In the Hindi tradition, Navratri Festival is celebrated twice a year to rejoice the triumph of the good over evil. The nine different forms of the Goddess Durga are being worshipped for nine days, a different character assumed each day. During the festival, Katha or stories related to the festival are read for the benefit of the people. The Katha is a symbolic message of the fact that however powerful and glorious the evil can become, it will still be defeated by goodness.
A sample of Navratri story is narrated below.
The Story of Maa Durga and Mahishasura
The story begins with the two sons of Danu – Rambha and Karambha. The two wanted to gain extreme power and authority that is why they did everything to have it. When their wanting became intensified, the King of the Heaven God Indra became troubled. He feared that their prayer will soon be answered so he killed Karambha. When Rambha found this out, he persevered more to win over the gods. He increased the intensity of his austerities.
With all his effort, he finally got boons like brilliance, beauty and invincibility in war from the gods. He also asked that he won’t be killed by either humans or gods. Because of all the gifts he received, he considered himself immortal. He started roaming the garden of Yaksha freely. In one of his wandering, he saw a female buffalo and fell in love with it. To express his love, he disguised himself as a male buffalo and mated with the female buffalo.
But then, a real male buffalo saw him mating with the female buffalo. Amongst his requests, he forgot to ask protection from the wrath of animals. He was then killed by it. The female buffalo that also fell in love with him jumped into the funeral pyre of Rambha to prove her love. By that time, it was already pregnant. A demon with a buffalo head and a human body came out of the pyre. He was named Mahishasura.
The buffalo headed demon was extremely powerful. He had defeated both the gods and the demons. He has acquired power over the entire world. He even won over the heaven and had thrown out the devtas. He captured the throne of Lord Indra and declared himself the lord of the gods. Seeing what happened, the gods led by Brahma approached Vishnu and Shiva. They asked for their help. In order to save the Gods, the three supreme deities created the Goddess Durga. They gave her power to defeat Mahishasura.
When Mahishasura saw the goddess, he was mesmerized by her beauty. He fell in love with her and asked her to marry him. Durga agreed to marry him in one condition. He needs to defeat her in a battle. A scary and terrible battle between them took place for nine days. On the last day of their battle, Durga had managed to kill Mahishasura. She took the form of Chandika and stood over the chest of Mahishasura. She smashed him down with her foot and pierced his neck with a spear and cut off his head with her sword. This day is celebrated as Vijayadashmi.
This story marked the beginning of the celebration of the Navratri.