Sanjaya said,--"Beholding the Dhartarashtra army approach for fight, Krishna said these words for Arjuna's benefit."
"The holy one said,--'Cleansing thyself, O mighty-armed one, utter on the eve of the battle thy hymn to Durga for (compassing) the defeat of the foe."
Sanjaya continued.--Thus addressed on the eve of battle by Vasudeva endued with great intelligence, Pritha's son Arjuna, alighting from his car, said the following hymn with joined hands.
"Arjuna said,--'I bow to thee, O leader of Yogins, O thou that art identical with Brahman, O thou that dwellest in the forest of Mandara, O thou that art freed from decrepitude and decay, O Kali, O wife of Kapala, O thou that art of a black and tawny hue, I bow to thee. O bringer of benefits to thy devotees, I bow to thee, O Mahakali, O wife of the universal destroyer, I bow to thee. O proud one, O thou that rescuest from dangers, O thou that art endued with every auspicious attribute. O thou that art sprung from the Kata race, O thou that deservest the most regardful worship, O fierce one, O giver of victory, O victory's self, O thou that bearest a banner of peacock plumes, O thou that art decked with every ornament, O thou that bearest an awful spear, O thou that holdest a sword and shield, O thou that art the younger sister of the chief of cow-herds, O eldest one, O thou that wert born in the race of the cowherd Nanda! O thou that art always fond of buffalo's blood, O thou that wert born in the race of Kusika, O thou that art dressed in yellow robes, O thou that
hadst devoured Asuras assuming the face of a wolf 1, I bow to thee that art fond of battle! O Uma, 2 Sakambhari, O thou that art white in hue, O thou that art black in hue, O thou that hast slain the Asura Kaitabha, O thou that art yellow-eyed, O thou that art diverse-eyed, O thou of eyes that have the colour of smoke, I bow to thee. O thou that art the Vedas, the Srutis, and the highest virtue, O thou that art propitious to Brahmanas engaged in sacrifice, O thou that hast a knowledge of the past, thou that art ever present in the sacred abodes erected to thee in cities of Jamvudwipa, I bow to thee. Thou art the science of Brahma among sciences, and thou that art that sleep of creatures from which there is no waking. O mother of Skanda, O thou that possessest the six (highest) attributes, O Durga, O thou that dwellest in accessible regions, thou art described as Swaha, and Swadha, 3 as Kala, as Kashta, and as Saraswati, as Savitra the mother of the Vedas, and as the science of Vedanta. With inner soul cleansed, I praise thee. O great goddess, let victory always attend me through thy grace on the field of battle. In inaccessible regions, where there is fear, in places of difficulty, in the abodes of thy worshippers and in the nether regions (Patala), thou always dwellest. Thou always defeatest the Danavas. Thou art the unconsciousness, the sleep, the illusion, the modesty, the beauty of (all creatures). Thou art the twilight, thou art the day, thou art Savitri, and thou art the mother. Thou art contentment, thou art growth, thou art light. It is thou that supportest the Sun and the Moon and that makes them shine. Thou art the prosperity of those that are prosperous. The Siddhas and the Charanas behold thee in contemplation. 4'"
Sanjaya continued,--Understanding (the measure of) Partha's devotion, Durga who is always graciously inclined towards mankind, appeared in the firmament and in the presence of Govinda, said these words.
'"The goddess said,--'Within a short time thou shalt conquer thy foes, O Pandava. O invincible one, thou hast Narayana (again) for aiding thee. Thou art incapable of being defeated by foes, even by the wielder of the thunderbolt himself.'
'"Having said this, the boon-giving goddess disappeared soon. The son of Kunti, however, obtaining that boon, regarded himself as successful, and the son of Pritha then mounted his own excellent car. And then Krishna and Arjuna, seated on the same car, blew their celestial conches. The man that recites this hymn rising at dawn, hath no fear any time from
[paragraph continues] Yakshas, Rakshasas, and Pisachas. He can have no enemies; he hath no fear, from snakes and all animals that have fangs and teeth, as also from kings. He is sure to be victorious in all disputes, and if bound, he is freed from his bonds. He is sure to get over all difficulties, is freed from thieves, is ever victorious in battle and winneth the goddess of prosperity for ever. With health and strength, he liveth for a hundred years.
"I have known all this through the grace of Vyasa endued with great wisdom. Thy wicked sons, however, all entangled in the meshes of death, do not, from ignorance, know them to be Nara and Narayana. Nor do they, entangled in the meshes of death, know that the hour of this kingdom hath arrived. Dwaipayana and Narada, and Kanwa, and the sinless Rama, had all prevented thy son. But he did not accept their words. There where righteousness is, there are glory and beauty. There where modesty is, there are prosperity and intelligence. There where righteousness is, there is Krishna; and there where Krishna is, there is victory."
49:1 follow Nilakantha in rendering many of the names occurring in this and the succeeding slokas. I retain, however, those names that are of doubtful etymology, as also those that are very common.
49:2 Every scholar knows the derivation of this word as given in this sloka of Kalidasa (in his Kumara Sambhavam) Umeti matra tapasonishiddha paschadumakhyam Sumukhi Jagama.
49:3 Both Swaha and Swadha are mantras of high efficacy. Kala and Kastha are divisions of time. Saraswati implies speech.
49:4 Sankhye is explained by Nilakantha to be Samyak Khyanam Prakasana Yasmin; hence Atmanatma-vivekarupa Samadhi.