Every festival has its relevance and it’s better to know and believe rather than just follow it. Similarly the nine nights of Navratri has a hidden story behind them which varies according to the belief in varied parts of India.
The North Indians hold the belief that the violent devil Mahishasura was the faithful worshipper of Lord Shiva. He adored him for years and finally achieved the fruit of eternity. On obtaining immense power, his evil energies became prominent and his ego made him feel that he can conquer all the three worlds. The devil carried on with his cruelty and evil deeds for long, which finally disturbed the Gods and other deities, as he challenged them too. Helpless innocent people along with all the other Gods pleaded the supreme power of Lord Brahma, Lords Vishnu and Lord Shiva to take some urgent action. The divine power gathered all their Shaktis together which lead to the birth of beautiful female warrior Goddess Durga. Mahishasura lost control over his emotions and felt in love with the beauty of Goddess Durga. He proposed her for marriage and Ma Durga accepted his proposal on a condition. She kept a clause that she will marry him only if he wins her in a battle. As lost in love and his pride, he accepted the condition and was sure about his victory. The fierce battle between them continued for about nine nights and finally on the ninth night, Goddess Durga beheaded demon Mahishasura. The beheading of Mahishasura symbolise the cutting down of our evil devilish qualities which resides within us. It inspires us to get rid of these traits and inculcate positive qualities otherwise our condition will be similar to Mahishasura. The tenth day is celebrated to glorify the power of goodness and spread the message around. These nine nights of struggle is the period of navratri which is considered auspicious by Hindus.
This belief holds the story about the beautiful and dedicated daughter of King of Himalayas, Daksha. Uma was madly engrossed in worshipping Lord Shiva and wanted him to accept her as his consort. She performed severe penance for several years and finally pleased by her devotion, Lord Shiva married her. Uma’s father was against their marriage and he never wanted his daughter to reside in Mount Kailash with Shiv ji. One day Daksha organized a huge yagna and invited everybody except Lord Shiva. This news irritated Uma and she went to her father, who was answerable for this insult. When she reached there, she heard her father insulting lord Shiva. This was against her self-respect and she jumped into the fire of yagna and united with eternity. She was named as Sati from then on. Later Sati took rebirth as Goddess Parvati and married Lord Shiva again. So every year Uma along with Ganesh, kartikeya, Saraswati and Lakshmi and her two friends named Jaya and Bijaya; comes to visit her parent’s home when Durga Puja is celebrated.
Another major belief is from the Hindu epic, Ramayana which says that Lord Rama worshipped the nine forms of Goddess Durga for nine days to achieve immense positive strength for ending the cruelty of Ravana. So the tenth day marks the end of evil Ravana which is still celebrated by burning huge effigies of Ravana on Dusshera.
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Contributed By: Meenakshi Ahuja
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