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First Read :  Rambh and Karambh

Mahishaasur's story comes in Devee Mahaatmya of Maarkandeya Puraan. Mahishaasur was born to Rambh and a she-buffalo. Mahish means he-buffalo. According to Bhavishya Puraan, 4/20 (see under "Dhwaj Navamee Vrat") he had a son named Raktaasur. He did a lots of Tap and became the ruler of the three worlds by the Var of Brahmaa Jee. He was troubling Devtaa very much so Brihaspati Jee sought the help of Devee and got killed him.

Once there lived a demon (Asur) named Mahish. He always hurt people. Once, he decided to pray to Brahmaa Jee, who he thought would give him a boon, which would make him invincible. Mahish performed severe penances praying and fasting for months as he stood on one foot. The three worlds trembled under the strength of his penances and the pleased Lord Brahmaa came to give him a boon. Mahish asked for immortality, which the Lord said he could not bestow that boon as every creature that was born had to die. Mahish decided that he would ask for a boon that would make him as good as immortal, so he asked that no man on the Earth should be able to kill him and, if he had to die it should be only at the hands of only a woman. He was sure that no woman could ever fight against him however strong she may be, so he was sure of his immortality.

I read a story about Mahish on Internet, that Mahishaasur became very powerful after obtainig the boon from Brahmaa Jee that he could change his form to any form. Once he changed his form to a girl's form and wandered around. Wandering around he came to the sage Kaatyaayan's hermitage. There kept some Kheer (rice pudding) meant for offering, He ate that Kheer. Rishi asked him why did she do that. At this he changed hhis form to his real form - Mahishaasur. At this Kaatyaayan cursed him - "Since you have duped me in the form of a girl, you will also be killed by a girl only." Mahishaasur laughed and said - "When no man, Devtaa, or Asur can kill me, what a girl can do to me?" However, all the gods jointly produced a woman and equipped her to kill Mahishaasur, so she (Chandikaa Devee) killed him.

Now that Mahish was invincible, he and the other Asur went about hurting and killing everyone on Earth and then went on to the Heavens to fight the Gods. Even Indra’s thunderbolt could not withstand the Asur's attacks. Mahish drove out the Gods from the Heaven and took over Indra’s throne. He started harassing all pious people who continued praying to Vishnu or Shiv. The Gods and people were depressed and decided to ask Lord Shiv for his help.

Who Killed Mahishaasur
(1) Chandikaa is Born to Kill Mahishaasur
Lord Shiv, Vishnu, and Brahmaa concentrated hard and used their radiant energies, which were joined by the energies with Indra, and the other Gods. This godly energy took the form of a Divine woman with thousand arms. In each arm she carried a weapon belonging to all Gods. This was Durgaa Devee in the form of Chandikaa Devee. She mounted a fiery lion and roared. It was a roar that shook mountains and created huge waves in the seas. Even Mahish was worried for a second, but his vanity took over when he saw that the terrible form was that of a woman. Durgaa created a large army from her breath to fight Mahish’s army and then fought with Mahish who came in the form of a Buffalo. As he struggled to set himself from the Buffalo form she killed him with her sword delivering the Earth and Heavens of the burden called Mahishaasur. This female Deity (Devee) combated the demon Mahishaasur for nine days from the first (Pratipadaa) to the ninth day (Navamee) and finally slain him on the ninth night. Since then she has come to be known as "Mahishaasur-Mardinee", the slayer (Mardinee) of Mahishaasur.

(2) Kaatyaayan's Daughter Killed Mahishaasur
Other sources say that Kaatyaayan Rishi's daughter Kaatyaayanee, who herself was the incarnation of Devee, killed Mahishaasur and thus was known as Mahishaasur-Mardinee.

(3) Skand Killed Mahishaasur
One Mahishaasur is mentioned in Mahaabhaarat, G-4-Van/43 too in the reference of Skand's birth. There he is killed by Skand.


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Created by Sushma Gupta on 5/27/03
Updated on 12/20/13