In meditation, bhakti has a major role to play. Bhakti is devotion. A feeling of love for some thought, person or story that brings the mind to a one-pointed focus. So it was to cultivate devotion and thereby this single-pointedness of mind, the rishis wrote many Puranas which were told in Harikathas, Upanyasas, enacted as Therukoothu, Yakshagana Bayalata, Kathakali, Shadow Puppets or all-night dramatic performances.
A child’s mind loves repetition and listens to something he/she already knows. So it is with these repeated rendition of songs and stories from the Puranas. In Devi Bhagavatham after Lord Shiva gave the goddess the go-ahead to start the war with Shumbha, Nishumbha and the other Asuras, the goddess brought forth from her own powers a 100 vixens, ready for battle.
She came up with a strange request at that moment, preparing for war. She requested Lord Shiva himself to go as a messenger to the Asuras that Indra the king of the gods will attain all the three worlds and they could very well retire and move to Patala loka, the nether regions below the earth, i.e. if they wished to retain their lives. If thinking too much of their own powers, if they still want to come to battle, then let my vixen make a good meal of all of them, the goddess said. Since she sent Shiva himself as a messenger, she is known by the name Shivaduti.
When the big Asuras heard from Sharva himself, Lord Shiva himself, the words of Devi, they were angry and charged to the place where Katyayani stayed. The enemies of the Devas then rained their arrows and other weapons on the goddess. With her great bow, she sent shafts of arrows as if in sport and quelled the barrage of arrows. Kali as another warrior assisted the goddess in destroying the enemies. Brahmani was another deity helping the goddess by circling around the battlefield and sprinkling holy water from her water pot. The moment the water touched the Asuras, all their powers began to shrink.
The whole scene is that of a great women’s army with Maheshwari, Vaishnavi, Kaumari, Varahi and Nrisimhi. This gory description of war with a lot of bloodshed is nothing but a description of what happens when the divine forces in our own consciousness are invoked to destroy the negativities of laziness, anger, lust, greed, hatred, jealousy, fear and selfishness.
Invoking the divine is the only way to finally put an end to these dark forces that function with a lot of strength and keep rising again and again to disturb our lives, unless they are annihilated and vanquished by such a divine force as the goddess Shivaduti. The goddess was assisted by the Matruganas or a band of mothers too in her conquest of the persistent Mahasuras. The author is Sevak, Chinmaya Mission, Tiruchi; firstname.lastname@example.org www.sharanyachaitanya.blogspot.in