These seven verses are from the Devi Mahatmyam, an important 5th century scripture taken from the Markandeya Purana that invokes the power of Goddess in her form as the Great Goddess (Mahādevī) by chronicling Her triumph over evil. These verses, taken from various chapters, hold the essence of the entire scripture and may be recited together as a short hymn to the Goddess as a means of cultivating pure devotion.
The Devisukta, or Hymn to the Goddess, is found in the Rg Veda (RV 10.125), the earliest of the four Vedas or sacred wisdom texts that form the scriptural foundation for modern Hinduism. It is traditionally recited with the Devi Mahatmyam, one of the most important texts of the vast Shakta canon, and is a companion to the beautiful Ratrisukta.
The Ratrisukta is a beautiful poem in praise of the Vedic Goddess Ratri, the Goddess of the Night. The hymn itself is indicative of the culture of the Vedic people, reflecting some of the dangerous realities of village and agrarian life. It is a request for protection and peace, a very practical sort of prayer. In later philosophical development, Ratri is Maya, the power that creates the world and also plunges it into spiritual darkness. Ratri is also the symbol of our embodied human state. She may also be seen as an early whisper of the imagery of Kali, with her luminous darkness and protective ferocity.