Mahishasura is regarded as a mighty buffalo demon in Hinduism. He is often called the “shape-shifting” demon that was ultimately killed by Goddess Durga. This post highlights the story of Durga and Mahishasura.
Who was Mahishasura?
Mahishasura was a buffalo demon.
In fact, Mahishasura is a combination of Sanskrit words, “Mahisha” + “Asura,” where Mahisha means buffalo and Asura means demon.
Thus, Mahishasura means Buffalo Demon.
Mahishasur was the great-grandson of Brahmarishi Kashyap. He was the son of Rambha.
Mahishasura had won a boon from Lord Brahma with his long and hard penance.
He prayed for immortality and was granted a boon that no man or god could kill him.
After gaining such profound power, Mahishasura started to terrorize people on earth.
He even attacked heaven.
There was a huge battle between the Devas and the demons. However, Mahishasur defeated the Devas, who were led by Indra.
The Devas were frightened by the growing power of Mahishasur. They approached the Tridevas (Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva) to seek a solution.
Ultimately, Goddess Durga was called upon, who was equipped with dazzling weapons and a mighty lion to ride upon.
There was an epic battle between Goddess Durga and Mahishasur, which lasted for ten days. On the tenth day, Goddess Durga killed Mahishasur.
The nine days of battle are now celebrated as Navaratri. The tenth day (the day of victory) is celebrated as Vijay Dashami.
Goddess Durga was named Mahishasuramardini as she was The Killer of Mahishasura.
The tale of Mahishasur has been told in the Devi Mahatmya, which forms a part of Markandeya Purana.
According to Markandeya Purana, the story of Mahishasur had been narrated in the 2nd Manvantara (approximately 1.3 billion years ago) by Maharishi Medha to King Soorut.
The story of Durga and Mahishasura
Mahishasura was a mighty buffalo demon.
Even in his childhood, Mahishasur wanted to become the most powerful being in all creation.
He nurtured hatred against the Devas and wanted to defeat them. He always thought of becoming more powerful than the gods.
So, Mahishasura decided to do “Tapasya” (penance) to please Lord Brahma.
Mahishasur stopped eating and began to pray to Brahma.
He stood on one foot under a tree and began a long penance. Many years passed, and Mahishasura gained immense powers that spread through the entire world. Even Lord Brahma felt its presence.
Lord Brahma was pleased by his immense devotion.
Lord Brahma reached the place where the Asura was fasting. Mahishasur sensed his presence and opened his eyes.
Lord Brahma raised his hand in blessing and told Mahishasura, “You can ask anything that you desire.”
Mahishasur replied, “I want to become immortal.”
However, Lord Brahma said that this is not possible as every creature is born to die.
So, Mahishasur decided that he should ask for a boon that would make him as good as immortal.
Mahishasura asked Lord Brahma that he could neither be killed by a man nor by a god. Mahishasur was confident that no woman could ever kill him.
Lord Brahma said, “It shall be so. You will meet your death only by a woman.” Mahishasura thanked Lord Brahma for this great boon.
Having been armed with such ample powers, Mahishasur unleashed a reign of terror on the inhabitants of the earth.
After suppressing all the mortals, Mahishasur decided to attack heaven.
He defeated and drove the gods out of heaven. Mahishasur became the lord of the three worlds.
All the Devas were in a pathetic state.
Eventually, they decided to consult the trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva.
Lord Vishnu suggested that they should use their combined powers to create the invincible feminine energy that could kill Mahishasura.
These combined energies of all the gods took the form of Goddess Durga. She was mounted on a lion and set out to destroy Mahishasur. All the Devas armed her with invincible weapons.
When Mahishasura came to know that the gods had sent a woman to challenge him, he laughed and said, “I would be happy to her.” He sent his messengers with the proposal of marriage.
The Goddess told the messengers that she was no ordinary woman who would be keen to marry him.
She further said, “I am Mahadevi, and my husband is Mahadeva. I will destroy him.”
When Mahishasur heard this reply, he was gripped in immense anger. He sent his leading warriors to fight with Mahadevi. However, all his boastful warriors were finished off by the Goddess.
When Mahishasur got this news, he became even more furious. He thundered, “I will settle this wretched woman once and for all.”
Mahishasura took the form of a handsome man and came to woo Mahadevi. Mahishasur said, “Lovely lady, why do you want to fight me? Why not marry me and live like a queen? So, throw away these weapons.”
However, Mahadevi rejected him firmly.
Finally, Mahishasura attacked the Goddess along with an army of Asuras. Goddess Durga fought back and created a massive troop of soldiers.
The battle between Goddess Durga and Mahishasur continued for nine days.
Mahishasur tried all the tricks on Durga Goddess. He assumed various forms to confuse the Goddess.
On the tenth day, Goddess Durga killed Mahishasur, who had taken the form of a giant buffalo. She beheaded the demon with the Chakra, which was given to her by Lord Vishnu.
So, Goddess Durga freed the world from Mahishasura terror. Indra and all the other gods returned to the heavens again.
All was well again.
How did Maa Durga kill Mahishasur?
All the gods were terrified by the growing power of Mahishasur. They were in a pathetic situation.
Mahishasura had defeated the Devas and snatched heaven from them.
So, the Devas approached the Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva.
It was decided that Maa Durga would be armed with the combined powers of all the Devas.
Finally, it was Maa Durga who fought Mahishasur in a fierce battle that lasted for ten days.
Goddess Durga destroyed the army of Mahishasura.
Mahishasura took the form of a fierce buffalo and attacked the Devi. He tried to slay the lion of the Devi.
Maa Durga flung her noose over Mahishasur.
However, Mahishasur kept changing his forms.
He took various forms.
He took the form of a lion, an elephant, and even a human form. Finally, Mahishasur resumed his buffalo form.
Goddess Durga and Mahishasur were engaged in a fierce battle. Finally, the Devi landed on the buffalo form of Mahishasura and crushed his neck under her feet.
The Devi struck him with his spear. Mahishasura tried to regain his human form but could only manage to reveal himself till his waist. The Devi beheaded Mahishasur using the Chakra.
All the Gods praised Maa Durga.
You may like: Maa Durga Chalisa
Maa Durga is also known as Mahishasura Mardini, as she took the form of Chandika to slay the demon Mahishasur.
The detailed story of Mahishasur Mardini has been narrated in chapters 2, 3, and 4 of Durga Saptashati.
Mahishasur had acquired a boon from Lord Brahma that he could neither be killed by a man or a god.
He raged extreme terror on earth. He even conquered heaven and defeated the gods.
It was Maa Durga who finally killed Mahishasur and protected humanity from evil forces.
There is a very popular hymn on Mahishasura Mardini known as “Mahishasura Mardini Stotram,” which describes Goddess Durga’s greatness.
For more details, please refer to the HindUtsav post – Mahishasura Mardini Stotram Significance & Benefits.
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