Who are the demons Shumbha and Nishumbha? How do they affect us? Shumbha is fatal attraction and Nishumbha is mindset. We get attracted to so many objects, places and people in life. Once we are born as human beings, we can’t avoid attraction. That is why Devi says - “Keep chanting My name so that attraction gets de-tracked from you. Get attracted to your soul and not to the shell that houses the soul.” That is why we discussed rupa, rasa, gandha, sparsha and shravana [form, taste, smell, touch and hearing] in such great detail over the past few days. The attraction of smell is very strong in dogs and rats and often leads to their death. The attraction of taste makes a fish take the bait dangling from a fisherman’s line. What about us? We fall prey not just to one or two, but all our five senses. That is the great irony. That is why our downfall is most often caused by attraction.
Devi says - “When any attraction begins to exercise a pull upon you, don’t succumb. Think once, twice, thrice and implement all the truths that I have given you to resist it.” In the defence forces they have a saying - ‘Do or die.’ Here, if we succumb to attraction it becomes - ‘Do and die.’ When we cannot exercise a control over attraction, it leads to the death of our reputation, name, fame, wealth, success, confidence, peace, happiness, contentment, will power and mental strength. So, when the pull of an object is too strong and we are not sure whether it is good for us, we should postpone our decision to the next day. Then, we get the feeling - “I don’t really find that object as attractive as I did yesterday and I realise that it will be detrimental to me. So, I will not succumb to this temptation.”
‘Window shopping’ is another pastime that traps us in attraction. We may go there thinking - “I am just going to see. I don’t want to buy anything.”Most often this becomes ‘Seeing is Buying’. If we don’t want to get attracted, we should just close our eyes and touch that object. Then we don’t feel attracted to it anymore. The attraction that an object exercises on us is directly proportional to our drishti or sight. Sometimes when we go shopping, we take friends with us. When we ask their opinion about buying something, they may say - “That’s really wonderful. You should just buy it, even if it is expensive.” Immediately remember the rule of shravana - Filter. When you know how to filter what you see and hear in life, you will find the solution to attraction. We are going into this slowly, step by step, because tomorrow is Durgashtami, when Devi will slay all the demons in us. Today, She wants us to identify and herd them all together so that She can annihilate them easily.
Mother says - “Due to the pull of attraction, doubt is born in your mind.” How does this happen? Let us say we want to buy a house or apartment. So, we go and look at several houses. We find both good and bad points in each house.
We feel attracted towards every house that we short list. We find it very difficult to choose the right house as conflict and doubt pull us hither and thither. So, we are unable to think objectively and finally make a doubtful decision. When we are attracted to many things at the same time, only doubtful decisions emerge from us because we are never sure about what we want in life. Attraction shatters our peace and leads to many wrong decisions in life.
Extract from ‘The book of direct truths, subtle truths and the mystical truths of Devi Mahatmyam’ by Shri Shri Nimishananda