Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Devi Mahatmya - 6

Devi Mahatmya - Markandeya Purana, tr. by Bibek Debroy

Ch 5 << Chapter 6 (Ch 83 in the book) >> Ch 7

ugreeva was filled with rage at the goddess' insolence, and rushed to deliver this message to Shumbha. Shumbha summoned his general, Dhumralochana, and ordered him to bring that evil woman (दुष्टा) in front of him, dragging her by the hair, and to kill anyone who tried to save her.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Devi Mahatmya - 5

Devi Mahatmya - Markandeya Purana, tr. by Bibek Debroy

Ch 4 << Chapter 5 (Ch 82 in the book) >> Ch 6

ishi Sumedha continued his account of the goddess. Devi Ambika had acceded to the gods' request to help them when needed. Eventually, the asura brothers Shumbh and Nishumbha rose to power, usurped Indra's throne, and appropriated the rights of Surya, Chandra, Kubera, Yama, Varuna, Pavana and Agni. The gods remembered the goddess' boon to them to manifest herself when the gods beseeched her.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Devi Mahatmya - 4

Devi Mahatmya - Markandeya Purana, tr. by Bibek Debroy

Ch 3 << Chapter 4 (Ch 81 in the book) >> Ch 5

ith Mahishasura dead, the gods now praised the goddess. Everything in the world had been created through her powers, the gods, including Brahma, Hari, and Hara, lacked the powers to describe her powers. She was Shri for those who did good and Alakshmi to those who were evil. Such was her form and her powers that they, the gods, could not describe them. She was the hymns of the Rig Veda and Sama Veda, and the reservoir of beautiful songs of the Sama Veda.She was Durga, she was Shri, she was Gouri. Her vanquishing Mahishasura was proof that those who angered her were destroyed. Those who pleased her were blessed with prosperity. Her form, which created fear in the enemy, couldn't be compared with anything. All the gods said they bowed before her. Addressing her as Ambika, Chandi, Ishvari, the gods entreated her to save them with her weapons, to save them in all directions, in all the three worlds.

Pleased with the gods' praise and worship, the goddess said that she had accomplished what they had asked her to, and that no other difficult task remained for her to accomplish. The gods agreed with Maheshvari, but prayed that if there were trouble again and the gods prayed to her, she would manifest herself again. Bhadrakali agreed, and vanished.

It thus came to pass that the goddess had to manifest herself again, from Gouri's body, for slaying the asuras Shumbha and Nishumbha.

Reference: Markandeya Purana, translated by Bibek Debroy. Published by Penguin, 2019. The Devi Mahatmya is covered in chapters 78-90 of the Markandeya Purana.

© 2020, Abhinav Agarwal (अभिनव अग्रवाल). All rights reserved.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Devi Mahatmya - 3

Devi Mahatmya - Markandeya Purana, tr. by Bibek Debroy

Ch 2 << Chapter 3 (Ch 80 in the book) >> Ch 4

evi Ambika severed Chikshura's standard, bow, destroyed his chariot, killed his horses and charioteer. Finally, Bhadrakali hurled her trident at him, shattering the asura into a hundred pieces.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Devi Mahatmya - 2

Devi Mahatmya - Markandeya Purana, tr. by Bibek Debroy

Ch 1 << Chapter 2 (Ch 79 in the book) >> Ch 3

aving told both Suratha and Samadhi how Mahamaya was praised by Brahma, how Vishnu was awakenied, who then proceeded to kill the asuras, Madhu and Kaitabha, Sumedha now proceeds to tell the two the powers of the goddess.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Devi Mahatmya - 1

Devi Mahatmya - Markandeya Purana, tr. by Bibek Debroy

Ch 1  (Ch 78 in the book) >> Ch 2

f the five sections in the Markandeya Purana, the Devi Mahatmya is the fourth. While ascribing a date to one of the oldest Puranas is difficult, one estimate is that the Markandeya Purana was composed no later than the 4th century CE, and the Devi Mahatmya most likely by the 6th century CE. Bibek Debroy uses the Sanskrit text brought out by Nag Publishers in 1983 for this translation, which gives us 6,449 shlokas.

Of which the Devi Mahatmya comprises a little under six-hundred shlokas, contained between chapters 78 and 90. Introductory verses added to the Devi Mahatmya result in 700 shlokas, and that is known as the "Chandi or Durga Saptashati (seven hundred)".

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Best books I read in 2019 and 2018

 will cheat a bit here. I did not read as many books as I would have liked in 2019, so I will include 2018 in this list. Since I do not have any compulsions to do a "Top-10" kind of a list, here are all the books I read and found interesting, notable, or memorable.

Nuclear energy has for the past several decades struggled for acceptance as a viable and safe source of safe power, despite evidence to the contrary. Its cause was not helped by the Three-Mile Island reactor meltdown in Pennsylvania in 1979, or the Fukushima Daiichi accident in 2011. But the accident that people most remember, and the one that was as symbolically representative of the meltdown of the Soviet Union as of the actual meltdown of reactor number 4 of the Chernobyl nuclear plant in Ukrained in 1986 is captured in this highly engaging read -Midnight at Chernobyl. It is a vivid account of the events that led to the fateful night, to the immediate aftermath and frantic efforts by the crew to contain the damage, to the initial disbelief in the corridors of power, to the belated realization and rescue efforts. The author covers the nuclear physics part of it early on, in easy to understand terms. Even though the death-toll from the accident was not catastrophic, which led some to conclude that the accident itself was not, it is the aftermath of the meltdown that makes for the most absorbing reading. Much to the dismay of proponents of nuclear fuel as a safe, clean alternative to fossil fuels, this book makes it difficult to enthusiastically advocate nuclear energy.

Krishna Yogeshwara - Review

Krishna Yogeshvara - The Dice of Kutil Dharma (Book 2 of the Lord Krishna Trilogy)

Amazon India

Agendas and subversion; free will and agency – a contemporaneous and timeless tale, retold

he second book in Sanjay Dixit's Lord Krishna trilogy, 'Krishna Yogeshvara', takes the reader from Rukmini's abduction to the start of the war in Kurukshetra and Arjuna's laying down of arms in the middle of the battlefield. We see and hear Krishna's journey from Mathura to Dwarka from Uddhav's eyes and words. This journey is both geographical and metaphorical. The metaphorical is Krishna's evolution from a cowherd (gopeshvara) in Mathura and Vrindavan to a yogi (yogeshvara) in Dwarka through his education at the hands of guru Sandipani along with Sudama and others.