Sakti ‘Rupas’ (Images) during Manvantaras

Variations of Primordial Shakti appeared during the tenures of successive Manu Periods as related to interesting happenings. The first Manu Svayambhu meditated hundred years to Adi Shakti by means of ‘Vakbhava Mantra’, given to him by Brahma. She appeared, blessed and disappeared towards the direction of Vindhya mountain and took the image of Vindhya Vasini to bless the people around. Sage Narada visited the King Vindyadri and sowed seeds of jealousy in the King’s mind as quite a few other mountains were far more popular than the Vindhyas, especially Meru the biggest and tallest, which had the privilege of Suryadeva circumambulating the Sumeru as a major land-mark for facilitating time, days and nights, months, years and so on. Out of extreme envy, Vindhya Raja grew up and up to surpass the height of Sumeru and thus the routine track of Sun God was terminated and He had to change His course leaving half of the Universe as dark. As there was utter chaos and disorder, Devas, Indra and Brahma visited Vishnu, who in turn sought the advice of Praktritk Maya and accordingly, despached Agastya Muni from Varanasi to Vindhyas.The King of the Mountain reverentially bent to reach the feet of the Muni and Agasthya asked Vindya raja not to get up till he returned from Southern Bharat. Agasthya had not returned to cross Vindhyas as the Mountain continues to be bent still. During the reign of the second Manu Sarvochisa, there was the appearance of Goddess Taruni Jagadhatri, whose blessings made the Period completely foe-less. Similarly the second and third Manus-Uttama and Tamas- too secured the blessings of Devi Bhagavati not only to reign peacefully but to maintain the line of succession. In fact, Tamasa Manu conducted Nava Rathras during Spring and Autumn Seasons dutifully and Goddess Devesi blessed the Manu and his Subjects. The fifth Manu, the younger brother of the previous, named Raivata deeply meditated Kama Devi and attained Siddhis for himself as also to several of his Subjects. The Sixth Manu Chakshusa prayed to Vakbhava Devi or the Goddess Sarasvati who nodoubt appeared before the First Manu, but the current Manu declared Her as Manu Clan’s Goddess and prayed to Her thrice a day as also encouraged his Subjects to worship, build temples, hold regular Pujas and Spiritual Congregations and so on. The Seventh Manu Vaivasvata Sraddha Deva too practised austerities and secured full blessings of Devi Bhagavati. The Eighth Manu, Savarni, was the illustrious son of Surya Deva and had the knowledge of previous births; in his immediate last birth he was King Suratha and was a great devotee of Devi Maha Maya. He was quite accomplished as an erudite, art-loving and virtuous King but his Ministers conspired and allowed enemies to gain his Kingdom. Suratha reached Sage Sumedha’s hermitage and scenting the King’s previous background, the Sage taught him how to practise Maha Maya’s devotion. Sumedha described the evil deeds of the demon brothers Madhu and Kaitabha who were born from Vishnu’s ear-wax, secured Maha Maya’s boons of Voluntary Death or ‘Svachhanda Maranam’; were puffed up by arrogance challenged Brahma to fight; the latter ran for help to Vishnu who was in Yoga Nidra at that time of Pralay, but was woken up by Tamasi Bhagavati, Vishnu fought the Demon brothers but in vain. Maha Bhagavati gave a plan to Vishnu to give boons to the Demons so that they would say that they would give boons instead to Vishnu; the Demons fell in the trap; Vishnu asked them to give the boon of their death, they agreed to be killed provided there was any space left dry at Pralaya when there was no dry space at all; but Vishnu expanded His thigh-space to kill the demons finally, thanks to Maha Maya who stage managed Vishnu’s victory. Similarly, Sage Sumedha described the Stories of Mahishasura and Sumbha and Nisumbha and finally King Suratha was blessed by Maha Bhagavati to reappear as the Manu Savarni now.

Very interestingly, after the eighth Manu Savarni, his predecessor the seventh Manu Vaivasvata’s six sons all became sucsessive Manus from the Ninth to Fourteen, thus virtually dominating the clan of Manus; they were Kasura, Prisadra, Nabhaga, Dista, Savyati and Trisanku! They were all very virtuous and spiritual and practised Tapasya only by drinking water, breathing air and the smoke of fire for twelve years and chanting the Vakbhava Mantra which all of the previous Manus did. Finally, Devi Bhagavati appeared in the form of Bhramari Devi granted their boons to become invincible, excellent Kings, fathers of many sons, and famous all over. Devi Bhramaramba also blessed them as an additional boon of becoming Manus one after another! They became Daksha Svavarni, Meru Savarni, Surya Savarani, Chandra Savarini, Rudra Savarani and Vishnu Savarni.An extremely vicious Demon, named Aruna was actually responsible for innumerable atrocities all over the Universe as he was given the boons of deathlessness from wars, men, women, animals or reptiles or Devas. As Brahma granted the wishes, the Demon Aruna tormented one and all and pushed out Devas from their Seats of Power. Lords Brahma,Vishnu and Maha Deva became insufficient to subdue the Daitya. A Celestial Voice was heard that Aruna would continue to be invincible as long as the Demon would recite Gayatri Mantra; Brihaspati was sent to the Demon’s abode to prevent reciting the Gayatri Mantra and he did so by arguing with Aruna that Gayatri was indeed a typical Deva Mantra commended by Vedas-the Enemy Scriptures- better be avoided for there are many other praises to Almighty through the proven means of Sacrifices instead of following the Deva’s way. Fully convinced, Aruna Demon stopped reciting Gayatri Mantra. That was the auspicious time when Maha Devi appeared as Bhramara Devi with attracting crores of black bees, aptly named as Bhramara Devi, who nipped the Demon’s neck with least resistance. The Devas had no bounds of joy and relief and prayed to Her with reverence and devotion that She was the ‘Kutastha Chaitanya’ or the Immovable and Everlasting Super Consciousness, the least disturbed by but actively involved in the processes of ‘Srishti’ (Creation), ‘Stithi’ (Existence) and ‘Laya’(Destruction); She was Kalika, Sarasvati, UgraTara, Madoghra, Bhairavi, Tripura Sundari, Matangi, Dhoomavati, Sakambhari, Chhinnamasta, Destroyer of countless Demons and saviour of Trinity, Indra and Devas, and Sages, Maharshis, Rajarshis and the entire Universe always.

Sri V.D.N.Rao and Shri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham presents the Essence of Puranas in English, condensed by Sri. V.D.N.Rao, devotee of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam. Compiled, Composed and Interpreted by V.D.N.Rao, Former General Manager, India Trade Promotion Organisation, Pragati Maidan, New Delhi Ministry of Commerce, Govt. of India The author can be contacted at