HAPPY VIJAYADASHAMI / DUSSEHRA (30TH SEPTEMBER 2017)
Vijayadashami or Dushehra or Dushara or Dashara is one of the most prominent Hindu festivals and is celebrated at the end of Navratri. It is an annual feature – on the 10th day of the Hindu month of Ashvin which falls in the month of September – October. Vijayadashami personifies victory of goodness or righteousness over evil or wickedness. Vijay connotes victory and dashmi means falling on the tenth day.
Similarly, Dushara is derived from two syllables: Dus means evil or bad and hara means to destroy or to remove – by its combination, we deduce Dushara as a day which we observe as a sign of removal of evil from our midst. There is, in fact, a lesson for us all – the forces representing evil will ultimately.
Reasons for its celebration in the eastern and northern states of India:-
- Marks the end of Durga Puja wherein the devout remember Goddess Durga Maa over Demon king Maheshasur thereby restoring the law of Dharma. Maheshasura wanted to establish the rule of demons; for this, he killed many sages/sadhus and even defiled their Yajna fires besides killing general populace.
- It also marks the end of Navratri, represented by Nine Devis with different traits.
- In many parts of India Ramlila is enacted wherein different artists play various roles (Lord Rama, Lakshman, Bharat, Shatrugun, Sita Maa, Demon King Ravana, brother Kumbhkarna and Babishna, son Meghnadh etc) from beginning i.e. births of Rama and his brothers, Sita Devi is described as the daughter of Prithvi (the Earth) because she was found in a pot by Mithla King Janaka while ploughing the fields and was brought up by the king.. All the situations are enacted as though it was happening in real life till, of course, on a ninth day on the death of demon king Ravana who is symbolized as the personification of evil. On the tenth day, the effigies of Ravana, his brother Kumbhkarna and son Meghnadh are burnt to show to the masses at large that the evil ends ultimately.
- People also take out processions, carrying the statues of Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswati, Ganesha etc accompanied with the chants of songs and dances and immersed in the water. After immersion of statues, the devotees pray to Maa Durga for blessing them with her bounties for the entire year.
- After Dusheshra people start preparation for Dipawali – another festival in connection with reception of Rama, Sita, and Lakshmana by the Ajodhya gentry. They illuminated their homes and street for welcoming their beloved Lord Rama.
- In Northern India, Dashara (ten days) is celebrated to pay respects to Lord Rama. The plays based on the life of Lord Rama and his humble and benevolent rule too Is also depicted in the form of plays and dramas with light and sound accompanied by music and dance. Finally, the effigies of Ravana, Kumbkarna, and Meghnatha are burnt for depicting the end of evil and supremacy of the goodness. In Kullu Valley, there is a big fair and people come to witness this fair with gaiety and enthusiasm to enjoy it.
- In South India (Karnataka) also Dashehra is celebrated with the worship of Durga Maa. In the south, the festival is dedicated to Lordess of Knowledge Saraswati and worship the books and musical instruments. Children are initiated to studies, it is considered auspicious to start new business ventures and new houses, cars and other properties are purchased.
- In western regions (In Maharashtra, Rajasthan, and Gujarat), people install their deities and immerse the same on Vijaydashmi. Lord Rama and Goddess Durga are worshipped. The famous dandia dance known as Garba in traditional dresses is one of the wonderful attractions in Gujarat.
- In eastern regions, the Durga Maa statues are immersed in rivers. Vijayadashami has special significance in West Bengal. Besides worshipping Maa Durga they have singing and dance competitions besides competitions on other literary features.
A most sacred festival – an annual event,
Devout rejoice this day as win of goodness over evil,
And take enduring lesson that evil cannot have its sway forever,
It meets its end one day is certain, however, powerful may be the perpetrator.
Lord Shri Ram, the embodiment of righteousness
With most adorable traits with immense prowess
A reservoir of humility with simplicity in abundance
Tolerance, harmony and elderly reverence
That an offspring should profusely be having
For the parents most adoring.
Lord Rama left for exile, leaving everything in Ayodhya,
When his father Shri Dashratha
Is constrained to act on the promises made in he past
To his wife Kakai – mother of Shri Bharata
And step-mother of Lord Shri Rama,
Who had saved Shri Dashratha’s life once,
By putting her own life in danger,
Consequently, extracting two promises for fulfilling
At a time and occasion of her own choosing,
Manthra – the courtier of Kakai too showed her true color,
In making Queen Kakai realize the promises,
Crown for her son Shri Bharata
And 14 years in exile for Shri Rama.
Shri Ramji, as expected, accepted exile for fourteen long years.
And that too without slightest demur,
He embraced the life simplest in the forest,
Subsisting on the fruits and herbs that existed there,
Truly speaking, that is the crux of a lesson for today’s younger generation,
Maa Sitaji the consort of Shri Rama
With brother Lakshmana too accompanied Shri Rama.
The Ravana, the king of Sri Lanka,
With evil intent
And with deception, abducted Sita Maa,
The loving consort of Shri Rama,
Kept her in his garden called Ashok Vatika,
Exhorting Sitaji to marry him,
Sita Mata, being an ideal wife,
Of an ideal husband,
Spurned his a proposal so unethical with disdain it deserved
Who despite his knowledge of Vedas and being the fondest Bhaktas of Lord Shiva
Ruined his name and fame along with the knowledge he had had thus attained
With his acts so highly wicked
An immorality of highest order – by any imaginable yardsticks
A battle between the two armies ensued,
Due to which Ravana lost his everything dear to him,
His nears and dears and his forces perished
Including his brother Kumbkarna and dear son Methnada
And finally himself – the so called invincible Ravana!
By the sharp arrows of Lord Rama
There is eternal lesson for all of us from this epic,
Remove the evil from our midst,
Burn it out, the sooner it is done the better for us,
As we burn the effigies of Ravana along with Kumbkarna and Meghnada…
Being a religious and yearly ritual,
Vijaydashmi should establish a kingdom of love,
Overflowing with peace, full of tolerance, a feeling of goodwill for all,
A kingdom of love for everybody, leaving none
For it is a celebration for destruction of evil
And a win for TRUTH an ultimate ONE