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According to the Devī Mahātmya, Mahiṣa was a demon (asura) who ousted the gods from heaven. Eventually, Viṣṇu and Śiva combined their powers to summon the Goddess in the terrible form of Durgā, who killed the shape-shifting demon when he assumed the form of a buffalo (mahiṣa), by decapitating the animal, and crushing the demon as he emerged from the carcass. This earned her the epithet Mahiṣāsuramardiṇī (‘crusher of the buffalo demon’).

Subjects: Hinduism.

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