Welcome Chamunda…

The Devi smiled again. “Yes, it is true. They are very strong. But what can I do since I took that ill-considered vow, even though it was long ago? Go back and tell them what I said, and let them do what they think is proper in this situation.”

Hearing the words of the Devi, Sugriva rushed back to the palace and narrated the incident in detail to Śumba. Enraged, the asura king summoned Dhumralochana, the chief of his armies and said” O Dhumralochana, go right now and fetch that shrew here by force, if needed, by dragging her by her hair. Kill anyone who comes in the way, be it a deva, a yaksa, or a gandharva.”

“Come with me, else I will take you to Śumba by dragging you by your hair”, thundered Dhumralochana, as he stood in front of the Devi, with an army of sixty thousand asuras behind him.

“You have been sent here by the lord of the three worlds. You are strong, and you have a huge army. What can I do if you take me by force?”, said the Devi.

On hearing this, Dhumralochana rushed towards her. The Devi breathed hard, and reduced him to ashes. The asura army attacked, showering the Devi with arrows and spears. The lion, on whom the Devi was mounted, shook it’s mane in anger and with a terrifying roar, pounced on the asuras. In moments, the entire army was destroyed. All sixty thousand asuras, lay dead.

When he heard that his commander and army was slain by the Devi, Śumba cried out in anger. “Chanda, Munda, gather your armies, bind her, and bring her here. If you are unable to do this single-handedly, then let your armies attack her and that lion with all their might. Once that shrew is wounded, and that lion killed, drag her here to my court. Go now!”

Heeding his command, the asuras led by Chanda and Munda, launched an attack on the Devi. Some tried to bind her, others tried to wound her with their swords. The Devi cried out angrily, and in anger, her face turned as black as ink. Suddenly, the fearful Kāli, armed with a sword and a noose, emerged from the Devi’s forehead. Holding a strange skull- topped staff, decorated with a garland of skulls, clad in a tiger’s skin, looking menacing due to her emaciated body, with a gaping mouth and tongue hanging out, with deep-sunk reddish eyes, she filled the field with her roars.

Kāli rushed towards the asuras, slaughtering them with impunity. Devouring some, crushing others, chewing most frightfully with her teeth, she pounded the entire army of the mighty wicked asuras. Seeing the army of asuras being laid waste, Chanda and Munda ran towards the terrible Kāli. While Canda showered arrows at her, Munda hurled discuses at her eyes. The numerous discuses entering her mouth shone like a thousand suns as Kāli just swallowed them.

Laughing fiercely, she mounted the lion and rushed towards Chanda. Seizing him by his hair, she decapitated him with a single stroke of her sword. She then caught Munda, threw him to the ground, and pushed her sword deep into his chest.

Seeing Chanda and Munda vanquished, the remaining asura army panicked and fled in all directions. And Kāli, holding the heads of Chanda and Munda in her hands, approached Chandika and said, “In this sacrifice of battle, here I have brought you the heads of Chanda and Munda.”

Seeing the two great asuras Chanda and Munda brought to her, Chandika said to Kāli , “As you have brought me both Chanda and Munda, O Devi, you shall also be known and worshipped by the name Chāmunda.

Thousands of years later, unto this very day, we worship Devi Chāmunda on the 8th day of Durga Puja – Durga Ashtami. The main puja of this day is Sandhi Puja, a spectacle that can only be experienced.

जय माँ दुर्गा!

जय माँ दुर्गा!

जय माँ दुर्गा!

What will Śumba and Niśumba do now? Who will they send next? How will the Devi defeat them? Read more, tomorrow!