Maa Vaishno Devi (Jai Mata Di)
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Maa Vaishno Devi (Jai Mata Di)
The journey to the Holy Shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi is an enchanting journey of the places where Mata Vaishnavi had spent some time while observing various spiritual disciplines and penances. The culmination of this journey is at the Holy Cave where She merged Her Human form with the astral form of Her creators, the three Supreme Energies.
A pilgrimage to the Holy Shrine of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Ji is considered to be one of the holiest pilgrimages of our times. Popular the world over as “Moonh Maangi Muradein Poori Karne Wali Mata”, which means, the Mother who fulfills whatever Her children wish for, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Ji resides in a Holy Cave located in the folds of the three peaked mountain named Trikuta (pronounced as Trikoot). The Holy Cave attracts millions of devotees every year. In fact, the number of Yatris visiting the Holy Shrine annually now exceeds one crore. This is due to the unflinching faith of the devotees who throng the Shrine from all parts of India and abroad.
The Holy Cave of the Mother is situated at an altitude of 5200 feet. The Yatris have to undertake a trek of nearly 12 kilometers from the base camp at Katra. At the culmination of their pilgrimage, the yatries are blessed with the Darshans of the Mother Goddess inside the Sanctum Sanctorum- the Holy Cave. These Darshans are in the shape of three natural rock formations called the Pindies. There are no statues or idols insid e the Cave. Darshans are open round the clock throughout the year.
The journey to the Holy Shrine of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Ji starts with the Call of Mata. It is not only a belief but also a strong experience of one and all that the Divine Mother sends a call to her children. And once a person receives it, wherever he is, is bound to visit the Mother to receive Her unbounded love and blessings. A popular slogan in the local folklore beautifully expresses it- Maan Aap Bulandi - which means that The Mother Herself Calls! It is also a matter of experience by almost all those who visit the Holy Shrine that upon the Call of Mata, a person needs to just take one step and leave the rest to Her and his journey gets completed with Her divine blessings.
Simultaneously, it is also believed that unless there is a call or Bulawa no one can visit the Shrine or have Her blessings, howsoever high or mighty one may be.
Like with most old Shrines, it is not possible to ascertain when exactly the pilgrimage to the Holy Shrine started. A geological study of the Holy Cave has indicated its age to be nearly a million years. Vedic literature gives no reference to the worship of any female deity, although the mountain Trikuta does find its mention in Rigveda, the oldest of the four Vedas The practice of worshipping Shakti, largely started in the Puranic period.
The first mention of the Mother Goddess is in the epic Mahabharat. When the armies of Pandavs and Kaurvas were arrayed in the battlefield of Kurukshetra, Arjun, the chief warrior of Pandavs upon advice of Sri Krishna; meditated upon the Mother Goddess and sought Her blessings for victory. This is when Arjun addresses the Mother Goddess as ‘Jambookatak Chityaishu Nityam Sannihitalaye’, which means ‘you who always dwell in the temple on the slope of the mountain in Jamboo’ (probably referring to the present day Jammu).
It is also generally believed that the Pandavs were the first to build the temples at Kol Kandoli and Bhawan in reverence and gratitude for the Mother Goddess. On a mountain, just adjacent to the Trikuta Mountain and overlooking the Holy Cave are five stone structures, which are believed to be the rock symbols of the five Pandavs.
Perhaps the oldest reference of the visit of a historical figure to the Holy Cave is that of Guru Gobind Singh who is said to have gone there via Purmandal. The old foot track to the Holy Cave passed through this well-known pilgrimage centre.
Some traditions believe this Shrine to be the holiest of all Shaktipeeths (a place where the Mother Goddess, the Eternal Energy has Her abode) since the skull of Mata Sati fell here. Others believe that her right arm had fallen here. But some scriptures do not agree with it. They do agree that at a place called Gandarbal in Kashmir, the right arm of Sati had fallen. Nevertheless, in the Holy Cave of Shri Mata Vaishno Deviji, one does find stone remains of a human hand, popularly known as Varad Hast (the hand that grants boons and blessings).
As per the legend, during the period when the Goddess was busy in annihiliting the Asuras, Her three main manifestations viz. Mata Maha Kali, Mata Maha Lakshmi and Mata Maha Saraswati got together one day and pooled their collective Tejas or spiritual strength. A stunningly bright light emanated from the place where the Tejas of the three manifestations coalesced and a beautiful young girl emerged out of this Tejas. The young girl asked them, "Why have I been created?'' The Devis explained to her that they had created her so that she would live on earth and spend her time in upholding righteousness.
The Devis added, "Now, go and take birth in the house of Ratankar and his wife who resides in the southern part of India, and who are great devotees of ours. Live on earth. Uphold righteousness and evolve yourself spiritually so that you reach higher levels of consciousness. Once you have attained the appropriate level of consciousness you will merge into Vishnu and become one with him.'' So saying they blessed the girl. Sometimes later a very beautiful girl child was born to Ratankar and his wife. The couple named the child Vaishnavi. The girl right from her childhood displayed a hunger for knowledge which was like a vortex and which no amount of teaching and learning could sufficiently satiate. Subsequently, Vaishnavi started looking into her inner self for knowledge, and soon learned the art of meditation and realized that meditation and penance only could bring her close to her greater objective. Vaishnavi thus relinquished all household comforts and went deep into the forest for Tapasaya (meditation). Meanwhile, Lord Rama, during his fourteen years of exile happened to visit Vaishnavi who recognized him immediately as no ordinary being but the incarnation of Lord Vishnu, and immediately asked him to merge her into himself so that she could become one with the supreme creator.
However Lord Rama, knowing that it was not the appropriate time, dissuaded her by saying that he would visit her again after the end of his exile, and at that time if she succeeded in recognizing him, he would fulfill her wish. True to his words, Rama visited her again after being victorious in the battle, but this time he did so in the disguise of an old man. Unfortunately, Vaishnavi was unable to recognize him this time and was distraught. Upon this, Lord Rama consoled her that the appropriate time for her being one with the creator had not come, and that time would come eventually in 'Kaliyug' when He (Rama) would be in his incarnation of 'Kalki'. Rama also directed her to meditate, and set up an Ashram at the base of Trikuta hills, to elevate her level of spirituality so as to bless mankind and rid the poor and destitute of their sufferings.Only then would 'Vishnu' merge her into himself. Vaishnavi, immediately set off for the northern part and after immense hardships, reached the foot of the Trikuta Hills. After reaching there she set up her ashram there and began to meditate.
As predicted by Lord Rama, her glory spread far and wide, and people began to flock to her Ashram to seek her blessings. As time passed, a Mahayogi named Shri Guru Gorakh Nath who had a vision of the episode between Lord Rama and Vaishnavi in the retrospective time frame, became curious to find out whether Vaishnavi has been able to attain a high level of spirituality or not. He, therefore, sent his most able disciple 'Bhairon Nath' to find out the truth. Bhairon Nath on locating the ashram started observing Vaishnavi secretly, and realised that though a 'Sadhvi' she always carried bow and arrows with her, and was always surrounded by langoors (apes) and a ferocious looking lion. Bhairon Nath was enamored by Vaishnavi's extraordinary beauty, and losing all good sense he began to pester Vaishnavi to marry him. Meanwhile a staunch devotee of Vaiashnavi, Mata Sridhar organised a Bhandara (Community meal) in which the whole village and Shri Guru Gorakh Nath along with all his followers including Bhairon were invited. During the course of Bhandara Bhairon Nath attempted to grab Vaishnavi but she tried her best to daunt him. On failing to do so, Vaishnavi decided to flee away into the mountains to continue her Tapasaya undisturbed. Bhairon Nath however chased her to her destination.
The goddess after halting at (present day) Banganga, Charan Paduka, and Adhkwari, finally reached the holy cave Shrine. When Bhairon Nath continued to follow her despite the goddess trying to avoid a confrontation, the goddess was compelled to kill him. Bhairon Nath met his ultimate fate when the goddess, just outside the mouth of the cave, beheaded him. The severed head of Bhairon fell with a force at a distant hilltop. Bhairon Nath upon death realised the futility of his mission and prayed to the deity to forgive him. The almighty Mata ( Mother Goddess) had mercy on Bhairon and gave him a boon that every devotee of the goddess would have to have the Darshans of Bhairon after having the Darshans of the Goddess and only then would the yatra of a devotee be complete. Meanwhile, Vaishnavi decided to shed off her human form and assuming the face of a rock she immersed herself into meditation forever. Thus Vaishnavi, in the form of a five and a half feet tall rock with three heads or the Pindies on the top is the ultimate destination of a devotee. These Pindies constitute the Sanctum Sanctorum of the holy cave known as the shrine of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Ji, which is revered by one and all.
While various versions of the origin and legend of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Ji are prevalent, there seems to be unanimity on the discovery of Shrine around 700 years back by the same Pandit Shridhar, at whose place Mata had helped organize a Bhandaara. When she left amidst the Bhandaara to escape Bhairon Nath, Pandit Shridhar is said to have felt as if he had lost everything in his life. He felt immense grief and gave up the intake of food or even water and closed himself in a room of his house, fervently praying for Vaishnavi to reappear.
It is then that Mata Vaishnavi appeared in his vision (dream) and told him to search for her at the Holy Cave situated amidst the folds of the Trikuta Mountain. She showed him the way to the Holy Cave and insisted him to break his fast. Pandit Shridhar then went on to discover the Holy Cave in the mountains. Every time he seemed to lose the way, the vision of his dreams reappeared before his eyes and finally he reached his destination. Upon entering the Cave he found a rock form with three heads atop it. At that moment Mata Vaishno Devi appeared before him in all her glory (another version says that the Supreme Energies of Mata Maha Saraswati, Mata Maha Lakshmi and Mata Maha Kali appeared in the Holy Cave) and introduced him to the three heads (now known as the Holy Pindies) of the rock form along with various other identification marks in the Holy Cave. She blessed him with a boon of four sons and a right to worship her manifestation and asked him to spread the glory of the Holy Shrine all over. Pandit Shridhar then spent his remaining life in the service of Mata at the Holy Cave.
Pandit Sridhar Katha (story)
Amongst the many legends associated with the Shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi, is that of Lord Rama's encounter with Vaishnavi during the period of his exile when he (Lord Rama) directed the Goddess towards the holy cave situated in Trikoot Parbat. There are other legends too, like that of the Pandavas, who are said to have visited the holy abode and are also believed to have built a temple here. Prahalad, the legendary son of the atheist king Hirankashayap, is also believed to have undertaken a pilgrimage to the holy shrine. However, the most popular and well known legend is that of Sridhar Brahmin who used to live in village Hansali situated at the foot of Trikoot Parbat, adjacent to modern day Katra Town.
Shridhar was a staunch devotee of Shakti. Even though he was a very poor man, with the inspiration and assurance from Goddess Vaishanavi who appeared one day in his dream in Kanayaroop, Sridhar undertook the organizing of a grand Bhandara. An auspicious date for the Bhandhara was selected and Shridhar invited all the people living in nearby villages to the Bhandara. Thereafter, Sridhar went from door to door requesting his neighbours and acquaintances to give him raw provisions which could be cooked and served to the guests on the day of Bhandara. Though a few of them obliged but many others turned down his request. They in fact taunted him for having the audacity to hold a Bhandara without having the wherewithal for organizing. As the day of Bhandara drew nearer, Shridhar's worries about feeding the guests invited for Bhandhara also increased.
On the night preceding the day of Bhandara, Shridhar could not sleep a wink. He had spent the entire night grappling with the problem of how to feed his guests with the limited provisions and to accommodate them in the inadequate space that he had. When he was unable to come up with a satisfactory solution to his problems till morning, he resigned himself to fate and got up to face the day. He sat down for puja outside his hut. By midday, his guests started arriving. Finding him deeply involved in puja, they began to make themselves comfortable wherever they could find place. Strangely enough, a very large number of guests were able to comfortably have their space inside Sridhar's small hut and still a lot of space was unutilized. When the puja was over, Shridhar looked around and saw huge number of guests who had arrived. While he was wondering how to tell his guests that he would not be able feed them, he saw Vaishnavi coming out of his hut. With the grace of Goddess Vaishanvi, all guests were offered food of their own choice and the Bhandhara turned out to be very successful despite some problems raised by Bhairon, a disciple of Shri Guru Gorakh Nath who too was invited in the Bhandhara.
After the Bhandhara, Sridhar was curious to get to the bottom of the mystery shrouding the magical powers of Vaishanavi. He began asking young Vaishnavi for an explanation for the mysterious developments of the day. He called out to her but the Vaishanavi was not there to reply. He called out again and again but with the same result. Vaishnavi was nowhere to be seen. A feeling of emptiness engulfed Sridhar. Then one day, he had a dream of the same girl who told him that she was Vaishno Devi. The Goddess showed him the vision of her cave and also blessed him with the boon of four sons. Sridhar, happy once again, set out in search of the cave, and after finding it he decided to spend rest of his life in worship of the deity. Soon fame of the holy cave spread, and the devotees began to flock it to pay their homage to the mighty Goddess.
Madhu & Kaithab Katha (story)
At the beginning of time there was only the primeal ocean all around. Vishnu lay on Sheshnag in deep slumber under the influence of Yog Nidra. While Vishnu slept a lotus stalk grew out of his navel. At the upper end of the stalk was a lotus flower. Brahma was born in the lotus flower and was in deep meditation at the time of his birth. As Brahma lay in deep meditation in the lotus flower reciting the Vedas, ear wax flowed out of both ears of Vishnu.
Two Asuras known as Madhu and Kaitabh were born out of the ear wax. These Asuras Performed great penance for thousands of years. The Goddess was pleased with their devotion, appeared before them and granted them the boon that death would come to them only when they desired it. Being conscious of their immense strength, both the Asuras became arrogant. They attacked Brahma and stole away from him the four Vedas. Brahma though furious, was helpless in the face of great might of the Asuras. Hence he rushed in great consternation to Vishnu to seek his protection.
Vishnu, however, was in deep sleep under the influence of Yog Nidra and did not wake up inspite of the best efforts of Brahma. When Brahma realised that he could not wake up Vishnu in the normal course as he was sleeping under the influence of Yog Nidra. He then beseeched and praised 'Yoga Nidra to help him awaken Vishnu. . The fervent prayers of Brahma pleased Yog Nidra. She took pity on Brahma's plight and left Vishnu's body . As soon as Yog Nidra left his body, Vishnu woke up. Brahma told him about the murderous intent of Madhu and Kaitabh and entreated him to destroy them. Thus Lord Vishnu engaged in a fierce and long battle with the two Asuras at the end of which he killed them. In the episode of Madhu and Kaitabh, Goddess Durga has been portrayed as the 'Yoga Nidra' whose powerful influence renders even Lord Vishnu helpless.
Mahishasur Sangram (war)
Mahishasura the demon was born as a union of Rambha and a she buffalo (Mahishi) and consequently was a half man and half buffalo. The mighty demon was rendered more powerful as a result of a boon from God Agni, according to which he could be killed by a woman only. He managed to wreak havoc in heaven by chasing away all Gods from there. All the Gods then approached lord Vishnu and lord Shiva who were aware that only a woman could kill Mahishasura. They decided to create a Goddess out of the collective powers or 'Tejas' of all the God's and so was born a Goddess who combined in herself all that was mighty and powerful in each God. She was armed by a trident from Shiva, Chakra from Vishnu, a Lion from Himalayas and bows and arrows from Vayu. The Goddess filled with combined power and anger of all the Gods was fierce to behold and her very sight scared the demons.
Mahishasura on the other hand, waged a valiant fight against her and assumed the form of a buffalo, a lion, a man carrying a sword, an elephant and lastly again as a buffalo. The battle raged for ten thousand years and finally the Goddess was able to pin down Mahishasura and chop off his head. The Gods, rid of the demon, showered the Goddess with innumerable praises and with reverence prayed her to appear every time they were in need of her. Granting the same to the Gods, she disappeared to appear again when called with devotion.
Vritrasura Sangram (war)
As per the ancient literatures and as contained in Shrimad Bhagwat and other religious books, there was once a 'Prajapati' named Tvashta, who had a devout and pious son named Vishwarupa. Vishwarupa, blessed with three heads, was a sage having immense spiritual strengths, which evoked a sense of insecurity and fear in the mind of Lord Indra, the king of the Inderlok (Paradise) and in a fit of rage Indra killed the good sage. When Prajapati Tvashta came to know of the incident, he became furious and performed a Yagya with the purpose of avenging the death of his dear son. From the holy fire was born another son of Tvashta, whom he named as Vritrasura and whose sole aim in life was to avenge his brother's death by destroying Indra.
Vritrasura then meditated and undertook a penance as the result of which he was granted a supreme boon. As per this boon no weapon known till then, could kill him, and he would not even die of anything that was either wet or dry or any weapon made of wood or metal. The boon also ensured that his power would go on increasing during the battle. Upon being granted this boon, Vritra waged a battle against Indra and his forces and managed to give a crushing defeat to him as a result of which Indra had to flee from the battle scene leaving behind his elephant Airawat. Vritrasura then took over Inderlok, forcing Indra to flee to Lord Shankar for help. Shankar along with Brahma went to lord Vishnu to seek his help. Vishnu advised them that they should first win the confidence of Vritrasura, befriend him and then kill him when he may not be on his guards. Vishnu also advised them that they should pray to the Goddess so that through her 'Yogmaya' she may render Vritrasura incapable of intelligent thought. Indra did as advised and was consequently blessed by the Goddess.
After this Indra managed to befriend Vritrasura and once when Vritrasura was asleep on sea shore, Indra collected sea-foam as it was neither wet nor dry, neither wood nor any metal and it certainly could not be categorized as a weapon. With the intention of using the sea foam as a weapon to kill Vritrasura, Indra summoned the Goddess to enter the foam. When the Goddess entered the foam, Indra wrapped it around his Vajra (a deadly fierce and favourite weapon of lord Indra, made out of the bones donated by Dadhichi ' Rishi') and with this Vajra he killed Vritrasura there and then. The Devtas, rid of the menace of Vritrasura, praised the Goddess for keeping her promise of helping them in their hour of need.
The Story of Indra's Penance
After Vritrasura had been killed all the saints and sages feeling guilty of their dubious deed of having killed a Brahmin left for forests for meditation and peace. When Tvashta, Vritrasur's father, heard that his son had been killed by Indra through nefarious designs, he cursed Indra that he too would have to face similar mortification. Whispers of Indra's act started to spread all over and all his lustre began to fade. With each passing day, Indra started becoming more remorseful of his sin of killing a Brahmin. One day he left his palace for lake Mansarovar and immersed himself in the stem of a lotus so as to be found by none. He was so over wrought by his sinful conduct that in his despair he forgot the necessary duties he was supposed to perform. Indra's sudden disappearance caused a chaos among the Devas as clouds stopped raining, wind stopped blowing and the lands became infertile. As a functionary of Indra, the Devas thought of placing some one in his seat to smoothly carry on with the celestial order till the time Indra would be located. All the Devas decided to place the sage Nahush in his throne . Although Nahush was a saintly person but as soon as he ascended to the office of Indra, his outlook towards life took a complete transformation and he started partaking in the pleasures. One day he demanded that Indra's wife Indrani should be called to please him. Indrani turned for help to Brihaspati the guru of all Devas. Brihaspati advised her to gain time by telling Nahush that she is willing to serve him but after knowing whether her husband is alive or not. Brihaspati also advised to pray to Vishnu. Lord Vishnu, on getting pleased, suggested to indrani worshipping the Goddess and performing an Ashwamedha Yagya for seeking forgiveness from the Goddess about Indra's sin of killing a Brahmin, to accelerate the process of Indra's power restoration and the end of Nahush's era.
Indrani started praying the goddess with vigour and devotion. The goddess was happy and appeared before her to grant her the boon. Indrani requested for reunion with her husband also the restoration of his powers besides saving her from Nahush. The goddess granted her the boons desired. On locating Indra, Indrani apprised him of Nahush's dubious demands. As a strategy to tackle the unacceptable demands of Nahush, Indrani went to him and told him that she was ready to please him provided he was able to locate Indra and also if he comes to her in a unique carriage, the cart driven by the great sages. By this time the Maya of the Goddess over-powered Nahush. He ordered the sages for pulling his chariot. They were too amused but agreed to it. The chariot driven by the sages left for Brihaspati's Ashram. The thought of possessing Indrani excited Nahush so much that he began to urge the sages to move faster by repeatedly saying 'Sarp'. 'Sarp' in Sanskrit means to move faster but it also means 'snake'. Finally, when the anger of the saints could not be contained, they cursed Nahush to become a snake for a thousand years till he would meet Yudhisther, the Pandav, who would release him of the curse. Brihaspati and the other Devas then went to lake Mansarovar and requested Indra to come out of the place of his hiding and retake his position as the king of Devloka.
Asura Hyagriva Sangram (war)
Hayagriva, meaning one with the horse's neck, was the son of 'Kashyap Prajapati'. Through his great penance he had managed to obtain boon from the Goddess that he could only be killed by another "Hayagriva". The boon instilled in him a sense of being invincible and as a result he started harassing the Devas realising that they could not kill him. The Devas asked for Vishnu's help but a long battle with Haygriva bore no fruit and it only left Vishnu tired and drained. Vishnu then proceeded to Vaikuntha Dham to rejuvenate himself and once there he went into meditation in padamaasna (a yoga posture) with his head supported by the upper end of his taught bow. The Devas meanwhile aggrieved by Haygriva again approached Vishnu for help but were unable to rouse him from the state of deep meditation. The Devas then took the help of the Termites in rousing Vishnu who gnawed away the string of the bow upon which Vishnu was resting. The snapping of the string of the bow produced such a resonant sound that the whole universe trembled and the string on being snapped, lashed out with such force at the head of Vishnu that it was severed from the rest of its body.
The sight of beheaded, Vishnu filled the Devas with horror and mortification and out of sheer panic they started praying to the Goddess for help. Goddess pleased with their prayers told the Devas that they need not fear as no incident in this universe is without some purpose. She then told them of her boon to Asura Haygriva and asked them to attach the head of a horse to Vishnu so that he in the guise of "Haygriva" could kill the Asura Hayagriva.
Thus, Vishnu Taking the form of the "one with the head of a horse" entered into a battle with the Asura and eventually killed him with the grace of the goddess.
Shumbha & Nishumbha Sangram (war)
As per the known stories derived from the Shrimad Devi Bhagwat Puran, Shumbha and Nishumbha were the two Asura (evil forces) brothers who managed to obtain a boon from lord Brahma that they will not be killed by any male whether human being or animal / bird etc. but by a woman only. They desired this boon thinking that they will live for ever as they did not know of a lady who was so powerful as to kill them both in a war. Thus empowered, these demons started disturbing the prayers of the saints torturing them and asking them to worship the duo rather than any other deity. The Devtas realising that they cannot defeat the two brothers recapitulated the promise of the Goddess to come to their help whenever asked for. Gods then together praised the deity by saying that she was omnipotent, resided in each and every emotion and sensation of all beings in this universe.
While the Gods were thus engaged, the Goddess Parvati happened to pass through and when the prayers of the Gods fell into her ears, she was moved to pity and thus she created another Goddess from her own being who came to be known as "Kaushiki". After the emergence of the Goddess, Parvati turned black thus giving the name 'Kalika' also to the goddess. The Goddess thus born was supremely beautiful and when Chanda and Munda, the disciples of the demon brothers Shumbha and Nishumbha set eyes upon her they at once reported of her beauty to their masters. Upon hearing of her beauty, the two brothers sent a marriage proposal to the goddess. The Goddess told them that she has taken a vow to marry the one who can vanquish her in battle and take her forcibly. Thus incited into a battle by the Goddess, Shumbha and Nishumbha first send a large army and their able Generals to beat this beautiful lady, but on being defeated, they sent Chanda and Munda whom also the Goddess defeated assuming the form of Maha Kali and thus the goddess was also named 'Chamunda', the one who beheaded the Asuras Chanda And Munda.
As the battle became more and more fierce, seven more Goddesses or Shaktis emerged from the bodies of seven Devtas to assist the Goddess in this battle. At that time was sent to the battlefield, the all powerful demon Raktabija who had been granted the strange boon that wherever his blood fell on the ground it would take the form of a 'Bija' or seed and from it will sprout another Raktabija. To slay him the Goddess asked Kali to lick the blood of the Raktabija before it fell on the ground. The goddess in the meantime beheaded the demons. All the Shaktis then together killed Nishumbha and his army leaving just Shumbha. When Shumbha realised that he has been outnumbered, he taunted the Goddess that she alone cannot defeat him and needed the help of seven other Goddesses to do so. The Goddess got infuriated and merged all the Shaktis into herself and single handedly killed Shumbha thus freeing the world of evil.
Dev and Asuras Sangram (war)
The Devas and Asuras were engaged in continuous war with each other with no signs of its abetting till a time came that the positions of Devas became strong and Asuras, threatened, had to flee and seek shelter with Shukracharya, the Guru of Asuras, who decided to undertake penance to gain spiritual powers to defeat the Devas and in the mean time asked the Asuras to lie low and abstain from war with the Devas. Shukracharya then approached Lord Shankar on mount Kailash to seek his blessings to carry out his desired penance successfully.
Lord Shankar aware of the motive behind Shukracharya's penance delineated an extremely severe fast for Shukracharya to follow in order to gain the desired spiritual strength. In the meantime, the Devas learning of Shukracharya's penance decided to finish the Asuras before his return but were dissuaded in their task by the mother of Shukracharya who put them under the spell of 'Nidra' the Goddess of unconsciousness. Only Indra managed to escape it with the help of Lord Vishnu, who then beheaded the mother of Shukracharya who was the wife of famous Sage 'Bhrigu'. When Saint 'Bhrigu' heard of this incident, he got furious and cursed Vishnu to take birth on earth again and again. Bhrigu with his powers also put life back into his wife's body. Indra was at once overpowered by awe and fear to see the spiritual power of sage Bhrigu and fearing for the safety of the Devas, he sent his daughter Jayanti to serve Shukracharya and live with him. Jayanti did so with full devotion and patience till one day pleased by her, Shukracharya took her as his wife for ten years and created such an illusion that though they lived together, no one could see them with the result that in this period of 10 years, not even the Asuras could locate him.
In the meantime, Brihaspati on Indra's beseeching, assumed the form of Shukracharya and began to dwell with the Asuras. When after 10 years, the real Shukracharya returned the Asuras were unable to recognize him and thinking of him as an imposter, sent him away. Shukracharya, argued and put a curse upon the Asuras that they will be defeated by the Devas. The Devas then waged a war against the Asuras confidant of their victory. The Asuras realizing their mistake begged Shukracharya to forgive them. They succeeded in appeasing Shukracharya who agreed to help them but added that he had learned a great truth of the universe according to which what has to happen will happen. The war between the Asuras and Devas continued for hundreds of years till the Devas called the Goddess for their help. Asuras were frightened by the very sight of the Goddess and begged for her mercy upon which the goddess told them to shun the path of war and live peacefully in Patal Lok and wait for the wheel of time to turn in their favour. Thereafter there was peace in the universe and the Devas and the Asuras lived in their respective places peacefully.
"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions".
"The purpose of our lives is to be happy" - Dalai Lama