By Manju Gupta
The demons had been waging a war with the gods and they too, like the gods, wanted to wipe out their enemies for good. So a demon called Mahisha went on penance and prayed for days on end. Seeing his devotion, Lord Brahma appeared in front of him and granted him a boon, saying, “Ask for anything you desire and your wish shall be granted.”
Mashisha said, “Lord, please grant me the wish that no man or God should be able to destroy me and that I should always emerge victorious over them.”
Brahma granted him his wish. Now Mahisha went around killing men and animals, doing as he wished. The gods began to tremble to see his might and power and when it became unbearable for them, they turned red with anger. This generated so much heat and light that it gave birth to Goddess Durga, who was blessed with eight arms and a trident in one hand. Her vehicle was a lion brought from the Himalayas.
Now Durga charged towards Mahisha’s palace. On hearing a commotion outside, Mahisha sent his army of demons to find out what was wrong and kill whoever was creating the ruckus. Durga, in her fury, killed the demons, one by one. On seeing his army become weak, Mahisha took up different forms and charged at Durga in a bid to kill her, but she defeated all of them.
In a final assault, Mahisha took the form of a buffalo and charged at Durga who killed him with her trishul, the trident. Brahma had granted him the boon that he would not be killed by a God or man but he had not mentioned a woman.
It is said that since that day Durga is worshipped as the Goddess of bravery and valour.