The Story of Krishna and Narakasura
Deepavali is one of the most important festivals celebrated by Hindus all over world. It is generally a five day festival of which Naraka Chaturdasi is a fourth day. On this day, Sri Krishna slayed the wicked demon Narakasura. That is why it is called Naraka Chaturdarsi. Chaturdasi means “fourth day” according to Hindu calendar. The story of killing of the demon Narakasura is exciting.
Bhoomi Devi (mother Earth) had a son named Naraka. Even though Naraka was the son of a divine mother, he had the nature of a demon. Naraka was powerful and he took pleasure in terrorizing the inhabitants of the three worlds. He would raid and plunder the kingdoms of the earth. He didn’t even leave the women and would kidnap them for his own pleasure. He heard that Sri Indra had thousands of divine elephants. The greedy Narakasura wanted to possess everything, so he attacked the heaven. Now he was being known as Narakasura.
Indra was helpless. Narakasura destroyed the heaven. He himself began the pursuit of the devas. While pursuing the devas, a glimmering object in the distance caught his eye. Upon inspection, he realized that the glimmering object was mother Aditi’s (the mother of the devas) earrings. He assaulted mother Aditi and grabbed her earrings. Indra felt humiliated. His mother was assaulted, so he wanted revenge. He knew that there was only one person who was a match for Narakasura. It was Sri Krishna.
Indra reached Krishna’s palace when Krishna was spending quality time with his wife Satyabhama. He told Krishna about the happenings and begged him for his help. Krishna was enraged that Narakasura might lay his hands on mother Aditi and many other women. He said that Narakasura must die for his insolence and a ‘woman’ should be a reason for his death. So Krishna decided to take Satyabhama also with him into battle with Naraka.
Krishna, alongwith Satyabhama, rode Garuda (a giant eagle) and travelled all the way from Dwaraka to Aasam (East side of India) to punish Narakasura. He made way towards Narakasura’s fortress. An impenetrable barrier of magical mountains surrounded Narakasura’s fortress. The mountains were such that a barrier would come up from any side that Krishna tried to enter the fortress. Krishna, unperturbed, hurled his mace at the barrier and shattered the entire mountain range in one blow. A downpour of magical weapons rained down on them. Krishna fired multiple arrows and destroyed all the weapons. In this manner Krishna destroyed countless other magical barriers and finally reached Narakasura’s fortress.
Narakasura’s palace was guarded by the five-headed demon Mura. Mura hurled countless weapons at Krishna including his favourite weapon sataghini (a thunderbolt), but Krishna shot each one down with his bow and arrow. Then Krishna picked up his flying discus and hurled it towards Mura dislocating Mura’s five heads. Mura fell to the ground, dead. Since Krishna killed the demon Mura, he is also known by the name Murari (killer of Mura).
Now Krishna and Satyabhama challenged Narakasura to battle. The battle was furiously fought between them. Since Krishna wanted a woman to be a reason for Narakasura’s death, he fainted in a pre-ordained divinely plan adopted to empower Satyabhama. Thus together they killed the wicked Narakasura.
Bhoomi Devi, Narakasura’s mother, was extremely happy after the death of his own wicked son. She sang hymns in praise of Krishna and begged him to take Narakasura’s son Bhagdatta under his protection. Krishna placed Bhagdatta on the throne and then freed all of Narakasura’s prisoners including 16,000 women prisoners. The devas showered Krishna with flowers from the heavens.
Krishna freed all 16,000 Narakasura’s prisoners, but nobody from the socity came forward to accept them. They pleaded Krishna, “You are the protector of the Universe. Can’t you protect us?” Thus Krishna pledged that he would bear the responsibility of them and he gave them a shelter and protection.