We celebrate the second day of Diwali as the day Asura Naraka (Narakarusa) was killed, and the day is known as Naraka Chaturdashi. There are different versions of who killed Asura Naraka:
1. Maha Kali
In some parts of India, Naraka Chaturdashi is also called “Kali Chaudas” as it is said that Maha Kali killed Narakasura.
In Kalika Purana, there is a story related to that. Asura Naraka proposed to Devi Kamakhya as he really wanted to marry her. But Kamakhya, in a playful manner, set forth a condition that she would only marry him if he was able to build a staircase from Nilachal Hill to Temple within one night (before the cock rings its bell to show the sunrise).
Naraka thought of this as a challenge and tried with all his might to complete the task. He was almost done too. Until Kamakhya interrupted. When she heard the news that Naraka was about to build the staircase, she strangled a rooster and made it crow, giving an indication that Dawn was there, when in fact it was not. Naraka left the job. Later, he killed the rooster. Today, the place is known as Kukurakata, which lies in the district of Darrang, and that incomplete staircase is known as Mekhelauja Path.
2. Lord Krishna
According to an alternate version, Naraka was the son of Bhoodevi, the Earth Goddess, and Lord Vishnu in his Varaha avatar. Thus, he had the name Bhaumasura. He was the who established the kingdom of Pragjyotisha in Assam.
Narakasura became evil when he got associated with Banasura, another Asura. He then became very evil and started to control all the kingdom on earth. Then, he thought of conquering Swargaloka. Even Indra was no match to Narakasura’s power, and thus, he fled. Narakasura now was in charge of both heaven and earth. He became so evil that he stole earrings of Aditi, the heavenly mother goddess, and kidnapped 16,000 women.
Wanting to end the cruel reign, Indra went to Lord Vishnu and asked him to free both the world. Lord Vishnu promised that his incarnation Krishna would solve the problem.
The future of Narakasura lied in the hands of Krishna and knowing this future, Narakasura’s mother prayed to Vishnu that he should live a long life and that he should be all powerful. Vishnu agreed. But when things went out of hands, he took the form of Krishna.
Aditi sought the help from Satyabhama, Krishna’s wife, as they were relatives. Even Satyabhama got enraged when she heard about Narakasura’s doing, and thus, went to Krishna to wage a war against Narakasura. And so Krishna attacked the fortress of Narakasura, riding his Garuda with his wife. The battle was intense. Narakasura had 11 Akshauhini, division of the army. But Krishna killed them all without much effort.
Krishna killed Mura, the general of Narakasura’s army. Thus, Krishna is known as Murari. Narakasura even launched sataghini, a thunderbolt which is supposed to be a great weapon, on Krishna, but it made zero impact. In the end, Krishna beheaded Narakasura with his Sudarshan chakra.
Krishna married 16,100 women who were the slaves of Narakasura so that he could save their honor.
Just when he was about to die, Narakasura requested that his death should be celebrated by everyone on earth, and thus the date “Naraka Chaturdashi” was born.
Another version says that in the process of war, Satyabhama was the one who killed Narakasura.
It was said that when Vishnu fulfilled the wish of Bhoodevi that her son should live a long life, Vishnu told her that he would only die if Bhoodevi wishes for it.
Satyabhama was an avatar of Bhudevi, and so Satyabhama was the mother of Narakasura in a way. During the battle, there was one moment when Krishna was injured by a Shakti used on him by Narakasura. This made Satyabhama angry, and thus, she fired arrows at Narakasura and killed him finally.