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November

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving! Try something different this year with these Indian recipes using some of the traditional ingredients like cranberry, corn and pumpkin.


Veggie Casserole

Happy Diwali

Cranberry Chutney

Sweet Potato Soup with coconut milk

Caramel Sweet Potato Bites

Deep Pakora

Devilled Eggs - Indian style

Corn and Peas Bruschetta

Corn Usal



Pumpkin Pancake

Mango Pie


Narakasura

According to one legend Narakasura was the son of Bhudevi (mother earth) and Varaha (Vishnu in his varaha – boar avatar). Another legend has it that he was the son of Asura Hiranyaksha. He established his kingdom in Pragjyotish in Assam after defeating another Danava king Ghatakasura. His dynasty ruled Assam from Karampura for many years in the prehistoric times. A peak near Gauhati is named after him.

All asuras wanted to me “amar” or immortal. However, it is not possible to make anyone immortal but that did not prevent a lot of asuras from trying. They would conjure all the ways that they could die and would seek boon from one of the Trinity ( Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwar or Shiva) against those possible ways. Narakasura was no different.

He meditated on Brahma for a long time. At last Brahma was pleased with his Tapashcharya and granted him a boon. “I want to be amar”, said Narakasura. “That is not possible son. Ask a boon I can grant.” said Brahma. Narakasura knew this is what Brahma would say and he had conjured a way of becoming immortal. “Grant me a boon to die at the hands of my mother.” “So be it.” said Brahma and he disappeared.

Narakasura knew no mother would kill her own child and hence he was almost immortal. He fell in real bad company of another asura called Banasura. He soon conquered the earth and began eyeing the heaven - swargalok. Indra the King of devas knew Narakasura could not be defeated. Naraksura attacked the swargalok. Indra fled and Narakasura now ruled the heavens and the earth. Drunk with power he captured 16,100 women and made them prisoners in his palace. Indra and the other devas went to Vishnu for help. Vishnu was well aware of the boon granted by Brahma. He promised that in his avatar as Krishna, he will make sure that Narakasura is killed.

In the meanwhile, Narakasura stole the earrings of Divine Mother Aditi. Aditi's cousin Satyabhama was Krishna's wife. Aditi went to her cousin Satyabhama for help. Satyabhama was infuriated when she heard about Narkasura's ill treatment of women and his behaviour towards Aditi. She was a skilled warrior and decided to attack Narkasura. Krishna agreed with her anger and accompanied her to the war.

Narkasura possessed 11 ashtaunis (divisions) of army headed by his commander Mura. There was a fierce battle and Krishna killed Mura. Hence, he is also known as Murari. After Mura was killed, Narkasura came to the battlefront himself. There was a fierce battle between the two. Because of the boon granted, Krishna and Narkasura knew he could not be killed at the hands of Krishna. This made Krishna's task even more difficult. They aimed all the different weapons at each other. Finally, Narkasura sent his most powerful weapon called the sataghini or the thunderbolt on Krishna.

In a preordained plan, Krishna was struck by it and fainted. Seeing fainted Krishna, Satyabhama was filled with rage. She took Krishna's bow, aimed and shot an arrow straight at Narkasura's heart. Narakasura was struck and fell to the ground dying. He then realized Satyabhama was an incarnation of his mother bhudevi. He bowed and gave his salutations to his mother. Satyabhama's victory over Narakasura liberated the 16100 women. In the society at that time, such women would not have been treated with dignity. Hence, Krishna married all of them to give then a dignified place in the society. Narakasura's death is celebrated as Narakachaturdashi during Diwali.