Monday, 4 May 2015

Contents of the Devi Mahatmyam

Contents of the Devi Mahatmyam

The Devī Māhātmyam consists of chapters 81-93 of the Mārkandeya Purana, one of the early Sanskrit Puranas, which is a set of stories being related by the sage Markandeya to Jaimini and his students (who are in the form of birds). The thirteen chapters of Devi Māhātmyam are divided into three charitas or episodes. At the beginning of each episode a different presiding goddess is invoked, none of whom is mentioned in the text itself.

The framing narrative of Devi Mahatmyam presents a dispossessed king, a merchant betrayed by his family, and a sage whose teachings lead them both beyond existential suffering. The sage instructs by recounting three different epic battles between the Devi and various demonic adversaries (the three tales being governed by, respectively, Mahakali (Chapter 1), Mahalakshmi (Chapters 2-4) and Mahasaraswati (Chapters 5-13). Most famous is the story of Mahishasura Mardini – Devi as "Slayer of the Buffalo Demon.

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