Vijaydashmi: ‘Vijaydashmi’ falls on the 10th day of waxing moon in the month of Ashwin according to the Hindu calendar. Ashwin month nearly falls in the September or October month of western calendar. ‘Vijadashmi’ word is made of two Sanskrit words i.e. Vijay+ Dashmi. Vijay means victory or Dashmi means tenth day. This festival is commemorated by all the Hindus spread at different places. ‘Vijaydashmi’ is also known as Dasara, Dashahara and Durgotsav. Dushahara is celebrated after the Navratri. When nine nights (Navratri) passed, on the 10th day Dushahara is commemorated. On the first day of Navratri, Mother Goddess is called up to start the new harvest season. According to our rituals, Durga Mata is called upon to rejuvenate the soil universally. So Durga Maa is worshipped all the nine days. On the day of Dushahara, Clay statues of ‘Maa Bhawani’ are immersed in the river, to help the water yield good crops in the coming year. Another variant of the story is that Maratha Emperor Chatrapati Shiva ji Maharaj (the founder of the Hindu Swarajya) worshipped Lord Shiva and the goddess Durga in her Bhawan before engaging in military undertaking. The goddess Bhavani had blessed Shivaji Maharaj with her sword, “Bhavani Talwar” on this day. According to Hindu Scriptures, by worshipping the ‘Durga Mata’ on these nine-days the householders attain the threefold power i.e. spiritual, mental and physical which helps them to progress in life without any difficulty.
Another variant of the day: In another variant of the story, in Maa Durga’s previous birth when Daksha was her father and she was named Sati – Bhavani. She married to Lord Shiva. Once Daksha, her father had organized a grand Yagna and did not invite her husband Lord Shiva. But Sati being self -willed reached at the place of Yagna. At there Daksha insulted Lord Shiva. Sati being ‘Pati- Varta’ could not tolerate the insult of her husband and burnt herself in the fire of Yagna. This act of Sati gave extreme pain to Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva Ji lifted Sati’s body on his shoulders and started dancing madly. To calm Shiva Ji various ways are adopted but in vain. Then Lord Narayana came forward as a deliverer and used his Chakra to cut Sati`s body into pieces. Those pieces of sati’s body fell from the shoulders of the dancing Shiva and scattered throughout the world. Lord Shiva was calmed when the last piece of Sati’s body fell from his shoulder. Lord Narayana restored the life of Sati. The places where the pieces of Sati’s body fell are known as the ‘Shakti-Piths’, ‘Kalighat’ in Kolkata, and Vaishnav Devi in Jammu. In her next birth, Sati took birth as Shaila-Putri (First form of Durga) in Himalayas home. Then Lord Narayana asked Shiva to forgive Daksha. Lord Shiva forgave Daksha. Since then peace restored , Maa Shakti visit her parents home each year with her children Saraswati, Lakshmi, Kartikeya, Ganesh and her two friends Jaya and Vijaya during autumn season. She finally leaves her husband’s home on this day. It is believed that the people of the earth in the eastern state of West Bengal adopted Durga Mata as their daughter. So they celebrate this day with great happiness.
Other Myths: There are several other myths are embedded with this day. It is said that some of the Asurs (demons) were continually trying to capture Heaven by defeating Devas. One of them grew very powerful and cruel in the form of buffalo and created a great havoc on the earth. Then All Devas go to God Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh to save their lives. So a very powerful band of lightning emerged from their mouths and a very young and beautiful girl appeared in front of them. All the Gods provide the girl their special weapons. These Shakti’s combined to form the Goddess Durga. Mata Durga by riding on Lion fought with Mahishasur. This battle runs for nine days and nights. Finally on the tenth day of waxing moon in Ashwin month (shukla paksh), Mahishasur was killed by Durga Mata. Hence Vijaydashmi is also called Durgotsava and this feast is a celebration of Durga’s victory over the Asurs. Maa Durga, as wife of Lord Shiva, represents two forms of female energy. One is mild and protective and the other is fierce and destructive.
Dussera: According to epic Ramayana, in the Trata Yug, Lord Ram killed the demon Ravana who had abducted Shri Ram’s wife Mata Sita to his kingdom. On this day Lord Ram, his brother Lakshman and their follower Hanuman and an army of monkeys won a great battle with Ravana to rescue Mata Sita. It is believed that Shri Ram had invoked the blessings of Durga Mata who told the secrets to Shri Ram to kill the Ravana. After defeating Ravana, Shri Ram’s party found Sita and they all returned back to Ayodhya on the same day. Since Shri Ram’s Vijay (victory) is commemorated as Vijaydashmi. In other words this festival is a celebration of victory of good over evil.
‘The ‘Ramlila’ – an enactment of the life of Lord Ram: In northern parts of India, during Navratri, ‘The ‘Ramlila’ – an enactment of the life of Lord Ram, is held during the nine days preceding Vijadashmi. In ‘Ramlila’ all the people throughout the country participate in it with great excitement. On the tenth day of Navratri (Dushahara or Vijay Dashmi), huge images of Ravana, his giant brother Kumbhkarna and son Meghnath are placed in vast open grounds. These effigies are embedded with fireworks and crackers. At the time sunset, images of Ravana, his brother Kumbhakarna and son Meghanad are erected and burnt by enthusiastic youth at Ramlila grounds. Ravana is burnt with ten heads. Burning of ten heads is supposed to burn the ten bad qualities. These ten bad qualities are Moha(delusion), ) Krodha (Anger), Kama vasana (Lust), Lobha (Greed) , Mada (Over Pride) , Buddhi (Intellect) , Chitta (will) , Ahankara (Ego), Manas (Mind), Matsara (Jealousy) .These effigies are burnt to end the evil and people are asked to burn the evil within them, and thus follow the road of truth, honesty and goodness. One should always bear in his mind the image of Ravana, he had all dignity but he was destroyed because of his evil ways.
End of summer: The hot summer ends with Dushahera. The cold weather brings with itself infection and other diseases. The effigies Of Ravan, Meghnath and Kumbhakarana embedded with crackers containing phosphorus are burnt. It is supposed that phosphorus purifies the atmosphere. Some people recite Sundara Kanda of Srimad Ramayana for nine days and on this day perform Shanti Yagna. These Yagna are supposed to create cosmic forces surrounding the house that will keep the household environment clean and health. Some householders perform Yagnas three times a day along with Sandhya Vandana. Sandhya Vandana is also known as Aahavaneeya Agni, Dakshina Agni.Grahapatya Agni. Whatever are the myths related with this day, the real motive is to spread cheer all around the world and to commemorate the victory of good over the evil.Share