An outline of the Chandi Path
Jaldhar H. Vyas
jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Wed Oct 4 08:55:17 CDT 2000
Earlier I wrote that dring Navaratri, one should read or at least listen
to the Chandi Path. I got a couple of messages from readers asking
exactly what is Chandi Path? This is a response to that qustion.
Chandi Path means the text concerning the Goddess Chandi. It is also
called Durga Saptashati or 700 verses related to the Goddess Durga and
Devi Mahatmya or Glory of the Goddess.
It is a part of the Markandeya Mahapurana. This Purana is related by
Markandeya Maharshi to Jaimini Maharshi and hs students who have taken the
form of birds. Unfortunately, I don't have the full text of this Purana
so I don't know how they came to be in the form of birds. Markandeya
Maharshi relates the history of the various manvantaras and it is during
the story of the eighth Manu called Savarni that the chapters of the
Chandi Path occur.
There are many methods of reciting the Chandi Path some of which are quite
elaborate such as Navachandi, Shatachandi etc. For a basic reading of it,
first one should do the sankalpa, nyasa (purifications) etc. Then three
stotras called the kavacha, argala, and kilaka stotras are read. Then the
actual Path itself is read. It consists of 13 chapters in 3 "stories" or
charitas. If one cannot read the entire thing in one go, one can read the
madhyama or middle charita but the first and third should never be read by
themselves. Finally, three stotras called murtirahasya, pradhanikarahasya,
and vaikrtikarahasya should be read. Before and after each shloka
(include half shlokas,and uvaacha) one should say a "samputa". This is
typically Chamunda Devis mantra aiM hriM kliM chAmuNDaya vicche but the
shastras aso mention other samputas to attain various goals.
Here are the cotents of the 13 adhyayas of the Chandi Path:
1. The defeat of Madhu and Kaitabha.
In the Svarochisha (6th) Manvantara there was a king called Suratha. He
lost his kingdom to another king called Kola vidhvamsa and was forced into
exile and ends up at the ashram of Medha Rshi. He meets a Vaishya called
Samadhi who was once a rich merchant but has been thrown out of his house
by his sone and daughter-in-law who have stolen everything. They ask the
Rshi what is the cure for all ills that befall those who live in this
world. He replies it is through the worship of Devi that all wishes come
true. He then tells the story of how Devi appeared and destroyed Madhu
During the pralaya betwwen creations, Vishnu Bhagawan sleeps upon Shesha
Naga. A lotus grows from His navel (hence He is called Padmanabha.) From
that lotus Brahma is born and after a sutable length of time performs
creation. Once it happened that from Bhagawans earwax two terrible daitya
called Madhu and Kaitabha were born. They threatened Brahma and his
still-forming creation. Brahma prayed to Devi who apperead and slew the
2. The defeat of the army of Mahishasura.
A demon who had the form of a buffalo (Mahisha) threatened the worlds.
The Devas decided that only Devi could defeat him so they combined all
their shaktis to create the form of Durga Ma (who is the inner shakti of
them all.) Mahishasura sends his army against her but they cannot
3. The defeat of Mahishasura.
Mahishasura engages in one on one combat against Devi. (incidently the
combat took place at the Chamunda hill near Mysore. In fact Mysore comes
from Mahishasura.) For nine days and nights they fight until finally on
Vijaya Dashami Mahishasura is killed.
4. The Shakradaya Stuti.
This famous stuti is sung by Shakra (Indra) and the other Devas in
praise of Mataji.
5. The conversation between Devi and the herald.
Once again trouble arises when two Asuras Shumbha and Nishumbha overpower
the Devas and begin to oppress the earth. The Devas turn to Parvatiji
praising her with the well-known stuti "Ya devi sarvabhuteshu." Parvatiji
asks them whose stuti they are singing? Amba mata appears from Parvatijis
side and says it is Her praise which is being sung. Because Amba ma is
light skinned (Gauri) when she came forth, Parvatiji turns black and that
form is known as Kali mata.
Two servents of the Asura kings by the name of Chanda and Munda, see the
glory of Ambaji and report back to their masters. They send a herald
named Sugriva to try stop Her. But she will have none of it.
6. The defeat of Dhumralochana.
The Asura Dhumralochana is sent to capture Devi and bring her back to
Shumbha and Nishumbha. But he is killed instead.
7. The defeat of Chanda and Munda.
Now Chanda and Munda themselves step forth to fight Devi. She brings
forth Kalika Mata who cuts of their heads. Hence She is also known as
8. The defeat of Raktabija.
Devi takes the forms of the Shaktis of the Devas such as Narasimhi,
Brahmi, Aindri, Mahadevi and with Shiva Bhagawan as her herald wages war
against the army of the Daityas. Their champion is Raktabija who has the
power that if even one drop of his blood touches the ground, it turns into
an Asura of equal might. After a long fight the Shaktis cut him and his
clones to pieces and drink the blood so none of it touches the ground.
9. The defeat of Nishumbha.
Now it is Nishumbhas' turn to fight. He takes on many forms but Devi
counters them all and defeats him.
10. The defeat of Shumbha.
His army defeated and his brother and chief warriors dead, Shumbha takes
to th battlefield but first he asks Devi who is She who is capable of such
terrible and awesome deeds? She brings all the Shaktis back into Herself
and reveals that She is the inner Self of all beings including Shumbha and
so can never be defeated. Shumbha fights fiercely and is killed. The
worlds are safe again and there is much rejoicing.
11. Narayani Stuti.
The Devas sing a stuti praising the deeds and attributes of Devi. She
promises them that whenever evil arises in the world, She will take an
avatar and defeat it. In the Vaivasvata manvantara (the present one) She
will be born in the house of Nanda and Yashoda and kill the avatars of
Shumbha and Nishumbha. She will live in the Vindhya mountains and kill
the Asura Vaitrachit. Great Asuras like Durgama and Aruna will also be
defeated by her.
12. The glory of the deeds of Devi.
Devi tells the Devas that if anyone recites her deeds daily, or on the
shukla ashtami, shukla navami or Krishna chaturdashi days of each month,
they will achieve their desires. The sick will become healthy, the poor
rich, the childless will have children, the scholars will become wise, the
yogis will perfect their yoga and those who seek moksha will achieve their
goal. The place where Her stories are recited on a regular basis should
be considered as a tirth. Every year during the Sharadiya Navaratri (the
present season) Her stories should be told. All the bhaktas should get
together to listen. They should do elaborate puja to her to the best of
their ability followed by abhisheka and homa done by a learned Pandit.
Brahmanas should be fed hyms should be sung. In all dangerous situations,
remembering the glorious deeds of Devi will protect you.
13. The granting of Suratha and the Vaishyas wishes.
After hearing this narration from Medha Rshi, Suratha and Samadhi were
glad and all their mental burdens were lifted. They worshipped Devi in
the proper manner and she granted their wishes. Suratha was restored to
his kingdom. In his next life, he became Manu Savarni. Samadhi did
not ask for his wealth back but for Jnana and by Matajis grace, he
Ambe Mata ki Jaya
Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam
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