Sri Matre Namaha
Bhandasura-vadhodyukta-shakthi-sena-samanvita – The Sixty Fifth name in Lalitha Sahasranamam.
Bhandasurasya vadhe udyuktanam saktinam senabhih samyak anvita
She is surrounded by an army of Saktis for slaying Bhandasura
Here her activity of Sthula form is described which is already dealt with in name # 5, i.e., manifested herself for the sake of fulfilling the action of the devas. The fighting between the goddess and the demon Bhandasura is fully described in Lalitophakayanam in the Brahmanda Puranam.
In the story of burning of Manmatha, it is said in the same book: Ganesa, the skillful worker,seeing the ashes of the God of Love made from them a beautifully formed man”. Brahma on seeing this said, “well done, well done” (i.e., Bhanda, Bhanda) and hence in this world he is called Bhanda. The fierce quality (asuratva)is explained in the same purana. As the powerful Bhanda sprang from the fire of Rudra’s anger, his nature was seen to be terrible (Raudra). Hence he is the terrible one (danava)
bhandasurasyo samyak (=abhedena) anvita
Anvita = entirely identified with Bhanda. As the Gaupada Sutra says: “for the sake of destroying Bhandasura she, though one, became many”.
bhando= (nirlajjah) tasya vadho yasmat tad udyuktam (udyoga udyam yavat), tasya saktayah, tasam senaya samanvita
Bhanda means shameless. Here, it means embodied soul endowed with life. As it is said, “though he is existence, consciousness and bliss, this embodied. Soul (bhandima)is afflicted by ignorance, transient pain etc.” In the word asura, asu =life, ra=take away. So he who takes away life. Life (asu) means real nature, i.e., bandha (captivity)as expressed in a Sutra which says “knowledge is captivity”. Knowledge according to the second sutra means “not recognizing the reality in the self, and recognizing the reality in what is not the self”. This word bhanda, is also well-known by the word anavamala (vide the SauBha commentary # 354)
The siva sutras (1.5.6)say, ” The effort (udyama) is called Bhairava; when united with sakticakra, the evolution of the universe takes place. When sakti is united, the creation of the body comes into existence. When the bhuta is united, the separation of the bhutas, the composition etc., of the universe comes”. The vartikas on the above sutras are as follows:
“From the self-knowledge of vimarsa aspect (of Devi), who is tended towards creation, comes out an effort quickly (udyama)with complete egoism (purnahambhava)agitated within, merging in the reflective self (Pratibha). That udyama is called by the derivative name Bhairava, because he is completely equipoised with all other saktis, he is all pervading and he consumes all the armies of different modifications (of the mind). That udyoga, by name Bhairava, as said above of Svasamvit, has a great sakti. It is above the order or otherwise, standing entirely in its own citasakti and powerful to overcome the armies (dualities), in the void as well as shaped forms, and when united with Sakticakra, it means realization as said before. When that process is formed, evolution of the universe from Kalagni begins and Kala remains the state of the fire of Svasamvit Sakti. His Sakti as described ( in the Siva Sutra, I -13)as Iccha -sakti. Uma is united, is meditated upon.
The effect of the meditation gives power to create anybody that he wishes. Bhutas: Bhutas are the body, buddhi and prana which are graspers of the object and immovable things which are to be grasped, united nourished: separation parting with them owing to disease etc. All these and other things come to a yogi when he realizes sakti”.
Virility is latent in boyhood and manifests itself in youth. Similarly the various powers (saktis) that are in the jiva, remain latent due to ignorance. When an effort is made all these shine forth. This is the purport of the above quotation.
She is ready with her army to wage a war against Bhandasura. Her army consists of various goddesses mentioned in Sri Chakra. There is a story associated with this nama. Manmata, the god of love was burnt by Shiva to ashes. Ganesha, playfully collected the ashes of manmata and created a man. Brahma, the lord of creation on seeing Ganesha’s act said ‘bhanda, bhanda’ meaning well done. That was why the demon was named as Bhandasura.
Since Manmata was burnt by the fierce fire of the third eye of Shiva, Bhandasura was said to be all powerful. He was an embodiment of all evils. Bhanda also means bondage. Shiva Sutra 2 says ‘Jnanam bhandaha’. The explanation given to bhandha is limited knowledge. This means ignorance is the cause for bondage. Bondage means attachments, desires etc. Since lack of knowledge is the cause for duality, it is called bondage. If you have knowledge, you will say ‘I am That (Brahman)’. Innate nature or unconditioned state of mind is called anava mala. This state of mind is called innate because, the mind does not realise the Brahman as a result gets bonded. Liberation is needed to get out of this bondage. This liberation is possible only with knowledge.
There is another interpretation for such a situation in Shiva Sutra 6 which says that by intense awareness, the various shakthis (various acts of Shakthi) are united causing the disappearance of the universe (maya or illusion and duality), leaving the supreme consciousness (the Brahman) to be realized. This process is nothing but self-realization. The secretive meaning of this nama is – Lalitha is ready to give us liberation from the cycles of birth and death, provided we have inclination to know about her. Bhandasura is an embodiment of ignorance and resultant evil acts. She is ready to wage a war against ignorance and its associated acts. Shakthi sena means her different acts, not just creation, sustenance and dissolution. Her different acts are symbolically represented by various goddesses represented in Sri Chakra. We will discuss more about these goddesses later in this series.
She is endowed with an army of shaktis to slay Bhandasura.
Shri Lalitha Devi was the full incarnation of Shri Bhuvaneshwari. After coronation She was called Shri Rajarajeshwari. Her sacred story is as follows:
After the untimely death of his wife Gouri, Lord Rudra renounced all activities and started severe penance. Seeing this Kama the God of Love shot Rudra with his darts of love. Rudra in rage opened his third eye and burnt Kama into ashes. After many years Lord Ganesha made a human form with that ash and placed it before Rudra. Lord Rudra looked at it with compassion and an inert image became a living being. Nandikeshwara initiated him with the holy Rudramanthra. The ash born being repeated the mantra with implicit faith and incessantly prayed Lord Shiva (Rudra). Lord Shiva became highly pleased with him and blessed him with many boons. This being became famous as Bhandasura.
Shrukracharya, the preceptor of demons took him to Shonithapura and there he was crowned as the King of asuras (demons). Shukracharya initiated Bhandasura with many mantras of mysterious power. As advised by Shukracharya, Bhandasura engaged himself in severe penance, got many boons became very powerful. Mad with the newly gained powers he began to torture the people. Even the three Gods – Hari, Hara and Brahma found him to be intolerable. He even invaded heaven and being impossible to face him all the Gods ran away from heaven and took shelter in riverbanks, forests and mountains in disguised form.
Later, after many years with the advice of Divine sage Narada the destitute Gods engaged themselves in meditation, worship and penance to make the Divine Mother manifest before them. They even got ready to sacrifice their bodies in the blazing fire of Yajna. Shri Bhuvaneshwari in Manidweepa (Island of gems) saw the sufferings and penance of Gods and appeared before them in the bright form of Lalitha Devi, which is the full incarnation of Shri Bhuvaneshwari. Gods of heaven and Thrimurthis built a mahamantapa and a chariot for Shri Bhuvaneshwari with the help of Vishwakarma.
Brahma and other Gods assembled in the Mahamantapa and with just a look at Goddess Shri Mahadevi the things they desired was fulfilled. Goddess boarded her Shri Chakra ornamented with navaparvas. Shri Devi with her large army and assistants advanced in no time and arrived at Shonithapura of Bhandasura and encamped there. The battle raged. Within four days Bhandasura’s brothers, nephews, relatives and ministers, army chief and large army died fighting against the army of Shri Mahadevi.
On fifth day Bandasura himself came and fought against Shri Mahadevi and died. All the three worlds again returned to peace and happiness.
This is the story of bhandasura.but there is more to it. let me try to give a concise picture of the war preparation.
Lalita Devi came out of the Chidagni Homa Kunda, seated on a special chariot called “Chakra Raja Ratha”. Therefore, we find the descriptions such as
“Deva kaarya samudyataa” and
“Chakra Raja Rathaa Roodha Sarvaayudha Parishkritaa”
The Sri Chakra Raja Ratha had the following dimensions:
A. Width 4 Yojanas (1 Yojana is approximately 9 miles)
B. Height 10 Yojanas
C. Parvas (landings) 9 in number
D. Chakras (wheels) – the four Vedas
E. Horses – the four-fold aims (Purusharthas)
F. Flag absolute bliss
G. The seat at the topmost landing is the Bindu Peetha.
H. Form : of the form of Meru Prastara.
I. The material that was used to make this was ‘Tejas’
The Lalita Parameshwari so manifested, created a male form from within Herself. His name was Kameshwara.
By her power of will, she created 4 different weapons. They were (i)Ikshu Dhanus (ii) Five arrows, (iii) Pasha (noose) and 4 Ankusha (a special hook). She held all these weapons in her hands. We see the description – “Chaturbahu samanvitaa” in the Lalita Sahasranama.
She was shining like the morning sun, with crimson color. (Udyad bhanu sahasraabhaa is a description found in Lalita Sahasranama)
Her beauty was full in all aspects.(Sarvarunaanavadyangee sarvaabharana bhooshitaa – Lalita Sahasranama)
She always appears as though she is 16 years of age. (Nityaa shodashikaa roopaa is a description in Lalita Sahasranama). This description has two meanings.
One meaning is that she always appears as one who is sixteen years of age. The other meaning is, there are 16 Nityaa Devis. She is of the form of these 16 Nityaa Devis.
She herself continued to create certain things.
(i) From her long hair she created darkness.
(ii) From her eyes, she created the sun, the moon and the fire.
(iii) From the pendent hanging in front of her forehead came the stars
(iv) From the chain above her forehead came the nine planets.
(v) From the eyebrows, she created the penal code.
(vi) From her breath, she created the Vedas.
(vii) From her speech, she created poetry and plays.
(viii) From her chin she created the Vedangas.
(ix) From the three lines in her neck, she created various Shaastras.
(x) From her breasts, she created mountains.
(xi) From her mind, she created the power of bliss.
(xii) From her fingernails, she created the 10 incarnations of Vishnu.
(xiii) From her palms, she created the Sandhyas.
(xiv) She created other things as narrated in the Purusha Sookta.
(xv) From her heart, she created Baalaa Devi.
(xvi) From her intellect, she created Shyamala Devi.
(xvii) From her ego, she created Vaaraahi Devi.
(xviii) From her smile, she created Vighneshwara.
(xix) From the Ankusha (a special hook), she created Sampatkaree Devi.
(xx) Form the noose, she created Ashwaa Roodha Devi.
(xxi) From her cheeks, she created Nakuleshvari Devi.
(xxii) From her Kundalini Shakti, she created Gayatri.
(xxiii) From the eight wheels of the Chakra Raja chariot, she created 8 Devatas.
(xxiv) In the 9th landing, in the Bindu Peetha, she herself was seated.
(xxv) Afterwards, she created the Devatas who would protect the Chakra Raja chariot.
After having thus completed the great creation, Lalita Devi requested her consort, Shiva Kama Sundara to created the Shiva Chakra. He immediately brought out a big humming sound and from this, the Shiva Chakra Devatas numbering 23 manifested.Later, Lalita Devi crowned Shyamala Devi as the prime minister. Therefore Shyamala Devi is called Mantrini Devi.
Lalita Devi handed over the finger ring to Mantrini Devi.She made Vaartaalee Devi the chief of her army. Therefore Vaartaalee Devi isalso called as Dandanaathaa Devi. She is also called as Vaaraahee Devi.Lalita Devi created a mace (a weapon) from her eye brows and gave it to Dandanathaa Devi. After this, Lalita Devi created two chariots from her chariot and gave them to Mantrini Devi and Dandanatha Devi.Mantini Devi’s chariot is called “Geya Chakra Ratha”. This chariot used to make musical sounds whenever it moved.Dandanatha Devi’s chariot is called “Kiri Chakra Ratha”Later, Lalita Devi hummed with rage. From this hum, 64000000 Yoginis were born. Another 64000000 Bhairavas were also born. Innumerable Shakti Senas were also created. Later Lalita devi, making the noise emanating from the four oceans as the drums and accompanied with several other instruments proceeded for the battle against Bhandasura.
From Lalitha devi’s Ankusham (=spear), ‘Sampat karidevi’, came out along with crores and crores of elephants and started following Lalita devi (sampatkari samarudha sindhura vraja sevita ) .Sampatkari Devi was sitting on the elephant named ‘Ranakolahalam’ (=battle bustle, battle uproar).From Lalita devi’s Pasham (=whip) arose Ashwaroodha devi along with a big army of horses and was moving in front of Lalita devi.(ashwarudhadhishtishtaswa koti kotibhiravruta) .
The horse carrying Ashwaroodha devi was named ‘Aparajitam’ (=one whichcannot be defeated). Later , commander of the army Dandanatha devi played the drums to start marching. As the march started Dandanatha devi got down from her chariot and sat down on the lion. The lion is named ‘Vajraghosham’ (kirichakra ratha rudha damdanadha puraskruta). All her soldiers started praising her by twelve different names.
(Panchami dandanatha cha sakjeta amayeshwari
tatha samaya sakjeta varahi potrini tatha
vartali cha maha sena pyajna chakreshwari tatha
arighni cheti samproktam nama dwadasakam yune)
Later Mantrini devi played the drums of marching. Her soldiers were mainly decorated sensuously. They were playing veenas and singing.
Mantrini devi was moving in her Geyachakra ratha (circle of army formed by singers) [geyachakra ratha rudha mantrini parisevita]
She was being praised by sixteen names.
Sangeeta yogini shyama shyamala mantra nayika
mantrini sachiveshani pradhaneshi shukapriya
vina vati vainiki cha mudrini priyakapriya
nipapriya kadambeshi kadamba vanavasini
sadamada cha namani shodashaitaini kumbhaja
One who recites this strotra can conquer all the three worlds.
Then, from the bird in the hands of Mantrini devi, appeared god Dhanurveda
with a spectacular bow in his hand and said “Mother! this bow is called chitrajeevam.
This quiver is akshaya (=one which is unlimited, fills up spontaneously). Please accept them for demolishing the demons.”
Now Lalita devi started moving with sugarcane, bow, arrows, spear and whip in the ‘srichakraraja’ chariot.
She is being praised with 25 names
simhasanesi lalitha maharajni varankusha
sundari chakranatha cha samrajni chakrini ratha
chakreshwari mahadevi kameshi parameshwari
kamaraja priyakamakotika chakravartini
mahavidya shivananga vallabha sarvapatala
kulanatha amnayanatha sarvamnaya nivasini
shringara nayika cheti pancha vimshati namabhih
One who recites this stotra attains ashtasiddhi (8 spiritual accomplishments)
Bandasuravadhodyukta shaktisena samanvita in Lalita sahasranama stotram means one who is ready with her army (shaktisena) to annihilate Bhandasura.
A beautiful sight of how she slays Bhandasura in the war:
Bhanda along with Kutilaksha started towards the battlefield.akshohini army along with 40 commanders followed him.
A). He boarded a chariot named ‘Aabhilamu’(=dreadful).It is dragged by 1000 lions instead of horses.
B). His sword is named Yatana (= torture in hell) Noticing this Lalita devi herself started moving in her Srichakra raja ratha towards the warfront.Behind her was Mantrini in Geyachakra ratha followed by Potrini in kirichakraratha.Other shakti deities followed her in crores.In the usage of sastra’s (mystic weapons) and pratyastra (corresponding neutralising weapons), none of them were drawn aback (LS—Bhandasurendra nirmukta shastra pratyastra varshini)Now Bandasura by his mystical powers regenerated Madhukaitabha, Raktabija and other old demons. Then Lalita devi made a violent frenzied laughter –Durga devi and other deities described in chandisaptashati were born and slayed these demons. Now Bhanda generated Somaka and other demons.Then Lalita devi generated the 10 incarnations of Vishnu from the finger tips of her hands (LS – Karanguli nakhotpanna narayana dasakrutih) Sun was about to set. Lalita devi decided not to delay any more. She then discharged Narayana astra and Pashupata astra and destroyed the demons and their commanders who were all turned down into ashes (LS—Mahapashupatastragni nirdagdhasura sainyaka).
Now Bhandasura was the only one left.Lalita devi discharged the Mahakameshawarastra and annihilated Bhandasura .Immediately his shunyaka town got burnt down. (LS—ameshwarastra nirdagdha sabhandasura sunyaka)
Gods proclaimed victory of Lalita devi on the drums and they showered flowers, lighted camphor blazes and shouted victory slogans.
Such was the scene during the vatham of bhandasura. After the slaying Brahma, Vishnu, Indra and other gods praised Lalita devi’s grandeur (LSN—Brahmopendra mahendradi deva samstuta vaibhava)
In that praise they proclaimed thus-
A.) Mother! Bhanda is dead but his friend Taraka is still alive to trouble us.
B.) To annihilate him Shiva must have a son
C.) We were trying for the same but in the mean while Manmadha (god of love) died and all these events happened
D.) Therefore kindly give rebirth to Manmadha and perform the marriage of Shiva and Parvathi.
Lalita devi smiled compassionately and looked at Kameshwara. From her looks Manmadha took rebirth .(LSN- Haranetragni sandagdha amasanjeevanaushadhih Lalita devi is the sacred herb sajeevini which gave rebirth to Manmadha who was destroyed by the fire from Shiva’s eye).
Rati and Manmadha prostrated to the mother goddess and praised her.
The mother goddess blessed them and instructed-
A.) Manmadha! Now you need not fear
B.) Go once again and cast your magical arrow on Shiva
C.) Shiva will loose to you and will marry Parvathi
D.) With my blessings Shiva will do you no harm.
E.) From now on you can enter every ones body and cause aesthetic/ sensuous pleasures to them.
F.) Protect my devotees
At the instructions of mother goddess Manmadha with his family went and cast his magic charm on Shiva. This time Shiva left renunciation and started searching vehemently for parvathi
Then Manmadha cast magical arrows on Parvati also Shiva was very pleased with parvathi’s penance. He appeared before her,granted a boon and married her.
Kumaraswamy was born to Shiva and Parvathi . He became the commander of god’s army and annihilated Tarakasura. He then married Devasena devi, the daughter of Indra.
After helping all the gods Manmadha left to Sripura to serve goddess Lalita devi.