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Agnideva
21 March 2007, 12:17 PM
Namaste.

Since it is currently the spring Navaratri festival (a time for worship of Shakti in the form of Durgā), I thought I would share the following hymn called the Devī Sūktam. It comes to us from the text called Durgā Saptashati (700 verses on Durgā), which forms one book of an even larger text called the Mārkandeya Purāna. The importance of the Durgā Saptashati to Shaktism could be compared to the importance of Bhagavad-Gita in Vaishnavism (also a 700 verse text).

The hymn below is in the form of a eulogy by the Devas, led by Indra, the king of the Devas. The mythology behind it is explained in verses 1-6. The hymn begins with verse 7.

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Devī Sūktam
Hymn of the Divine Mother
From the Durgā Saptashati
Book 11 of the Mārkandeya Purāna
Chapter 5, Verses 1-36

The Sage (Mārkandeya) said:

During the times of old, Indra (the king of the Devas) was proud of his strength and prowess. However, the two demons (asuras), Shumbha and Nishumbha, stole his three worlds and his share of the fire ritual. ||1||

They took over the powers of the deity of the sun (Surya), and the deity of the moon (Chandra); of the deity of wealth (Kubera) and the deity of death (Yama). ||2||

They took over the duties of the diety of the wind (Pavana) and the deity of fire (Agni). The Devas were utterly defeated and lost their kingdom. ||3||

Thus having lost all their powers to the demons, all the Devas thought of the Devī, that unvanquishable Divine Mother. ||4||

The Devas thus thinking that Goddess would bless them and destroy their enemies, if She be meditated upon, went to the Himalaya mountains, and started praising that Devī, who is but Vishnu’s Māyā. ||5-6||


The Devas said:

Reverence to the Devī, unto the great Devī,
To Shivā, the Auspicious One, forever reverence.
Reverence to the Primordial Cause and Sustaining Power,
Setting our minds wholly upon Her,
We make reverence to Her. ||7||

Reverence to Raudrā, unto the Eternal One,
To Gaurī, to Dhātrī, the Supporter of the universe,
To Her who is both Moon and Moonlight,
To Her who is Supreme Bliss, reverence forever. ||8||

Bending down, we make obeisance to the One,
To Her who is Prosperity and Success,
To Siddhī, to Naitrī, to the One who brings fortune of kings,
To Sharvinī, reverence and again reverence. ||9||

To Durgā, to Her who leads men across difficulties,
To Her, who is the Essence of all life, to the Strong One,
To the Cause of all, to the Knower of discernment,
To the grayish-dark complexioned One, reverence forever. ||10||

We prostrate ourselves before Thee,
Who art most gentle and most formidable,
Reverence to Her, who is the Cause of the world,
To Devī, who is the act (of creation) itself, forever reverence. ||11||

To the Devī who is present in all beings,
To Her, who is present in the form of Vishnu’s Māyā,
Reverence unto Her, reverence unto Her, reverence unto Her,
Reverence and again reverence. ||12||

To the Devī who is present in all beings,
To Her, who is present in the form of Consciousness,
Reverence unto Her, reverence unto Her, reverence unto Her,
Reverence and again reverence. ||13||

To the Devī who is present in all beings,
To Her, who is present in the form of Intellect,
Reverence unto Her, reverence unto Her, reverence unto Her.
Reverence and again reverence. ||14||

To the Devī who is present in all beings,
To Her, who is present in the form of Sleep,
Reverence unto Her, reverence unto Her, reverence unto Her.
Reverence and again reverence. ||15||

To the Devī who is present in all beings,
To Her, who is present in the form of Hunger,
Reverence unto Her, reverence unto Her, reverence unto Her.
Reverence and again reverence. ||16||

To the Devī who is present in all beings,
To Her, who is present in the form of Shadows,
Reverence unto Her, reverence unto Her, reverence unto Her.
Reverence and again reverence. ||17||

To the Devī who is present in all beings,
To Her, who is present in the form of Shakti (Power),
Reverence unto Her, reverence unto Her, reverence unto Her.
Reverence and again reverence. ||18||

To the Devī who is present in all beings,
To Her, who is present in the form of Thirst,
Reverence unto Her, reverence unto Her, reverence unto Her.
Reverence and again reverence. ||19||

To the Devī who is present in all beings,
To Her, who is present in the form of Forgiveness,
Reverence unto Her, reverence unto Her, reverence unto Her.
Reverence and again reverence. ||20||

To the Devī who is present in all beings,
To Her, who is present in the form of Myriad Species,
Reverence unto Her, reverence unto Her, reverence unto Her.
Reverence and again reverence. ||21||

To the Devī who is present in all beings,
To Her, who is present in the form of Modesty,
Reverence unto Her, reverence unto Her, reverence unto Her.
Reverence and again reverence. ||22||

To the Devī who is present in all beings,
To Her, who is present in the form of Peace,
Reverence unto Her, reverence unto Her, reverence unto Her.
Reverence and again reverence. ||23||

To the Devī who is present in all beings,
To Her, who is present in the form of Faith,
Reverence unto Her, reverence unto Her, reverence unto Her.
Reverence and again reverence. ||24||

To the Devī who is present in all beings,
To Her, who is present in the form of Brilliance,
Reverence unto Her, reverence unto Her, reverence unto Her.
Reverence and again reverence. ||25||

To the Devī who is present in all beings,
To Her, who is present in the form of Prosperity,
Reverence unto Her, reverence unto Her, reverence unto Her.
Reverence and again reverence. ||26||

To the Devī who is present in all beings,
To Her, who is present in the form of Thought-Movement,
Reverence unto Her, reverence unto Her, reverence unto Her.
Reverence and again reverence. ||27||

To the Devī who is present in all beings,
To Her, who is present in the form of Memory,
Reverence unto Her, reverence unto Her, reverence unto Her.
Reverence and again reverence. ||28||

To the Devī who is present in all beings,
To Her, who is present in the form of Mercy,
Reverence unto Her, reverence unto Her, reverence unto Her.
Reverence and again reverence. ||29||

To the Devī who is present in all beings,
To Her, who is present in the form of Contentment,
Reverence unto Her, reverence unto Her, reverence unto Her.
Reverence and again reverence. ||30||

To the Devī who is present in all beings,
To Her, who is present in the form of Mother,
Reverence unto Her, reverence unto Her, reverence unto Her.
Reverence and again reverence. ||31||

To the Devī who is present in all beings,
To Her, who is present in the form of Delusion,
Reverence unto Her, reverence unto Her, reverence unto Her.
Reverence and again reverence. ||32||

To the Presiding Deity over the sense faculties in all beings,
To the One who is ever-present in all beings,
To that Devī, the One who is all-pervasive,
Reverence and again reverence. ||33||

To the One in the form of Consciousness,
To Her who pervades the world and exists therein,
Reverence unto Her, reverence unto Her, reverence unto Her,
Reverence and again reverence. ||34||

The One invoked of yore by the Devas,
For obtaining that which they desired,
Worshipped daily by the King of Devas;
That Īshvarī, the very Source of all good,
May She bless us with all auspiciousness,
And may She ward off all calamities. ||35||

May She, the Queen of All, Possessor of every might,
May that Devī save us from blunders.
Tormented by the asuras, we call upon Thee with devotion,
Dost Thou destroy all our calamities. ||36||

Conclusion Prayer

If there be any missing letter or meter,
If this (hymn) be incomplete, then O Supreme Devī,
Let this be completed by Thy grace. ||

Salutation be unto Thee, O Devī Durgā
O Destroyer of worldly suffering, Embodiment of Bliss,
O Dispenser of wisdom, of devotion,
O Divine Mother, I bow to Thee again and again. || (XI:23)

aum aim hrīm shrīm dum durgāyai namah