Home » Maa Durga: Part I

Maa Durga: Part I

by Anubhav Bakshi
Maa Durga

Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva are the supreme Gods. With the powers of Creation, Preservation and Destruction vested in them, they run the entire universe. But they cannot perform this task on their own, for they are incomplete without the existence of Adi Shakti, Maa Durga.

She is the Prakriti to their Purusha. It is she who completes them. Their union creates a balance in the universe and allows it to prosper. So today I am going to tell you the story of Adi Shakti, Maa Bhagwati.

Welcome to Decoding Hinduism.

This is the Stories section of this blog, where I tell you the most engaging stories from Hindu Mythology. And through these mythical stories, we try to decipher the hidden message or knowledge. These stories not only entertain but they give us a glimpse into the true nature of Hinduism, which we strive to find through this space.

Who is Durga?

This story is about Durga, the Goddess, the mother of the universe. But who is she? She is Shakti. Shakti means Power. She is the source of power behind Tridev. Their story is incomplete without the story of the Adi Shakti, Maa Durga.
She completes Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. As Brahma, Vishnu and Shiv combine to form the Male expansion of the genderless and formless Parabhramn. But that male expansion is just one part of this supreme being. Their existence is incomplete without the female expansion of the same Parabrahmañ. 

The creation of the universe and sustenance of life is only possible with the combination of Purusha and Prakriti,(Man and Nature). That Prakriti is Devi Adi Shakti, also known as Durga, Maha Maya and Maa Bhagwati. Together they create, sustain, and destroy the universe.

So let us start the story of Durga.

Mahishasur’s Boon:

Once upon a time from the union of an Asur (Demon) named Rambh and a buffalo, a dreadful Asur was born. His name was Mahishasur. With the head of a buffalo and the body of a man, his mere presence filled every heart with dread and fear. 
Like every power-hungry monster, Mahishasur also wanted to be immortal. So, he climbed sacred Mount Sumeru, the golden mountain that is one of the holiest places on earth. There, he sat for ten thousand years in a searing meditation, worshipping Brahma, Sire of the worlds.
Mahishasur’s conviction was so strong that for ten thousand years, he did not move from his place, did not eat, or drink. As time passed, his Tapa became harder. Towards the later stages of his Tapasya, he even stopped breathing. The entire universe started shaking with the power of his meditation. 

Finally, Lord Brahma was happy with his meditation and appeared before him. Mahishasur opened his eyes, and when he saw Lord Brahma standing in front of him, he folded his hands and prostrated at his feet. Brahma blessed him and asked him what he wanted.

Without a moment’s hesitation, Mahishasur said, “Lord, if you are happy with my Tapasya make me immortal, so that death never touches me.” 
Lord Brahma smiled and spoke. “Death is certain for he who is born. Even these immense mountains, the deep ocean, the sky, and the very earth, the void of the universe, and all the galaxies will die when their time comes.”
“Ask me for any boon other than immortality, and I will give it to you.” 
After thinking for a moment, the Asura said, “Lord, then grant me the boon that no man of any of the races of Swarga, Bhumi or Patala can kill me, for I am sure that, no woman can kill Mahishasur. So, give me a boon that if I am to die, let it be only at the hands of a woman.” 
Smiling, Brahma said, “So be it.” And Brahma went back to Brahmaloka, and Mahishasur went back to his kingdom, jubilant.’

Mahishasur’s Reign of Terror and Darkness


Hearing of his boon, all the demons declared him as their king. As soon as he returned to his kingdom, he amassed a huge army of Asuras, Danavas, and Rakshas, and first declared war on the kings of Earth. As none of the kings possessed the power to stand up to the might of that Asura, they relinquished their thrones, and Mahishasur became the lord of the entire Prithvilok, the Earth. 
After ruling the Earth for over a hundred years, Mahishasur set his eyes on the throne of Swarglok, and the throne of Indra. He sent a messenger to Devlok and asked Indra and all other Devtas to surrender and relinquish the throne of Swarglok to him. 

Indra, unaware of the prowess of that Asura, laughed at the message and sent back the messenger. Seething with anger, Mahishasur declared war on Heaven. Under the influence of his ignorance and arrogance, Indra decided to fight the Asura and summoned all the Gods with their armies.

A fierce battle ensued between Gods and Demon Armies. The Gods fought valiantly and destroyed legions upon legions of the Asura army. But they kept coming like the waves of a sea. And Mahishasur, with an armour of Brahma’s boon, was as good as immortal and indomitable. 
The moment he set foot on the battlefield; it was all over for the Gods. All their glorious and dreadful weapons failed against the shield of Brahma’s boon and Mahishasur’s might. 
Soon he defeated the Gods and forced them to flee from the battlefield. And thus, the mighty demon acquired the throne of Heaven and became the King of all three words, Swarg, Prithvi and Paatal (Heaven, Earth and Underworld).
Indra and the other vanquished Gods hid in the wilderness, in the hearts of impenetrable forests, in lofty caves, on unclimbable mountains. They did everything to save themselves from the wrath of Mahishasur. The Asura ruled the three realms for an age, and his way was Darkness. Everyone in the three worlds was suffering. 

Indra’s Cry for Help

With no end to their suffering in sight, in despair, the Devas (Gods) arrived in Brahmaloka and prostrated themselves before the Creator on his Lotus throne.
Indra and other Gods praised Brahma fulsomely. And when Lord Brahma was happy, Indra said, “Merciful Lord, please pay heed to our misery.  The Devas of Swarglok are roaming on the Earth, like filthy beggars. Mahishasur sits upon my throne in Amravati, and the three worlds suffer his dreadful rule. Time itself is corrupted, and yet Pitama you are indifferent to our anguish. Help us, we beg you, do something to save us!” 
Brahma’s face softened in compassion, he sighed and said, “What can I do? My heart is with you, for Mahishasur has taken all that is rightfully yours. And indeed, creation is plunged into sin. But Mahisha is invincible. He has my boon that no man can kill him.” 
Then he thought for a moment and said, “Perhaps, we should go to Lord Rudra, and to Lord Vishnu and seek their help.” 
So, the Devas sat in their vimanas and Brahma on his Swan, and they flew to the lonely mountain Kailasha, that stood north of the Himalaya, risen like a full moon upon the earth. 
Siva knew about their arrival through his divine powers and came out of his lofty cave to meet them, with Uma at his side. Brahma and Rudra embraced each other. Then, the Devas bowed to the Mahadev and sang his praises. 
Siva asked, “Brahmdev, how have you graced Kailasha today with your presence, and that too along with all the Devas?”

Brahma and the other Gods led by Indra told him about their misery.
Shiva saw the despair on the Devas’ faces and fell silent. Then he said softly, “Vishnu is the saviour. Let us go to Vaikuntha and ask him what we should do now.”
As soon as Siva spoke, a strange surge of hope coursed through the Devas and Brahma. Eagerly, Indra and his people cried, “Let us go to Narayana, he will find a way!”
When Brahma, Rudra and the Devas arrived at Vaikunth they were met at the lofty gates of Vaikunth by Vishnu’s gatekeepers Jaya and Vijaya, legends in their own right, with golden staffs in their hands. They immediately rushed to inform Vishnu about their arrival. 
Hari rose at once and came out to receive his illustrious visitors. Vishnu led them into his sabha, and there were two thrones set there for Siva and Brahma, where only they ever sat. There were also lesser thrones for Indra and his Devas, many times more magnificent than any throne of the earth. When they were comfortably settled, Indra said, “Jagannatha, you are our last refuge, and we come to you in despair.” 
Vishnu said, smiling, “What grieves you, Devas, that you have brought Brahma and Rudra to Vaikuntha?” 
Indra said with tears in his eyes and a lump in his throat, “Mahishasura rules heaven and earth, my Lord, and he torments us. We are like beasts in the world, hiding from the Danava’s hunters, while he enjoys the offerings from every Yagna in all the worlds. No man can kill the Asura, for that is Brahma’s boon to him. We beg you, Hari, deliver us from Mahisha: find us a woman strong enough to slay him.” 
Vishnu said musingly, “It is true, only a Devi can kill Mahisha. But who shall it be? Perhaps, if all of us combine our Shaktis to create such a Devi. Only she will be equal to the task.”

Birth of Durga

He had hardly finished saying this when the strangest thing happened.
From Brahma’s brow, came out a fiery light, pulsating. In the next moment, it turned into a great flame, Red as rubies, a little hot and a little cool. A brilliant aura surrounded Brahma’s Shakti, embodied feminine fire. 
As soon as this manifestation was complete, Siva’s Shakti came out from his brow. It was white as silver, dazzling, and so fierce that none of the Devas could even look at it. Shiva’s shakti slowly travelled to the centre of the great hall and merged with Brahma’s shakti. 
Right then Vishnu’s sublime Shakti flowed from him, blue as the hearts of rainbows. This luminous flame glowed with spectral colours, as it stood glowing in that sabha. The three Shaktis, of Rajas, Tamas and Sattva, merged and then stood waiting before the council of Gods. 
Then, one by one, all the Devas emitted their Shaktis there, all brilliant, all fierce; and soon, eighteen pristine spirit-flames burned in that sabha. As the Devas and the Trimurti watched, those Shaktis flowed together and merged into a single, ineffable flame, whose tongues licked the lofty ceiling. The fire was so majestic that it seemed it would consume the Vaikuntha itself. It was mountainous, Himalayan, with a thousand peaks dancing.
Shading their eyes, the Gods gazed at that fire. After all the fires had fused into a single blaze, they began to shape together into a wondrous form. A brilliant Goddess was being born from it, and she was so beautiful that she defined beauty anew. It was the Devi Maha Maya, Maa Durga herself, and she stepped from that Agni, tall as the sky, with eighteen arms in this manifestation.
She transformed the fire of all the Devas’ Shaktis for her body and stood dazzling before the Gods in Vaikuntha. 

So divine was her persona that all the Gods bowed in front of her. And Maa Durga just stood there smiling.

Lessons from the Story

This is Part-I of the two-part story of Maa Durga. I will be concluding the story of Maa Durga and her encounter with Mahishasur in the next part.

Mahishasur performed a penance that was unheard of and unmatchable. He could have asked for any boon from Lord Brahma. But he wanted to be immortal and invincible. His sole purpose in performing that penance was to grab power. He wanted what was not rightfully his. This was his first mistake.

Another flaw in his personality was his arrogance. He thought of women as weak and powerless. And this arrogance had its roots in his ignorance. He failed to recognise the power of women. He failed to understand that Man and Woman are two equal parts of the same Parabrahmn. And under the influence of this ignorance and arrogance, he himself created a weapon for his destruction.

One should never think of any being as powerless because every being in this world is part of that supreme being, and possesses a part of its infinite power. We should respect all beings and give them the respect that they deserve.


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Deepti November 22, 2021 - 8:09 am

I love these blogs. A must read for every parent. They should read them out to the kids.
Makes me proud that Hindu religion is so rich with stories and I am amazed to know that every story has a meaning and purpose.

Saikat November 22, 2021 - 9:18 am

While everyone know Maa Durga was born to kill Mahisasura, but the way it has been portrayed is wonderful. Makes is so much interesting to know the how Maa Durga was born Beautifully written.


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