Ganesha playful materialised a Purusha from that heap. Ganesha was delighted at his Creation and embraced the Purusha. He advised him to worship Maha Deva so that he could grant Siddhis to him; Ganesha gave the instruction of ‘Shata Rudreeya’ and the Purusha recited hundred times and sought Shiva’s boons; the boon was that half of his enemy’s Shakti should be dissipated while he faced them and that the Astra-Shastras of the enemy should become futile; the boon further assured that he should enjoy his privileges for sixty thousand years! As Brahma learnt of the purport of the boon he stated out of desperation : Bhand! Bhand! why was this boon was granted! Eversince the Purusha came to becalled as Bhandasura. Bhanda became a terror to the Universe and Asura Guru Shukra gradually honed his battle skills. He called up Mayasura and made him construct another Amaravati and declared himself as Indra. He acquired a Kireeta which was gifted to Hiranyakashipu by Brahma. Shukra gave him an Umbrella given to him by Brahma and he was never bothered him by disease or fatigue. Thus Bhanda became an Apara Indra with all the fanfare of Indraloka. Bhanda had eight warrior sons and four daughters. Eventually, Indra and Devatas became subservient to Bhanda. Being a staunch devotee of Maha Deva, his progeny too adopted the father’s qualities; his sons were Indra Shatru, Amitraghna, Vidyunmaali, Vibhishana, Ugrakarma, Ugradhanvu, Vijaya and Shritiparaga. There were regular Yagna Karyas and the Havya bhoktas were Bhanda and his followers! Vedaadhyayana was common in the houses of common Asuras of Bhandasura’s households.
Bhanda’s grandeur was ever growing for sixty thousand years but gradually, the spendour slackened and his virtuosity too commenced to wane. That was the time that Vishnu was waiting for as Indra was almost on a breaking point; a Loka Mohini Maya was created with the mission of enticing Bhandasura and also despatched a few Apsaras led by Vishvachi to attract Bhanda’s key persons in the Court and the Sacred deeds like Yagnas were affected; Vedas were forgottten and Shiva’s worship took a backseat.Guru Shukracharya’s cautions were ignored and thrown to winds. Sage Narada then took up the mission of reviving the self-confidence of Devas who were dormant in their spirits and self-assurance so far; he prompted Devas to virtually wake up and worship Parashakti. Infused by Narada’s sermons, Devas were activated and got refreshed with enthusiasm and reinforcement of devotion to Devi Parvati.While Bhanda’s advisers, army and Praja were gradually sinking in moral turpitude, Devas came to enjoy confidence and morale boost-up. Guru Shukracharya warned Bhanda and his men that Vishnu did lasting and irrevocable damage by spreading Maya and inciting them into fast slippages of their erstwhile demeanor of excellence. On realising their mistakes, Bhanda made last-dig amends by reviving Shiva Puja, Homas and Vedadhyanas, but alas his efforts lost the punch and determintaion.
Lalitodbhavana, Stuti by Devas and Wedding with Shiva : Devas were engaged in collective and continuous efforts of Yagnas and homas. On one glorious day, Indra and Devas witnessed a huge illumination from the ‘Mahaagni Kunda’ within a circular shaped radiance a profile of a Devi fully ornamened and bright silk dressed with four hands with a Paasha, Ankusha, a Sugarcane bow and five arrows with a smile beaming on her face appeared. Devas were in bliss to witness that Supreme Vision and commended her. As Lalita Devi gave her appearance, Brahma arrived along with Maharshis and so did Vishnu by his Garuda Vahana. Shiva also arrived by his Vrisha Vahana. Narada and Devarshis, Gandharvas, Apsaraas too reached there and Vishwakarma was asked to build a suitable Nagari to accommodate several visiting dignitaries including the Mantraadhi Devata Devi Durga, Vidyadhi Devata Shyama and Ambika. Sapta Matru Devatas viz. Braahmi, Kaumari, Vaishnavi, Vaaraahi, Indraani, and Chamunda came as also Ashta Siddhi Devatas viz. Anima, Mahima, Garima, Laghima, Praapti, Praakaamya, Ishitwa and Vasitwa. Crores of Yoginis made a bee-line too. Bhairavas, Kshetra palakas, Maha Saasta, Ganeswara, Skanda, Veerabhadra were there to readily serve Devi. Brahma then proposed to Hari that this was the opportune time to perform the Sacred Wedding of Devi Lalita and Maha Deva. With mutual consent, the wedding was celebrated under the auspices of Vishnu the brother of Lalita Devi. The latter gifted to her an arrow of never fading fragrant flowers; Varuna Deva gave a Naaga Paasha, Vishwakarma gave an ‘Ankusha’; Agni gave a ‘Kireeta’; Chandra Suryas gave her sparkling ear-studs; Ratnaakara Samudra gifted a variety of Ornaments; Devendra gave an ‘Akshya Madhu Patra’ or a Vessel containing eversasting ‘Madhu’; Kubera rewarded a Priceless Chintamani necklace; Ganga and Yamunas gave Vinjaamaras or hand fans; Indra and Devatas, Dikpalakas, Marud Ganas, Sadhyas, Gandharvas, Pramathaganas were delighted to hand over therir respective weapons to Lalitha Devi. Then Maheswara and Maheswaris were given a ‘Vedokta Mantraabhisheka’. As both of them were seated on a Golden Throne, Brahma named Lalita Devi as Kameshwari or Kamakshi. As the whole Universe was thus replete with joy, excitement and anticipation the Bhandasura would soon be eliminated, Sage Narada prostrated and made a formal request to launch the Vijaya Sena Yatra or the Victory March to kill Bhandasura.
Lalitha Devi’s Vijaya Yatra and Bhandasura Vadha: The Victory March commenced with sky-reaching reverberations of ‘Vaadyas’ or sound instruments of Mridangas, Murajas, Patahas, Jhallaris, Hundukas, Gomukhas, Barbaras, Hunkaaras and so on. From Lalita’s Ankusha emerged Sampatkari Devi who alighted an Elephant called ‘Rana Kolahala’who in turn materialised countless elephants. From Lalita Devis’s Pashaayudha were materialised innumerable horses of varied descriptions like Vanayjas, Kambhojaas, Sindhujas, Tankanas, Parvateeyas, Paaraseekas, Kaala vandijas, Yavanobhutas and Gandharvas. Armed by her various hands, Lalita sat on a horse back even when Dandanatha or Senapati named Shrinatha led her army while the former in turn created several Chandi Shaktis seated on Mahishas / buffaloes or Lions; in fact, the Stree Shaktis created for the occasion were twelve in number viz. Panchami, Dandanaatha, Sanketa, Samayeswari, Samaya Sanketa, Vaaraahi, Potrini, Vaartaali, Maha Sena, Agjna, Chakrewsari, and Arighna. Besides, there were sixteen Mantra Nayikas named Sangeeta Yogini, Shyama, Shyamala, Mantranayika, Mantrini, Sachiveshi, Pradhaanesi, Shukapriya, Veenavati, Vainiki, Mudrini, Priyakapriya, Neepapriya, Kadambesi, Kadambavanavaasini and Sadaamada. Meanwhile, a Figure representing Dhanur Veda with four hands, three heads and three eyes gifted a Dhanush (Bow) and two containers full of Arrows to Jagadamba saying these would be useful to fight Bhandasura.Hahagriva then described Parameswari with the following Pancha Vimshati Naamaas viz. Shri Lalitha, Maha Raagni, Paraamkusha, Chaapini, Tripura, Maha Tripura Sundari, Sundari, Chakranatha, Saamraajni, Chakrini, Chakreswari, Maha Devi; Kameshi, Parameshwari, Kamaraga Priya, Kaama koti, Chakravarti, Maha Vidya, Shiva, Ananga Vallabha, Sarva Paaatala; Kulanatha, Amnaaya naaatha, Sarvaamnaya Natha, Sarvamnayna Nivasini and Shringrara Nayika; reciting these names of Lalita Parameshwari would bestow name and prosperity.
Tri Ratha Varnana: Ahead of Laliteswari’s chariot called Kiri Chakra Ratha, were the Geya
Chakra Ratha and Geeti Chakra Ratha. The Nine-Storyed front-running Chariot that moved towards Bhandaasura had huge contingents of Shaktis and these were Ashta Siddhis and Matrikas afore-detailed and Prakata Shaktis viz. Sarva Sankshobhini, Sarva Vidraavini, Sarvaakarshanakrunmudra, Sarva Vashankari, Sarovanmadana Mudra, Yashti, Sarva Mahaankusha, Sarva khastra charikaa Mudra, Sarva Beejaa, Sarva Yoni, and Sarvatrikhandika. Also there were sixteen Chandra Kalaa Shaktis named Kaamaakarshi Kalaa, Budhyaakarshini Kalaa, Ahankaaraakarshini Kalaa, Sabdaakarshini Kalaa; Gandhaakarshini Kalaa, Chittaakarshini Kalaa, Dhairyaakarshini Kalaa, Smrityaarshanika Kalaa, Naamaakashinikaa Kalaa, Beejaakarshinikaa Kalaa, Atmaakarshinikaa Kalaa, Amritaakarshinikaa Kalaa and Shareeraakarshinika Kalaa. On the eighth Storey of the Chariot, are four armed and three eyed of the radiance of Surya Chandra and are charged with high emotions to kill Bhandasura. On the seventh Storey were Stree Shaktis like Ananga Madana, Ananga Madanaaturaa, Anangalebhaa, Ananga Vegaa, Anangaankusa, and Anangaalingapara all of whom were anxiously waiting to terminate Bhandaasura. On the sixth storey of the Chakra raja Ratha are like Kaalaagni and they possessed Agni Baana, Agni Dhanu, Agni Khadga who were all materialised from the Kaamaagni Shaktis and their names were Sarva Sankshobhini, Sava Vidraarini, Sarva -akarshana, Sarvaahlaadani, Sarva sammohihi, Sarvastambhana, Sarvjrumbhana, Sarvonmaadana and Sarva Dwandwaksha -yankari. On the fifth Storey were ‘Kulotteernas’ who had crooked eye-brows and carriers of Parashu, Paasha, Gada, Ghanta, and Manis. These Stree Shaktis were Sarva Siddhiprada, Sarva Sampadprada, Sarva Priyankara, Sarvanga Sundari, and Sarva Soubhyagyadayani; these were basically the boon-bestowing and merciful Devatas. The fourth Storey Devatas were ten in number viz. Sarvajna, Sarva Shakti, Sarvaish -warya prada, Sarva Sarva Jnaanamayi, Sarva Vyadhi Nivaasini, Sarvaadhaara Swarupa, Sarvaahapara, Sarvanandamayi, Sarva Rakshaa Swarupini and Sarvepsita phala pradayaini. The third Storey Shaktis Vaagadheeswaris, and Veenaa-Pustaka Dharinis called Vashini, Kaameshini, Bhogini, Vimala, Aruna, Javini, Sarveshi, and Kaalini; these were all Rakshasa Samhara kaarinis. The Shaktis in the second Storey of the Chariot are as powerful as Lalitaa herself and were very close to her and were equally armed like Lalita herself and they were always ready to help, protect and be of forgiving nature! These magnanimous Shaktis were called Kameshi, Bhaga, Nityaklinna, Bherunda, Vahnivaasini, Maha Vajreswari, Dati Twarita, Kula Sundari, Nityaa, Nilapaakaa, Vijaya, Sarva Mangala, Jwaalaamaalini and Chitra. Such was the magnificent presence of Maha Shaktis accommodated in the Chariot . Similarly Shaktis in the Geya Chakra Ratha Prathama Madhya or the central portion of the first Storey was Sangeeta Yogini who was very intimate to Sri Devi and was the Residence of Mantrinis.Other storeys of the Ratha too were similarly brilliant with other Shaktis. The front chariot was of ten yojana’s height; the accompanying Geeti Chakra Ratha had a height of seven yojanas and that of Kiri Chakra Ratha was of six yojanas in which Laliteswari was sitting brilliantly.
Preamble to Dev’s battle with Bhandasura: As the Three Chariots were on the move, Rakshasas were mortally frightened and there were deadly omens to them while Devi’s entourages were in top spirits anticipating emphatic Victory. The fool hardy Bhandasura was bragging away as in a dream world that a woman called Lalitha was coming to fight who nodoubt was stated to be beautiful and graceful and that instead of encountering in a battle he would like to invite her to a private encounter!! Ha ha! Bhanda’s younger brothers Vishukra and Vishanga were the World’s most dreaded and terrifying warriors and the erstwhile devotees of Maha Deva who only knew how to subdue and conquer and were unaware of fear or surrender. As Bhanda was in the fancyand romantic world, the brothers tigthtened the screws and bolts of the chatiots and charioteers. The Great Rakshasa warriors who frightented Devas and kept on them leash as they woud to slaves were so strong that each of them were able to make a multitude of Devas demoralised for a very very long sixty thousand years of Bhandasura’s unchallenged sovereignty aided by thousands of Akshouhinis of unique strengh and of Mastery of Crookedness and Maya! Such powerful Rakshasas uprooted Indra, created a fresh Swarga with modern facilities, controlled Lokapalakas, PanchaBhutas, Tri Murtis, and finally approached a Woman to lead! The Rakshasa warriors included Kutilaaksha, Durmnada kuranda, Karanka, Kaalavaasita, Vajradanta, Vajramukha, Vajraloma, Vikata, Vikataasana, Karaalaaksha, Karkataka, Dirgha Jihva, Humbaka, Karkasha, Pulkasa, Pundraketu, Jrumbhakaaksha, Tikshna shringa, Yamantaka, Atimaya, Ulukajitat, Kujvilaashwya, Attahasa, Mushaka, and Kumbhotkacha.
Bhandasura’s Associates exterminated: Lalitha Devi sounded her ‘Pataka Dhwani’ or the Sound of The Fluttering Flag as a mark of attack and Bhandasura responded with his ‘dundhibhis’ or war drums which deafened the Three Worlds. As a trail exercise, Kutilaksha commenced the Operation with ten lakh Akshouhinis and Sampadkari Devi attacked Durmada and in the first round there were casualities with an edge to Durmada. Sampakari showed her red eyes and in no time the Stree Shaktis extinguished the well trained oppposition and even before the re-fill arrived Durmada was killed. Kutilaksha shouted on Sapatkari and said that there was no great reason to celebrate the initial sacrifice which normally assessed the depth of the opposition; so saying, Kutilaksha attacked by a horseback appearing once in the Raksasha camp and suddenly opposite the Devi’s camp; while on one side, Kutilaksha and Samvasraswati were grappled with each other, Kuranda faced Samatkari.The latter put up such an encounter that the rapidity of each other’s arrows covered up Surya and the clash of their Astras provided illumination to periodically dispel darkness! Finally, Kuranda fell and Bhandasura realised the Shaktis meant business! Karanka and five Daitya Senapatis were then despatched who created a ‘Rana Maya’called Sarpini which created poisonous flames and showered serpents but Nakuleshwari Shakti utilised Garudaastra and also showered Mongooses. As Karanka and five other Senapatis were destroyed, Bhandasura and Kutilaksha instructed Seven more Senapatis to face the attack from the side of Devi; these Senapatis were all born to Rakshasi Keekasa (born of Bones) and were named Baalaka, Soochi Mukha, Phaalamukha, Vikarna, Vikataanana, Karaalaayu and Karataka.The Sapta Senapatis were asked to proceed with three hundred Akshouhinis of army to attack Lalita Devi directly. But the invincible Shaktis displayed their penchant for blood-drinking and apart from the Sapta Senapatis the massive army was destroyed. Vishanga the brother of Bhandaasura entered the battle and surreptitiously went under Lalitha Devi’s chariot and managed to hit his arrow on her hand fan. Kameswari and Tithi Nityaa Shaktis were highly infuriated and Kameswari told in a rather apologetic tone to Devi that since her chariot was fully secured by Maha Mantra Shaktis, the Rakshasaas were trying to use their Maya in the night to make an entry from the rear side under the chariot’s wheel and now the Shaktis viz. Vanivaasini, Jwaalaamaalini would then display their power. Then the Nitya Shaktis aimed their arrows and killed countless Daityas ; Kameswari killed Damana, Bhagamala shot straight into the Senanayaka Dirghajihva, Nityaklinna annihilated Humbeka, Bherunda Shakti thrashed Hulumallaka, Vahni vaasaa Shakti crushed Kaklusa, Maha Vajreswari Shakti destroyed Kesivahana, Shivaduti Shakti sent Plukasa to Yamapuri, Twarita cut Pundraketa into pieces; Kulasundari smashed Chandabahu, and so on. The villian who started the Adharma Yuddha viz. Vishanga tried to escape but Kameswari Devi caught him by his neck and tore off his Kavacha with her sharp nails and in the process he escaped narrowly but Kameswari let him off as a retreating timid was not fair to run after and what was more the night was just entering the early morning hours. There were floods of blood and unbearable smell of putrid dead bodies all over. Devi Lalita instructed Jwaalamaalini to encircle the entire area with flames to make the army of Bhandasura and also clean up the mess of dead bodies of his army. Her chariots were lifted up the Mahendra Mountain while Dandini Shakti remained on the left of Kiri Chakra Ratha, Shyamala Devi was in the southern side, in the North was Sampadeswari and in the front Hayasana was present. As Bhandasura’s sons were asked to attack and display their prowess, Bala Shakti of nine years of age requested Devi to please let her play with the sons of Bhanda along with a fresh battalion of two hundred akshouhinis and Lalita smiled and consented. Bala Shakti uprooted the progeny of Bhandasura and wiped out the army despatched afresh. At this juncture Bhandasura was not only agitated but demoralised. Vishukra then set up a Maha Yantra and made a desperate bid when Ganesha saluted Lalita and took her permission to face the Maha Jaya Yantra as conceived by Vishukra. Gajasura arrived to operate the Most Potent Yantra. MahaVighna Nayaka took the forms of Six Vighna Nayakaas viz. Aamoda, Pramoda, Sumukha, Durmukha, Arighna and Vighna karta and each of these were the Chiefs of crores of ‘Herambas’; these six forms of Ganesha and the crores of Herambas moved ahead of him and their mere ‘Hunkaaraas’ wiped out akshouhinis of Daityas, while the power of their trunks destroyed the remnants. Ganesha himself attacked Gajasura and killed him even as Vishukra who invented the so called Jaya Yantra was destroyed into smitheerens. An undaunted Bhandaasura was nodoubt frustrated and humiliated but the show had to go on and hence sent his brothers Vishukra Vishangas. Vishukra was so notorius that Trilokas were shivering at one stage and he was the Yuvaraja / successor of Bhandaasura. Both the brothers planned to attack Devi together instead of dividing themselves in two directions. Lalita Devi consented that Mantrini Dandini might take the onslaught of the brothers. Mantrini was for all practical purposes the Maha Raajni Lalita herself! All the associated Shaktis of Mantrini were in such inspired disposition as their morale was sky-high; some alighted horses, some were in chariots and others mounted elephants. Shyama Shakti provoked Vishukra; Nakuli Devi fought with Vishu, Maha Maya Kunti with Peshu, Bhauravi with Madada, Laghu Shyama with Kushura, Swapnesi with Mangala, and so on. Vishukra released Trishaastra which made all the Shaktis highly thirsty and the army of Lalita had tough time to cope up the situatation. Dandini prayed to Sura Samudra and the intoxicated Shaktis were joyfully killng the Daityas with redoubled excitement. The Trishastra instead of creating thirst of water thus ended up in the thirst of Madhu and the Devi Sena had a glorious time in killing the Daityas with redoubled vigour and adventurism! Danda Nayika encountered both the brothers together and hit Vishanga with a ‘hala’( plough) and Vishukra with ‘Musala’(mace).
Bhandasura exterminated: With the death of his dear brothers, sons and Senapatis and army of several akshouhinis, Bhandasura was crestfallen and depressed; yet, he proceeded with Kutilaaksha and thirty five Senanayakas and two hundred and eighty five Akshouhinis of army; excepting one woman in Shunyaka Nagari, his Head Quarters, the entire population went fight in the final battle. He alighted his huge chariot drawn by lions; countless of his army members had little space to travel by Bhumi and had to fly on the sky. Soon on spotting Devi Lalita, he despatched the Astra of ‘Andhataamishra’ and she retalliated it with ‘Vishwaavasaastra’ / ‘Suryaastra’ and blunted his arrogance. He threw ‘Antakaastra’ and Devi replied it with the Astra of Maha Mrityunjaya. He used ‘Sarvastra Smriti’ and she destoyed it with Dharana / Medhaastra. Bhanda utilised Bhayastra to frighten Shaktis but Amba used ‘Aindraastava’ to relieve fears. The Asura used Maha Rogastra and she sent back ‘Naama Trayaastra’ which released the resounding voices of ‘ Achyuta-Ananda-Govinda’ along with ‘ humkaara’ sounds. Bhanadasura threw at her the ‘Ayushnaasha’ or Life Destroying Arrow, and Devi replied that Astra with ‘Kala Sankarshini’ or Life Extending Astra. The desperate Bhandasura then forwarded Maha-Asura-Astra which was the super-combination of the energies of several notorious Asuras like Madhu-Kaitabha, Mahishaasura, Dhumralochana, Chanda-Mundeswara, Chikshibhu, Chamara, Rakta beeja, Shumbha-Nishumbha, Kalakeya, Dhumra and so on. There were ‘Hahaakaaras’from the Devi Sena and the combined strength of various Asuras was too overwhelming. Devi then laughed boisterously and materialised Durga who was the Composite Form of all Devaas; Maha Deva provided to her a mighty ‘Shula’, Vishnu his Sudarshana Chakra, Varuna his conchshell, Agni his heat and radiance, Vayu a bow and arrows, Indra his Vajraayudha, Kubera his chashaka or drinking vessel, Yama his Kala Danda, Maha Danda, and Paasha; Brahma his Kamandalu or vessel, Iravata his bell, Mritya Devata her Khadga and metal resistor, Samudra his ‘haara’ or necklace, and Vishwakarma gifted ornaments.
Whosoever reads or hears the Legend of Lalita Devi’s victory over Bhandaasura would become fearless; they would attain Siddhis, Bhakti, Shakti, Arogya, Keerti , Aishwarya and Mukti ! At the huge relief that Tri Lokas came to experience, Brahma-Vishnu-Rudras-Indra and Devas-Adityaas-Vasus- Maruds- Sadhya Devatas-Siddha-Kimpurusha-Yaksha-Nishaachara-Daityas felt so gladdened in their hearts and Maha Devi Lalita sat on a Golden Throne looking relaxed and satisfied; there was a fresh wave of hope, virtue, courage, confidence and happiness began again to all the Beings with relief and fulfillment. Brahma and others made a spontaneous Commendation at the Victory of Maha Raajni Lalita Devi.