The Devis and Demons

September 29, 2007 at 1:11 pm 2 comments

Durga slaying Mahisasura
Guler School, early 18th c.

Conclusion of the series, ‘Lila Pastimes with the Transcendental Demons’.

“The Mother Nature is, as She should naturally be, the most faithful mistress of Godhead and She becomes angry for the behavior of the Asura and thus assume the role of Daivamaya (generally known as the Mohakali, Durga, Bhadrakali etc.) and take at once Her grim trident and inflicts the weapon in the heart of the asura who is also Her son. The asura thus becomes subject to threefold miseries and this is done according to the plan of Godhead as the mother has to chastise the disobedient son in order to make him alright.

This process of chastisement is necessary for the benefit of both the asura and the daiva sons in order to stop disorder in the great plan of Godhead. As sons as the asura, however, surrenders unto Godhead as the obedient son and servitor of the plan of Godhead the asura is turned into a devata. The angry mode of Mother Nature at once subsides and she appears to such godly sons as the most affectionate Mother in the role of Yogamaya (commonly known as Laksmi, Sita and Radharani etc).”

So according to Bhagavad-gita the whole trouble of the world is due to the increase in the number of the asura and decrease in the number of the daivas. Who is a daiva and who is a asura is clearly defined in the Bhagavad-gita. Thus the whole problem has to be solved according to expert advices and it is not possible to solve the world problem so easily as by holding occasional discussions by some who are already themselves under the influence of the asuric qualities. This should be done most scientifically which is above mistakes and illusion.

Srila Prabhupada Letter to Sir, Calcutta, May 1949

Durga Ma

So… So far killing or destroying is concerned, that Durga power, Krsna’s power, that is sufficient. That is sufficient. He doesn’t require to come to kill the demons. She is engaged. You have seen that Durga is killing the demon, that asura. You have seen the Durga’s picture? The asura is there and the lion is there, and she has taken a bunch of hair of the asura, and the trident is pushed on his chest, and the lion has captured him. So he is overpowered. So the asura is overpowered, but if the asura makes more attempt to save himself, then there are, only two hands are engaged of Durga to kill the asura, one catching his hair and one the trident. Only two hands are engaged. But if he shows more power, then there are eight hands more, reserved with different types of weapons. So you cannot overcome the ruling, or the control, of the material nature. That is not possible. Daivi hy esa gunamayi mama maya duratyaya. So asura, to kill the asuras, however powerful they may be… We have seen. There were so many asuras in this world. There were Lenin, there were Stalin, there were Hitler, there were Hiranyakasipu. So many. But they could not survive. It is not possible. They’ll be finished.

Srila Prabhupada Lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam, 09-30-74, Mayapur

That is coming gradually. The more people are becoming godless, the more there will be scarcity of food. Because nature is the servant of Krsna. Krsna says, mama maya. The nature is the maidservant. Nature is mother, goddess Durga, material nature. But she is not independent. In the Brahma-samhita it is stated, srsti-sthiti-pralaya-sadhana-saktir eka chayeva yasya bhuvanani bibharti durga. Durga, Mother Durga is so powerful that she can make, create… Srsti-sthiti. She can maintain. Maintenance also in her power. So because she is the maidservant of Krsna… Chayeva yasya bhuvanani bibharti durga. Durga bibharti, maintains. But it works like chaya. Icchanurupam api yasya ca cestate sa govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami. She is not independent. She works under the direction of Govinda. And Govinda says also in the Bhagavad-gita, mayadhyaksena prakrtih suyate sa-caracaram: “Under My order.” So prakrti will be unkind. As we have seen, the Mother Durga is chastising the asura on the chest; the trident, trisula, is piercing. Why? Because he’s asura. Asura means nondevotee. The asura. Sura and asura. There are two kinds of men: daiva asura eva ca. Dvau bhuta-sargau loke ‘smin daiva asura eva ca. There are two kinds of men in the world. One is called daiva, devata, demigods, and the other is called asura. You have heard about the devata and asura, there is always fight. Daivasura. So who is asura, who is deva? Visnu-bhaktah smrto daivah. Those who are devotees of the Supreme Lord, Visnu, they are devata. Asuras tad-viparyayah. And those who are not devotee of Visnu, but other demigods, even if he’s devotee of Lord Brahma or Lord Siva, he’s to be considered as asura.

Srila Prabhupada Lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam, 11-08-74, Bombay

Varahi Vaishnavi and Varahi Fighting Asuras
Rajasthan, c. 1775.

The Devi-Mahatmyam
Chapter 8 – The slaying of Raktabija

The Rishi said:

1-3. After the daitya Chanda was slain and Munda was laid low, and many of the battalions were destroyed, the lord of the asuras, powerful Sumbha, with mind overcome by anger, commanded then the mobilization of all the daitya hosts:

4. ‘Now let the eighty-six asuras – upraising their weapons – with all their forces, and the eighty-four Kambus, surrounded by their own forces, go out.

5. ‘Let the fifty asura families of Kotiviryas and the hundred families of Dhaumras go forth at my command.

6. ‘Let the asurasa Kalakas, Daurhrdas, the Mauryas and the Kalakeyas hasten at my command and march forth ready for battle.’

7. After issuing these orders, Sumbha, the lord of the asuras and a ferocious ruler, went forth, attended by many thousands of big forces.

8. Seeing that most terrible army coming, Chandika filled into space between the earth and the sky with the twang of her bow-string.

9. Thereon her lion made an exceedingly loud roar, O King, and Ambika magnified those roars with the clanging of the bell.

10. Kali, expanding her mouth wide and filling the quarters with the sound (hum ) overwhelmed the noises of her bow-string, lion and bell by her terrific roars.

11. On hearing that roar the enraged asura battalions surrounded the lion, the Devi (Chandika) and Kali on all the four sides.

12-13. At this moment, O King, in order to annihilate the enemies of devas and for the well-being of the supreme devas, there issued forth, endowed with exceeding vigour and strength, Shaktis from the bodies of Brahma, Shiva, Guha, Vishnu and Indra, and with the form of those devas went to Chandika.

14. Whatever was the form of each deva, whatever his ornaments and vehicle, in that very form his Shakti advanced to fight with the asuras.

15. In a heavenly chariot drawn by swans advanced Brahma’s Shakti carrying a rosary and Kamandalu. She is called Brahmani.

16. Maheshvari arrived, seated on a bull, holding a fine trident, wearing bracelets of great snakes and adorned with a digit of the moon.

17. Ambika Kaumari, in the form of Guha, holding a spear in hand riding on a fine peacock, advanced to attack the asuras.

18. Likewise the Shakti of Vishnu came, seated upon Garuda, holding conch, club, bow and sword in hand.

19. The Shakti of Hari, who assumed the incomparable form of a sacrificial boar, she also advanced there in a boar-like form.

9th c. C.E., West Bengal

20. Narasmihi arrived there, assuming a body like that of a Narasmiha, bringing down the constellations by the toss of her mane.

21. Likewise the thousand-eyed Aindri, holding a thunderbolt in hand and riding on the lord of elephants arrive just like Sakra (Indra).

22. Then Shiva, surrounded by those shaktis of the devas, said to Chandika, ‘Let the asuras be killed forthwith by you for my gratification.’

23. Thereupon from the body of Devi issued forth the Shakti of Chandika, most terrific, exceedingly fierce and yelling like a hundred jackals.

24. And that invincible (Shakti) told Shiva, of dark coloured matted locks, ‘Go, my lord, as ambassador to the presence of Sumbha and Nisumbha.

25. ‘Tell the two haughty asuras, Sumbha and Nisumbha, and the other asuras assembled there for battle.

26. “Let Indra obtain the three worlds and let the devas enjoy the sacrificial oblations. You go to the nether world, if you wish to live.

27. “But if through pride of strength you are anxious for battle, come on then. Let my jackals be satiated with your flesh.”‘

28. Because that Devi appointed “Shiva” himself as ambassador thenceforth she became renowned in this world as Shiva-duti.

29. Those great asuras, on their part, hearing the words of the Devi communicated by Shiva, were filled with indignation and went where Katyayani stood.

Kali and Durga
19th c.

30. Then in the very beginning, the enraged foes of the devas poured in front on the Devi showers of arrows, javelins and spears.

31. And lightly, with the huge arrows shot from her full-drawn bow, she clove those arrows, spears, darts and axes hurled by them.

32. Then, in front of him (Sumbha), stalked Kali, piercing the enemies to pieces with her spear and crushing them with her skull-topped staff.

33. And Brahmani, wherever she moved, made the enemies bereft of valour and prowess by sprinkling on them the water from her Kamandalu.

34. The very wrathful Maheshvari slew the daityas with her trident, and Vaisnavi, with her discus and Kaumari, with her javelin.

35. Torn to pieces by the thunderbolt which come down upon them, hurled by Aindri, daityas and danavas fell on the earth in hundreds, streams of blood flowing out of them.

36. Shattered by the boar-formed goddess (Varahi)with blows of her snout, wounded in their chests by the point of her tusk and torn by her discus, (the asuras) fell down.

37. Narasmihi, filling all the quarters and the sky with her roars, roamed about in the battle, devouring other great asuras torn by her claws.

38. Demoralised by the violent laughter of Shivaduti, the asuras fell down on the earth; she then devoured them who had fallen down.

39. Seeing the enraged band of Matrs crushing the great asuras thus by various means, the troops of the enemies of devas took to their heels.

40. Seeing the asuras harassed by the band of Matrs and fleeing, the great asura Raktabija strode forward to fight in wrath.

41. Whenever from his body there fell to the ground a drop of blood, at that moment rose up from the earth asura of his stature.

42. The great asura fought with Indra’s shakti with club in his hand; then Aindri also struck Ranktabija with her thunderbolt.

43. Blood flowed quickly and profusely from him who was wounded by the thunderbolt. From the blood rose up (fresh)combatants of his form and valour.

44. As many drops of blood fell from his body, so may persons came into being, with his courage, strength and valour.

45. And those persons also sprung up from his blood fought there with the Matrs in a more dreadful manner hurling the very formidable weapons.

46. And again when his head was wounded by the fall of her thunder-bolt, his blood flowed and therefrom were born persons in thousands.

47. Vaisnavi struck him with her discus in the battle, Aindri beat that lord of asuras with her club.

48. The world was pervaded by thousands of great asuras who were of his stature and who rose up from the blood that flowed from him when cloven by the discus of Vaisnavi.

49. Kaumari struck the great asura Raktabija with her spear, Varahi with her sword, and Mahesvari with her trident.

50. And Raktabija, that great asura also, filled with wrath, struck everyone of the Matrs severally with his club.

51. From the stream of blood which fell on the earth from him when he received multiple wounds by the spears, darts and other weapons, hundreds of asuras came into being.

52. And those asuras that were born from the blood of Raktabija pervaded the whole world; the devas got intensely alarmed at this.

53-54. Seeing the devas dejected, Chandika laughed and said to Kali, ‘O Chamunda, open out your mouth wide; with this mouth quickly take in the drops of blood generated by the blow of my weapon and (also) the great asuras born of the drops of blood of Raktabija.

55. ‘Roam about in the battle-field, devouring the great asuras that spring from him. So shall this daitya, with his blood emptied, perish.

56. ‘As you go on devouring these, other fierce (asuras) will not be born.’ Having enjoined her thus, the Devi next smote him (Raktabija) with her dart.

57. Then Kali drank Raktabija’s blood with her mouth. Then and there he struck Chandika with his club.

58-60. The blow of his club caused her not even the slightest pain. And from his stricken body wherever blood flowed copiously, there Chamunda swallowed it with her mouth. The Chamunda devoured those great asuras who sprang up from the flow of blood in her mouth, and drank his (Raktabija’s) blood.

61. The Devi (Kausiki) smote Raktabija with her dart, thunderbolt, arrows, swords, and spears, when Chamunda went on drinking his book.

62. Stricken with a multitude of weapons and bloodless, the great asura (Raktabija) fell on the ground, O King.

63. Thereupon the devas attained great joy, O King. The band of Matrs who sprang from them dance, being intoxicated with blood. Here ends the eighth chapter called ‘The Slaying of Raktabija’ of Devi-mahatmya in Markandeya-purana, during the period of Savarni, the Manu.

Kumari Kumari fighting Asuras
Folio from a Devimahatmya (Glory of the Goddess), 1675-1700 Rajasthan

At one time the asuras gained supremacy over the devas and adharma began to prevail. Protected by a boon that he could only be killed by a virgin girl, Banasura was wreaking havoc, driving the devas away from heaven and torturing the saints and sages. Unable to bear the agony of her children, Bhoomi Devi sought the help of Lord Vishnu, the Protector of the Universe. Vishnu advised that the devas should supplicate themselves to Parashakti, the Divine Mother, as she alone was capable of vanquishing Banasura.

Accordingly, the devas performed a yajña in supplication for the Parashakti’s help. Parashakti appeared before them in the form of small girl and promised to annihilate the evil forces championed by Banasura. Asking the devas to be patient for the right time for the killing of Banasura, Parashakti then came out of the fire and travelled to the southern-most tip of India, where she began to meditate upon Lord Shiva. As time went on she grew into a teenager. This is how the southern tip of India got the name Kanya Kumari, as kanya kumari means “a virgin teenaged girl.”

Seeing Parashakti in the beautiful form of Kanya Kumari, Lord Shiva fell in love [specifically the form of Lord Shiva worshipped in Suchindram, a town 15 km from India’s southern tip.] Parashakti agreed to become his bride, and arrangements were made for their marriage.

At this point, the divine sage Narada realized that the marriage of Lord Shiva with Kanya Kumari would destroy the goddess’ chances of destroying Banasura, as he could not be killed by a married woman. In order to prevent this potential disaster, Narada decided to sabotage the holy couple’s wedding.

First Narada tried to confuse Kanya Kumari, telling her that perhaps it was not Shiva at all who wanted to marry her, but Banasura in disguise. Narada told the goddess that she should ask Shiva to bring three items that could not be obtained anywhere in the world in order to prove his identity. These were a coconut without eyes, a stalk of sugarcane without stump-joints and a betel leaf without veins. But Lord Shiva easily fulfilled this difficult challenge and the marriage continued to be scheduled.

But Narada had a final trick up his sleeve. The marriage was to take place at midnight on a certain auspicious day. On that day, Lord Shiva began his journey from Suchindram to Kanya Kumari’s abode. When he was in the town of Vazhukkamparai [5 km from Suchindarm], Narada assumed the form of a rooster and crowed, falsely heralding the break of dawn. Thinking that he had missed the appointed hour of his marriage, Shiva returned to Suchindram.

It is said that in Kanya Kumari’s anger over Shiva not arriving that she scattered all the food items that had been assembled for the wedding. The small pebbles, resembling sand, and the multi-coloured sands found on the shore in southern India are attributed to the above incident.

The goddess was also heart-broken, but remained ever-dedicated to Lord Shiva and continues to perform austerities to this day with the hopes that he will one day unite with her.

Soon Banasura heard about Kanya Kumari’s beauty. He decided that he would come and try her hand in marriage. She refused him. In rage, the demon decided he would take her by force. He drew his sword, but Kanya Kumari was also armed. A fierce battle took place, which ended with Kanya Kumari slaying Banasura with her chakra in Mahadana Puram [4 km north of Kanya Kumari].

It is said that at the moment of his death, Banasura repented for his adharmic acts and prayed to Parashakti to have compassion upon him and absolve him and anyone else who bathed in the waters off Kanya Kumari of their sins. Devi granted Banasura the boon, and this is why people come from all over the world to bathe in this holy confluence of seas.

The Kanya Kumari Temple is located on those southern shores. The teenaged goddess is shown holding a m?la, performing eternal austerities as she waits for Lord Shiva to come. According to the temple’s sthala purana, the Deity was installed by Lord Parasurama, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. One specialty of the Deity is her diamond nose ring, which sparkles gloriously. The temple’s sthala purana says that the nose ring was obtained from a king cobra and that light reflects off it so brightly that once an ancient mariner mistook it for a lighthouse. Sailing his ship towards the beacon, he wrecked upon the Kanya Kumari rocks. In order to prevent such a tragedy from happening again, the eastern door to the temple’s sanctum sanctorum is only opened on five special occasions throughout the year.

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Battles of the Visnu Avatars, Part 3 Natural Calamities and Vastu

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mary Beth  |  January 31, 2008 at 12:26 pm

    Does anyone one know anything about killing demons in present time?
    Anyone actively killing demons, a king demon?
    Help me.

  • 2. jeyanthy  |  May 12, 2008 at 7:51 pm

    Dear Mary,

    We are sorry you are under some terrible effects that is disturbing you. Ghosts are real. They are souls who have no physical body. They are souls that left their body before the their actual time to depart. They do attack people when one is weak and unprotected.

    Whatever we are suffering is due to our own “karma” from a previous birth. To counter their effect, you need to take shelter in the Holy Name of the Lord and believe unflinchingly that the Lord has manifested in His Holy Name to protect you.

    Please chant

    Hare Krishna Hare Krishna,

    Krishna Krishna Hare Hare,

    Hare Rama, Hare Rama,

    Rama Rama Hare, Hare

    Do this continuously for 108 times with full conviction. We do this 16 x 108 everyday.

    You can also hear the mantras from this site

    Hare Krsna Bhajana

    We pray everything will work out well for you


    From: Mary
    Sent: Monday, May 12, 2008 12:59 PM
    To: Jeyanthy
    Subject: Re: Killing of demons


    What about ghosts? Do you think they are real? Do you think they can attack people? If not you are soo lucky.

    Tibetans actually do a practice to send ghosts to purelands. And I know of a Tibetan retreat this coming summer that is doing a practice to clear confusion and protect from demonic influence. I wonder what that is about. It is probably my sins that burned like fire on my back for three hours. It is probably my sins that kicked me in the head three times causing my head to bounce on the pillow. It is probably my sins that make me vomit and go back to bed and lay there with vomit in my mouth. It’s probably my sins that makes unspeakable harm happen to me in my life.

    You do not know what a demon is. You do not know what possession is.

    May you have happiness and the causes of happiness, may you never know suffering. and may you never be parted from freedoms true joy.

    Mary Beth

    Dear Mary,

    The killing of demons by Krishna simply signify the killing of the sins in us which are greed, lust, anger, illusion, pride and envy. Krishna the Supreme kills these demons in us as we surrender to Him.


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