Hindu Gods and Goddesses

Tales of Nine Incarnations of Durga

At the end of the Eon, when Vishnu had fallen into Yogic sleep stretched out on Sheshnag and the world was nothing but one vast ocean, two dreadful demons called Madhu and Kaitabha arose from his ear wax, bent on killing Brahma. Sitting on the lotus that had grown from Vishnu's navel, Brahma Prajapati saw the two fierce Asuras appear while Janardana lay fast asleep. Single-minded in concentration and with a steadfast heart he praised the meditative sleep that lay upon Hari's eyes in order to awaken him.

"I exalt you, blessed Sleep of Vishnu of matchless splendor, mistress of the universe, mother of the world who both preserves and destroys …Armed with sword, spear, mace and discus, carrying conch, bow and arrows, bludgeon and bhusundi, you are kind, gentler than all the gentle, utterly beautiful, supreme among both high and low; you are the goddess supernal! You are the energy of every substance, no matter what, no matter where, existent or nonexistent. Who am I to praise you-you who poured forth the world. If the god who sustains and consumes the world has been mastered by Sleep, who is left here to praise you? Since Visnu, Isana and I myself have been made by you to take bodily form, how can I offer you praise. In truth, you are celebrated for your exalted glory! Now bring the lord of creation Acyuta quickly back to consciousness, so he may destroy those two dangerous demons, Madhu and Kaitabha!"

The dark goddess, thus praised by the creator, in order to arouse Visnu so that he might kill the two demons, came forth from his eyes, mouth, nostrils, arms, heart and chest, and stood before Brahma, whose origin is hidden. Released by Sleep, Janardana rose from his resting place on the ocean and saw the two evil-natured demons Madhu and Kaitabha, heroic and valorous, eyes red with rage, filled with eagerness to kill Brahma. Springing up, lord Hari battled against the two of them for 5,000 years with only his bare arms for weapons…

The lord, bearing conch, discuss and mace, killed those two demons by splitting open their heads with his discus. And in this manner was born the goddess, praised by Brahma himself.

The goddess was worshipped by Brahma as Mahamaya and Mahakali.

The goddess, who killed the Buffalo demon Mahishasur, was known Mahalakshmi. Tormented by the Buffalo demon, the beings had lost their kingdoms and the gods were deprived of their abodes. They were all being chased by the evil souled demons, they reached lord Vishnu to seek shelter.. for the complete story of how the goddess emerged from the combined tejas (energies) of al the gods, please refer to page No. 40 in the Origin of the Goddess.

Once upon a time, demons known as Shumbh and Nishumbh, defeated mortals and immortals in a long fierce battle. When the immortals noticed they could not win, they ran away from the battle and worshipped lord Vishnu, who was pleased by their hymns. To defend them lord Vishnu produced a flame from his divine body. The flame then took the shape of a beautiful woman called Mahasarswati. Enchanted by her divine beauty, the demons sent their sargeant. Surgriva to her, with a message of marriage. Mahasarswati accepted their proposal with a condition if they could win her in the battle field. Shumbh and Nishumbha sent their General Dumraaksha to bring her forcibly, who was slaughtered by the goodess.

A good number of his army-men were also killed by the goddess. After that, a demon called 'Rak-tabeej' was sent to bring the goddess forcibly, so that the commanders could marry her. 'Raktabeej' fought a fierce battle. He had been gifted with a boon by which his blood-drops falling on the earth were converted to the new demons instantly. The goddess then produced two yoginies-i.e. mates-these were called Ajay and Vijay. They drank the blood of the demon ion the battle field the earth, when the goddess beheaded the demon. In the end, Shumbh and Nishumbh were also killed by the goddess.

The famous epic 'Bhagwata Purana' depicts the story of goddess Yogmaya as follows:
In Dwapra Age, king Kansa ruled over Mathura and the adjoing states, Some astrologers of the reign, forecast his end at the hands of the 8th son born to his own real sister Devaki, who was already wedded to king Vasudev. Therefore, Kansa imprisoned Vasudev & Devaki, and snatched away their each offspring to kill them mercilessly. Devaki became pregnant for the 8th time now. She was confined ti tge jail under strict supervision of the guards. Outside, it was raining torrentially that night when Devaki delivered her 8th son Krishna. At the same time goddess 'yogmaya' was born to Ma Yashoda, in the town of Gokula. It was through the powers of yogmaya that all guards of Mathura-Jail became drowsy and King exchanged his son secretly with the instant born daughter of Yashoda, in Gokula. He came back to Devaki in the jails and placed Yogmaya there. Kansa entered in the morning and snatched the daughter from his sister's hands, tried to fly away in the skies & assumed the shape of a goddess. There was a loud broadcast "O' King you can not escape your death! Devaki's 8th son is growing in Gokula".

The same goddess Yogmaya helped Lored Krishna in killing Kansa, Charmera, Putna and other mighty demons. The goddess is supposed to live with Lord Krishna in the forms of Yogvidya and Mahavidya.

Chandika or Chamunda
Two mightly demons Chanda and Munda were killed by the goddess Kali, in the very past ages. Both the demons were so powerful that gods were also terrified by them, what to say of the human beings. Goddess Ambika, in her greates fury, issuedforth from between her eyebrows-Kali, with protruding fangs, carrying a sword and a noose, with a mottle skull topped staff, adorned with the necklace of human skulls, covered with tiger skin. Her mouth gaping wide, her lolling tongue terrifying, her eyes red and sunken. She filled the whole of space with her howling. Such was the shape of Kali-The black one, who killed the mighty demon Chanda and Munda and rescured the world from their terrors. When she brought the heads of the two demons grabbing in her hand and appoached goddess Ambika. She was pleased with her and told - "Since you have captured Chandra and Munda and have brought them to me, O goddess, you will be known as Chamunda".

In such a way, then does the divine goddess, although eternal, take birth again and again to protect the creation. This world is deluded by her; it is begotten by her; it is she who give knowledge when prayed to and prosperity when pleased. By Mahakali is this entire egg of Brahma pervaded, lord of men. At the awful time of dissolution she takes on the form of Mahamari, the great destuctress of the world. She is also its unborn source, eternal, she sustains creatures in homes in times of prosperity. In times of disaster she appears as Misfortune for their annihilation. When the goodess is praised and worshiped with flowers, incense, perfume and other gifts she give wealth, sons, a mind set upon Dharma, and happiness to all mankind.