Durga Saptashati relates the story of how the devi (mother Goddess) killed Madhu and Kaidabha as Vishnu Maya (Thamasic-base), killed Mahishasura as Lakshmi (Rajashic form materialistic) and killed Shumbha and Nishumbha in the form of Goddess Saraswathi (Sathvic-spiritual) .It is known as Devi Mahatmya in South India, Chandi in West Bengal and as Durga Sapthasathi in the northern parts of the country including Varanasi. It consists of Chapters 74 to 86 (13 chapters) of the Markandeya Purana and has 700 stanzas. This Purana is also authored by Veda Vyasa and is a medium sized Purana.
The 700 verses are arranged in 13 chapters. Also, they are arranged in 3 parts (charitas). The three parts have MahaKaali, MahaLakshmi and MahaSaraswati as the deities. They have Rigveda, Yajurveda and Samaveda as the swarupas. The purposes of the three parts are dharma, artha and kaama respectively. They have aim, hreem and kleem as the beejas.
Durga Saptashati is the very definition of the nature of Divine Mother. She is the unlimited Shakti (energy) behind all limited Shaktis. Some people call her Durgaa, some call her Chandi and some call her Mahaalakshmi. She is the Moola Prakriti, the root nature, of all that manifests. She is the force that drives everything in the universe.
The stories of Devi Mahatmya are as told by Sage Markandeya to Sage Baguri. He tells him that one king called Suradha, who was driven out of his kingdom by his own people met one Vysya (businessman) called Samadhi who was driven out of his home by his wife and sons, in the forest. They discover that though their own people have driven them out, they are both worried about the welfare of their people. It appears to them that this is unnatural. So they approach Sage Sumedhas who was also living in the forest. The sage tells them that all this is the illusion created by the great Goddess called Vishnu Maya. They became curious and wanted to know about this great mother Goddess. He then relates to them the story of Devi Mahatmya, which consists of three stories in all of which the mother Goddess kills the enemies of Gods.
The first story is that of Madhu and Kaidabha. They take birth from the earwax of Lord Vishnu while he was asleep and start troubling Lord Brahma who was sitting on the lotus originating from the belly of Lord Vishnu. Lord Brahma prays to the Goddess to help him continue his work of creation. The goddess appears and takes the form of Vishnu Maya and kills both Asuras after wrestling with them for thousands of years. Since both these Asuras were of Thamasic origin, she also had a thamasic form.
The second story is of how the mother Goddess helped the devas by killing Mahishasura. This Asura who had the form of buffalo, drove away the devas and Indra from their homes. They all go and approach the holy trinity for the redressal of their grievances. This made those three gods very angry and the innate power of the Goddess in them came out and joined together. This goddess was further strengthened by the powers of the various Gods. She was equipped with arms by all devas. This goddess, mainly consisting of the anger generated power killed Mahishasura.
The third story is of how the Great Asura brothers Shumbha and Nishumbha were killed by the goddess. This time the gods approach Goddess Uma who was wandering in the Himalaya Mountains and told her of their sufferings. Out of the body of the Goddess came Koushikhi or Chandika. She was black in colour. She along with the powers generated by various Gods, killed Shumbha and Nishumbha.
Sage Markandeya then tells of how, the king Suradha and Vysya Samadhi did penance on the goddess and got the boons that they wanted.
In the twelfth chapter , the Goddess tells that for one, who reads or hears, these three stories of her, there is nothing impossible to obtain including salvation.
It is believed that just possession of the Durga Saptashati book has helped many great people to fight evil spirits as well as getting the blessings of the Goddess herself. Several such folk stories abound all over India. One of those famous one in Kerala was how one great Manthrika called Kalluru Namboodhiri was asked by a king called Shakthan Thamburan, to enter the Kodungaloor Bhagawathi temple at night after the festival and bring back his ring from the closed sanctum sanctorum. He did this easily by taking with him a copy of Devi Mahatmya. This book though it is a treasure house for all those trying for super natural powers is also a book leading one to get his wishes fulfilled and also attain salvation.It is believed that reading of the book during Sharad and Vasantha Navarathris is auspicious.
You can buy this Durga Saptashati in Book format from renowned vendors like Geeta Press who are doing a great job by spreading knowledge at unbelievably low cost. I would strongly recommend you to buy a printed copy of the book published buy Geeta press and keep it besides your bed. It is a great source of energy and the photo of Mahalakshmi on the cover page itself makes you believe that Devi mata is there with you.
I strongly believe that, if you start reading Durga Saptashati ,as and when you have time, it will fill in your life with health , wealth and prosperity.
I am providing Hindi as well as English Translation of Durga Saptashati so that it can be read by all and understood as well.