view suggests that Deepavali originated after Mahadevi stopped dancing, which
began after the killing of Mahisasura, a great tyrant. Below is a short account
of the view:
There lived, in ancient times,
a wicked asura called Mahishasura who, had received blessings from the three great
gods Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva and claimed immunity from them for any misgivings
that he may commit. Thereafter, he unleashed a reign of terror on the world. Pillaging
and plundering in all three realms the heaven, the earth and the underground,
he spared no one, not even other fellow asuras.
Unable to bear his tyranny,
the devas, asuras, and men sought the advice of the three great gods.
save us” cried the gods and the asuras alike “Mahisasura is creating havoc. At
this rate we will not be able to live, and all of us would be destroyed. Please
The three great Gods realized the seriousness of the problem,
and sat to think together for a solution. Finally, Lord Shiva said, "It is
true that we gods cannot interfere in this matter. However, our goddesses made
no such promise. Let us, therefore, ask our wives Parvati, Lakshmi, and Saraswati
to subdue the cruel Mahishasura."
"Mahishasura is very strong,"
observed Parvati, when she considered the problem. "But we could overcome
him, if we combined our strength"
Forming a circle, the three goddesses
held hands and chanted a holy mantra. The air around them glowed radiantly, enveloping
them in a brilliant bright haze. Brighter and brighter did it become until, with
a sudden flash, there emerged from the haze a single goddess, radiating power.
Mounted on a tiger, she had ten arms, each holding a weapon of war, and wore a
garland of skulls around her neck. All who saw her cringed in fear, for she was
very fierce indeed!
"We will call her Mahadevi the great goddess,"
Mahadevi looked keen for battle. "Where is Mahishasura?"
"Here I am," called Mahishasura from atop his elephant.
He, too, was eager to fight. Mahadevi galloped towards him, looking majestic astride
With his magic powers, Mahishasura conjured up a dust storm
that screened him from her sight. But, ordering the clouds to gather, Mahadevi
made it rain, which settled the dust.
Mahishasura set fire to forests.
Mahadevi sent rains and winds to put out the fire.
Mahishasura then pounded
the earth and it quaked and split into deep crevices. Mahadevi caused the volcanoes
to erupt and the hot lava filled the cracks and brought the earth back to its
Thus, the battle raged for nine days and nine nights. Mahishasura
used every magic trick in his power, but the goddess successfully countered every
one of them.
On the tenth day, Mahishasura grew weary. He had no more
tricks left and had to face the goddess directly. He charged towards her on his
But before he could even use his weapon, Mahadevi flung
her lance at him with lightening speed and knocked him off his elephant!
"AAH!" roared the mighty Mahishasura. His scream rent the sky as he
fell with a thud! The battle was over, for asuras lose their magic powers once
they fall to the ground.
“Victory!" shouted Mahadevi, and the day became
known as Vijaya Dashami-the tenth day of victory. Vijaya Dashami is celebrated
widely in West Bengal when people exchange good feelings and feast themselves
"Mahadevi ki jaya! Victory to the great goddess!"
chorused devas and asuras alike, as flowers fell from the sky and people came
out to celebrate.
Mahadevi was ecstatic after her victory. She began
to dance, brandishing her weapons as she flailed her arms.
"You can put
down your weapons now," suggested Shiva. "Mahishasura has been destroyed."
But Mahadevi was in a frenzy and did not hear him. She kept on dancing. Mother
Earth groaned as Mahadevi stamped her feet in full force. Sparks flew from her
eyes, clouds gathered, and thunder and lightening rent the sky. Rain came down
in torrents. Everyone ran for cover.
Even Surya, the Sun God, hid behind the
clouds and the world became dreary.
"Her dancing is causing havoc!"
cried the devas.
"The world will be destroyed if she does not stop
dancing!" wailed the people.
"Gods, do something!" hollered
But no one, not even Shiva, who is Lord of the Dance, could
stop Mahadevi from dancing on and on and on.
The moon waxed and waned
twice and finally, on the fifteenth day of Kartika, she showed signs of calming
"Quick!" urged Shiva. "Prepare a feast in her honor."
Lamps were lit to brighten the night and joyful songs, praising the goddess's
victory were sung. A great feast was prepared, and people bought new clothes and
When Mahadevi saw the arrangement she smiled happily and
slowed down." ls this for me?" she asked. Tranquility was restored.
And thus began the custom of Diwali or Deepavali and to this day, Hindus
all over the world celebrate Deepavali as the day the goddess stopped dancing
after her battle with Mahishasurasura.
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