The Markandeya Purana describes the story associated with Navratri and Durga puja. The entire mythological connection behind Navratri lies with the defeat of Mahishasura. The chapters 81 to 93 states the entire story and is referred as Devimahatmya. People recite this purana to worship the Goddess Durga during Navratri.
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 the 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.
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 for the 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 picture. The 9 days of huge display of power isworshipped by the fellow people.