Durgam was a strong but evil-minded king of the rakshasas (demons). He said to his ministers, ?Why is it that after defeating the gods so many times, we have had to concede defeat to them? There must be some reason for it.?
A minister replied, ?It appears to me that the knowledge behind this power lies in the Vedas.?
Durgam decided to do penance so that Lord Brahma would get pleased with him and grant him his desire to get hold of the Vedas. He went deep into the forest and prayed and prayed to Lord Brahma.
After years of strict penance, Durgam so pleased Lord Brahma that he appeared before him and asked, ?Why have you been praying so devotedly to me? It seems you want something from me. Tell me what is it that you want. I?ll give it to you because I am very happy with your prayers.?
Durgam replied, ?I want to see the Vedas and keep them in my custody. I assure you I?ll keep them very safely.?
Lord Brahma granted him his wish. Durgam received the Vedas and after going through them, hid them in pataal loka (hell), away from the prying eyes of others.
In the heavens, the gods daily read the Vedas to find the secrets of remaining young always but now, with the Vedas gone, they started growing old and lost all their strength. Durgam launched an attack on the gods and took Indra, Agni, Kuber, Varun and Yamraj into captivity. With Indra and Varun in captivity, the environment underwent a change?the wind stopped blowing; there were no rains; famine and drought occurred everywhere.
So the gods went to Lord Vishnu to seek help. Vishnu advised them to approach Goddess Bhagwati as he felt that only she could help them. So the gods reached Goddess Bhagwati and told her their tale of woe. Goddess Bhagwati gave them a leaf growing on her body and said, ?Keep this leaf with you for protection. Now you will find there will be rain on the earth and all will be lovely and green. There will be no famine or drought.?
True to the Goddess'swords, rains came, crops began to grow and famine disappeared, bringing relief to the people. She then formed ten other goddesses from her body and along with her warriors attacked the rakshasas in a fierce battle in which even Goddess Mahakali participated. The rakshasas fled in terror. Goddess Bhagwati then said to Durgam, ?Give me the Vedas and go and rule over the pataal loka in peace.?
But Durgam refused to part with the Vedas. Goddess Bhagwati launched an attack on Durgam. Finding that it was not easy to win over the rakshasas, finally Goddess Bhagwati was forced to hurl her trident at Durgam. It went and pierced his heart and he died on the spot.
The gods were pleased at this victory of the goddess and on searching the pataal loka, they found the Vedas hidden in a corner. They quickly took it away with them to heaven. Peace now reigned supreme over the earth.