The Asura king Mahisha, was slain by Durga. After his death, the Asuras fled back to Pataal-lok, the underworld. Soon, Shumbha, swore revenge and became the Asura king. Helped by his brother Nishumbha, he mounted an attack on Svarg-lok, abode of the devas and succeeded in capturing it. While the Asuras were celebrating their victory, Chanda and Munda, trusted lieutenants of King Shumbha, kept watch on the movements of the ousted gods.
The devas made a beeline to Mount Himavat, where they prayed to Goddess Durga for help. Instead of Durga, Parvati, consort of Lord Shiva came out of her dwelling to listen to their tale of woe. She was sympathetic. A female form tumbled out of her body, a woman, beautiful to behold. She was Ambika, incarnation of Durga.
“Victory to Ambika!” shouted the devas, overjoyed at the sight of the divine warrior.
Chunda and Munda were watching from afar, and their eyes popped when Ambika made her appearance. What struck them most about the goddess was her astonishing beauty.
“She would make a good match for our king!” said Chanda.
“You took the words out of my mouth!” said Munda.
Shumbha listened with mounting excitement as his spies gave an account of everything that had happened at Mount Himavat. He was thrilled when they described the Goddess Ambika to him. It sounded as if she were the epitome of feminine grace.
“I will make her my queen,” he declared. “Certainly, it was for me that she was created, the Master of the Three Worlds!”
He sent one of his courtiers with a proposal of marriage to the goddess.
Ambika was amused.
“I would be delighted to be his queen,” She said, ‘but is he the strongest?”
“Strongest?” asked the envoy.
“I’ve taken a vow to only marry the strongest warrior in the Three Worlds. Is he the strongest?”
“Strong, he certainly is,” said the envoy. “Didn’t he defeat the Devas?”
“But can he defeat me? Only if he can overcome me in battle will I be convinced that he is the strongest!”
Crestfallen, the envoy returned to his master to tell him about Ambika’s reply to his proposal.
Shumbha was annoyed. “Her arrogance goes well with her beauty,” he observed, “But she has to be shown her place!”
He summoned his commander-in-chief, Dhumra-lochana and ordered him to bring Ambika to him.
Dhumra-lochana marched at the head of an army of battle-hardened soldiers to carry out his king’s orders.
When he spotted Ambika he charged forward with a thunderous roar.
The goddess calmly watched him come. When he was close enough she produced a sound, “HOOOM!”. The sound wave hit Dhumra-lochana in the centre of his forehead and…poof! He was reduced to a handful of ash!
Shumbha was filled with fury when he heard about the death of his bravest warrior.
“She’s mocking me!” he hissed, glowering at Chunda and Munda. “She’s mocking me! She does not know who she is dealing with! Go, get her! Drag her by her hair and bring her to me!”
Ambika was not pleased to see Chanda and Munda coming. Her eyebrows came together in a dark and angry scowl, and from her forehead, sprang forth the terrible form of Kaali.
Chanda and Munda froze with terror when they saw Kaali Maa with her bloodshot eyes, a garland of skulls around her neck and her tongue lolling, descending on them. She wrecked the army they were leading, knocked off their heads and presented them to Goddess Ambika, who hugged her and hailed her as Chamundi, slayer of Chanda and Munda.
For now, Shumbha was stalled. But soon, he would again wage war on Goddess Ambika.