India is a land of colorful and vibrant festivals. Among all festivals, Navratri stands as a prominent occasion, celebrated by people across the length and breadth of the country. It is celebrated in different ways, but the spirit remains the same - to commemorate the victory of good over the evil. Maa Durga and her avatars are worshipped all through the nine days of the festival. Special pujas are performed to invoke the deity and seekevery blessings. Every puja should be culminated with aarti.
The story associated with Navratri can be found in various Hindu religious texts like Markandeya Purana, Vamana Purana, Varaha Purana, Shiva Purana, Skanda Purana, Devi Bhagavatam and Kalika Purana. The story of Navratra is the symbolic message of the fact that however glorious and powerful the evil become, at the end it is the goodness that wins over all of the evil.
The story is based on the life of two sons of Danu, named Rambha and Karambha who performed several austerities to gain extreme power and authority. When their prayers became deeper and austerities exceptional, the King of the heaven, God Indra got perturbed. Out of fear, he killed Karambha. Rambha, who came to know about his brother’s death, became all the more stubborn, to win over the Gods. He increased the intensity of his austerities and finally got several boons from gods like great brilliance, beauty, invincibility in war. He also asked a special wish of not being killed by either humans or Gods or Asuras.
He considered himself immortal and started freely roaming in the garden of Yaksha where he saw a female-buffalo and fell in love with her. To express his love, Rambha disguised in the form of a male-buffalo and copulated with the female buffalo. However, soon after that a real male buffalo discovered Rambha mating with the she-buffalo and killed him. As the pyre of Rambha was organized, the female-buffalo, who was copulated with him jumped into the funeral pyre of Rambha to prove her love. She was pregnant at that time. Thus, a demon came out of the pyre, with the head of a buffalo and body of a human, and thus he was named Mahisasura (the buffalo headed demon).
Mahishasura was extremely powerful. He defeated the gods and the demons and acquired power over the entire world. He even won over the heaven and threw the gods out. He captured the throne of Indra and declared himself to be the the lord of the gods. The gods, led by Brahma approached Vishnu and Shiva and evaluated them of the situation. In order to save the Gods, the three supreme deities, combined to the take the shape of a terrible form and this was goddess Durga. All the gods granted this Goddess power and all the supreme weapons they had. Thus Durga is called the brilliance of all the Gods.
When Mahisasura saw her, he was mesmerized by her beauty. Her fell in love with her and proposed to marry her. The goddess agreed to marry him only if he could defeat her in the battle. Thus began a scary and terrible battle between both, which continued for nine days. Finally, on the last day, Durga took the form of Chandika and stood over the chest of Mahishasura and smashed him down with her foot. She then pierced his neck with her spear and cut off his head off with her sword, and killed him. It is the day when VijayaDashmi is celebrated.