluke
Kaamaakshee chibukam rakshet vaacham me sarvamangalaa
Greevaayaam bhadrakaalee cha prushtavamshe dhanurdharee
Neelagreevaa bahih kante nalikaam nalakoobaree
May Amrutakalaa protect me by residing on mu lower lips. May Saraswati protect me by
residing on my tongue. May Kaumaari protect me by residing in my teeth. May Chandikaa
protect me by residing in my throat. May Chitraghanta protect me by residing in the back of
my throat. May Mahamaya protect my palate. May Kamakshi protect my jaws. May my
organ of speech be protected by Sarvamangala. May Bhadrakali protect me by residing in my
neck. May Dhanurdhari protect my back. May Neelagreeva protect the outer throat. And May
Nalakoobaree protect my windpipe.
Skandhayoh khadginee rakshet bahoo me vajradhaarini
Hasthayordandinee rakshet ambikaa chaangulisthathaa
Nakhaamshooleshwari rakshet kukshau rakshet kuleshwari
May Khadgini, Vajradharini, Dandini, Ambika, Shooleshwari and Kuleshwari, respectively protect
my shoulders, forearms, hands, fingers, fingernails and stomach.
Stanau rakshen mahadevi manah shokavinashini
Hrudaye lalithadevi udare shooladharini
Naabhau cha kamini rakset guhyam guhyeshwari tatha
Putana kamika medram gude mahishavaahini
May my breasts be protect by Mahadevi. May my mind be protected by Shokavinasini. May
Lalitadevi reside in my heart and protect me, just as Shooladharini in my stomach. May
Kamini protect my navel, and Guhyeshwari protect my private parts. May Kamika, the great
purifier, protect my organ of reproduction, while Mahishavahini protects my organ of
Katyaam bhagavati rakshet jaanunee vindhyavaasini
Janghe mahabalaa rakshet sarvakamapradaayini
Gulphayor naarasimhi cha paadaprushte tu taijasi
Paadangulishu sri rakshet padadasthalavaasini
Nakhaam damshtraakaraali cha keshaam chaivordhwakeshini
Romakupeshu kaumari tvacham vaagishwari tatha
Page 13 of 15
Raktamajjaavasaamamsaam nyasthimedhaamsi paarvati
Antraani kaalaratrishcha piththam cha mukuteshwari
May Bhagavati protect my hips, while Vindhyavasini protects my knees. May Mahabalaa, who is
capable of fulfilling all our desires, protect my calf muscles. May Narasimhi protect my ankles and
Taijasi my heels. May Sri, who resides in the sole of my feet, protect my toes, just as
Damshtraakaraali protects my toe-nails. May Urdhvakeshini protect the hair on my head. May
Maumari protect my sweat-pores. And Vageeshwari protect my skin. May Parvati protect my blood,
marrow, subcutaneous fat, muscles, bones and lymph. May Kalaratri protect my nerves and
Mukuteshwari protect my bile.
Padmaavati padmakoshe kaphe choodamanisthathaa
Jvaalamukhi nakhajvaalaam abhedyaa sarvasandhishu
Shukram brahmaani me rakshet chaayaam chatreshwari thathaa
May Padmavati protect my lungs, and Choodamani protect my Kapha (phlegmatic) elements.
May Jvalamukhi protect the sheen of my nails. May Abhedya protect all my joints. May
Brahmaani protect my semen, while Chatreshwari protects my shadow.
Ahamkaaram mano buddhim rakshem me dharmachaarini
Praanaapaanau tatha vyaanam samaanodaanameva cha
Vajrahastha cha me rakshet praanakalpancha shobhanaa
Rase rupe cha gandhe cha shabde sparshe cha yogini
Sattvam rajastamaschaiva rakshennaaraayani sadaa
Aayoo rakshatu vaaraahi dharmam rakshatu vaishnavi
Yashah keerthim cha lakshmim cha dhanam vidyaam cha chakrini
Gotramindrani me rakshet pashoonme raksha chandike
Putraan rakshet mahaalakshmi bhaaryaam rakshtu bhairavi
Panthaanam supathaa rakshet maargam kshemakari tathaa
Raajadware mahaalakshmi vijaya sarvathasthithaa
May Dharmacharini protect my Ego-Mind-Intellect (the Antahkarana or inner organ). May my prana,
apana, vyana, samana and udana life-forces be protected by Shobhanaa. May Yogini protect my
organs of sense (taste, sight, smell, sound, and touch). May Narayani always protect my Gunas
(Sattva, Rajas and Tamas). May Vaaraahi protect my longevity, and Vaishnavi my Dharma. May
Chakrini protect my fame, glory, prosperity & grace, wealth, and education. May Indraani protect
my lineage, and Chandike protect my livestock. May Mahaalakshmi protect my children, while
Bhairavi protects my wife. May Supatha protect my path, while Kshemakari remove all obstacles in
my journey. May the ever-victorious Mahaalakshmi protect the main door of my house from all
Rakshaahinam tu yat sthaanam varjitam kavachena tu
Tatsarvam raksha me devi jayanti paapanaashini
O Mother Jayanti, destroyer of all sins! Protect any place within me that may have been
missed to be protected by this Divine Kavacha (protective cover).
Paadamekam na gachchet tu yadichchet shubhamaatmanaha
Kavachenaavruto nityam yatra yatraiva gachchati
Tatra tatraartha laabhascha vijayah saarvakaamikah
Yam yam chintayate kaamam tam tam praapnoti nischitam
Paramaishvaryamatulam praapsyate bhootale pumaan
Nirbhayo jaayate martyah sangraameshvapaarajitah
Trailokye tu bhavet pujyah kavachenaavrutah pumaan
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If one desires one’s own wellbeing, one should not take a single step without this Divine
protective cover. Wherever he goes, he ought to cover himself with this Divine Kavacha. Covered in
this Divine Kavacha, wherever he goes, he shall get success, he shall see profit, in every endeavour.
Whatever he desires in his mind, invariably he shall get them all fulfilled. Such a person will gain the
greatest and the best that this world has to offer. He will become fearless, never having to face defeat
in any battle. He that is covered by the Divine Kavacha will be worshipped in all the three worlds.
Idam tu devyaah kavacham devaanaam api durlabham
Yah pateth prayato nityam trisandhyam shraddhayaanvitaah
Daivikalaa bhavet tasya trailokyeshu apaaraajitah
Jived varshashatam saagram apamrutyuvivarjitah
Nashyanti vyaadhayah sarve loothavispotakadayah
Sthaavaram jangamam sarvam kritrimam chaiva yadvisham
Abhichaarani sarvaani mantrayantraani bhootale
Bhoocharaah kecharaah chaiva kulajaaschopadeshikaah
Sahajaah kulajaah maalaah shaakinee daakinee tathaa
Antarikshacharaah ghoraah daakinyascha mahabalaah
Grahabhootapishaascha yakshagandharva raakshasaaha
Brahmarakshasa vetaalaah kooshmaandaa bhairavaadayaha
Nashyanti darshanaat tasya kavache hrudi samsthite
Even the gods find it difficult to access this Devi Kavacha. He that chants this Devi Kavacha
with devotion and with a concentrated mind, three times a day, obtains all the divine arts
(kalas); he remains undefeated in all the three worlds; escaping untimely death, he lives for a
hundred years; he remains free from dangerous contagious diseases such a smallpox, etc; he is
protected from poisons made from trees and plants, poisons from snakes and scorpions, from
all voodoo and black-magic; he is protected from all predatory animals, birds and aquatic
creatures; he is protected from all genies and goblins that are controlled by mantras and from
demigods that have accompanied him from birth; he is protected from powerful Shakinis and
Dakinis; he is protected from ghosts, yakshas, gandharvas, demons, Brahmarakshasa, Vetaalas,
Kooshmaandas, bhairavas and similar creatures that reside in dark places. All the negative
influences from all these agencies are instantly destroyed when faced with a person who wears
the Devi Kavacha.
Maanonnatir bhaved raajnaha tejovruddhih karam param
Yashasaa vardhate so au api keertimandita bhootale
Japet saptashatim chandeem krutvaa tu kavacham puraa
Yaavadbhoomandalam dhatthe sashailavanakaananam
Taavatthishthati medhinyaam santathih putrapautrikee
Dehaante paramam sthaanam yatsurairapi durlabham
Praapnoti purusho nityam mahaamaayaaprasadatah
Labhate param sthaanam shivena saha modate.
A person who wears this Devi Kavacha will get recognised by the King; the Devi Kavacha amplifies
all the good that a person has, and brings great fame and fortune in this world for the wearer. One
should first of all wear the Devi Kavacha and then chant the Durga Saptashati. For as long as this
world, with its mountains, forests and tress, survives, for so long will such a person’s lineage thrive.
After death, he will get the highest status, as a gift from the Divine Mother. Obtaining a divine form,
he will sport with the Lord Shiva.
Iti vaaraahapuraane hariharabrahmavirachitam devyaah kavacham sampoornam.
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Thus ends the Devi Kavacha, which was revealed to the Great gods Hari-Hara-Brahma, and
which is now incorporated in the Varaha Purana.
Durga, Durga, Durga
One of Sri Ramakrishna’s monastic disciples, Swami Shivananda used to say, “Before starting on
a journey, if you take the name ‘Durga, Durga, Durga’ with a sincere heart, Mother Durga’s better half,
the great Lord Shiva himself clears up all obstacles on your path with his trident.” These words bring
great joy when contemplated upon! Based on these words of Swami Shivananda, today, we have a
tradition in our Ramakrishna movement. Before embarking on a journey, be it themselves or seeing off
somebody, the monks, Brahmacharins and devotees of the Ramakrishna Movement chant:
Jai Sri Guru Maharaj ji ki jai
Jai Sri Maha Mayi ji ki jai
Jai Swamiji Maharaj ji ki jai
And end it with Jai Sri Durga Mayi ki jai. They then utter the name of Durga thrice – Durga,
Long distance or a jaunt to the next colony – a journey is a journey, fraught with all kinds of
dangers. ‘Prayaanam praanasankatam’ is an old Sanskrit phrase. It means ‘a journey is a headache’. The
wretched condition of our roads, combined with the irresponsibility and idiocy of our drivers makes any
journey a nightmare! But, when we have the words of saints and sages assuring us that taking the blessed
name of Mother Durga, the source of all power and fearlessness, protects us from all dangers, what fear
can we have!
Translated from the Kannada booklet ‘Abhayadaate Durga-maate’ by Revered Swami Purushottamanandaji Maharaj