Vrat-Festivals | Vrat
|Nava Raatri Kathaa|
Nava Raatri Story
The story associated with Nava Raatri can be found in various Hindu religious texts like Maarkandeya Puraan, Vaaman Puraan, Varaah Puraan, Shiv Puraan, Skand Puraan, Devee Bhaagavat and Kalikaa Puraan. The story of Nava Raatra is the symbolic message of the fact that however glorious and powerful the evil become, at the end it is the goodness that wins over all of the evil. The story is associated with Maa Durgaa and Mahishaasur, the buffalo headed demon.
The story begins from the life of two sons of Danu called Rambh and Karambh who performed austerities to gain extreme power and authority. When their prayers became deeper and austerities became exceptional, the King of the Heaven God Indra got perturbed. Out of fear, he killed Karambh. Rambh, who came to know about his brotherís death, became more stubborn to win over the Gods. He increased the intensity of his austerities and finally got several boons from gods like great brilliance, beauty, invincibility in war. He also asked a special wish of not being killed by either humans or Gods or Asur.
He then considered himself immortal and started freely roaming in the garden of Yaksh where he saw a female-buffalo and fell in love with her. To express his love, Rambh disguised in the form of a male-buffalo and copulated with the female buffalo. However, soon after that a real male buffalo discovered Rambh mating with the she-buffalo and killed him. It was due to Rambhís inflated ego that killed him, out of which he had not asked his death to be spared from the wrath of animals. As the pyre of Rambh was organized, the female-buffalo, who was copulated with him jumped into the funeral pyre of Rambh to prove her love. She was pregnant at that time. Thus, the demon came out of the she-buffalo's stomach with the head of a buffalo and human body and he was named Mahishaasur (the buffalo headed demon).
Mahishaasur was extremely powerful. He defeated the gods and the demons and acquired power over the entire world. He even won over the Heaven and pushed Devtaa outside it. He captured the throne of Indra and declared himself to be the the Lord of the gods. The gods led by Brahmaa approached Vishnu and Shiv and evaluated them of the situation. In order to save the Gods, the three supreme deities emerged a light of anger, which combined to the take the shape of a terrible form and this was Durgaa. All the gods then granted this Goddess of power with all the supreme weapons they had. This is why; Durgaa is called the brilliance of all the Gods.
When the goddess was seen by Mahishaasur, he was mesmerized by her beauty. He fell in love with her immediately and proposed to marry her. The goddess told she would marry him, if he defeated her in the battle. Then began a scary and terrible battle between both of them which continued for nine days. Finally, on the last day, Durgaa took the form of Chandikaa and stood over the chest of Mahishaasur and smashed him down with her foot. She then pierced his neck with her spear and cut off his head off with her sword. It is the day when Vijayaa Dashamee is celebrated.
In days long gone by, there was a King named Dhruvasindhu in Kosal Desh. Once he went out for hunting and a lion killed him. So his cabinet made the preparations to crown the prince Sudarshan. But, the King Yudhaajit of Ujjain, the father of Queen Leelaavatee, and King Veerasen of Kaling, the father of the Queen Manoramaa, were each desirous of securing the Kosal throne for their respective grandsons. So they fought with each other and the King Veerasen was killed in the battle. Manoramaa fled to the forest with Prince Sudarshan and a eunuch. They took the refuge in the hermitage of Rishi Bharadwaaj.
The victor, King Yudhaajit, thereupon crowned his grandson, Shatrujit, at Ayodhyaa, the capital of Kosal. He then went out in search of Manoramaa and her son. Searching them he came in Bharadwaaj's Aashram. The Rishi said that he would not give up those who had sought protection under him. Yudhaajit became furious. He wanted to attack the Rishi. But, his minister told him about the truth of the Rishiís statement. Yudhaajit returned to his capital.
Fortune smiled on Prince Sudarshan. One day a hermitís son came there and called the eunuch by his Sanskrit name Kleev. The prince caught the first syllable Klee and began to pronounce it as Kleem. This syllable happened to be a powerful, sacred Mantra. It is the Beej Akshar (root syllable) of the Divine Mother. The Prince obtained peace of mind and the Grace of the Divine Mother by the repeated utterance of this syllable. One day Devee appeared before him, blessed him and granted him Divine weapons and an inexhaustible quiver.
The emissaries of the King of Banaaras were passing through the Ashram of the Rishi and, when they saw the noble prince Sudarshan, they recommended him to Princess Shashikalaa, the daughter of the king of Banaaras. When the king organized the Swayamvar for his daughter Shashikalaa, Sashikalaa at once chose Sudarshan. They were duly wedded. King Yudhaajit, also attended the function, began to fight with the king of Banaaras. Devee helped Sudarshan and his father-in-law. Yudhaajit mocked at Devee, upon which Devee promptly reduced Yudhaajit and his army to ashes. Thus Sudarshan, with his wife and father-in-law, praised Devee. She was highly pleased and ordered them to worship her with Havan and other means during the Vasant Nava Raatri days. Then she disappeared.
Prince Sudarshan and Shashikalaa returned to the Aashram of Rishi Bharadwaaj. The great Rishi blessed them and crowned Sudarshan as the king of Kosal. Sudarshan and Shashikalaa and the King of Banaaras implicitly carried out the commands of the Divine Mother and performed worship in a splendid manner during the Vasant Nava Raatri. Sudarshanís descendants, namely, Shree Raam and Lakshman, also performed worship of Devee during the Sharan Nava Raatri and were blessed with her assistance in the recovery of Seetaa.
Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/05
Updated on 09/30/13