Indian Myths

  • Grades: 3–5

Mahisha, the fierce
buffalo demon, was on a terrible mission: to conquer the world and rout
the gods. He gored and slashed his way through battle after battle. The
gods retired; the monster ruled — until a stupendous sound shook
the earth.
Durga spoke!
The great goddess
had sprung forth full-grown, created by the energy of the gods, who knew
Mahisha could only be killed by a woman. Durga roared her challenge to
Mahisha; the buffalo demon was enraged!
The red-robed goddess
charged into battle on her magnificent lion. Her 18 arms whirled furiously
overhead, each one brandishing some weapon of the gods: a thunderbolt,
a trident, a bow and arrow, a rope of snakes. The buffalo demon quickly
changed shapes. He became a lion, a warrior, an elephant; Durga slew each
of his demon forms. Mahisha was no match for the mighty goddess. She was
beautiful, invincible, fearless. Mahisha was forced to assume his monstrous
buffalo shape again. He hurled mountains at the goddess. Durga dodged
his attack — and then leaped up and cut off the buffalo demon's head!
Most
of India's myths, like the story of Durga, are part of Hinduism, one of
the world's oldest religions. Hindu beliefs and myths are driven by two
very powerful forces: creation and destruction. Everything in the cosmos,
even gods and goddesses, spirals through an everlasting cycle of birth,
death or dissolution, and reincarnation.

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