The legend of Narakasura and Deepavali

The legend, according to beliefs in South India, of Narakasura and Deepavali.

Narakasura was born Bhoman to Bhooma Devi and Lord Krishna in His Kurma avatar when He was holding the Mantara mountain on his back as a ballast to facilitate churning of the ocean by the Devas and Asuras to produce amrut (elixir). He was born in a tiny hamlet in Assam as an ordinary human being (a Nara) and later after having bagged several boons propitiating his favourite deities with his severe penance, he with his newly-acquired Super Natural powers became an asura terrorizing the hapless Devas — that is how the ordinary Bhoman came to be known as Narakasura.

Now Bhooma Devi is none other than Sathya Bhama. When the Devas approached Lord Krishna to deliver them from the tyranny of Narakasura, So even Sathya Bhama in spite of a mother’s natural protective instinct towards her progenies decides to go and actively wage the war alongside her lord and master, husband, Lord Krishna in the slaying of Narakasura. This is also said to be the one and only occasion in Hindu mythology where the queen and king jointly fight war

After the deed was done, Sathya Bhama extracts a promise from Krishna that the day be celebrated with gaiety by all the subjects lighting diyas (oil lamps), taking an oil bath much before the crack of the down — a practice otherwise not allowed to be followed according to our traditions — and having sweetmeats.

This is one more Hindu mythological tale signifying triumph of good over evil.

Naraka (or Narak) is also the Sanskrit (the original language of ancient India that spawned off into practically countless languages and dialects over the millennia) word for hell.

It is usually the case that the original tale has slightly varying degrees of interpretations in different parts of the country.