Devi Bhagavatham

“I meditate on the beginning-less Brahmâvidyâ who is Sarvachaitanyarûpâ, of the nature of all-consciousness; May She stimulate our buddhi to the realisation of That. (Tat)

“May that Highest Primal S’akti who is known as Vidyâ in the Vedas; who is omniscient, who controls the innermost of all and who is skilled in cutting off the knot of the world (Samsara), who cannot be realised by the wicked and the vicious, but who is visible to the Munis in their meditation, may that Bhagavatî Devî give me always the buddhi fit to describe the Purâna!”

“I call to my mind the Mother of all the worlds who creates this universe, whose nature is both real (sat) and and unreal (asat), preserves and destroys by Her Râjasik, Sâttvik and Tâmasik qualities and in the end resolves all these into Herself and plays alone in the period of Dissolution – at this lime, I remember my that Mother of all the worlds.”

What the S’rîmad Bhâgavat is to the Vaisnavas, the Devî Bhâgavatam is to the S’âktas.

At the Vivaswan Kshetra (Naimisaranya), Saunaka and others requested Suta to tell them the Puranas.

The Sastras are vast and filled with Jalpas, Vadas and Arthvadas (kinds of debates.) And, amongst these S’âstras again, the Vedânta is the Sâttvik, the Mimâmsas are the Râjasik and the Nyâya S’âstras with Hetuvâdas, are the Tâmasik; so the S’âstras are varied. Similarly, the Purânas are of three kinds :– (1) S’attvik, (2) Râjasik and (3) Tâmasik. So Saunaka and others wished to hear the Bhagavatham of 18000 verses which gives Dharma, Kama and Moksha.

The Devi Purâna, the best of the Âgamas, approved of by all the Vedas and the secret of all the S’âstras was then narrated by Suta.

Skandhas and Adhyayas of the Devi Puranam :

“The Purâna S’rimad Bhâgavat (Devî Bhâgavat) is excellent and holy; eighteen thousand pure S’lokas are contained in it. Bhagavân Krisna Dvaipâyan has divided this Purâna into twelve auspicious Skandhas (Books) and three hundred and eighteen chapters. Twenty chapters compose the first Skandha; twelve chapters in the second Skandha; thirty chapters in the the third Skandha; twenty-five chapters in the fourth Skandha, thirty-five, in the fifth; thirty-one, in the sixth; forty, in the seventh; twenty-four, in the eighth; fifty chapters in the ninth; thirteen, in the tenth; twenty-four in the eleventh and fourteen chapters are contained in the twelfth Skandha, O Munis! Thus the Dvaipâyan Muni has arranged his chapters in each Skandha.”

“S’ivA is beyond Prâkritic attributes, eternal and ever omnipresent; She is without any change, immutable, unattainable but by yoga; She is the refuge of the universe and Her nature is Turîya Chaitanya. Mahâ Lakshmi is Her Sattvikî S’akti; Sarasvati is Her Râjasik S’akti and Mahâ Kâlî is Her Tâmasik S’akti; these are all of feminine forms.”

Sarga, Pratisarga and Characteristics of Puranas :

  • “The assuming of bodies by these three S’aktis for the creation of this universe is denominated as “Sarga” (creation) by the high souled persona (Mahârpurusa), skilled in S’astras.
  • And the further resolution of these three S’aktis into Brahmâ, Visnu and Mahes’a for the creation, preservation, and destruction of this universe is denominated (in this Purâna) as Pratisarga (secondary creation.)
  • The description of the kings of the solar and lunar dynasties and the families of Hiranya Kasipu and others is known as the description of the lineages of kings and their dynasties.
  • The description of Svâyambhûva and, other Manus and their ruling periods is known as Manvantaras.
  • And the description of their descendants is known as the description of their families. O best of Munis! all the Purânas are endowed with these five characteristics.”

The names of the Veda Vyasas of each Dvapara Yuga :

  • At every Manvantara, in each Dvâpara Yuga, Veda Vyâsa expounds the Purânas duly to preserve Dharma.
  • Veda Vyâsa is no other person than Visnu Himself; He, in the form of Veda Vyâsa, divides the (one) Veda into four parts, in every Dvâpara Yuga, for the good of the world.
  • The Brahmânas of the Kali Yuga are shortlived and their intellect (Buddhi) is not sharp; they cannot realise the meaning after studying the Vedas; knowing this in every Dvâpara Yuga Bhagavân expounds the holy Purâna Samhitas. The more so because women, S’udras, and the lower Dvijas are not entitled to hear the Vedas; for their good, the Purânas have been composed.
  • The present auspicious Manvantara is Vaivasvata; it is the seventh in due order; and the son of Satyavati, the best of the knowers of Dharma, is the Veda Vyâsa of the 28th Dvâpara Yuga of this seventh Manvantara. He is my Guru;
  • In the next Dvâpara, Yuga Asvatthama, the son of Drona will be the Veda Vyâsa. Twenty-seven Veda Vyâsas had expired and they duly compiled each their own Purâna Samhitas in their own Dvâpara Yugas.
  • In the first Dvâpara, Brahmâ Himself divided the Vedas;
  • In the second Dvâpara, the first Prajapati Vyâsa did the same;
  • So S’akra, (Indra) in the third,
  • Brihaspati, in the fourth,
  • Surya in the fifth;
  • Yama, in the sixth,
  • Indra, in the seventh,
  • Vasistha, in the eighth;
  • Sarasvata Risi in the ninth,
  • Tridhama, in the tenth;
  • Trivrisa, in the eleventh,
  • Bharadvâja, in the twelfth;
  • Antariksa, in the thirteenth;
  • Dharma, in the fourteenth;
  • Evaruni in the fifteenth;
  • Dhananjaya, in the sixteenth;
  • Medhatithi in the seventeenth;
  • Vrati, in the eighteenth;
  • Atri, in the nineteenth;
  • Gautama in the twentieth,
  • Uttama, whose soul was fixed on Hari, in the twenty-first,
  • Vâjasravâ Vena, in the twenty second;
  • His family descendant Soma, In the twenty-third;
  • Trinavindu, in the twenty-fourth;
  • Bhârgava, in the twenty-fifth;
  • Sakti, in the twenty-sixth,
  • Jâtûkarnya in the twenty-seventh
  • and Krisna Dvaipâyana became the twenty-eighth Veda Vyâs in the Dvâpara Yugas.

Benefits :

This removes all troubles, yields all desires, and gives Moksa and is full of the meanings of the Vedas. This treatise contains the essence of all the S’astras and is dear always to the Mamuksas (those who want Moksa or liberation).

Thus, compiling the Purânas Veda Vyâsa thought this Purâna to be the best; so he settled that his own son the high-sould S’uka Deva born of the dry woods used for kindling fire (arani), having no passion for the worldly things, would be the fit student to be taught this Purâna and therefore taught him; at that time Suta was a fellow student along with S’uka Deva and heard every thing from the mouth of Vyâsa Deva himself.

Thus end the first 3 chapters of the first Skanda of the Devi Purana.

Source and Reference: Translation by Swami Vijñanananda : [1921-22]

  1. Devi Bhagavatham : 1-3 Adhyayas of the First Skanda
  2. Vyasa desires a son : Devi Bhagavatham : 4th Adhyaya of the First Skanda
  3. Vyasa’s meditation and Suka’s birth : Devi Bhagavatham : 10th and 14th Adhyaya of the First Skanda
  4. Suka Muni Refuses to get Married : Devi Bhagavatham 14th and 15th Adhyaya, first Skanda
  5. Vatapatrasayi – Sri Maha Vishnu as a baby : Devi Bhagavatham
  6. Suka is advised to visit Raja Janaka, Sita’s Father – Devi Bhagavatham
  7. Suka reaches Mithila : The first gatekeeper : Devi Bhagavatham
  8. Suka is tested at Mithila : Devi Bhagavatham
  9. Suka meets Janaka to clear his doubts about the Vedic Way : Devi Bhagavatham
  10. Janaka convinces Suka. Suka accepts the Vedic Way. And gets married : Devi Bhagavatham
  11. Suka attains divinity, the grief struck Vyasa goes in search of Satyavati.
  12. Hayagriva : Devi Bhagavatham : Part 1 : Vishnu’s head is lost.
  13. Hayagriva : Devi Bhagavatham : Part 2 : Vishnu gets a Horse’s Head
  14. Objects of Hearing (Sense-Objects) : Devi Bhagavatham (and Bhagavad Gita))
  15. Madhu and Kaitabha : Devi Bhagavatham

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