Saptashati parayana

saptashatI pArAyana during shAradA navarAtrI Saptashati ( dEvI mAhAtmya) pArAyanA is an integral part of shAradA navarAtrI pUjA. dEvI herself has mentioned about the importance of saptashati pArAyanA and lists out the benefits that accrues from the recitation of the text. The dEvI mAhAtmya is a highly occult text, where only those who have inner eyes will perceive the hidden truths; others know not. Meru tantra proclaims that even Vishnu knows only three-quarters of the inner sense, Brahma knows half, Vyasa knows only a quarter while others know only a fraction of the true significance of the dEvI mAhAtmyam. Unlike the Purana that has the status of being an auxiliary limb (upAnga) of the vEda, dEvI mAhAtmyam has attained the status of shruti, the very status accorded to the Veda. The Devi Mahatmyam or Saptasati is treated just like a vedic hymn with rsi, chandas, dEvatA, and viniyOga. Bhuvaneshwari samhitA equates dEvI mAhAtmya with the vEdAs. The Katyayani tantra considers each verse of the Devi Mahatmyam as a mantra. In fact there are some who affirm that every word of the text is a mantra. The great goddess chAndikA promises to deliver all who recites or listens to the dEvi mAhAtmyA, from all kind of troubles and afflictions. Matsya Purana prescribes recitation of Candi three times for cure from physical ailments, five times for relief from malefic planets; seven times for relief from impending disaster; nine times for ensuring peace; eleven times for winning royal favours; twelve times for overpowering foes; twenty five times for release from prison; thirty times for cure from cancer; a hundred times for relief from great dishonour; one thousand times to mitigate loss of wealth and for steady prosperity. The sAdhakA who has been initiated into the 9 syllabled mantra of the goddess, should install a kalasha on pratIpadA (first day of sharad navarAtri) during auspicious muhurta and invoke the Goddess. He should worship the goddess to the best of his knowledge with pUrnOpachara and recite the dEvI mAhAtmyA together with all the anggas with great reverence. One may recite the dEvI mAhAtmya with panchAngga, navAngA or dwadashAngA (as taught by one’s preceptor). In this way he should worship the goddess from pratipada till mahAnavami.He should also complete 100,000 counts of navArna mantra by the ninth day and complete it with dasAmsa havanam etc (fire oblation). On the tenth day, he should honor and worship his preceptor (guru) and the goddess and commence the visarjana of the deity. It is important for the sAdhakA to worship/honour and feed the kanyAs and suvasinis during his daily worship. All the shortcomings in one’s upAsanA are overcomed by worshiping the kanyAs and suvAsinis. By worshiping the Goddess during sharad navarAtri, a sakAma upasaka (one who does sadhana with a specific desire or goal in mind) achieves whatever he aspires for while a nishkAma upasaka (one who does sadhana without any expectation or desire) achieves moksha. ChandikArchana kalpam mentions that only by the merits of upAsanA done in crores of birth, one will be able to worship bhagavati chandikA during sharad navarAtrI. The Great Goddess says : ?arat-k?le mah?-p?j? kriyate y?ca v?r?hik?| tasy?? mamaitan-m?h?tmya? ?rutv? bhakti-samanvita? || Sarva-b?dh?-vinirmukto dhana-dh?nya-samanvita?| manu?hyo mat-pras?dena bhavi?hyati na sa??aya?|| “During the time of the Great worship in autumn (sharad navarAtrI) as well as the varsha navarAtri ( lalitA navarAtrI) , those who hear this mAhAtmyam of mine with devotion shall be surely delivered from all troubles and be blessed with riches, grains and children. Listening to this mAhAtmyam, to the auspicious manifestations of mine, and my feats of prowess in battles, one becomes fearless. Enemies perish, welfare accrues and families rejoice for those who listen to this mAhAtmyam of mine. sarva? mamaitan-m?h?tmya? mama sannidhik?rakam| pa?u-pu?hp?rghya-dh?pai?-ca gandha-d?pais-tathottamai?|| vipr???? bhojanair-homai? prok?ha??yair-aharni?am| anyai?ca vividhair-bhogai? prad?nair-vatsare?a y?|| pr?tir-me kriyate s?smin sak?duccarite ?rute| This mAhAtmyam of mine chanted in its entirety makes a devotee very close to me. By means of finest flowers, arghya and incenses, and by perfumes and lamps, by feeding brAhmanAs, by oblations, by sprinkling consecrated water, and by various other offerings and gifts, if one worships day and night for a full year, the satisfaction that I get, the same is attained by reciting or listening but once to this mAhAtmyam of mine”. ?ruta? harati p?p?ni tath?rogya? prayacChati|| “Hearing the story destroys sins, and grants freedom from illness. rak?h?? karoti bh?tebhyo janman?? k?rtina? mama| yudde?hu carita? yanme du?h?a daitya nibarha?am|| tasmiñCh?te vairik?ta? bhaya? pu?s?? na j?yate| yu?hm?bhi? stutayo y??ca y??ca brahmar?hibhi? k?t??|| brahma?? ca k?t?st?stu prayacChantu ?ubh?? matim| The recital of my manifestations affords protection from evil spirits. If my exploits of exterminating the wicked demons in battles are heard, people will have no fear from enemies. Let the hymns recited by you (brahma), and those by the divine sages, and those by Brahma bestow an auspicious in thought ara?ye pr?ntare v?pi d?v?gni pariv?rita?|| dasyubhirv? v?ta? ??nye g?h?to v?pi ?at?bhi?| si?havy?ghr?nuy?to v? vanev? vana hastibhi?|| r?GY? kruddena c?GYapto vadhyo banda gatoapiv?| ?gh?r?ito v? v?tena sthita? pote mah?r?ave|| patatsu c?pi ?astre?hu sa?gr?me bh??ad?ru?e| sarv?b?dh??u ghor?su vedan?bhyarditoapiv?|| smaran mamaitaccarita? naro mucyeta sa?ka??t| mama prabh?v?tsi?h?dy? dasyavo vairi?a stath?|| d?r?deva pal?yante smarata?carita? mama|| Lost in a desolate area in a forest, or surrounded by a forest fire, or encircled by robbers, or captured by enemies in a desolate spot, or pursued by a lion, tiger, or wild elephants in a forest, or sentenced to death by the orders of a wrathful king, or imprisoned, or caught in a boat tossed by winds on the high seas, or facing a volley of arrows in the most terrible battle, or amidst all kinds of dreadful troubles, or afflicted with pain, - remembering this story of mine, saves one from the predicament. By my power, animals like lions, robbers and enemies, flee from a distance from one who remembers this story of mine”.