Remember the great ego performed a tremendous tapasya. And the ego said, “I want to be immortal.” Brahma came and said, “That’s impossible, no one is immortal, everyone that takes birth dies.” And so the great ego said, “Well, my death, if it has to occur, let it occur at the hands of a woman.” And Brahma said, “Why, would you want a boon like that?” And the great ego said, “Well, I’m so strong and heroic, there’s not a man who can defeat me, what woman could defeat me?” And Brahma immediately said, “Tatastu. I give you the boon, we’ll find one.”
The great ego conquered the entire earth, made everyone on earth a servant of the ego. In fact there was no one who was doing anything without saying, “I am the doer”. Then the ego marched up to Heaven, he threw all the Gods and Goddesses out of Heaven, and the Gods and Goddesses were homeless, and bereft, and dispirited and dejected. And having no place to go, they came to earth, and they took on bodies of men and women.
Well, all the men and women were servants of the ego, so the God’s started acting like human beings. Yuck! And they started drawing lines on the earth, and saying, “This is mine and that’s yours, etc., etc.”
Well, some of the Gods and Goddesses got together and said, “This is horrible, to be servants of the ego all the time in every activity. We’ve got to find a way to conquer the ego.” So then they said, “Vishnu, would you please send your wife.” And Lakshmi said, “Well, no, no, I don’t want to go. I’m not going to fight the ego.” And then they said, “Brahma, would you send Saraswati.” And Saraswati said, “Wait, wait, did you ask me? I’m not going to fight him by myself. He’s so strong, he got the boon that no one can defeat him, just a woman.”
Well then they asked Kali, they asked Durga, they asked all the other Girls in Heaven, and nobody wanted to go. The Gods said, “This is horrible, what are we going to do? Let’s go to the Devi Mandir. Everybody put forth your lights. Let all the lights unite into one light of radiant splendor like a pillar of fire. And let this pillar of fire rise and take the form of a woman.”
And that is the rise of Chandi. United from the fire of the lights of all the Gods and Goddesses, she comes as a pillar of fire, and she does battle with the ego on our behalf. The ego won the boon that he’s too strong for any of us; She is the only one who can defeat him.
So we have to pray to her, to please her. She is the energy of all in everything, if she chooses she gives energy to the ego and makes him puffed up with pride. And if she chooses she can withdraw the energy from the ego and give it to the Divinity within, and make us surrender the ego in the light of wisdom.
And that’s what our sadhana is about. That’s the purpose of our tapasya, to surrender the ego in the light of wisdom.