Durga Saptashati, also known as Devi Mahatmya or Chandi Path, is a sacred Hindu scripture dedicated to the Goddess Durga. It is a part of the Markandeya Purana, one of the eighteen major Puranas in Hinduism. The Durga Saptashati comprises of 13 chapters that recounts the Devi’s valor through 700 verses (hence the name “Saptashati,” meaning seven hundred) divided into thirteen chapters or sections called “Adhyayas”. The procedure for reciting Durga Saptashati can be done either through Trayangam or Navangam, and is traditionally recited during Navratri.
Reading Durga Saptashati is believed to bring numerous benefits such as manifestation of Devi’s presence, removal of troubles and calamities, protection from enemies and planetary influences, and bestowal of wealth, grains, and children.
The Durga Saptashati, also known as the Devi Mahatmya or Chandi, is a compilation of stories about the battles of the Goddess Durga against demons who disturb the universe. Tales of the Devi’s different avatars defeating and killing demons are covered in the book.
The text is traditionally recited in two ways, either through the Trayangam or Navangam procedures. The Durga Saptashati is also recited during Navratri, with each day dedicated to a specific chapter. Benefits of reciting the text include the manifestation of Devi’s presence, protection from calamities and enemies, and bestowal of wealth and children. The tales of Devi symbolize the power of good over evil.
The scripture narrates the story of the battle between the Goddess Durga and the buffalo demon Mahishasura, who represents ego, ignorance, and negativity. The text describes how Durga manifests her various forms, such as Kali, Lakshmi, and Saraswati, to defeat the demons and restore balance and harmony in the universe. Each form of the goddess symbolizes different aspects of divine power and represents the triumph of good over evil.
The Durga Saptashati is highly revered and is often chanted or recited during Navaratri, a nine-night festival dedicated to the worship of Goddess Durga. It is believed that reciting or listening to the verses of Durga Saptashati with devotion can invoke the blessings of the goddess, grant protection, and bestow spiritual and material benefits upon the devotees.
The scripture is written in Sanskrit and is available in various translations and commentaries in different languages. It is considered a significant text for those who worship the divine feminine aspect and seek the blessings and guidance of Goddess Durga.
Here is a brief overview of the chapters in Durga Saptashati:
- Prathama Adhyaya (Chapter 1): This chapter sets the stage for the story and introduces the conflict between the gods and the buffalo demon, Mahishasura. The gods seek the help of the divine trinity (Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva), who merge their energies to create Goddess Durga.
- Madhyama Adhyaya (Chapter 2): This chapter describes the fierce form of Goddess Durga as she prepares for battle. It narrates the battles between Durga and the demons, including the defeat of Raktabija, a demon who multiplies himself with every drop of his blood.
- Uttara Adhyaya (Chapter 3): In this chapter, the gods sing hymns praising the prowess and power of Goddess Durga. They express their gratitude for her victory over the demons and the restoration of peace.
- Chaturtha Adhyaya (Chapter 4): This chapter focuses on the story of the demon brothers Shumbha and Nishumbha, who seek to defeat the goddess and claim her as their queen. Goddess Durga battles with them and ultimately slays them.
- Panchama Adhyaya (Chapter 5): Here, the narrative shifts to the story of Mahishasura, the buffalo demon. Mahishasura performs severe penance to obtain a boon from Brahma, which grants him invincibility against all male beings. He then wreaks havoc on Earth and challenges the gods.
- Shashtha Adhyaya (Chapter 6): Goddess Durga, in the form of Katyayani, engages in a fierce battle with Mahishasura. The chapter describes their combat and the eventual slaying of the demon.
- Saptama Adhyaya (Chapter 7): This chapter details the exploits of the goddess as she confronts and defeats various demons sent by Shumbha and Nishumbha to attack her.
- Ashtama Adhyaya (Chapter 8): Goddess Durga, in the form of Kali, battles with the demon Raktabija, who has the power to multiply himself. She overcomes him by drinking his blood before it can reach the ground, thus preventing his multiplication.
- Navama Adhyaya (Chapter 9): This chapter narrates the story of Chanda and Munda, two generals of the demon army, and their confrontation with the goddess. They are eventually vanquished by her.
- Dashama Adhyaya (Chapter 10): Here, Goddess Durga takes the form of Siddhidatri and grants boons to the gods and celestial beings who assisted her in the battles. The gods express their gratitude and offer their praises.
- Ekadasha Adhyaya (Chapter 11): This chapter focuses on the worship and rituals performed by the gods to appease Goddess Durga. They seek her blessings and guidance for the future.
- Dwadasha Adhyaya (Chapter 12): In this chapter, the goddess takes the form of Bhairavi and battles the demon king, Raktavija, and his army. She emerges victorious and restores peace.
- Trayodasha Adhyaya (Chapter 13): The final chapter concludes the narrative and emphasizes the significance of reciting or listening to the Durga Saptashati. It highlights the benefits and blessings that can be obtained by worshiping and med
Here is a recitation of the first verse from each chapter:
- Prathama Charitra: Om̐ namo̐ bhagavate̐ chaṇḍi̐kāyai
- Madhyama Charitra: Mahālakṣmyai cha vidmahe, mahāśaktiyai cha dhīmahi, tanno durgāḥ pracodayāt
- Uttama Charitra: Sāvarṇi rājan jīvantam, asuram tam rākṣasaṁ nihatya, vairiṇīṁ cha mahāśūrāṁ, mārkaṇḍeyāya prapadyāmahe
- Chaturtha Charitra: Om̐ namo̐ bhagavate̐ rājanyai, mahiṣāsuramardin̐yai
- Panchama Charitra: śumbhaṁ nishumbhaṁ cha niśācharādhipatyam
- Shashtha Charitra: kālī kālī mahākālī, kaluṣaṁ bhakṣayāmi
- Saptama Charitra: Om̐ namo̐ bhagavate̐ śivāya, śarvāṇyai sarvavaradāyai cha
- Ashtama Charitra: Om̐ namo̐ bhagavate̐ rudrāya, mahiṣāsuravairiṇe
- Navama Charitra: Om̐ namo̐ bhagavate̐ chamuṇḍāya, jvālinyai, chāmuṇḍa-virād-vairiṇyai
- Dashama Charitra: Om̐ namo̐ bhagavate̐ chaṇḍike, mārkaṇḍeyāya
- Ekadasha Charitra: bhagavatyai devyai sarvabhuutadātṛiyai
- Dwadasha Charitra: bhūmirbhūritīkṛtā vistāro mayāmayaṁ mahāśaktiṁ namāmi tvām
- Trayodasha Charitra: Om̐ aiṁ hrīṁ klīṁ chamuṇḍāyai vice
(Please note that this is just a selection of the first verse from each chapter, and the complete recitation of the Durga Saptashati would involve chanting all 700 verses.)
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