Friday, November 1, 2013

The slaying of Madhu and Kaitabha

The story has been taken from the first chapter of Devi Mahatmaya.
When King Suratha asks Rishi Markendeya, as to what is the "Nature and origin of Mahamaya". The rishi tells this tale to him.
I have tried to translate the original texts, to the best of my abilities. All the faults are mine, all the brilliance is hers.

'tvam svāhā tvam svadhā tvam hi vasat-kārah svara-ātmikā
sudhā tvam akasare nitye trithāmātra-ātmikā sthitā'

The entire Kalpa had come to an end. Water was everywhere. The seas had swallowed whatever land they could find. The mighty waves had established their reign over the three worlds.
Lord Vishnu was asleep. He had taken to his mystic slumber (Yoganindra) upon the sesa-naga. And as everything appeared calm and at peace, there emerged something from his ears.

Madhu and Kaitabha sprang to life, born of Vishnu's ear wax. Both of them looked at each other and laughed maliciously.
"What must we do, brother?", one of the them asked (for they were indistinguishable from each other)
"Come! We must take advantage of Vishnu's slumber. Let us go slay someone. someone mighty and powerful."
"Why not Brahma then? he shall be the easiest one to overtake. We could pounce and Him and finish Him off forever"

And they patted each other on the back. Delighted at having reached a mutual agreement, they sauntered off to finish the newly appointed enemy.

Brahma sat on the lotus that had emerged from Vishnu's navel. Lost in meditation and contemplation of the world, he stirred from his deep trance.
He could feel them coming. The shift in energy was palpable, so was the invincible force.
Brahma closed his eyes again and the entire scene passed before Him. They had been born of Vishnu, the preserver himself. And only He could destroy them.

To rouse Hari from His deep eternal slumber ...Brahma focused his prayer on the great Yoganidra residing in His eyes.
His deep, sonorous voice resonated as He extolled Her virtues,

"You are Svaha, and Swadha. You are the Vasatkara (the vedic Yajna) and the embodiment of Svara (you the sacrifice and the Heaven that can be attained through it). You are the nectar.
You are the emobidment of the threefold mantra ( A,U,M). You are half a matra, though eternal. You are Savitri (referrign to the Savitri hymn in Rigveda) and the Supreme Mother of the Gods.

You are the One who has created this world, you sustain it and you are the one who shall preside over it's destruction.
You enclose the creative, preserving and destructive forces within you. And you change them at will. Whenever you deem it necessary to do so.
You are the great knowledge (Mahavidya), the great delusion (Mahamaya) , the great intellect( Mahamedha) , the great contemplation (Mahasmriti), Mahadevi and also the great Asuri.

You are the primiordial force that gives life. You are the dark nights of dissolution. You are the Goddess  of good fortune, the ruler, modesty, intelligence, satisfaction, tranquaillity and patience. Armed with gleaming mighty weapons ... you are terrible and yet beautiful.
Your beauty is beyond compare, O great Isvari.

You are the soul of everything. The inner force that pulsates inside all things real and imaginary. How much more can i praise thee?
Even the One who created and sustaisn and devours the world, is put to sleep (by you). Who can praise and describe you, O Devi?
You, who have formed all three of us ...Brahma, Vishnu and Siva.
Emerge! O Mighty One. Release Vishnu from his slumber. And let Him slay these two demons who are wrecking havoc"

And from the pores of Vishnu's body, emerged a blinding light. A force of such magnitude that his eyes, mouth, nostrils, arms, heart and breast ....glowed with it.
She extracted herself completely and appeared in front of Brahma. And as Brahma bowed before her, Vishnu finally opened His eyes.

And then followed the war. For five thousand years, Vishnu fought with the two asuras. Using nothing but his bare hands, He clashed with them again and again. The dance of death continued over the mighty ocean.

The Mahamaya had already cast Her influence upon them. Deluded by Her, they looked Vishnu in the eye and asked him, "You may ask us a boon"

ShriBahgavan smiled at their question and secretly bowed to Mahamaya. He then answered, "If the two of you are satisfied with my skill in battle ... give me the humble boon of killing you both"

Both Madhu and Kaitabha looked all around and smiled inwards.
"You may slay us. But you can do so only in a dry place. Find a spot where the Earth isn't submerged beneath water. And we shall hand ourselves over to you"

Then the Kamalnayan smiled, and patted his thighs. And upon his loins he laid both their heads.
Then He picked up the divine Sudarshan-Chakra, the very force of which could turn universe to dust. And slayed their heads.

And therein lies the glory of Mahamaya. The wielder of the great Maya, that binds us all.


  1. Awesome :) BUT little more description during the war & how Vishnu asks Them to take rest & how mahamaaya appears in front of them ... those could be said in more detail :)

    sorry if i have offended u

  2. Lesson 1, when you make an untraceable cocktail pilfering from 500 differet places make sure the tiny drtails are taken care of. I am no expert but I think it's Devi Mahatmyam, referring to the first sentence. Kindly differentiate between Mahamaya and Mahatmyam.