The Markandeya Purana describes the story associated with Navratri and Durga puja. The entire mythological connection behind Navratri lies with the defeat of Mahishasura. Chapters 81 to 93 states the entire story and are referred to as Devimahatmya. People recite this Purana to worship the NavaDurga during Navratri.
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How did Mahishasura Emerge?
There were two brothers Rambha and Karambha who practiced severe austerities to gain powers. Indra felt threatened by such severe penance and killed one of the brothers – ‘Karambha’. This triggered the fire of revenge in Rambha and hence he became more rigorous in his penance.
His worship impressed many Gods and they gave him the boon to be very powerful and the one who cannot be defeated by any, neither the Gods nor the demons.
Once Rambha fell in love with a female buffalo and copulated with her. Meanwhile, a male buffalo came in and murdered Rambha. So the sad part was that Rambha had not taken the boon of being protected from an animal.
This incident made the female pregnant buffalo jump into the fire and suicide. The moment she jumped, came out a half buffalo and half-human ‘MAHISASURA’.
Mahishasura defeated the gods and the demons. He attacked heaven and captured it and made ‘devas’ his slaves. He proclaimed that he is now Indra – the lord of the gods. The gods led by Brahma approached Vishnu and Shiva and appraised them of the situation.
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Rise of Goddess Durga
The destructive Mahisasura created a lot of havoc and brought in immense anger in the Trimurti. The Trimurti then brought their energies together to form the epitome of power that is Goddess Durga. Every God then bestowed on the new feminine power all their characteristic weapons.
Shiva – the trident, Vishnu – the discus, Varuna – the conch, Agni – the spear, Yama – the cudgel, Vayu – the bow, Surya – the arrows, Indra – the vajra, Kubera – the mace, Brahma – the water pot, Kala – the sword and Vishwakarma – the axe. Himavan gifted a mountain lion as her vehicle.
The end of Mahishasura
When Mahishasura came across the vibrant Goddess, he fell in love with her. He asked him to marry him but she put forward a condition. She promised marriage only if she could defeat the demon. They started the battle and it continued for 9 consecutive days after which Durga took the terrifying form of Chandika and pinned Mahishasura down with her foot and pierced his neck with her spear and she cut his head off with her sword.
This is how the concept of Navratri came into the picture. The 9 days of a huge display of power are worshipped by the fellow people.
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Navratri is the most powerful period in existence. It celebrates the existence of the ultimate source of power that is the Nine Goddesses. In the auspicious and awe-inspiring occasion, divine love pervades through all the devotees who indulge in the rituals and customs. These feminine divine energies bring positivity to the universe during this period.
- The auspicious Hindu festival of Navratri celebrates the power of the nine Goddesses.
- The idols of the goddesses are set in respective houses. All the family members worship them following the step-by-step traditional rituals.
- The first three days of Navratri are devoted exclusively to the worship of Goddess Durga when her energy and power are worshiped. Each day is dedicated to a different appearance of Durga, namely Kumari, Parvati, and Kali.
- The fourth and sixth day is dedicated to Goddess Laxmi and the fifth to Goddess Saraswati known as Lalita Panchami.
- The seventh day is dedicated to Goddess Saraswati, while the Goddess of Art and Knowledge is worshiped on the eighth day and a yagna is also performed.
- The ninth day forms the final day of Navratri celebrations, which is also known as ‘Mahanavami’.
- On the ninth day Kanya Puja is performed, where nine young girls who have not yet reached the stage of puberty, are worshiped. These 9 girls are believed to symbolize the nine goddesses. These girls are offered delicious delicacies and new clothes to wear.
- In some northern parts of the country enjoyments like Dandiya and Garba are performed.
- The nine days are dedicated to different incarnations of Goddess Durga. People follow the custom of wearing the respective colors symbolizing the deity of the day.
- Certain other rituals like the burning of lamps reduce the negative energies and helps in increasing divine consciousness. People also sow Barley which signifies growth, prosperity, and abundance.
- There are many other rituals as well followed by people depending on the region they stay in. So, the celebration of Navratri is done by all but in different methods.