What is Narak Chaturdasi?

Narak Chaturdasi is celebrated to commemorate the victory of Lord Krishna over Demon Narakasura. It is celebrated on Ashwija Krishna Chaturdashi (14th day of the waxing phase of moon in Ashwin month). It symbolically represents the victory of good over evil. Narak Chaturdasi 2014 date is October 22.

Who is Narakasura?

Narakasura is a daithya (demon) born to Bhoodevi (Goddess Lakshmi) and Lord Varaha (Lord Vishnu). He was the king of Pragjyotisha Nagar (now in Assam). He had the King’s position after overthrowing Danava king Ghatakasura. He had got a boon that he will only be killed by his mother.

Why Krishna and Satyabhama killed Narakasura?

Narakasura in association with Banasura got control of the world. He went to Swargaloka (heaven) and attacked Indra. Indra was soon defeated and he ran away from the Swargaloka.
Narakasura then kidnapped 16000 women (gopa stree, who were originally sons of Agni, born as women to marry to Krishna).
All gods approached Lord Krishna under the leadership of Indra and complained about the demonic activities of Narakasura. Lord Krishna assured them that he will put an end to the troubles created by Narakasura and Dharma will be restored.
But Naraka had a boon that he would face death only at the hands of his mother Bhudevi. So, Krishna asked his wife Sathyabhama, the reincarnation of Bhudevi, to be his charioteer in the battle with Naraka.

Naraka’s palace was guarded by the five-headed demon Murasura. Mura hurled countless weapons at Krishna, but Krishna shot each one down with his bow and arrow.
Then Krishna picked up his flying discus (Sudarshana Chakra) and hurled it towards Murasura dislocating Mura’s five heads. Mura fell to the ground and died. This is how Krishna got the name “Murari”.
Then Krishna and Narakasura fought each other. The battle between Naraka and Krishna shook the entire world. During the battle, an arrow hit Krishna and he fell unconscious – He acts He is unconscious. Satyabhama could not tolerate this and she took the bow and arrow of Krishna and began to fight Demon Naraka.

Demon Naraka was amused at a woman fighting him but soon he realized that he had no answers to the arrows sent by Satyabhama. Narakasura then realized that he was fighting his mother. Soon he fell wounded.
It is said that before dying Naraka realized his mistakes and requested Lord Krishna for a festival in his name which will remind people what will happen when they are overtook by ego and ignorance.

Naraka Chaturdasi thus indicates that good and evil rises from the same root. It also suggests that personal relationships do not matter when it comes to the good of the society. Victory of good over evil always prevails and Dharma will always be restored.
(This is an edited version of an article contributed by Narahari Sumadhwa.)