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Devi Bhavani: The violent yet merciful aspect of Parvati




Bhavani is a ferocious aspect of the Hindu goddess Parvati. Bhavani means “giver of life”, the power of nature or the source of creative energy. In addition to her ferocious aspect, she is also known as Karunaswaroopini, “filled with mercy”.

Bhavani was the tutelary deity of the Maratha leader Shivaji, to whom she presented a sword. A temple to Bhavani at Tuljapur in Maharashtra, dates back to the 12th century. The temple contains a meter-high granite icon of the goddess, with eight arms holding weapons. She also holds the head of the demon Mahishasura, whom she slew in the region which is the present day Mysore.

Legend has it that a demon by name Matanga wreaked havoc upon the devas and the humans who approached Brahma for help and upon his advice turned to the Mother Goddess Shakti, who took up the form of the destroyer, and powered by the other (Sapta) Maataas Varaahi, Bhrahmi, Vaishnavi, Kaumaari, Indraani and Saambhavi and vanquished him for peace to reign again.

Bhavani also vanquished another demon who had taken the form of a wild buffalo (Mahishasura), and took abode on the Yamunachala hill, which is now home to the temple.

The Goddess Bhavani has eight arms in which she holds weapons and the head of the slain demon. The lowermost right hand holds a trident, the next one holds a dagger, above this an arrow and the uppermost right hand wields the chakra. The uppermost left hand holds a shankh, next one a bow, the third one carries a bowl and the lower most left band holds the granny knot of bare on the head of the asur. The right leg of Goddess Bhavani is planted firmly on the body of Mahishasur and left one is on the ground. Between these two legs, the head of the asur is gripped by lower left arm. The Vahana of Goddess Bhavani is a Lion and on the backrest carved the sun and the moon on left and right sides of the Devi.

According to Adi Shankaracharya, devotees who recite Bhavani’s name everyday with true devotion, will not acquire sorrow, illness, unexpected death. Bhavani is the goddess invoked by women in labor. The ritual was to burn perfume in her honor. As Mother, Bhavani overseas the welfare of women and her children. 




Bhavani Stuti by Adi Shankaracharya

 

 तातो  माता  बन्धुर्न दाता 
 पुत्रो  पुत्री  भृत्यो  भर्ता 
 जाया  विद्या  वृत्तिर्ममैव 
गतिस्त्वं गतिस्त्वं त्वमेका भवानि ॥१॥

Neither the mother nor the father,
Neither the relation nor the friend,
Neither the son nor the daughter,
Neither the servant nor the husband,
Neither the wife nor the knowledge,
And neither my sole occupation,
Are my refuges that I can depend, Oh, Bhavani,
So you are my refuge and my only refuge, Bhavani.

भवाब्धावपारे महादुःखभीरु 
पपात प्रकामी प्रलोभी प्रमत्तः 
कुसंसारपाशप्रबद्धः सदाहं 
गतिस्त्वं गतिस्त्वं त्वमेका भवानि ॥२॥

I am in this ocean of birth and death,
I am a coward, who dare not face sorrow,
I am filled with lust and sin,
I am filled with greed and desire,
And tied I am, by the this useless life that I lead,
So you are my refuge and my only refuge, Bhavani.

 जानामि दानं   ध्यानयोगं 
 जानामि तन्त्रं   स्तोत्रमन्त्रम् 
 जानामि पूजां   न्यासयोगं 
गतिस्त्वं गतिस्त्वं त्वमेका भवानि ॥३॥

Neither do I know how to give,
Nor do I know how to meditate,
Neither do I know Tantra,
Nor do I know stanzas of prayer,
Neither do I know how to worship,
Nor do I know the art of yoga,
So you are my refuge and my only refuge, Bhavani

 जानामि पुण्यं  जानामि तीर्थ 
 जानामि मुक्तिं लयं वा कदाचित् 
 जानामि भक्तिं व्रतं वापि मातर्गतिस्त्वं 
गतिस्त्वं त्वमेका भवानि ॥४॥

Know I not how to be righteous,
Know I not the way to the places sacred,
Know I not methods of salvation,
Know I not how to merge my mind with God,
Know I not the art of devotion,
Know I not how to practice austerities, Oh, mother,
So you are my refuge and my only refuge, Bhavani

कुकर्मी कुसङ्गी कुबुद्धिः कुदासः 
कुलाचारहीनः कदाचारलीनः 
कुदृष्टिः कुवाक्यप्रबन्धः सदाहं 
गतिस्त्वं गतिस्त्वं त्वमेका भवानि ॥५॥

I perform bad actions,
I keep company of bad ones,
I think bad and sinful thoughts,
I serve bad masters,
I belong to a bad family,
Immersed I am in sinful acts,
I see with bad intentions,
Write I collection of bad words,
Always and always,
So you are my refuge and my only refuge, Bhavani.

प्रजेशं रमेशं महेशं सुरेशं 
दिनेशं निशीथेश्वरं वा कदाचित् 
 जानामि चान्यत् सदाहं शरण्ये 
गतिस्त्वं गतिस्त्वं त्वमेका भवानि ॥६॥

Neither Do I know the creator,
Nor the Lord of Lakshmi,
Neither do I know the lord of all,
Nor do I know the lord of devas,
Neither do I know the God who makes the day,
Nor the God who rules at night,
Neither do I know any other Gods,
Oh, Goddess to whom I bow always,
So you are my refuge and my only refuge, Bhavani

विवादे विषादे प्रमादे प्रवासे 
जले चानले पर्वते शत्रुमध्ये 
अरण्ये शरण्ये सदा मां प्रपाहि 
गतिस्त्वं गतिस्त्वं त्वमेका भवानि ॥७॥

While I am in a heated argument,
While I am immersed in sorrow,
While I am suffering an accident,
While I am travelling far off,
While I am in water or fire,
While I am on the top of a mountain,
While I am surrounded by enemies,
And while I am in a deep forest,
Oh Goddess, I always bow before thee,
So you are my refuge and my only refuge, Bhavani

अनाथो दरिद्रो जरारोगयुक्तो 
महाक्षीणदीनः सदा जाड्यवक्त्रः 
विपत्तौ प्रविष्टः प्रनष्टः सदाहं 
गतिस्त्वं गतिस्त्वं त्वमेका भवानि ॥८॥

While being an orphan,
While being extremely poor,
While affected by disease of old age,
While I am terribly tired,
While I am in a pitiable state,
While I am being swallowed by problems,
And while I suffer serious dangers,
I always bow before thee,
So you are my refuge and only refuge, Bhavani
~ Artist:  Ashit and Hema Desai

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