FROM BRAHMANDA Purana, in an earlier column, I described the setting for an imminent battle between Bhandasura and Lalitaa Devi.
Interesting though they are, I will skip details about the slaying of Bhandasura’s brothers, sons and generals.
Shri Lalitaa Devi attacked Bhanda. The eyes of Bhanda danava turned red with great rage. He released the great weapon known as Andha-tamisraka (blinding darkness). Maheshvari severed it with the arrow of Maha-tarani (the great ship, the sun). Bhanda released Pakhandastra (weapon of heresy). Lalitaa Devi released Gayatriastra and severed it. Bhanda released Andhastra (weapon of blindness), which could destroy the vision of the Shaktis. She pacified it with the great weapon of Chakshushmat (weapon that bestows sight). Bhanda released the weapon known as Shakti-nasha (destructive of Shaktis). Using the weapon known as Vishvavasu, she robbed it of its insolence. Enraged, Bhanda danava released Antakastra (weapon that destroys). She destroyed its strength with the weapon of Maha-mritunjaya (great weapon that conquers death). Bhanda released the weapon known as Sarvastra-smriti-nasha (weapon that destroys memory of all weapons). Lalitaa Devi destroyed its strength with the weapon known as dharana. Bhanda released Bhayastra (weapon that causes fear), which caused fear to the Shaktis. Lalitaa Devi released Aindrastra, which grants freedom from fear. The danava released Maharogastra (weapon that causes great diseases), directed against the Shakti soldiers. Thousands of ailments, pulmonary consumption and other ailments, manifested themselves. Lalitaa Parameshvari released a great weapon, consisting of a great mantra with the three names of Achuyta, Ananta and Govinda. Achyuta, Ananta and Govinda arose from the arrow. Through their humkara alone, they burnt down the diseases and ensured that all was well. She ordained that they would be used in the three worlds to crush all ailments devotees suffer from. Thus engaged, they left for their own abodes. Bhanda danava released the weapon of Ayurnasha (destructive of a long life). The queen released the weapon of Kala-samkarshani (weapon that drags away death). Bhanda danava released the terrible weapon of Mahasurastra (weapon that creates giant asuras). Thousands of them were born, giant in form and immense in strength. There were Madhu, Kaitabha, Mahishasura, Dhumralochana, Chanda and Munda, Chikshura, Chamara, Raktabija, Shumbha, Nishumbha, the extremely strong Kalakeyas and Dhumra, and others. All these excellent danavas arose from the weapon, with their tough weapons. They roared in hideous tones and crushed the Shakti soldiers, who sought refuge with Devi. Devi became extremely angry. She laughed loudly in rage.
At this, Durgaa arose. Her form was devised from the energy of all the devas. The universe was her form. Shiva gave her a trident. Vishnu gave her a chakra. Varuna gave her a conch-shell and Agni gave her a javelin. In the great battle, Vayu gave her a bow and two inexhaustible quivers. The wielder of the vajra gave her the vajra. Kubera gave her a goblet. Kala gave her a great staff. Varuna gave her a noose. Brahma gave her a water-pot, while Airavata gave her a bell. Mrityu gave her a sword and a shield. The ocean gave her a necklace. Vishvakarma gave her radiant ornaments. Her limbs dazzled, like thousands of suns with their rays. This made all the weapons shine even more. Others bestowed beautiful equipment on her. Astride her mount, the lion, Narayani advanced to fight. She brought down the danavas, the one known as Mahisha and others.
Lalitaa Kameshvari used the weapon Mahakameshvara, which possessed the splendour of one thousand suns. Using this, the mother robbed Bhanda of his life
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The wicked danava released Mukastra (weapon that leads to dumbness) towards the Shakti soldiers. Devi released the weapon named Maha-vagvadini (great and eloquent speech). The immensely brave Bhanda daitya released Arnavastra (weapon in the form of the ocean). This filled everything up with water and the Shakti soldiers submerged in this. Lalitaa used the nail on the index finger of her right hand. She created the primordial Kurma, extending for one yojana. He held them up on the shell on his back. The Shaktis were filled with delight and gave up their fear of the weapon that created an ocean. The illustrious one drank up all the water in the ocean. The wicked danava released the great weapon, Hiranyaksha. Thousands of Hiranyakshas were generated from this, wielding clubs as weapons. Struck by them, the Shakti soldiers were terrified and agitated. Shri Lalitaa used the nail on the middle finger of her right hand. A great Varaha arose from this and he resembled Kailasa. He used his snout, which was as tough as the vajra, to rout them. Crores of Hiranyakshas were crushed and conveyed to their destruction. At this, Bhanda furrowed his eyebrows in great rage. Hiranyakashipus, numbering crores, were generated from this furrowing. They blazed like dazzling suns and their weapons also blazed. They crushed the Shakti soldiers and also crushed Prahlada. For the Shaktis, this Prahlada was the mark of supreme bliss. Though he was only a small boy, he was oppressed by Hiranya. He sought refuge with Lalitaa and the queen showed him her compassion. She wished to protect Prahlada, who was bliss personified for the Shaktis. Therefore, Maheshvari twirled the tip of the ring finger on her right hand. Janardana arose from this, with the face of a lion and the torso of a man. His three eyes blazed and he shook his thick mane. Talons were his weapons. Using his talons, which were as firm as the vajra, he shattered the Hiranyakashipus in an instant. Bhanda then released the extremely terrible Bali weapon towards Lalitaa Devi. This was capable of destroying all the devas. From the tip of the little finger on the right hand of the immensely energetic great queen, thousands of Vamanas originated, so as to destroy the insolence of that weapon. They were immensely strong and increased in number every instant. They held nooses in their hands. They used these nooses to restrain and bind all the Balis who had originated from the weapon. Bhanda daitya released Haihayastra. Thousands of Arjunas (meaning Kartavirya Arjunas) were generated from this and each possessed one thousand arms. From the nail on the thumb of Shri Lalitaa’s left hand, Bhargava Rama arose. He blazed in rage and roared like a lion. Using his sharp and tough battle-axe, he splintered them. In an instant, the one thousand Arjunas were annihilated. Bhanda daitya became angry and roared in his rage. Ravana arose from this roar, holding a chandrahasa sword in his hand. He was surrounded by one thousand akshouhinis of soldiers. Taking his younger brother, Kumbhakarna, and son, Meghnada, with him, he crushed the Shakti soldiers and flung them far away. From the nail on the index finger of Shri Lalitaa’s hand, Rama originated, wielding his bow. Lakshmana was with him. Rama’s crown consisted of matted hair. Using divine weapons, he destroyed the rakshasa soldiers in an instant. He crushed Poulastya and his brother, Kumbhakarna. Lakshmana destroyed the immensely brave Meghanada. Bhanda danava released the immensely terrible Dvividastra. Many monkeys, possessing tawny eyes, were born from this. Their faces were coppery with rage and each one of them was Hanuman’s equal. From the nail on the middle finger of Shri Lalitaa’s left hand, Talanka manifested himself. His middle eye was red with rage. The garment on his limbs was blue and he sparkled like Kailasa. He destroyed all the monkeys who had originated from Dvividastra. The immensely strong one released the great weapon known as Rajasura. Many danavas, who were kings, originated from this weapon. They were Shishupala, Dantavakra, Shalva, the king of Kashi, Poundraka Vasudeva, Rukmi, Dimbhaka, Hamsaka, Shambara, Pralamba, Banasura, Kamsa, the wrestler Chanura, Mushtika, Utpalashekhara, Arishta, Dhenuka, Keshi, Kaliya, Yamalarjuna, Putanaa, Shakata, and Trinavarta. There were other asuras too. There was the immensely valiant one, known as Naraka. There was the asura Mura, who assumed Vishnu’s form. Many other soldiers arose, holding weapons in their hands. To destroy all of them, from the nail on the ring finger of Shri Devi’s left hand, the eternal Vasudeva arose. He assumed Chaturvyuha, with four forms—Vasudeva, Samkarshana Pradyumna and Aniruddha. All of them raised up their weapons. They destroyed all those evil-doers who increased the burden of the earth. When they were destroyed, Bhanda danava became angry. He released the terrible Kalyastra (weapon that leads to Kali Yuga) which causes transgressions in dharma. Kings were born from Kalyastra—Andhras, Pundras, Kiratas, Shabaras, Hunas, and Yavanas. They were wicked in conduct. From the nail of the little finger on Shri Lalitaa’s left hand, which was like a lotus, Janardana originated, under the name of Kalki. He was astride a horse and blazed in his prosperity. He laughed loudly. The sound of his laughter was like a bolt of thunder. All the Kiratas lost their senses and were destroyed. Those ten avataras performed an extremely difficult deed.
When all these weapons were destroyed, Bhanda’s hopes were also dashed. He released the weapon Mahamoha (the great delusion) and the Shaktis lost their senses. Ambaa released Shambhavastra (Shambhu’s weapon) and destroyed the weapon Mahamoha. Devi Laliaa Ambikaa used Narayanastra to reduce all the akshouhinis to ashes. The great queen then used Pashupatastra, which blazed like the fire of destruction. This crushed the forty commanders. With all his relatives killed, the wicked one was the only one who was left. Bhanda possessed great spirits and was terrible in valour. He blazed in rage. Lalitaa Kameshvari used the weapon Mahakameshvara, which possessed the splendour of one thousand suns. Using this, the mother robbed him of his life. When Bhanda was destroyed, the three worlds danced in delight.