Mahishasura was a tyrant who ruled the world. He was half-demon, half-buffalo. He meditated for thousands of years in order to satisfy Lord Brahma and be granted immortality and strength in return. His strategy worked after many sacrifice. Lord Brahma approached him and said, “Your dedication has made me extremely happy. You may request any favor from me.” “Lord, I don’t want any man or God to be able to murder me,” the haughty Mahishasura declared without blinking. Brahma blessed the people by raising his hand and said, “Tathastu is a Hindu god. So be it, my little child.”

Brahma’s eyes twinkled, indicating that Mahishasura had left a loophole when requesting his blessing. Only time will tell. With this blessing, Mahishasura believed he was invincible, as no man or God could touch him. He went insane. He nearly destroyed the Earth in his fury and vanity. His gloom quickly swept across the region, and his atrocities were widespread. Not only that, but he expelled the Gods from heaven. The Gods, terrified, ran to Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva and told them of their disaster.

They begged for protection, claiming that unless something was done quickly, the heavens and the earth, as well as all the entities who lived there, would be destroyed. Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, the gods, were outraged. They exchanged glances for a brief moment. Then they clutched each other and began to emit a blinding glow. It was a light like no other, so intense that even the sun seemed dim in comparison.

When the other Gods saw this, they joined in as well, and the light shined even brighter. The ten-armed goddess Durga, the manifestation of Adi Shakti, was born from this magnificent radiance. Goddess Durga, being a woman has had all the power of killing Mahishasura. Lord Durga defeated Mahishasura and triumphed against evil. That’s why this festival is celebrated to signify female strength i.e. ‘Shakti’.
Goddess Durga: Shakti Of Women (2021)

In Sanskrit, the word ‘Durga‘ refers to a fort or a safe and secure location. Durgatinashini, which means “the one who removes suffering,” is another name for Durga. Her name denotes her function as the protector of her believers and the destroyer of evil in the world. Durga is seen to have ten arms. These are Hinduism’s 10 directions, and she protects her believers from all sides.

The goddess holds a separate weapon in each hand, which the gods have given her to fight bad monsters like Mahishasura. Varuna, the God of the Sea, has given her a conch-shell in one hand. She has the bow and arrow given to her by Vayu, the Wind God, in two additional hands. On the other hand, she wields Indra’s thunderbolt, which can destroy anything it strikes without causing harm. She also has a lotus in her other hand, which is a symbol of spirituality and constancy.

In the other hand, she wields the Sudarshan chakra, or Vishnu’s discus, which has the capacity to annihilate evil forces regardless of their strength. In her other hands, she wields a longsword as well as Brahma’s kamandalu, or sacred water container. She wields Shiva’s all-powerful trident in her forearms, the weapon that delivers Mahishasura’s fatal death stroke. It is one of the most important Hindu holidays, which Hindus across India commemorate with great zeal.

There are four Navratris in a year, but only two of them are generally observed: Chaitra Navratri and Sharad Navratri. This same festival is celebrated differently in different sections of the country. Despite the fact that they worship the same deity, they have different rites. At last, Navratri is about reuniting with something much larger than ourselves, and these rituals are only tools to assist us to do so.

~Saniya Mishra

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