Sri Matre Namaha
Bisatantu-taniyasi – The One Hundred & Eleventh name in Lalitha Sahasranamam.
She who is as thin as the thread from lotus
bisatantu vat taniyasi (=atisayena krsakrtih)
who is as slender as the fiber of the lotus stalk.
Sri Bhaskaraya remarks that beginning with the name Kulamritaikarasika (no 90) to Bisatantutaniyasi (no 111), a special tantric method of awakening the kundalini power is explained. This is further elucidated by him with a quotation from Vamakesavara tantra.
She is like the minute fiber of a lotus stalk. This is the last of the namas that describe her subtlest form. She is like a young girl in the lower chakras as she makes sound in the muladhara chakra, gets dressed like a bride in the naval chakra and proceeds to meet her spouse Shiva in sahasrara. There are many references for this description. These descriptions ultimately point to the path of kundalini, the inner canal of the spinal cord which is extremely subtle and almost invisible. When kundalini ascends through this middle canal without any blocks or deviations, it shines like a lightning. Since it has such a potential power, it confers on the sadhaka certain siddhis before it reaches the crown chakra. If the sadhaka misuses such powers, he will not be able to realize the Brahman and also gets punished.
Though She has the burning desire to conjoin her spouse, She certainly knows how her power has been utilized by the sadhaka during her stay in various chakras of the sadhaka. She never forgets the duties allotted to her by Shiva. Possibly, the Vak Devis used two namas to indicate both her minute (this nama), and mahat (nama 109) forms, as otherwise there is not necessity for them to talk about anything else after describing her minutest kundalini form in a single word (nama 110). Narayana suktam says ‘it is like a slender bristle-like appendage found on the bracts of grasses of golden colour and brilliant…’. Possibly this nama could also mean the chitrini nadi, which is the central canal of the spinal cord through which kundalini ascends and descends. With this nama the description of Her kundalini form ends and from the next nama, the description of Her blessings begin.
This sentence reminds me of the lines in soundarya lahiri where she is considered to have a thin body.here it is:
Pariksheena madhye parinata-sarachandra-vadana;
Dhanur banan pasam srinim api dadhana karatalaii
Purastad astam noh Pura-mathitur aho-purushika.
With a golden belt,Adorned by tiny tingling bells,
Slightly bent by breasts like the two frontal globes
Of an elephant fine,With a thin pretty form,
And with a face like the autumn moon,Holding in her hands,
A bow of sugar cane , arrows made of flowers,
And the noose and goad,She who has the wonderful form,
Of the ego of the God who burnt the three cities,
Should please come and appear before us.
The magnificence of Devi is expressed through these slokas from the Saundarya Lahari wherein it is stated:
Jagathsuthe Dhatha Hariravathi Rudraha Kshapayathe;
Thiraskurvan Ethath Swamapi Vapureeshasthirayathi;
Sada Poorvaha Sarvam Thadidamanugrunhathi Cha Shivaha;
Thavajna Malambya Kshanachalithayor Bhrulathikayoho
“Brahma brings into manifestation the entire Universe; Hari (Vishnu) protects and sustains it; Rudra destroys it; and Isha (Maheshwara) absorbs all (deities and the entire Universe in involution) back into Himself and then merges into Sadashiva (the ultimate). When it is then time for a new cycle of creation to pour forth, Sadashiva, upon receiving permission from Devi by way of a subtle movement of Her creeper-like brows, blesses (i.e. brings forth and reinstates) these deities into activity (as they were in the previous cycle).”
Virinchihi Panchatvam Vrajathi Harirapnothi Virathim;
Vinasham Keenasho Bhajathi Dhanado Yathi Nidhanam;
Vithandree Maahendree Vithathirapi Sammeelithadrisha;
Mahasamharesmin Viharathi Sathi Tvathpathirasou
“Virinchi (Brahma) is reduced into elements; Hari (Vishnu) withdraws into a state of passivity; Kinasha ( Yama the god of death) brings death upon himself; Kubera (the god of wealth) dies; and Indra, together with all those who follow him, closes his eyes in destruction. O Sati, most chaste consort of Shiva, when this is the state of all beings upon the occurrence of total dissolution of the entire Universe, only Sadashiva, Thy Husband, is sporting.”
Here we are informed of the whole hearted faithfulness of Devi to Her husband, the indestructibility of Shiva, and the dominant role of Shakti in bringing forth the new creative cycle. At the beginning of creation, Adishakti evolves from the Supreme as the First and is known by the seed names of Rajarajeshwari (the reflection of Rajarajeshwara), Chidrupi Paradevatha, Lalitha Tripurasundari, Parameshwari (the Supreme Maya), and Maha Kundalini Devi. During the process of creation there is no dissolution, and during the process of dissolution there will be no creation. Adi Shakti assumes two forms, one during the command of creation and existence (Rajarajeshwari) and the second during the command of dissolution and non-existence (Durga). However, this is done without being divided into two! Rajarajeshwari is Durga – Durga is Rajarajeshwari.
“Durga,” in Sanskrit, means “Invincible.” The syllable “DU” is synonymous with the four demons of poverty, or daridra; suffering, or dukh; famine, or durbhiksha; and evil habits, or durvyasana. The “R” in Durga denotes diseases, or rogaghna, and “GA” represents sins, or papaghna (injustice, irreligion, cruelty, laziness, and other evil habits). Thus the Goddess Durga destroys all these evils, represented by DU, R, and GA. The worship of Durga has been popular since very ancient times. Lord Rama worshipped Mother Durga to attain victory over the demon King Ravana. The Mahabharata mentions that Arjuna worshiped Durga to obtain victory over the Kauravas. In Durga Sapthashathi, the most beloved scripture of Durga worshippers, She is mentioned by 108 names; thus She is all forms of the Divine Mother, or the Divine Mother Herself.
The origins of Durga are important to us, for they pertain to the glory and power of Adi Shakti. The following story reveals the status of Durga, She who was, from the very beginning, the source and essence of all forms. It is shown that by Her command, as the Shakti of Shiva, all is brought to pass. Her first appearance came in the very beginning, before creation had begun. It is said that Vishnu was sleeping and that during this yoga sleep the creator Brahma was created from Vishnu’s navel.
Brahma was not conscious of the purpose of his birth, so he was meditating on Lord Vishnu as he slept. At that time, from the dirt of the ear of Lord Vishnu, two powerful asuras (demons, or destructive negative powers) were born. These demons, Madhu and Kaitabha, ran towards Brahma to kill him. Brahma was not powerful enough to destroy the demons, so he prayed to Shakti, or Mahamaya – the power of supreme consciousness (Parabrahman). With this invocation, the Divine Mother appeared before Brahma and woke Lord Vishnu to expose the mischievous intention of Madhu and Kaitabha. Vishnu fought with those asuras for 5000 Divine years, but he could not destroy them. Then the Divine Mother enchanted the demons and made them say, “Vishnu we have had enough fighting with you. Ask us for a boon.” Being bound by their own words, they had to grant Vishnu the desired boon, whereupon Lord Vishnu took out his chakra and cut their heads off.
Another story reveals the nature of Durga as She who steps forward to respond when the witnessing of consciousness (Shiva) reveals that the Truth (Mother) is being eroded and is in decline. This story speaks of a powerful demon called Mahish, or Mahishasura, who had obtained the boon that he would never be killed by anyone but a beautiful woman. After obtaining the boon he became invincible, defeating and dethroning Indra, the Lord of Heaven. Mahish won all the three worlds and turned all the gods out of their abode in heaven. All the gods and sub-gods, accompanied by Brahma and Vishnu, went to Lord Shiva and told Him of Mahish’s cruelty and brutality. Upon hearing of Mahish’s misdeeds, Shiva became angry. He knew, however, that He was as helpless as all the other gods because of Mahish’s boon. Only the Divine Mother could bring an end to this terrible drama.
In His anger, Shiva produced a beam of light from His mouth and joined with this were rays of light from all the gods. From the mouth of angry Vishnu, Shiva, and Brahma, a large body of light was produced. At the same time, light issued from the body of other angry gods and amshas. In the end, all the radiance that came from gods and amshas was united and became one body of light. Its radiance spread in all directions and all the gods and amshas beheld a blazing ball of fire and radiance flaming with invincible vigour and power. This fire slowly converted itself into the form of the Goddess. Her face was formed from the radiance which came from the mouth of Lord Shiva. From the radiance of Ram came Her long dark hair, and from Vishnu’s radiance Her two arms were formed. From the Radiance of Indra, Her middle region was formed. Her thighs were produced by the radiance of Varuna (Lord of water) and Her Buttocks from the tejas of Prithvi (earth). From the radiance of Brahma, Her feet were created and Her toes from the radiance of sun. From the radiance of the Vasus (the guardian of eight directions) Her fingers were created and from the radiance of Kubera Her nose. The three eyes of the Goddess were produced from the radiance of three headed Agni (god of fire). Her ears were created from the radiance of Marut (lord of wind), and the rest of Her came from the radiance of Vishwakarma and other amshas.
All the gods provided Durga with powerful weapons. Shiva produced a trishul of His own trident and gave it to the Goddess. Vishnu produced a disk from his Chakra and presented it to Her. Varuna gave Her his conch. Pavan (Marut) gave Her the bow and arrow and Indra produced a Vajra (thunder bolt) from his own Vajra. Yama, the lord of death, gave Her a danda (sceptre) and Brahma gave his kamandalu (water pot). The sun god gave radiance to each and every pore of Her body and She received a sword and a shield from Kala (lord of Time). Vishwakarma presented Her with an axe and unbreakable armour. Thus did Durga become replete with all manner of weapons and decorations.
The Goddess made a sound that caused the three worlds to tremble and Mahishasura, hearing it, sent his commanders to destroy the newborn power. Chikshur, Chamar, Udagra, Mahahanu, Asilome, Vashikal, and Vidalaksh – all the great commanders of Mahishasura – came one by one with their armies to fight. All were killed by the Goddess, who was the Divine Mother Durga. After the death of all his powerful generals, Mahishasura himself came onto the battlefield and began to fight. Sometimes he fought as a buffalo, sometimes as a lion, and sometimes as an elephant. Sometimes he fought from the earth and other times he went up into space and fought from there. Then the Divine Mother stepped down from the lion and jumped on Mahishasura, beheading him and bringing an end to his reign of terror. His death created a wave of joy among the gods and they all worshipped Durga.
We must note here what these stories illustrate and what is true today. When the forces of darkness overwhelm the Divine force and Shiva witnesses that it is time for dissolution of evil, the Divine forces (all the gods), as witnesses within the three worlds, summon forth the Mother. They do so by projecting the rays of their combined light for Her Shakti to come forth. (This light from the above story represents the Shakti within each of the Divine forms of the gods which takes action as a result of the Will of the Witness, bringing forth the eternal form of the Goddess.) The Divine Mother, in Her form as Durga, issues forth from the Para-Bindu and asserts Herself in the battle of good and evil. It is here that Shiva, in His Divine Play, is calling for the re-creation of Durga, who issues forth in response to His witnessing of evil.
This story from Markandya Purana illustrates that Durga is the unified symbol of all Divine forces. She is produced from the radiance of all the gods: She is the essence in all and they are all present in Her. This unified force only manifests when the evil forces threaten the very existence of the Divine forces. Thus Durga represents a joint venture of Divine forces to destroy disharmony and establish harmony. Her birth is to establish the rule of Dharma (righteousness). Durga is accepted as the primordial Prakriti and Shakti in the Skanda Purana. In Bhavopanishad, She is praised as a Brahmarupini (one who is like Brahma). The Kurma Purana accepts Her as Nirguna Brahma (the Absolute God).