Chandi Saptha Sathi -1
What is Chandi Sapta Sathi? It is a Hindu religious text describing Goddess Parameswari or Durga as the supreme power and creator of the universe and her supreme act of destroying demonic forces. The text is also called as Durga Sapta Sathi or Devi Mahatmyam. The text of Saptha Sathi consists of 700 slokas in 13 chapters and glorifies Goddess Durga. While Goddess Durga Parameswari is referred to as Chandi Devi by some, she is also called Chandika Devi or Chandika Parameswari Devi. The name Saptha Sathi denotes figure 700, hence the name Saptha Sathi has been derived so claim few. Some say that Saptha Sathi refers to seven feminine warriors from celestial (female devathas) forces. It is unclear who the seven devathas were as different opinions are aired over their names. Some say that the seven devathas were Nanda, Sakambari, Bhīma, Raththa Thanthrika, Durga, Brahmmari and Sadakshi, while some other scholars mention them to be Brahmmi, Varahi, Vaishnavi, Chamunda, Maheshwari, Gaumari and Indrani. In order to alleviate the sufferings of celestial and to grace them, the Devi performed penance by standing on one leg over the fine edge of a needle for nine days.
In the first three days of Navratri she manifested as Goddess Mahishasura Martini, the next three days as Goddess Mahalakshmi and the last three days she appeared in the form of Goddess Saraswathi and destroyed the evil and demonic forces from the universe for the welfare of everyone. The Devi Mahatmyam, considered to be one of the oldest ancient texts glorifies the greatness of Goddess Chandi Devi.
The book consists of 13 chapters filled with 700 magical verses. The slokas in Devi Mahatmyam are considered to be very powerful, meant only for the worship of Goddess Durga Parameswari, and the famous Chandi Homa is performed chanting those 700 mantras of Devi Mahatmyam. It is part of the Markandeya Purana, compiled by Maharishi Markandeya and estimated to have been composed in Sanskrit between 400-600 CE. Those Sadviks who perform Upasana consider Devi Mahatmyam to be the most scared text besides other texts such as Devi Bhagavata Purana and the Devi Upanishads.
Unless one takes diksha from a well learned pundit, rituals should not be performed with chants from Devi Mahatmyam for fulfillment of their aspirations because the verses are embedded with powerful magical and mystic words in nature and need to be performed in specific manner prescribed for the ritual. However the simple recitation of Devi Mahatmyam could be done at home daily by any one in their pooja room especially during Navaratri days without rituals. Such recital grants the fruits as per the aspirations of the devotees who read them with faith. It is claimed that only those who have the blessings of Goddess Chandi would be able to recite the verses Devi Mahatmyam.
It is believed that when a Sadvik or a commoner recited the slokas of this text in all sincerity for some specific period, Goddess Chandi Devi instantly frees him from miseries, he would begin to tread in the path of prosperity, panic and fear which haunted their mind would vanish and most importantly the evil spirits roaming around would run away in fear of Goddess Chandi Devi who is present there in invisible form during recital. Further recital of the slokas from Devi Mahatmyam would beget the same benefit of reciting Rig, Yajur and Sama Vedas.
The philosophical meaning of the word Durga means easy to access. Also the word refers to the one who save one from catastrophe. The Goddess tells ‘I would turn into Rishis or genius of those who unconditionally surrenders to me and meditate on me”. Undoubtedly the grace of Goddess Durga is necessary to get rid of one’s illusion and delusion in life.
The Goddess further proclaim “I am the greatest amongst all other divines and second to none. I am creator of the universe, and multiplied myself manifold to save mankind in the universe”.
The first part of the book Devi Mahatmyam contains only one chapter dealing slaying of two asuras namely Madhukaidapar who were created by Lord Brahma. The next part consists of four Chapters (2-4) which narrates the events leading to the slaying of Asura Mahishasuramarthan. The third part contains chapters five to thirteen (5-13). Recital of this part bestow fulfillment of all desires.
When Parabrahman created three worlds such as earth, heaven and the underworld, he simultaneously created and nominated Goddess Durga, incarnate of Goddess Parvathi, also known as Shakti Devi, as the presiding deity for earth. If you read Puranas, you would find that whenever the necessity to destroy the demonic forces like asuras and others who caused misery to everyone on earth as well in heaven arose, only female Goddesses in their many manifestations, aided by female yoginis and feminine celestial forces (who too came out from the deities energies) manifested and performed the act of destroying those demonic forces. Even when Lord Vishnu incarnated at some stage to destroy the demonic forces, he could attain success only with the extraordinary powers transferred to him from divine energies of female Shakti Devi.
Next let us read in Chandi Saptha Sathi, the story of king Surathan and a Vaisian who were driven from their home.