Indian Mythology (by ApamNapat)

Narakasura - The Asura Who Gave Us Diwali


Narakasura was the son of Goddess earth, (referred to as Dharthi), by Lord Vishnu himself during his Varaha (boar) avatar. It was foretold that he would be destroyed by a later incarnation of Vishnu. His mother, the earth, sought the boon from Vishnu that her son should have a long life, and that he should be all powerful. Vishnu readily granted these boons.

Narakasura became evil, in association with another Asura named Bana. Drunk with power, as he knew himself to be unrivalled in prowess, he brought all the kingdoms on earth under his control. Next he turned his eyes towards Swargaloka. Even the mighty Indra could not withstand the assault of this son of Vishnu and had to flee the heavens. Now Narakasura had become the overlord of both the heavens and earth. His reign of oppression was in full swing.

All the Devas, led by Indra went to Vishnu, to ask him to deliver them from this Asura. Vishnu promised them that he will attend to this matter, when he will be incarnated as Krishna.

As promised to mother earth, Narakasura was allowed to enjoy a long reign. At last Vishnu was born as Krishna. As promised to the Devas, Krishna attacked the great fortress of Narakasura, riding his mount Garuda. The battle was furiously fought. Narakasura possesed 11 Ashtaunis (Ashtauni = a division of the army) large army, that he unleashed on Krishna. However, the Lord slew them all with little effort. In desperation, Narakasura launched his great weapon, sataghini (a thunderbolt) on Krishna. However, it made no impact whatsoever on Krishna. At last, when the Asura tried to kill the Lord with a trident, Krishna beheaded him with his Sudarsana-Chakra (discus). Before, dying, the Asura requested a boon that his death anniversary should be celeberated by all people on earth. This is the origin of the Diwali festival. (Alternate versions for the origin of Diwali say that the festival was to mark the occasion of Rama's return from exile, or that it was in honor of Bali, who went to rule the nether-world obeying the order of Vishnu.)

Last Modified At: Thu Oct 21 22:12:27 2004