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Durga Saptashati

 

Sri Chandi is the Goddess who is the Patta Mahishi of Parabrahman. The word 'Chanda' hints at extraordinary traits and thus refers to the Parabrahman, who is extraordinary due to his complete independence w.r.t time and space. The word Chandi (arising from the Dhatu Chadi meaning anger) also refers to the fiery power of anger of the Brahman. The Sruti says, "mahadbhayaM vajramudyataM', wherein the word 'vajra' means not any weapon but the supreme Brahman. Thus, Chandi represents the Shakti of Brahman.

During the Purashcharana of Chandi Navakshari, many do not know Anga Krama prescribed by the Shastras. The following are the major Anga Vidyas for Navarna Mantra.

1. Bhuvaneshwari

2. Vagishwari

3. Chetani

4. Lakshmi

5. Kandarpa

6. Kamakala

7. Vighneshwara

8. Bija Varahi

9. Narasimha

10. Para Prasada

11. Sarvamangala Durga

12. Kalika

These are the Dwadasha Angas prescribed for Navarna mantra.

Chandi Aavarana Pooja has to be done before Purashcharana of Navakshari or Saptashati Mala mantra. The Chandika Chakra is constructed by drawing an eight-petalled lotus with a Shatkona (six-pointed star) in its center. The first three Bijas of the Navarna mantra are written in the center of the Shatkona. The rest of the Bijas are written in the Shatkona starting from the east. The Bijas should be written in a clockwise pattern, from right to the left. It should be noted that during Akshara Nyasa and Yantra lekhana, all letters should be used along with the Bindu. One may perform a minimum of 4 lakhs of Japa and then perform dashamsha homa with Payasanna. The other method for Purashcharana is to start the Japa from the Agni Tithi (Pratipat) of Ashwayuja and chant 9 lakhs of the mantra till Ashtami. This is done in the Shukla Paksha of the month. On the Navami day, dashamsha Homa (adding Swaha at the end of the mantra), dashamsha Tarpana (adding 'Chandika Tripyatu' at the end of the mantra) and Dashamsha Brahmana Bhojana are to be done. By this, one obtains the Siddhi of the mantra and grace of Sri Chandika Parameshwari.

Samputa Nirnaya - The standard procedure for Samputikarana is to chant Navakshari as per one's Sankalpa (1000, 10,000, 1,00,100 etc.) and then chant Saptashati. It is sufficient to chant Navakshari 108 times after the Parayana of Saptashati.

The Stotra is called Saptashati because of 700 Shlokas, is what is understood commonly. This number is not very consistent when various Bhaga Kramas in works like Damara Tantra, Katyayani Tantra, Haragauri Tantra, Lakshmi Tantra, Maricha Kalpa etc are referred. Some call the Stotra Saptashati considering the set: Kavacha, Argala, Kilaka, Moola Stotra, Rahasya Traya, which amount to 7. Because 'sha' and 'sa' are interchangeable, Saptashati also refers to Saptasati - the glory of the seven Satis or Shaktis. The seven deities referred to here are: Mahakali, Mahalakshmi, Mahasaraswati, Rudra, Vishnu, Brahma and Turiya (Adya Bhuvaneshwari, who created the rest). According to some others, the seven deities referred to are: Nandaja, Raktadantika, Shatakshi, Shakambhari, Durga, Bhima and Bhramari. The mantras of these deities are revealed in Saptashati. Some consider Kavacha, Argala and Kilaka as a part of Saptashati and come up with 700 Shlokas. But this is incorrect because it is said, "japet saptashatIM chaNDIM kR^itvA tu kavachaM purA' - indicating that the number is to be arrived at without considering Kavacha as a part of the actual Mala. Going by Sri Gaudapadacharya's words (kavachaM bIjamAdiShTamargalA shaktitichyate | kIlakaM kIlanaM prAhuH saptashatyA mahAmanoH), Kavacha, Argala and Kilaka are the Bija, Shakti and Kilaka of the Mala mantra, which in turn is an indication of their absolute importance.

As per the Sutra - 'kalu chaNDI vinaayakau', by chanting Saptashati with devotion, after having obtained initiation from the Guru and having learnt the proper Parayana Krama, a Sadhaka obtains the four Purusharthas. Varahi Tantra says that in the age of Kali, most Stotras are cursed by Parashurama and hence are ineffective. While listing the ones which are free from this curse and hence suitable during Kali, it is said, 'Gita of the Bhishma Parva, Vishnu Sahasranama of Mahabharata and Chandika Saptashati' are free from all Doshas and grant fruits immediately in Kali Yuga. Shapoddhara and Utkilana procedures are followed for Chandi owing to Bhargava and Shiva Shapas.

As for the way it is to be recited:

yaavanna pUryate.adhyAyastaavanna virametpathan |
yadi pramaadaadadhyaaye viraamo bhavati priye ||
punaradhyaayamaarabhya paThetsarvaM muhurmuhuH |
anukramAtpaThedeva shiraHkampaadikaM tyajet ||
na maanasaM paThetstotraM vAchikaM tu prashasyate |
na swayaM likhitaM stotraM nAbrAhmaNalipiM paThet ||
AdhAre sthApayitvA tu pustakaM vAchayettataH |
hastasaMsthaapanAdeva bhavedardhaphalaM dhruvam || - Varahi Tantra

1. Before completing a chapter fully, one should not get up from the Asana or relax.

2. If for some reason one needs to break before the completion of an Adhyaya, the chapter has to be recited again from the beginning.

3. One should not indulge in activities like shaking the head etc. while reciting.

4. The Stotra should be chanted aloud and not mentally.

5. One should not recite the Stotra from his own handwritten copy or from a copy written by a non - Brahmana.

6. One should not hold the book in the hand and recite but instead should place the book on an AdhAra. The various kinds of AdhAras prescribed for Parayana may be learnt from Kalpavalli and other sources.

Most sources ban the recitation without the usage of a book. But Sri Bhaskaracharya (Bhasuranandanatha) objects to this injunction. According to him (and also other authorities like Kameshwara Suri), for recitation less than a 1000, one may recite even without a book. Varahi Tantra is the Pramana for this statement. It is permissible to learn the Stotra by heart and recite the same with folded hands, without using a book. The same is suggested by the verse in VaikR^itika Rahasya - tataH kR^itaa~njalipuTaH stuvIta charitairimaiH.

One may perform Prayogas only after the Purascharana is complete and permission to do so is granted by Sri Guru. One should recite Saptashati thrice to get rid of calamities, five times to overcome Grahadosha and seven times in times of great danger. One obtains all Siddhis and obtains Tadatmya with Sridevi by reciting it one hundred times. The recitation of Chandi in Srishti, Sthiti or Samhara karmas depends on Kamanabheda and the procedures for the same have to be learnt from the Guru. The Keralites follow the Nitya Chandi procedure as per the Sutra - 'paTho.ayaM viprakAraH', chanting 1, 2, 1, 4, 2, 1 and 2 chapters per day. Thus, one complete recitation is completed in a week. It is best to start such a recitation on a Sunday and complete it on a Saturday. However, it should be noted that once Samkalpa is done on the first day, for no reason the recitation should be stopped for the next six days.

1. By reciting Navarna mantra at the beginning and end of every Shloka, mantra Siddhi is obtained fast. This is also the Sanjivini Krama prescribed for Saptashati Mala mantra.

2. To obtain Siddhi of the mantra, one may chant with the Anuloma - Viloma Samputa of each Shloka with Pranava and the three Vyahritis.

3. To obtain all desires, one should chant 'Jatavedasa' Rik at the beginning and end of each Shloka.

4. To escape from incurable diseases and get rid of Apamrityu, one should recite Tryambaka mantra at the beginning and end of each Shloka.

5. For the fast accomplishment of desired activity, one should chant the Shloka 'sharaNAgata dInArti paritrANa parAyaNE' (11/11) at the beginning and end of each Shloka.

6. For obtaining auspicious results, one should chant the Shloka ' evaM devyA varaM labdhvA' (17 / 13) at the beginning and end of each Shloka.

7. For warding off evils, enemies and danger, one should chant the Shloka 'durge smR^itA harasi' (4 / 16) at the beginning and end of each Shloka.

8. One may recite these Shlokas individually 100, 1000, 10,000 or 1,00,000 times to obtain the above said results.

9. By chanting the Shloka 'sarvAbAdhAprashamanaM' (11 / 36), one is freed from all troubles.

10. By chanting the Shloka 'itthaM yadA yadA bAdhA' (11 / 50), one is freed from epidemics like Mahamari.

11. By following the procedures of Durga Dipadana and chanting the Shloka ' Hinasti daitya tejaamsi' (11/26) accompanied with the ringing of the bell (ghaNTA vAdana), all evil spirits are destroyed.

12. By chanting the Shloka 'rogAnasheShan' (11 / 28), one gets rid of even incurable diseases.

13. The Dwadashottarashatakshari Vidya (4 / 29 - bhagavtyA kR^itaM sarvaM) is an infinitely powerful mantra by reciting which one is blessed with auspiciousness, cured of diseases and is able to escape from all dangers.

14. By reciting the Shloka 'Devi prapannaartihare prasIda' (11 / 2), one escapes from all calamities.

15. One should recite Narayani Stuti, peforming Namaskaras in front of Durga Dipa to obtain the desired results quickly.

16. The best procedure is to perform Nishkama Japa of Saptashati, which pleases Sridevi more than any other procedure.

|| bhava shankara deshika me sharaNam ||