Indian myths: how goddess Durga was born
In the legend from Devimahatmyam we previously mentioned about Indian goddess Durga (here), the goddess, created by the light of three gods – Brahma, Visnu and Shiva, assumes her most powerful form to slay the buffalo-demon Mahishasura and is thus called, thereafter, Mahishasuramardini.
THE LEGENDARY WAR BETWEEN ASURAS AND DEVAS
A war between the asuras and the devas had been on for a hundred years and finally the king of asuras, Mahishasura, defeated Indra and became the lord of heaven. Victorious and full of pride, the king of asuras now assumed the powers of all the devas. He was not only Indra, but Surya, Agni, Chandra, Yama and Varuna. The vanquished devas wandered for a while like helpless mortals and then weary and tired they finally reached Vaikunth to take shelter with Lord Vishnu. ‘See our plight, O lord. The mighty Indra is wothout his heaven, Surya has no light, Agni has turned as cold as water and Vayu too is still. Look how faded Chandra has become and Yama and Varuna stand before you as helpless as mortal men. Help us, O lord. Destroy this evil Mahishasura who has reduced us to this.’
THE RAGE OF THE GODS
When Vishnu saw his devas reduced to this sorry state and heard their voices full of sorrow, he was filled with anger. His face trembled and a fierce light shot from his eyes, straight as a lance. Shiva too appeared, enraged, with a great light, and then Brahma came and joined them, his face on fire with intense anger. From the bodies of all the other devas arrows of powerful light and energy shot forth. This combined concentration of light rose like a blazing mountain, its flames lighting up all the three worlds with a unique golden light. And then as the circle of devas watched, the light slowly gathered itself into a lustrous female form.
HOW GODDESS DURGA WAS BORN
By that which was Shiva’s light her face came into being, by Yama’s her hair, by Vishnu’s her arms, and by Chandra’s her breasts. By Indra’s her waist, by Varuna’s her thighs, and by earth’s light her hips. By Brahma’s light her face came into being, by Surya’s her toes, by Agni’s her three eyes were formed and the light of Vayu became her ears. The lights of all other devas too surged forward and they were filled with joy as they beheld the auspicious and beautiful Devi who had been thus formed.
Then Shiva reached for his trident and from it formed a new trident which he gave to the Devi. Vishnu gave her a discus made from his own discus and Varuna gave her a couch. Agni gave the newly formed goddess a spear, and Indra, the lord of devas, brought out a thunderbolt from his own thunderbolt and presented it to her. Yama gave her a staff from his own staff of death, and Varuna, the lord of waters, gave her a noose. Brahma, the lord of beings, gave her a string of beads and a water-pot, and Surya bestowed his own golden rays on her skin so that the goddess shimmered in her own light. Jewels for her crest, necklaces, earrings, anklets and bracelets were given to her by the devas. Vishwakarma gave her a shining axe and the ocean brought for her garlands of everlasting lotuses. The mountain Himavat gave the Devi a mighty lion to ride on.
Glittering with jewels from the milk-ocean, armed with an array of celestial weapons, shining with a divine light, the Devi gave a roar of laughter. As she laughed, stepping out from within the circle of devas, her mighty voice filled the entire sky. She laughed again and again making all the three worlds tremble. The mountains rocked and the seas churned with her terrible laughter. ‘Victory to you!’ cried all the devas in joy and the sages bowed their heads as she walked.
Source: “The book of Devi” by Burbul Sharma – Viking