Creation of Goddess Durga:
Goddess Durga symbolizes the combination of all Divine forces formed to demolish all negative forces of the evil. Unable to tolerate the cruelty of the demon king Mahishasur, the gods in heaven gathered together and decided to create an all-powerful woman form that would be able to kill the demon. Immediately a stream of divine light from the mouths of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva combined together and formed a beautiful and powerful woman with ten hands. Then all gods gifted her with special weapons. The image of goddess Durga, the Eternal Mother destroying Mahishasur, is symbolic representation of the battle between the spiritual desires and the premature passions of human beings.
According to epic Mahabharat, Pandavas after spending 12 years in the forest, spent one year in disguise in the court of King Virat. But before entering the court of king Virat, they hung their weapons on a Shami tree. After completion of the disguise period they returned on Vijayadashmi day and collected their weapons from the Shami tree and revealed their real identity. It is believed that from then onwards the exchange leaves of Shami tree on the Vijaya dhasami day symbolizes goodwill and victory.
Durga puja festival has a lot of mythological importance. According to Ramayan, during the battle with Ravan, the ten-headed king of Lanka, to retrieve Sita from his custody, Ram did “chandi-puja” and sought the blessings of goddess Durga. With the blessings of Durga, Ram killed Ravana and after that he, alongwith Sita and Lakshman, returned victorious to Ayodhya on Diwali day.
Devdatt’s young son Kautsa, after completing his education under guru Varatantu, requested his guru to accept “gurudakshina”. After lots of perseverance, the Guru finally asked Kautsa for 14 crore gold coins, that means one crore for each of the 14 sciences he taught Kautsa. There was a king named Raghuraj, an ancestor of Rama, who was famous for his generosity. Kautsa approached king Raghuraj, but just at the same time the king had donated all his wealth to Brahmins, after performing Vishvajit sacrifice. So, the king requested Lord Indra for the gold coins. Indra told Kuber, the god of wealth, to make a rain of gold coins which should shower on the “shanu” and “apati” trees around king Raghuraja’s city of Ayodhya. The coin rain began and the king gave all the gold coins to Kautsa, who in turn gave 14 crores gold coins to his guru as Gurudakshina. He distributed the remaining gold coins to the people of Ayodhya city. It happened on the Dussehra day and in remembrance of this event it become a custom for the people to distribute each other the leaves of the “apati” trees symbolically as gold coin.