The narrative begins with Vishnu, pictured here in his Anantasyayin form, lying in yoganidra, a deeply meditative state of consciousness induced by the Great Goddess, on his serpent Sheshanaga in the cosmic ocean, with Brahma issuing from his navel creating the universe. This universal order is threatened by two demons Kaitava and Madhu who attempt to abduct Brahma and thereby break the cycle of Creation. Brahma then invokes Mahayogini, the Great Goddess, and pleads with her to withdraw from Vishnu so that he may awaken from his meditative sleep and engage the demons. The Goddess acquiesces and as Vishnu awakens his ensuing wrath is terrible. The demons are easily vanquished and cosmic order is restored thanks to the beneficence of Devi.
The Devi Mahatmya is part of the Markandeya Purana which principally relates the myths and legends of Vishnu. This text is significant as one of the earliest Puranas and formed the basis of the Shakti cult which flourished in later times and was particularly popular in the Punjab Hills region.
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