The Buffalo Demon – Mahishasura

While on an early morning shoot, we stopped by roadside tapri for a cup of tea. There was a buffalo-shed nearby.  And this buffalo, nearest to us, was looking at us in very hostile manner. I shot this animal, a domesticated buffalo, with my camera for its menacing looks which reminded me of Mahishasura – The buffalo demon.

“Mahisha” in Sanskrit means buffalo and “Asura” means demon. Mahishasura means the buffalo-demon. The mythology about Mahishsura is very interesting one.

Mahishasura’s father Rambha was king of the asuras, and he once fell in love with a water buffalo.  Mahishasura was born out of this union. He was therefore able to change between human and buffalo form at will. Mahishasura was also pious in his meditation to Brahma. Eventually, Brahma granted him a boon that he could not be defeated in battle by any man or god. After this Mahishasura started terrorizing Heaven and earth. He invaded heaven, defeating the king of gods Indra, and drove all the gods out of heaven. The gods then went into conclave to decide what could be done with this invincible demon. Since he was invincible to all men, they created his nemesis in the form of a young woman, Durga, with combined powers of all the gods. The goddess then attacked Mahishasura’s empire, and after nine days of fierce fighting, during which Mahishasura’s army was decimated, she finally killed him on the tenth day.

What could be the meaning behind this mythological tale of Mahishasura? In my opinion, it simply tells us that when ego, armed with (human) intellect and (animal) power, goes out of control, it is capable of playing havoc with even gods. It can be controlled only with collective energy and after a long period of time. It is a simple message for us to control our egos and save the energy for betterment of self.

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One thought on “The Buffalo Demon – Mahishasura

  1. So true!!
    I was thinking about this around Dasra too.
    Just like you said that limitless ego with human intellect and animal power is dangerous there is also the other side to this story.When do we unleash the Durga in us?
    There are times when pure “satvik” behaviour like the Bhagwad Geeta says does not do any good. When confronted with the Mahishasurs of our everyday life, we have to kill them using the Durga in us. Which is Energy in a very “rajasik” form if I may say so.
    I am a bit weary of all the ghagra-wearing-dandiya-playing frenzy that those nine days bring about. I would rather I remember the role of Shakti in my own life. 🙂
    Very nice photo and a very nice blog!
    Saee

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