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The Devi Gita : The Book


The setting of the Devi gita is introduced by Janamejaya’s query to Vyasa regarding the supreme light who became manifest on top of the Himalaya mountain. Vyasa talks about the demon Taraka, who has obtained a boon that he can be killed only the son of Lord Shiva, knowing fully well that Sati has immolated herself. Therefore, the gods became scared and went to Himalayas and worshipped Her asking to born and marry Lord Shiva. Shakti then appears before them and grants them a boon that her manifestation will be born as Gauri as the daughter of Himavan. Himalaya becomes choked with emotion when he hears that She, whose belly contains millions of universes, is about to become his daughter. He requests as follows, “Proclaim to me your nature, and declare that yoga conjoined with bhakti and that jnana in accord shruti whereby you and I become one.”

This sets the scene for Devi Gita and the teachings.

Brief summary:

In the Devi gita, following Himalayas request, the Devi proceeds to describe her essential forms. The Devi declares that prior to creation, She is the only existent entity, the one supreme Brahman and is pure consciousness. Then She outlines the basic evolution of the causal, subtle and gross bodies of the supreme Self when enjoined with maya. The treatment here is very similar to that of Vedantasara and Panchadasi, but in much more simpler terms than the latter. Then She reveals Her forms (both the frightful and pleasing) to the gods and Himalaya. Then follows a detailed summary of the yoga, the stages of bhakti and the ways to attain Her.

Simplicity and Profoundness:

Devi gita is both simple and profound. It is different from other gitas in the respect that statements are clear and can not be reinterpreted according to one’s taste. For example, several commentaries have been written on the Bhagavad Gita of Krishna, wherein each commentator feels differently regarding bhakti and jnana. For example, it required Madhusudana Saraswati to explain krama mukti in clear terms (though Shankara mentions it also) of bhakti. But Devi Gita is clear: “Even when a person performs bhakti, knowledge need not arise. He will go to the Devi’s Island (similar to Brahmaloka). Till the complete knowledge in the form of my consciousness arises, there is no liberation.” Similarly, the words of ‘coming’ ‘going’ ‘becoming’ cause confusion since one can not ‘become’ Brahman, if one is already one. The Devi Gita provides a clear explanation that all these terms are applicable only as long as one in maya. It is the clarity of these terms and the simple explanation of complex vedantic and philosophical questions that makes Devi Gita unique.


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