Śrīmad Devi Bhāgavatam | Book 9 Chapter 4
THE NINTH BOOK
On the hymn, worship and Kavācha of Saraswatī Devī
1-3. Nārada said:
By your Grace I have heard everything very sweet like nectar, of the origin of things.
Now may I ask you which Devī of these five Prakritis has been worshipped by what Mantra? and by whom? How has each of them been praised? And by whom?
How has the worship of their Mūrtis (form) become prevalent in this world? What are the Stotram (hymn of praise), the Dhyāna (meditation) glory and life of these? Also what sort of boon do each of the Devīs grant? And to whom?
Kindly describe all these in detail.
4-29. Nārāyaṇa said:
O Child! Durgā, the mother of Ganeśa, Rādhā, Lakṣmī, Saraswatī and Sāvitrī, these are the five Prakritis sprung directly from Mūla Prakriti.
The methods of their worship, wonderful glorious acts, excellent stotrams, and their lives, inculcating good to all, and sweet like nectar are all widely written in the Vedas, Purāṇas, Tantras and other Śāstras. So there is no need to describe them here again.
Now I am describing in detail the auspicious character of these that are sprung from the parts and Kalās of the Prakriti. Hear attentively:
Kālī, Vasundhara, Ganga, Ṣaṣṭhī, Mangalā Chaṇḍikā, Tulasī, Mānasa, Nidrā, Svadhā, Svāhā, and Dakṣiṇā, these are the parts of Prakriti.
By and by I will describe, briefly, the merit-giving characters and pleasant to hear. Along with these I will describe the Karmas of the Jīvas, and the great exalted lives of Durgā and Rādhā. I am now describing Saraswatī’s character. Hear, O Muni!
Śrī Kṛṣṇa introduced first in this Bhārata, the worship of the Devī Saraswatī, the holder of Vīṇā in Her hands, under whose influence, the hearts of illiterate stupid persons become illumined with knowledge.
The amorous Devī Saraswatī sprang from the end of the lips of Rādhā and so she desired to marry Kṛṣṇa out of amorous feelings.
Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the controller of the hearts of all, knew it instantly and addressed the Mother of the people in true words proper to Her and beneficial to Her in the end:
O Chaste One! The four-armed Nārāyaṇa is born from My parts; He is young, of good features and endowed with all qualifications; so much so, he is like Me.
He is a Knower of amorous sentiments of women and He fulfils those desires; what to speak of His beauty, ten millions of the God of love are playing in His body.
O Beloved! And if you desire to marry and remain with Me, that will not be of any good to you. For Rādhā is near to Me; She is more powerful than you.
If a man be stronger than another, he can rescue one who takes his shelter; but if he be weaker, how can he then, himself weak, protect his dependant from others.
Though I am the Lord of all, and rule all, yet I cannot control Rādhā. For She is equal to me in power, in beauty, in qualifications, equal to Me in every respect.
Again it is impossible for Me to quit Rādhā for She is the presiding Deity of My life. Who can relinquish life? Though a son is very dear to his father, still it may be questioned, is he dearer than his father's life?
So, O Auspicious One! Go to the abode Vaikuṇṭha; you will get your desires fulfilled there. You will get for your husband the Lord of Vaikuṇṭha and you will live ever in peace and enjoy happiness.
Though Lakṣmī is residing there yet like you she is not under the control of lust, anger, greed, delusion and vanity. She is also equal to you in beauty, qualities, and power.
So you will live with her in great delight and Hari, the Lord of Vaikuṇṭha, will treat both of you equally.
Moreover, I say this in particular that in every universe, on the fifth day of the bright fortnight of the month of Māgha, every year, the day when the learning is commenced, a great festival will be held and men, Manus, Devas, and the Munis desirous of liberation, Vasus, Yogis, Nagas, Siddhas, Gandharvas, Rākṣasas, all will perform your worship with devotion in every Kalpa till the time of Mahā Pralaya comes.
All are required to be Jitendrīyā (having their senses under control) and Samyamī (concentrating his mind, and with a religious vow) and they will invoke Thee on ajar or on books and then meditate according to what is stated in the Kaṇva Śākhā of Yajurveda and then worship and sing hymns to Thee.
Thy Kavācha (an armour; a mystical syllable considered as a preservative like armour) is written on the bark of the Bhūrja tree and then with eight kinds of scents mingled with it is placed within a golden nut or ring named Māduli and then held on the neck or on the right arm. The learned should recite Thy Stotras during worship.
Thus saying, the Puraṇ Brahmā Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself worshipped the Devī Saraswatī.
Since then, Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Maheśa, Ananta Deva, Dharma, Sanaka and other Munindras, all the Devas, Munis, all the kings and all the human beings are worshipping the Devī Saraswatī.
O Nārada! Thus the worship of the Eternal Devī is made extant in the three worlds.
30-31. Nārada said:
O Chief of the Knowers of the Vedas! Now describe to me the methods of worship, Dhyāna, Kavācha, hymns, the appropriate offerings of the Puja flowers, sandalpaste and other good things necessary in these worships and which are so sweet to hear.
I am ever very eager and anxious to hear these.
32-59. Nārāyaṇa said:
O Nārada! I am now stating the method of worship of the Devī Saraswatī, the Mother of the Worlds, according to Kaṇva Śākhā of the Yajurveda. Hear:
On the day previous to the fifth day of the bright fortnight of the month of Māgha or the day of commencement of education, the devotee should control his senses, concentrate his mind and take his bath.
Then he is to perform his daily duties and install the jar (Ghaṭa) with devotion and according to the Mantras of the Kaṇva Śākhā or the Tantra, as the case may be.
He is to worship first on that Ghaṭa (jar) Gaṇapati (Ganeśa), then meditate the Devī Saraswatī as described below, invoke Her and again read the Dhyāna and then worship with Ṣoḍaśopachāra (sixteen good articles offered in the worship).
O Good One! Now I am speaking, according to my knowledge, about the offerings as ordained in the Vedas or Tantras. Hear:
Fresh butter, curd, thickened milk, rice freed from the husk by frying, sweetmeats (Til Laddu) prepared of Til, sugar cane, sugarcane juice, nice Guḍ (molasses), honey, svastik, sugar, rice (not broken) out of white Dhān, Chipiṭaka of table rice (Ālo chāl), white Modak, Harbiṣyānna prepared of boiled rice with clarified butter and salt, Piṣṭaka of jaoā or wheaten flour, Paramānna with ghee, nectar like sweetmeats, cocoanut, cocoanut water, Svastik Piṣṭaka, Svastik and ripe plantain Piṣṭaka, Kaseru (root), Mūlā, ginger, ripe plantains, excellent Bel fruit, the jujube fruit, and other appropriate white purified fruits of the season and peculiar to the place are to be offered in the Puja.
O Nārada! White flowers of good scent, white sandalpaste of good scent, new white clothes, nice conch-shell, nice garlands of white flowers, nice white necklaces, and beautiful ornament are to be given to the Devī.
I am narrating now the Dhyānam sweet to hear, of the Devī Saraswatī according to the Vedas, capable to remove errors! Hear:
I hereby bow down to the Devī Saraswatī, of a white colour, of a smiling countenance and exceedingly beautiful, the lustre of whose body overpowers that of the ten millions of Moons, whose garment is purified by fire, in whose hands there are Vīṇā and books, who is decorated with new excellent ornaments of jewels and pearls and whom Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Mahēśvara and the other Devas, Munis, Manus and men constantly worship.
Thus meditating the Devī, the intelligent persons should offer all articles, after pronouncing the root Mantra. Then he is to hymn and hold Kavācha and make Sāṣṭāṇga praṇāms before the Devī.
O Muni! Those whose Devī Saraswatī is the presiding Deity, are not to be spoken of at all (i.e., they will naturally do all these things and with a greater fervour).
Also everyone should worship the Devī Saraswatī on the day of commencement of education and every year on the Śūkla Panchamī day of the month of Māgha.
The eight-lettered Mantra, as mentioned in the Vedas is the root Mantra of Saraswatī. (Aīm Klīm Sarasvatyai namaḥ). Or the Mantra to which each worshipper is initiated is his Mūlmantra (not Mantra).
Or uttering the Mantra “Śrīm Hrīm Sarasvatyai Svāhā” one is to offer everything to the Devī Saraswatī. This Mantra is the Kalpa Vrikṣa (i. e., the tree which yields all desires).
Nārāyaṇa, the ocean of mercy, gave in ancient times, this very Mantra to Vālmīki in the holy land Bhārata Varṣā on the banks of the Ganges; next Bhrigu gave this Mantra on the occasion of solar eclipse to Mahāṛṣi Śukrāchārya on the Puṣkara Tīrtha;
Mārīcha gave to Brihaspati on a lunar eclipse; Brahmā gave to Bhrigu in the Vadarikā Āśrama; Jaratkāru gave to Āstika on the shore of the Kṣiroda ocean; Vibhānḍaka gave this to the intelligent Riṣyasriṇga on the Śumeru mountain,
Śiva gave this to Kaṇāda and Gotama, Sūrya gave to Yājñyavalkya and Kātyāyana, Ananta Deva gave to Pāṇini, to the intelligent Bharadvāja and to Śākaṭāyana in Bali's assembly in the Pātāla.
If this Mantra be repeated four lakhs of times, all men attain success. And when they become Siddhas with this Mantra, they become powerful like Brihaspati.
In past times, the Creator Brahmā gave a Kavācha named Viśvajaya to Bhrigu on the Gandhamādana Mountain. I now speak of that. Hear:
60-61. Once on a time Bhrigu asked Brahmā the Lord of all and adored by all thus:
“O Brāhman! Thou art the foremost of those that know the Vedas; there is none equal to thee in matters regarding the knowledge of the Vedas (so much so that there is nothing that is not known to thee; for all these have sprung from thee).
Now say about the Viśvajaya Kavācha of the Devī Saraswatī, that is excellent, without any faults and embodying in it all the properties of all the Mantras.”
62-91. Brahmā said:
“O Child! What you have asked about the Kavācha of Saraswatī that is sweet to hear, ordained and worshipped by the Vedas, and the giver of all desired fruits, now hear of that.
In the very beginning, the all-pervading Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Lord of the Rāsa circle, mentioned this Kavācha to me in the holy Vrindāvana forest in the abode Goloka at the time of Rāsa in Rāsa Mandala. This is very secret; it is full of holy unheard, wonderful Mantras.
Reading this Kavācha and holding it (on one's arm) Brihaspati has become foremost in matters of intelligence; by the force of this Kavācha Śukrāchārya has got his ascendancy over the Daityas; the foremost Muni Vālmīki has become eloquent and skilled in language and has become Kavīndra and Svāyambhūva Manu; holding this Kavācha he has become honoured everywhere.
Kaṇāda, Gotama, Kanva, Pāṇini, Śākaṭāyana, Dakṣa, and Kātyāyana all have become great authors by virtue of this Kavācha; Kṛṣṇa Dvaipāyana Veda Vyāsa made the classification of the Vedas and composed the eighteen Purāṇas.
Śātātapa, Samvarta, Vaṣiṣṭha, Parāsara and Yājñyavalkya had become authors by holding and reading this Saraswatī Kavācha. Riṣyaśriṇga, Bhāradvāja, Āstika, Devala, Jaigīṣavya, and Yayāti all were honoured everywhere by virtue of this Kavācha.
O Dvīja! The Prajāpati Himself is the Ṛiṣi of this Kavācha; Brihati is its Chhaṇḍa; and Śāradā Ambikā is its presiding Deity.
Its application (Viniyoga) is in the acquisition of spiritual knowledge, in the fruition of any desires or necessities, in composing poems or anywhere wherever success is required.
May Śrīm Hrīm Sarasvatyai Svāhā protect fully my head; Śrīm Vāgdevatāyai Svāhā, my forehead; Om Hrīm Sarasvatyai Svāhā, my ears always;
Om Śrīm Hrīm Bhagavatyai Sarasvatyai Svāhā always my eyes; Aim Hrīm Vāgvādinyai Svāhā, always my nose; Om Hrīm Vidyādhiṣṭhātrī Devyai Svāhā, my lips always;
Om Śrīm Hrīm Brahmyai Svāhā my rows of teeth; Aim, this single letter protect my neck; Om Śrīm Hrīm my throat; Śrīm, my shoulders, Om Hrīm Vidyādhiṣṭhātrī Devyai Svāhā, always my chest;
Om Hrīm Vidyadhisvarūpāyai Svāhā my navel; Om Hrīm Klīm Vāṇyai Svāhā my hands; Om Svarva vārnatmīkāyai Svāhā my feet; and let Om Vāgadhisṭhātridevyai Svāhā protect all my body.
Let Om Sarvakanṭhavāsinyai Svāhā protect my east; Let Om Svarvajibhāgra vāsinyai Svāhā, the South-east; Om Aim Hrīm Śrīm Klīm Sarasvatyai Buddhajananyai Svāhā, my South;
Aim Hrīm Śrīm, this three lettered Mantra my South-west; Om Aim Jhibhagravāsinyai Svāhā, my West; Om Svarvambikāyai Svāhā, my North west; Om Aim Śrīm Klīm Gadyavāsinyai Svāhā my North;
Aim Sarvaśāstra vāsinyai Svāhā, my North-east; Om Hrīm Sarvapujitayai Svāhā, my top; Hrīm Pustakavasinyai Svāhā my below and let Om Grantha vījasvarupāyai Svāhā protect all my sides.
O Nārada! This Viśvajaya Kavācha of the nature of Brahmā and its embodied Mantra I have now spoken to you.
I heard this before from the mouth of Dharma Deva in the Gandhamādana mountain. Now I speak this to you out of my great affection for you. But never divulge this to anybody.
One is to worship one's spiritual Teacher (Guru Deva) according to due rites and ceremonies with clothings, ornaments, and sandalpaste and then fall down prostrate to him and then hold this Kavācha.
Repeating this five lakhs of times, one gets success and becomes a Siddha. The holder of this Kavācha becomes intelligent like Brihaspati, eloquent, Kavīndras, and the conqueror of the three worlds, no sooner one becomes a Siddha in this. In fact, he can conquer everything by virtue of this Kavācha.
O Muni! Thus I have described to you this Kavācha according to Kaṇva Śākhā. Now I am speaking about the method of worship, Dhyāna and the praise of this Kavācha. Hear.
Here ends the Fourth Chapter of the Ninth Book on the hymn, worship and Kavācha of Saraswatī Devī in Śrīmad Devī Bhāgavatam of 18,000 verses by Mahāṛṣi Veda Vyāsa.