Hymns to the Goddess, by John Woodroffe (Arthur Avalon), , at sacred-texts.com
O CANDĪ! 3 wander in my heart,
By whom the act of formidable Asura 4 was shattered,
Destroy the calamities which deeply pierce me,
Arising from the mass of malice and fears (which assail me),
So that, free from danger,
And protected by the lotus cluster of Thy feet,
My swan-like 5 mind may swim and rejoice in the ocean of bliss.
What fear of his enemies has he who worships Thee?
The Devas who worship Thy feet stamping on beast and noose, 1
Having abandoned the form of Narasimha, 2
Whose towering mane reached the summit of Mount Sumeru,
And whose fingers are outstretched to tear (the breast of) Hiraṇyakaśipu, 3
Now worship the lion, 4 the enemy of the elephant. 5
O Candī! when the syllables, the letters of which speak of Thee,
Reach the ear, then Brahmā and other Devas
Sing the truth, touching Puruṣa and Prakṛti. 6
O Devī! be to-day gracious to me,
Devoted as I am to the kissing of Thy beautiful lotus feet,
The one and only glittering abode of the essence of the nectar of all Devatās.
If, because of my following your way of Kula, 1
I suffer reproach better is it that I shall thus be without fame.
Let me not have that which comes of the worship of Keśava 2 and Kauśika; 3
Rather, O Mother! let my heart rest in meditation on Thy lotus feet,
Worshipped by Brahmā, Hari, the enemy of Smara 4 and the enemy of the Daityas. 5
O Mother! if I be engaged in the rightful 6 contemplation of Thy lotus feet,
What matters it if I know not 7 other sacred places? 1
May Thy lotus feet be ever present to my mind--
Thy feet which are the wealth of our wounds! 2
O propitious Mother! do Thou forgive me.
Verily and without doubt, even the Lord of Bhūtas 3 would have perished, 4
Maddened as He was with the joy of the embrace of (Thee who art) His own self, 5
Had He not enjoyed the lotus fragrance of Thy feet,
Full of honey from which drop liquid sandal,
And the nectar, there haply fallen from the moon. 6
O Mother! let the stream of heavy showers of holy devotion towards Thee
Be ever shed upon me,
Struggling and drowning, alas! as I am in the endless ocean of illusion, 1
Without taste of the springing water of the Bliss of Brahman, 2
Which dispels the weight of mental afflictions from numbers of Devas.
May (Thy) glory, 3 dark as collyrium cloud, Be ever in my heart.
From its glittering lustre were born the three Devatās,
Who create, maintain, and destroy the world,
Whose substance is pure intelligence and bliss, 4
Dispelling the darkness which overspreads the heart
By the (glory of the unnumbered)millions of their rays!
May 5 Devī Mahiṣāmardinī, who hath power to destroy
The proud enemies of the Devas,
And is the slayer of many another demon,
She it was who, having severed the head of the Asura Mahiṣa,
Seized upon him who assumed the form of a buffalo by his magic art
Upon the field of battle,
Now bellowing, now running, now lowering his head downward,
Falling upon the battlefield, and then vanishing from it for a while.
She kills the Asuras upon the battlefield.
Terrible it was, with the dancing of the weapons and streamers 1 of the enemy.
With a cloud of thrown discus and other missiles.
There the copper-coloured weapon 2 dashed and flashed from the enemy's arrows--
Enemies so stout, strong, and tall, proud of wealth and power,
The field of battle thus seemed to have been swept by a tempest,
Most hideous it was, thickly spread with limbs and dead bodies of Asuras,
In whose blood and flesh birds slaked their thirst and appeased their hunger.
Let the Sadhaka meditate upon Devī Mahiṣāmardinī.
Rushing now here, now there on the field of battle for the slaughter of the enemies,
Attended by eight companion Mātrikas, 1
Ear-ringed with eight-petalled lotuses,
Within each petal of which are writ the eight syllables
Mahiṣāmardinyai namah. 2
Formidable was that field with the tossing of the huge curved horns of Mahiṣa,
Deeply black, maddened, wandering to and fro, horribly roaring
Whose instant death was desired of the Devas.
Let the Sādhaka meditate
Upon the auspicious black Bhogavatī 3 Mahiṣāmardinī,
Holding in Her hands discus, lance, axe, shield, arrow, bow, and trident,
Making the gesture 4 which dispels fear;
Her long, matted hair is like a bank of cloud,
Covering Her face most formidable,
Loudly screaming, now with peals of terrible laughter,
And then with Her threats greatly frightening the Daitya heroes.
O Devī! such as in this manner
Meditate upon Thy faultless form,
Worshipped by Indra and other Devas,
To them it is given to attack the cities of their enemies,
And, conquering their enemies, to gain a kingdom;
They, too, acquire nectar of the knowledge of poesy,
And power to arrest, banish and slay. 1
O Mother! salutation to Thee! May Thou conquer!
Whosoever, meditating upon Thy lotus feet,
Utters this Thy hymn,
In the palms of the hands of all such
Are forthwith wealth, fulfilment of desire, and liberation.
62:1 A title of Durgā, Śakti of Śiva as the powerful victrix of demons. She is Mahiṣāmardinī, as the slayer of Mahiṣa. The Daitya Śumbha attacked Her in the form of a buffalo (Mahiṣa; see Candi).
62:2 P. 574.
62:3 A form of the Devī assumed for the destruction of the Daitya Canda, and who assisted in the destruction of the demon Raktabīja (see Mārkaṇḍeya Purāṇa).
62:5 Manohamsa, the hamsa, is variously described as a swan, goose, and flamingo.
63:1 The Devī is standing on Her lion (v. post) with the noose (pāśa) beneath Her feet.
63:2 The Man-lion (Avatāra) of Viṣṇu, in which He destroyed the Daitya Hiraṇyakaśipu, father of His devotee Prahlāda.
63:3 See last note. The avatāra is generally represented with the King of the Daityas across his knees, tearing asunder with his hands and claws the latter's belly.
63:4 Which accompanies the Devī as Durgā. After the destruction of Hiraṇyakaśipu, Viṣṇu's wrath was not appeased. The world trembled, fearing what he might do. The Devas asked the help of Śiva, who assumed the Sharabha form--that of a lion with wings and eight feet--who tossed up Viṣṇu into the air and held him there until he had become powerless. The lion then went to the feet of Durgā, whom he accompanies.
63:5 Gaja, the elephant form subsequently assumed by the Asura, Mahiṣa.
63:6 Śiva and Śakti, the "Male" and "Female" elements, from whose union springs the universe (see Introduction to Tantra Śāstra and Principles of Tantra.)
64:1 That is, Kulācāra, one, and the highest, of the divisions of Tāntrik worshippers often misunderstood, and therefore subject of reproach; and which is contrasted in the next line but one with the more popular and conventional worshipper of Keśava and Kauśika.
64:3 An epithet both of Śiva and Indra, probably here the former.
64:4 Smara, the God of Love; Śiva, who slew him, is his "enemy."
64:5 Daityāri: usually an epithet of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, but as Hari has already been mentioned, possibly the reference may be to Indra.
64:6 i. e., orderly, according to the direction and sequence of the dhyāna or stotra.
65:7 Literally, "If I be deprived of."
65:1 Siddhāspada, where the perfect (siddha) are, or where Siddhi (power and perfection) may be gained.
65:2 That is, they are the healers of our pain.
65:3 Śiva Bhūteśvara or Bhūtanātha. Bhūta, which in a general sense means "beings," specifically refers to the spirits and ghosts by whom Śiva is surrounded and of whom He is Master.
65:4 It is by the Devī's aid that Śiva is Parameśvara, for without Śakti He is nothing, and without Her life-giving energy and support cannot exist. As the Kubjikā Tantra says: "Without their Śaktis the husbands are but preta" (inert corpses). So also the Jnānārnava: "O beloved, pure Sadāśiva without Śakti is without motion like a corpse, for without Śakti He can do nothing."
65:5 Svātmānam parirabhya. Literally, having embraced Himself. The Devī is, however, in a dualistic sense, His sacred half, and in reality one with Him and His own self (see Mahānirvāṇa Tantra, chap. i.).
65:6 Daivādvichyuta candra candanarasaprāgalbhya garbashravat--"Haply" in the poetical sense, as the nectar should be in the moon, but it happens to be dropping from the sacred feet of the Devī. Moreover, the Parambindu, which is Śivaśakti, is in the crescent of Nirvāṇakalā, which is by Amākalā the sixteenth digit p. 66 of the moon-circle (Candramaṇḍala), whence flows the nectar which, as Ichchhā, is the eternal precursor of creation (see Commentary, verse 49, of the Ṣatcakranirūpaṇa in The Serpent Power).
66:1 Viddhā, not as the original has it, Siddha.
66:2 Brahmānandasarābhiṣeka in the original should be Brahmānandarāsābhiṣeka.
66:3 Mahas, not maham, as in the text.
66:5 Verses 9 to 12 are a free rendering of a text which in parts is so corrupt as to be untranslatable with accuracy.
67:2 That is, fire.
68:1 The Devīs so called.
68:2 Salutation to the Devī slayer of Mahiṣa.
68:3 For She has all powers.
68:4 The abhaya mudrā (see p. 36, note 1).
69:1 Stambhanam, uchchātanam, and māraṇam, three of the Tāntrik Ṣatḳarma.