Killing of demons by various forms of Mahagauri

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Origin of Devi Mahagauri

The story of Mahagauri’s incarnation is as following. The mighty demons Shumbha and Nishumbha had a boon that they could only be killed by a virgin, unmarried form of Devi Parvati. Lord Brahma advises Lord Shiva, who teases Parvati repeatedly for her skin colour.

On repeated teasing, Devi Parvati performed strict penance to Brahma so as to get a fair complexion. Lord Brahma explained his inability to grant her a boon and instead requested her to stop her penance and slay the demons Shumbha and Nishumbha.

Killing of Mahishasura

Parvati agreed and went to take a bath in the river Ganges in Himalaya. Parvati entered in the Ganga river and as she took a bath, her dark skin washed off from her person entirely and she came back out as a beautiful white woman, wearing white garments and apparels, so she gained the epithet “Mahagauri”.

She then appeared in front of the gods who were praying to her at the Himalayas for the destruction of Shumbha and Nishumbha, and worriedly asked who was being worshipped by them. She then reflected as the black Kaushiki and answered herself saying that the gods were praying to her, after being defeated by the demons Shumbh and Nishumbh.

Parvati then turned black out of pity for the gods and was called Kalika. She then became Chandi (Chandraghanta) and killed demon Dhumralochan. Chanda and Munda were killed by Goddess Chamunda who appeared out from the third eye of Chandi. Chandi then killed Raktabija and his clones, while Chamunda drank their blood.

The killing of Dhumralochana

Parvati turned into Kaushiki again and killed Shumbh and Nishumbh, after which she transformed back into Mahagauri. Hence Devi Parvati killed Shumbha and Nishumbha, giving her the titles of Mahasaraswati or Ambika in the Shiva purana and the Devi Mahatmya (part of the Markandeya Purana) respectively.

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