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Devi Mahatmyam or Durga Saptashati or Chandi Path

The Devi Mahatmyam is a collection of 700 Slokas on Sri Durga from Markandeya Purana

Navaratri is celebrated four times a year. They are Ashada Navaratri, the Sharada Navaratri, the Maha Navaratri and the Vasantha Navaratri. Of these, the Sharada Navaratri of the month of Puratashi and the Vasantha Navaratri of the Vasantha kala are very important. If you refer to the agni purana, then it is said that the Puratashi and Panguni (in Tamil months) i.e. Asvin and Chaitra are like the two jaws of Lord Yama. If one wants to escape the mouth of Yama, then one should celebrate Navaratri on these two occasions. A similar analogy is presented in the devi bhagavatam. Devi bhagavatam also talks in detail on how one should observe fasts, and how one should meditate/work on these days. According to legend, Durga sat on the tip of a needle for nine days, doing a severe penance to destroy the evil Asura Mahisha. On the first three days, she meditated as Herself, the next three days as Mahalakshmi and the last three days as Sarasvati. This signifies progression from tamsik, to rajasik to satvik and eventually obtaining liberation. The tenth day during Sharada Navaratri is called vijayadashami to signify the victory on the day of dashami. It is, however, a long tradition that one reads the devi-bhagavatam or the devi mahatmyam (Durga saptashati, 700 verses on Durga) during this period. Devi bhagavatam notes that Rama meditated and fasted for nine days after Sita was kidnapped by Ravana.

Read Durga Saptashati in Devanagari (PDF)

Listen to MP3

CHAPTER 1:****The slaying of Madhu and Kaitabha:

Meditation of Mahakali I resort to Mahakali, who has ten faces, ten legs and holds in her hands the sword, disc, mace, arrows, bow, club, spear, missile, human head and conch, who is three-eyed, adorned with ornaments on all her limbs, and luminous like a blue jewel, and whom Brahma extolled in order to destroy Madhu and Kaitabha, when Vishnu was in (mystic) sleep.

Markandeya said ( to his disciple Krasustuki Bhaguri):

1-3. Savarni, {Savarni was so called because he was the son of Savarna, Surya’s wife. He became King Suratha in the second (Svarocisa) manvantara.} son of Surya, is called the eighth Manu. Listen , while I describe in detail about his birth, how Savarni, illustrious son of Surya, became the lord of the (eighth)Manvantara {One cycle of creation is divided into fourteen manvantaras. The period ruled over by one Manu is called a Manvantara. There are, therefore, fourteen Manus as follows: Svayambhuva, Svarocisa, Uttama, Tamasa, Raivata, Caksusa, Vaivasvata, Savarni, Daksha-savarni, Brahma-savarni, Dharma-savarni, Rudra-savarni, Deva-savarni, and Indra-savarni. } by the grace of Mahamaya {One of the names of the Divine Mother. }.

4-5. In former times there was a king named Suratha, born of the Chitra dynasty, ruling over the whole world in the period of Svarocisa. He protected his subjects duly like his own children. At that time the kings, who were the destroyers of the c, became his enemies.

6-7. He, the wielder of powerful weapons, fought a battle with the destroyers of Kolas, but was defeated by them though they were a small force. Then he returned to his own city, and ruled over his won country. Then that illustrious king was attacked by those powerful enemies.

8-9. Even in his own city, the king, (now) bereft of strength, was robbed of his treasury and army by his own powerful, vicious and evil-disposed ministers. Thereafter, deprived of this sovereignty, the king left alone on horse-back for a dense forest, under the pretext of hunting.

10-11. He saw there the hermitage of Medhas- the supreme among the twice-born – inhabited by wild animals which were peaceful, and graced by the disciples of the sage. Entertained by the sage, Suratha spent some time moving about in the hermitage of the great sage.

12-16. There then overcome with attachment, he fell into the thought, ‘I do not know whether the capital (which was) well guarded by my ancestors and recently deserted by me is being guarded righteously or not by my servants of evil conduct. I do not know what enjoyments my chief elephant, heroic and always elated, and now fallen into the hands of my foes, will get. Those who were my constant followers and received favor, riches and food from me, now certainly pay homage to other kings. The treasure which I gathered with great care will be squandered by those constant spendthrifts, who are addicted to improper expenditures.’

17-19. The king was continually thinking of these and other things. Near the hermitage of the Brahamana he saw a merchant, and asked him: ‘Ho! Who are you? What is the reason for your coming here? Wherefore do you appear as if afflicted with grief and depressed in mind?’ Hearing this speech of the king, uttered in a friendly spirit, the merchant bowed respectfully and replied to the king. The merchant said:

20-25. ‘I am a merchant named Samadhi, born in a wealthy family. I have been cast out by my sons and wife, who are wicked through greed of wealth. My wife and sons have misappropriated my riches, and made me devoid of wealth. Cast out by my trusted kinsmen, I have come to the forest grief-stricken. Dwelling here, I do not know anything as regards good of bad of my sons, kinsmen and wife. At present is welfare or ill-luck theirs at home? How are they? Are my sons living good or evil lives?’ The king said:

26-28. ‘Why is your mind affectionately attached to those covetous folk, your sons, wife and others, who have deprived you of your wealth?’ The merchant said:

29-34. ‘This very thought has occurred to me, just as you have uttered it. What can I do? My mind does not become hard; it bears deep affection to those very persons who have driven me out in their greed for wealth, abandoning love for a father and attachment to one’s master and kinsmen. I do not comprehend although, I know it. O noble hearted king, how it is that the mind is prone to love even towards worthless kinsmen. On account of them I heave heavy sighs and feel dejected. What can I do since my mind does not become hard towards those unloving ones? Markandeya said:

35-38. Then O Brahmana, the merchant Samadhi and the noble king together approached the sage (Medhas); and after observing the etiquette worthy of him and as was proper, they sat down and conversed (with him ) on some topics. The king said:

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