The Story of Narakasura
Posted by ammupatti on November 4, 2009
The significance of Deepavali is different in different parts of India. In the north, Deepavali is celebrated to commemorate the reception accorded to Lord Sri Rama on his arrival with Sita Devi at Ayodhya after vanquishing the 10 headed rakshasa Ravana, who had abducted Sita Devi. In the south, especially in Tamil Nadu, Deepavali is the celebration to commemorate the reception accorded Lord Sri Krishna after he vanquished Narakasura and Deepavali is otherwise known as Naraka chaturdashi. In Karnataka the Prathama after Deepavali is also celebrated as Bali Padyami in honour of the asura Chakravarthy Mahabali who was sent to Patala by Lord Mahavishnu in his Vamana Avatara.
Narakasura was a demon king who ruled from Pragjyothishapura which is today’s Assam.There are two versions about Narakasura’s birth. In one version it is said that he was the son of the demon king Hiranyaksha and in another version he is described as the son of Lord Mahavishnu.
The demon king Hiranyaksha was terrorising the three worlds, the earth, the sky and the nether world (Patala).The devas were terrorised by him and they all prayed to Lord Mahavishnu to bring an end to his evil ways. Mahavishnu promised to rescue them from Hiranyaksha and went in search of him. Hiranayaksha taking the form of a wild boar went to hide in the Patala taking Bhudevi (earth) with him. While the boar was carrying Bhudevi on his tusks, Bhudevi became pregnant by the touch of the tusk and gave birth to Narakasura. Bhudevi was stricken with grief for having given birth to an asura and went to Lord Mahavishnu carrying the baby and asked for the salvation of the asura son. Lord Mahavishnu gave His blessings and said none other than me can kill this son of yours.
In another verison it is said that as Hiranyaksha ran carrying Bhudevi in his tusks, Lord Mahavishnu took the form of Varaha and went to Patala and rescued Bhudevi, slaying Hiranyaksha. After rescuing Bhudevi, Lord Mahavishnu in Varaha Avatar married Bhudevi and Narakasura is the son of Lord Mahavishnu and Bhudevi.
Narakasura true to his name, terrorised the Devas and Gandharvas and humans and imprisoned 16000 women from all the worlds. He harassed the Devas in heaven and stole the kundalas (ear drops) of Devi Athithi. All the Devas went to Lord Mahavishnu and prayed for the end of Narakasura. The Lord answered their prayers and promised to kill Narakasura.
Thus in Lord Mahavishnu’s incarnation as Sree Krishna, He along with his consort Satyabhama went to Pragjyothishapura to kill Narakasura. A fierce battle took place in Pragjyothishapura at the end of which Narakasura was slain. Again there is a different version in which it is said that it was Sathyabhama who killed Narakasura to avenge the insult on Devi Athithi. Sree Krishna released all the women imprisoned by Narakasura and brought them to his place.
People rejoiced at the end of the wicked Narakasura and there was celebration all over and a joyous reception was given to Lord Sree Krishna and Sathyabhama on their return. To this day, Narakachaturdashi is celebrated as Deepavali from then on.