Devi Mahatmya - Great Story of the Goddess

Achala Sylwia Mihajlovic

Devī Māhātmya, a part of ancient Mārkaṇḍeya Pūraṇa, is the great story of the Goddess which is traditionally recited and contemplated upon during Navaratri — the nine nights of Divine Mother. It is also mentioned multiple times in Bṛhat Parāśara Horā Śāstra, the bible of Vedic Astrology, as a potent tool for initiating the process of inner and outer transformation — including transforming our karma dictated by the planets. The story, in short, describes a metaphoric battle between the Goddess, Śakti, representing the Divine spark within us, and various demons which disrupt our inner space. An attentive reader and a spiritual seeker will immediately notice that the whole story illustrates the struggles that we all encounter in our sadhana. The idea is that when we use our imagination to visualise this inner battle, we do not only become more capable of recognising those inner demons in the future, but also by mentally joining the Goddess in Her battle, we transform something within us in a very profound way. The very idea of going through this battle willingly, in our mind, is to resolve the conflicts within and avoid external battles of life before they even occur. The 13 Chapters of Devī Māhātmya are traditionally into 9 consecutive days, during which they are supposed to be recited in their prescribed sequence. Needless to say, the most auspicious time to contemplate on this spiritual epic is during the 9 nights of Navaratri - or first 9 lunar days of any bright fortnight. Read more about the mysteries of Devī Māhātmya here: https://medium.com/@discoveringyouniverse/devi%CC%84-ma%CC%84ha%CC%84tmya-a-metaphor-of-inner-battle-62bc396b5a77 …or take part in your own “Journey with the Goddess” for 9 days of Navaratri: https://academy.discoveringyouniverse.com/courses/journey-with-goddess-navaratri-workshop/ read less
Religion & SpiritualityReligion & Spirituality

Episodes

Devi Mahatmya - Day 3: Chapters 5-6
Oct 17 2023
Devi Mahatmya - Day 3: Chapters 5-6
Last chapters of Devī Māhātmya form its longest part and praise the Goddess as Mahāsarasvatī, the great giver of wisdom, who is seated in between our eyebrows, within third eye chakra, and helps us transcend sattva guna or attachment to happiness, comfort zone or intellect. First 2 chapters of the last part (5-6) are traditionally recited and contemplated upon on the third day of Navaratri.The last and the most evolved part of our brain, which is also 76% of it, is neocortex. It is here that all the higher functions of our brain take place — such as analytical & abstract thinking, creativity, cognitive empathy, curiosity and ability to learn and process information. This is also the part of our brain that helps us control our lower impulses coming from limbic system (most rajasic part of our brain), establish true connection with others and act selflessly.In other words: this is the most sattvic part of our brain. It helps us to approach any life situation in the most mature way possible. Yet, the very same part of our brain, when we become too attached to its byproducts, can lead us to over-intellectualisation, excessive self-suppression and disconnection. It is also this part of our mind that we are usually most attached to: the voice of logic within us which often wants us to believe that we are always right and that our way of thinking is the only correct one. And precisely because this part of ourselves is the most subtle and thus the hardest to transcend, the battle of Goddess Mahāsarasvatī, who helping us rise above sattva guna, is the longest and the most exhausting one. It culminates in the final battle between the Goddess and the two demons Śumbha and Niśumbha — representing the attachments to “I” and “mine”.
Devi Mahatmya - Day 2: Chapters 2-4
Oct 16 2023
Devi Mahatmya - Day 2: Chapters 2-4
Next 3 chapters of Devī Māhātmya form its second part, praising Goddess as Mahālakṣmī (powerful, 18-handed form of Lakṣmī) or Mahiṣāsura Mardini, who resides at our heart chakra, and helps us tame raja guna within us, with all its desires and passions. Rajo guna dwells in the middle part of our brain, placed in the very innermost part of our head, which is known as our limbic system. This is the place where our emotions take place — where most of the key hormones regulating our mood are being produced. Interestingly this is also the most “flexible” or plastic part of our brain, which can experience significant changes due to variety of stimuli. It also plays a key role in our learning processes and memory — because we mainly learn and memorise through emotions.This is also the part of our brain which can become significantly fired up when we go into “fight or flight” mode, our most intense response to stress — because when our desires are not fulfilled, we easily go into anger or frustration.Both anger and desire arise from rajo guna, the mode of passion. When they take over and when our limbic system gets triggered and starts sending us big “danger” signs, we simultaneously lose access to more evolved functions of our brain such as critical thinking, remembering things, creativity and compassion. In Devī Māhātmya it is metaphorically represented as demon Mahiṣāsura, who renders all the gods, representing our inner faculties, weak and powerless. Only when all those inner powers, devas within us, become mobilised and united together, focused on a single goal, from their combined light is born the Goddess who is the only one capable of defeating a shapeshifting Mahiṣāsura: Goddess Mahālakṣmī.These 3 chapters (2-4) are traditionally recited and contemplated upon on the second day of Navaratri.
Devi Mahatmya - Day 1: Chapter 1
Oct 15 2023
Devi Mahatmya - Day 1: Chapter 1
First part of Devī Māhātmya, consisting of first chapter only, invokes the Goddess as Mahākālī — the one, who resides at our root chakra and helps us transcend tamo guna, with all its fears that often paralyse our ability to move forward in life.Our brain is comprised of three distinctive parts, each more evolved than the previous one. The most “primitive” part of our brain is often called reptile or lizard brain — which is just a different name for brain stem. It plays a vital role in our survival, as it is primarily responsible for certain mechanical activities within our body — such as regulating sleep, heart rate, breathing, movement and digestion — without us even being aware of it.One big weakness of this part of our brain, though, is that it is not really capable to discern between reality and imagination — neither does it perceive any difference between things which happened in the past or are happening right now. It is because it is not directly processing the sensory information, but simply observes what other parts of our brain are processing at the moment. Due to that it cannot distinguish between real threat and imagined threat — and that can lead to various exaggerated reactions, as well as insecurities.This is what happens when tamo guna or “mode of ignorance” takes over. It is illustrated in Devī Māhātmya in the first chapter, in which the two demons, Madhu and Kaiṭabhā, emerge from Lord Viṣṇu’s ears, when He is engrossed in His cosmic slumber. When the two demons start creating chaos in the yet uncreated universe, Lord Brahma invokes Devī in the form Mahākālī to wake up the Lord — for only when He is awake He can fight the two demons and retrieve the Vedas, the knowledge which they have stolen. Similarly, Goddess in this form helps us to symbolically wake up from our delusions and fantasies, and inspires us to stay more alert and “awake” on our spiritual path, so that we can prevent our inner demons from appearing from the darkness of unconscious mind.The first chapter is traditionally recited and contemplated upon on the first day of Navaratri.