The Devi Mahatmya

(In Original)

With a Lucid Running Translation

(In English)

by Swami Sivananda

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Book Code: ES30
158 pages
ISBN: 8170521033
Book Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.3 inches
Shipping Weight: 170 grams

Table of Contents

General Rules For Reading Sri Sri Chandi 5
Introduction 7
The Indian Concept of the Divine Mother 9
Hymn to the Mother 14
Devi Mantras (For Japa) 14
Atha Sapthashloki Durga 15
Rigvedoktam Devi Suktam 16
Devi Suktam 16
Atha Devyaah Kavacham 17
Atha Argalaa Stotram 23
Atha Kilaka Stotram 26
Atha Rigvedoktam Ratri Suktam 28
1. Sri Durga Saptasati (Sanskrit) 29
1. Sri Durga Saptasati (English) 37
2. Madhyama Charitam (Sanskrit) 41
2. Madhyama Charitam (English) 47
Chapter 3 (Sanskrit) 50
Chapter 3 (English) 54
Chapter 4 (Sanskrit) 56

Chapter 4 (English)

5. Uttara Charitam (Sanskrit) 63

5. Uttara Charitam (English)

Chapter 6 (Sanskrit) 73

Chapter 6 (English)

Chapter 7 (Sanskrit) 77

Chapter 7 (English)

Chapter 8 (Sanskrit) 81

Chapter 8 (English)

Chapter 9 (Sanskrit) 89

Chapter 9 (English)

Chapter 10 (Sanskrit) 94

Chapter 10 (English)

Chapter 11 (Sanskrit) 98

Chapter 11 (English)

Chapter 12 (Sanskrit) 106

Chapter 12 (English)

Chapter 13 (Sanskrit) 111

Chapter 13 (English)

Kshama Prarthana (Sanskrit) 114
Kshama Prarthana (English) 114
Sri Devi Ashtotthara Satha Namavali 115
Sri Lakshami Ashtotthara Satha Namavali 118
Sri Saraswathy Ashtotthara Satha Namavali 121

Navaratri Messages

Dussera Message — 1942 125
A Message To Mothers — 1945 127
Navaratri Durga Puja, Its Significance — 1946 130
The True Significance of Devi Puja — 1947 134
Durga Puja — 1948 136
Devi Worship — 1949 137
Significance of Devi Worship — 1950 140
Worship of Divine Power — 1951 143
Enthrone Love In Your Heart — 1952 145
Strive For The Ideal — 1954 146
Worship of Divine Mother — 1955 149
The Ascent of Man — 1956 151
Devi Kirtans 155
Devi Arati 157



In the morning after taking bath and finishing one’s daily Puja (Sandhya etc.), one should sit on a clean and pure Asana (seat) facing North or East with mind concentrated and full of Bhakti (devotion). Sri Sri Chandi should be read with firm faith, devotion and correct pronunciation. During the time of reading, one should not talk, think, sleep, sneeze, yawn or spit, but read with full concentration on Devi in the form which appeals to him. He should not stop in the middle of a chapter and the book should be placed on a stand, preferably a copper plate. At the beginning and end of each chapter bells are to be rung. Before reading, it is necessary to do the Sankalpa and Sri Devi Puja. Tuesday, Friday and Saturday are specially auspicious in a week for the reading of Sri Sri Chandi. Devi Tithis are Ashtami, Navami and Chaturdasi. The reading should be in the following order:—

1. Devi Suktam, 2. Kavacham, 3. Argala Stotra, 4. Keelakam, 5. Ratri Suktam, 6. Devi Mahatmya, 7. Phala Sruti and 8. Kshama Prarthana.

Sri Sri Chandi is divided into three parts:—

l. Prathama (first), 2. Madhyama (middle) and 3. Uttara (final).

The first chapter contains the glory of Maha Kaali, the 2nd, 3rd and the 4th chapters glorify Sri Maha Lakshmi, and the last nine chapters from the 5th to the 13th, glorify Sri Maha Sarasvati. He who reads Sri Sri Chandi with faith and devotion attains health, wealth, long life and salvation.

1. Devi Suktam (According to Rig Veda)

The 8 Slokas composed by Vak, the daughter of Maharshi Ambharin, are from the Rig Veda, 10th Mandala, 10th Anuvaka, 125th Sukta. These Slokas express the truth realised by Vak, who identifies herself as Brahma Sakti, and expresses herself as 11 Rudras, 8 Vasus, 12 Adityas and all the Devas,—Indra, Agni and Asvini Kumaras—who are sustained by Her and She is the source, substratum and support of the whole world. She is verily Brahmasvarupini.

2. Devi Kavacham

The Devi Kavacham consisting of 61 Slokas is in Markandeya Puranam. This Kavacham (armour) protects the reader in all parts of his body, in all places and in all difficulties. Every part of the body is mentioned and Devi, in all different forms, is being worshipped. Further, Devi, in different names, is prayed to for happiness, wealth, health, power and prosperity.

3. Argala Stotra

Here Rishi Markandeya is telling his disciples in 27 inspiring couplets on the greatness of Devi. She has been described in all aspects and names and at the end of each Sloka, prayer is offered to Devi for material prosperity, physical fitness, fame and victory.

4. Keelakam

Here also Rishi Markandeya tells his disciples in 16 Slokas the ways and means of removing obstacles faced by devotees while reading Devi Mahatmya. Reading of Keelakam brings blessings of Devi and spiritual harmony and peace of mind and success in all pursuits.

5. Ratri Suktam

Ratri Suktam (8 Slokas) has been taken from Rig Veda, 10th Mandala, 10th Anuvaka, 127th Sukta, which shows that Devi was worshipped from time immemorial. Devi is described as the all-pervading Supreme Lord of the Universe appearing in Omkara. Ratri means She who fulfils our prayers.


The Devi Mahatmya or the Durga Saptasati is a unique book in this world. It is the base and the root of the religion of the Saktas. It is a Kamadhenu for one and all; it gives whatever man wants. It gives Bhakti in this world and Mukti afterwards. It is a powerful reservoir of Mantras from the beginning to the end. Every verse of this text is a dynamic force which acts powerfully in overhauling the nature of man.

The first verse of the text implies that the whole book is an explanation of the root of the Devi-Mantra, viz., “Hreem”. There are many commentaries on this text which explain it either in a mystical way or in the ordinary manner. Whatever be the case, the Mantras of the Saptasati are not to be neglected by one who wishes to lead a good and peaceful life in this world.

The conception of the Infinite as Mother is not an altogether meaningless one. The Rigveda bears testimony to the fact that even in such ancient times, there was the persistent belief that the Ruler is the All-compassionate Mother. Further, Mother is the personality that appeals most to the human heart, not so much the Father who is considered a hard task-master. Moreover the conception of the Divinity as Devi, Durga or Sri, is not merely a theory but a practical way of life. It is a particular view which cannot be set aside. It is as important as any school of religious belief, and is one of the most important reigning branches of Hindu religion—Vaishnavism, Saivism and Saktaism. Even a subtle philosopher cannot dispense with the conception of Sakti, for he is essentially an embodiment of Power, and he has love for power. The highest Intelligence and the most speculative metaphysics is only a manifestation of Jnana-Sakti and is not outside the range of Saktaism. Let us therefore adore and worship the Glorious Mother for the purpose of attaining Wisdom or Self-realisations.

The Saptasati may be read daily so as to be completed in seven days in the following manner of division of chapters: l, 2, 1, 4, 2, 1, 2—first; second and third; fourth; fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth; ninth and tenth; eleventh; twelfth and thirteenth. This is the traditional rule. The Saptasati may be read with any motive in the mind, and that shall be fulfilled. Read it for any purpose in life, and that you shall have. Read it for the sake of Spiritual Knowledge, and you will be blessed with it. Since Sakti is the basis for all Ichcha (Desire), Jnana (Knowledge) and Kriya (Action), man cannot fall outside the realm or the kingdom of Sakti. The whole man is but Sakti, and hence he shall have everything through worship of Sakti.

May the blessings of Devi Durga be upon you all! May She bless you all with spiritual illumination and Self-realisation!


Navaratri Message delivered by Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj in 1953.

Since the dawn of civilisation, when the primitive man lived in a matriarchal society, the worship of the Divine Mother came into practice. Later on, as civilisation progressed, the matriarchal pattern gradually faded out, and the father became the head of the family unit, where he was treated as the man in authority and to whom every one looked for guidance and approval. Consequently there was a change in the concept of God as such; the Fatherhood of God was established. But Mother-worship persisted simultaneously, since this concept was psychologically more appealing to the devotee, the Mother being nearest in filial affection to the child. Subsequently, a sympathetic harmony between the Motherhood and Fatherhood of God was developed by the Hindu religion; the people worshipped Sita and Rama, or Radha and Krishna, together.

The concept of the human mind is based on relative experience. Subjective idealism, therefore, in its initial stages, takes the aid of objective and relative analogies. God is neither limited to abstract or concrete concepts. But it is easier to establish a conscious relationship with the Providence in terms of benevolent fatherhood or affectionate, kindly motherhood than by the concept of an unfathomable void. God is devoid of qualities, in reality, but a relative superimposition of the positive ideals of goodness and virtue is essential for self-culture and spiritual progress of the aspirant.

Mother is very kind to her child. You are more free with your mother than with anybody else. It is the mother who protects you, nourishes you, consoles you, cheers you and nurses you. She is your first preceptor. She sacrifices her all for the sake of her children. In the spiritual field also, the aspirant has very intimate relationship with the Divine Mother.

The Upasana or the worship of the Universal Mother leads to the attainment of the knowledge of the Self. The Yaksha Prasna in Kenopanishad supports this view. Approach Her with an open heart. Lay bare your mind with frankness and humility. Let your thoughts be pure and sublime. Become as simple as a child. Pulverise your individual entity, the egoistic nature, cunningness, selfishness and crookedness. Make a total unreserved, ungrudging self-surrender to Her. Chant Her Mantras. Worship Her with faith and unflinching devotion.

Durga Puja or Navaratri is the most suitable occasion for doing intense Sadhana. These nine days are very sacred to Mother. Plunge yourself in Her worship. It is an occasion symbolising the victory of the higher, divine forces over the lower, negative qualities that find their expression in injustice, oppression, aggrandisement, greed, selfishness, hatred and a host of other undivine forces that add to the suffering of man.

Worship the Mother in all Her manifestations. She is the creative aspect of the Absolute. She is symbolised as Cosmic Energy. Energy is the physical ultimate of all forms of matter and the sustaining force of the Spirit. Energy and Spirit are inseparable. They are essentially one. The five elements and their combinations are the external manifestations of the Mother. Intelligence, discrimination, psychic power and will are Her internal manifestations. Humanity is Her visible form. Service of humanity is, therefore, the worship of the Divine Mother.

Feel that the Mother sees through your eyes, hears through your ears, and works through your hands. Feel that the body, mind, Prana, intellect and all their functions are Her manifestations. The one, universal life throbs in the heart of all. How can there be any room for hatred and selfishness, when by hating another you are but denying your own self. Drive deep this consciousness within your heart. Always meditate and practise this ideal of divine oneness.

Mother’s grace is boundless. Her mercy is illimitable. Her knowledge is infinite. Her power is immeasurable. Her glory is ineffable. Her splendour is indescribable. She gives you Bhukti (material prosperity) and Mukti (liberation) also. She is pleased with a little purity of heart. The sacred Durga Puja is approaching. Do not lose this glorious opportunity. Make a definite and sincere attempt to obtain the grace of the Mother. She will transform your entire life, and bless you with the milk of divine wisdom, spiritual insight and Kaivalya.

The Worship of the Divine Mother

Devi is synonymous with Sakti or the Divine Power that manifests, sustains and transforms the universe as the one unifying force of Existence. In fact, worship of Devi is not sectarian; it does not belong to any cult. By Devi or Sakti we mean the presupposition of all forms of existential power, the power of knowledge, of omniscience. These powers are the glorious attributes of God—you may call Him Vishnu or Siva or as you like. In other words, Sakti is the very possibility of the Absolute’s appearing as many, of God’s causing this universe. Sakti and Sakta are one; the Power and the one who possesses the Power cannot be separated; God and Sakti are like fire and heat of fire.

Devi-worship or Sakti-worship is therefore worship of God’s glory, of God’s greatness and supremacy. It is adoration of the Almighty. It is unfortunate that Devi is misunderstood as a blood-thirsty Hindu-Goddess. No, Devi is not the property of the Hindu alone. Devi does not belong to any religion. Devi is the conscious power of the Deva. Let this never be forgotten. The words Devi, Sakti etc. and the ideas of the different forms connected with these names are concessions given to the limitations of human knowledge, human comprehension. Bhagavan Sri Krishna says in the Gita, ‘This is only My lower nature Sakti; beyond this is my higher nature, the Original Sakti, the life-principle which sustains this entire universe’. The Upanishad says, “The Para Sakti, the Supreme Power of this God, is heard of in various ways; this Power is the nature of God manifesting as knowledge, strength and activity.” Truly speaking all beings of the universe are Sakti worshippers, for there is none who does not love and long for power in some form or other. Physicists and scientists have proved now that everything is pure imperishable energy. This energy is only a form of Divine-Sakti which exists in every form of existence.

Since Sakti cannot be worshipped in its essential nature, it is worshipped as conceived of in its manifestations viz., creation, preservation and destruction. Sakti, in relation to these three functions, is Sarasvati, Lakshmi and Kaali. These, as is evident, are not three distinct Devis, but the one formless Devi worshipped in three different forms. Durga Puja or Navaratri is the festive occasion of the ‘nine-day-worship of Maha-Kaali, Maha-Lakshmi and Maha-Sarasvati’, the Divinity of the Universe adored in three ways.

Sarasvati is cosmic Intelligence, cosmic Consciousness, cosmic Knowledge. Worship of Sarasvati is necessary for Buddhi-Suddhi, Viveka Vichara-Sakti, Jnana, self-illumination. Lakshmi does not mean more material wealth like gold, cattle etc. All kinds of prosperity, glory, magnificence, joy, exaltation, greatness, come under the grace of Goddess Lakshmi. Sri Appayya Dikshitar calls even final Liberation as ‘Moksha-Samrajya Lakshmi’. Hence worship of Lakshmi means the worship of Divinity, the power that dissolves multiplicity in unity. The worship of Devi is therefore the explanation of the entire process of spiritual Sadhana in all its aspects.

During Durga Pula or Navaratri observe strict Anushtana and purify your inner spiritual nature. This is the most auspicious time in the year for Mother-Worship. Read Saptasati or Devi Mahatmya and Lalita Sahasranama. Do Japa of the Mantra of Devi. Perform formal worship with purity, sincerity and absolute devotion. Cry for the Darshan of Mother Devi. The Divine Mother will bless you with the knowledge, the peace and the joy that know no end. May the Divine Mother Durga establish righteousness or Dharma in the World! May She destroy all dark hostile forces that disturb the peace of the world! May She remove all sorts of epidemics and famine from the land! May She bring supreme peace, prosperity and undying bliss to all Her children of this world! May She transmute the Asuras or the demons or people with diabolical tendencies into Sattvic men! May She annihilate the Asuric tendencies, such as lust, anger, pride, hypocrisy,

etc. in human beings, which represent Madhu Kaitabha, Mahisha, Sumbha and Nisumbha!

May She give the milk of divine wisdom to Her children and lift them up to the magnanimous heights of divine splendour and glory, the imperishable state of Kaivalya and eternal sunshine!





Markandeya said: The eighth Manu is called Savarni, the son of Surya (Sun). I shall now tell you how he came into being. Due to the grace of Mahamaya, that lord of the Manvantara came to be the son of Surya.

There was a king called Suratha ruling over the whole earth. He ruled his subjects like his own children. He was once attacked by his enemies who tried to capture his city by force. He had a great fight with them. He was defeated in battle by those wicked ministers and kings of the hostile party and was compelled to leave his country. He felt extremely dejected, and mounting on a horse, singly went to a dense forest. There he saw an Ashram of a great Brahmin. There were many disciples in the Ashram, studying sacred lore. The king was received warmly by the sage.

There the king was wandering here and there and being caught by the force of ‘mineness’ he thought within himself, “Ah! What a sad state! Up to this time I was ruling this country, and now it is occupied by the enemy. My ministers were serving me faithfully, and now they are serving my enemies. My subjects were happy during my rule, and I do not know how they are being treated now. They are all serving a foreign ruler. My treasury will be completely used up by the enemies!” Thus and other things did the king ponder over.

In that Ashram, the king saw a Vaisya (the merchant-caste). The king asked him, “Who are you? What are you doing here? Please tell me everything about you.” The Vaisya said, “My name is Samadhi. I was born in a wealthy family. But I was deprived of all my property by wicked people of my neighbourhood, and all my family, wife and children deserted me, and due to poverty I have taken shelter in this forest. I am filled with grief. I do not know what has happened to my wife and what my children are doing now. Whether they are living or dead I do not know.” The king said, “When your wife and children have deserted you, when you became penniless, why then, are you so much attached to them even now?” The Vaisya said, “O king! True exactly is what you say. I also know it. But what to do? Still I love them. The nature of mind is such. It loves even the wicked wife and the wicked children who have driven me out. I cannot help it.”

Markandeya said: Then they both, the king and the Vaisya, went to that sage who was residing in that Ashram. They both prostrated before the sage, and with great reverence the king questioned the sage, “O revered sage! I wish to ask you one question. O sage! I have lost all my territory. I have now nothing with me. But still I am having great attachment for my lost kingdom, wife and children. O sage, why is this? This is a Vaisya who has been deserted by his kith and kin due to his poverty and still he has got great attachment for his wife and children. We both are of the same type. We both are filled with grief. We both are deluded. Please destroy our ignorance through your wisdom.”

The sage said: O king! Yes, there is that wisdom in every creature. Some animals are blind during the daytime, some are blind during the night. Some are of the same sight during night and day. Man has sight only during the day. Yet, all possess the same wisdom. What is all this? Why is this difference? Look at the moths falling on fire! Look at men falling in the fire of sensual objects! What difference is there among creatures here? In spite of intelligence, all creatures are struggling for the sake of belly. All are controlled and deluded by the Great Power, the Mahamaya of Vishnu! Due to Her Power all this world is working. Due to Her all are suffering. Due to Her all are happy. There is no wonder in this. Even Jnanis are dragged by this Maya by force, and they are totally deluded. She is the creator of this universe, mobile and immobile. She, being pleased, gives men the eternal salvation in the end. She is the cause of bondage and liberation. She alone is all in all. She rules supreme over all lords!

The king said: O sage! Who is that Devi Maya? How is She born? I wish to hear everything about Her, who works such wonders in this world.

The sage said: She is eternal, the manifestation of the Supreme Power. She is pervading all this. Her coming into being is heard of in various ways. When She reveals Herself for the good of the gods, She is considered as being born. When Maha Vishnu was merged in His Yoganidra during the time of the great Dissolution, there arose two great demons, called Madhu and Kaitabha from the dirt of Vishnu’s ears. They ran towards Brahma who was just projected out from the great Lotus of Vishnu’s navel, and came to devour him. Brahma saw that Vishnu was asleep and that there was none to help him in such a danger. In order to wake up Mahavishnu from His sleep, Brahma prayed to Adimaya, the support of the universe, the Supreme Goddess of the worlds, the Creatress, the Preserver and Destroyer of everything.

Brahma said: O Devi! Thou art Svaha, Svadha and Vashatkara! Thou art Nada, Ardhamatra, Savitri! Thou art the Support of this world. Thou alone createst this universe. Thou preservest this. Thou art Mahavidya, Mahamaya, Mahamedha, Mahasmriti, and Mahamoha! Save me by waking up the great Vishnu. Thou art Prakriti, with three Gunas, Thou art prosperity, Thou art peace and mercy. Thou art with countless weapons. Thou art beautiful and dreadful. Thou art greater than the greatest, O Devi! Whatever there is here is Thyself. What more can I say? Vishnu would have helped me, He would have saved me, but He is asleep. Kindly wake Him up, and delude these Asuras, for I am in danger of life.

The sage said: Thus praised, the great Maya, entered the body of Vishnu from all quarters. She opened His eyes, opened His mind, opened His hands and opened every limb part by part. The great Lord of the worlds, stood up with inexpressible grandeur with all His powerful weapons. He saw two formidable demons in front, who were of tremendous power, who were extremely wicked in nature. They were trying to eat up Brahma completely. Lord Hari fought with them for five thousand years. Mahamaya began to delude these two demons through Her power. In their ignorance, they asked Bhagavan Vishnu, “Hari! What boon do you want? Ask from us.” The Lord said, “Become you both My victims immediately.”

The Rishi said: Seeing that there was no place where there was no water, the demons said, “Yes, you can kill us where there is no water.” Vishnu kept them both on His thighs where there was no water and chopped off both of their heads with His dreadful Sudarshana-Chakra. O king! Thus is a story how Maya was born for the first time. Hear of Her great stories still more.


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