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Monday, September 28, 2009

Vijaya Dashmi

 


Vijaya Dashami, The Festival of the Victory of the forces of Good over Evil, also known as "Dussehra" and "Dashain" in Nepali, is a Festival Celebrated across Nepal and India.

 

It is celebrated on the 10th day of the Bright Half of the Hindu Month of Ashwayuja or Ashwina, and is the grand culmination of the 10-Day Annual Festival of Dasara or Nav-Ratri.

Dussehra is one of the most significant Festivals of India. The festival is actually the expression of Worshiping Shakti, the Cosmic Energy, manifested in the form of Goddess Durga, who defeated the Buffalo Demon - Mahishashur.

This festival also marks the Triumph of Raam, the God King over Raavan, the 10-Headed Demon King inhabiting the Island Kingdom of Lanka called as Sri Lanka in India.

Both of these Legends underscore the Triumph of Good over Dark and Evil Forces. Hence, Dussehra is the Celebration of the Spirit of Goodness.

 

The origin of Dussehra has its roots in the Epic - Ramaayan. The legend narrates the story of Raam.. His Step-Mother Queen Kaikeyee wasn't tricked in to asking King Dashrath, Lord Rama's Father, to exile him for 14 years.

Sita, who is Lord Raam's devoted wife and his faithful younger brother, Lakshman went along with him.

While Raam was in exile, the information that he was staying at an Ashram, spread widely.

One day a Lady Demon named Sawarup Nakha (Soorankha) arrived there. She was so beautiful and asked Raam and Lakshman to marry her.

But when both the brothers rejected her proposal, she became resentful of Sita and threatened to kill her, so that Raam would become single again and may agree to marry her.

But to her disappointment, Lakhshman insulted her (took out his sword and cut off her nose, as per story) to teach a lesson.

 

The Demon King Raavan, brother of Sawarup Nakha, became outraged and decided to take revenge on Raam.

In disguise, Raavan abducted Sita and brought her to his Island Kingdom of Lanka.

To rescue Sita from the grasp of Raavan, Raam and his brother Lakshman along with the Army of Monkeys, led by Hanuman, the Monkey God attacked Lanka.

A fierce battle between the two forces began and it continued for many days. Defeating Raavan was a challenging task, as the blessing of the Lord Brahma (One of the Hindu God Supemo) prevented him from being killed by any human being.

But Raam was the incarnation of the Lord Vishnu (The Main Hindu God Supremo) as the 7th Avataar.

Moreover, with relentless prayer for 9 Days to Nine Different Aspects of Devi Durga, he attained amazing strength, which eventually brought downfall of Raavan and he won over the War.

 

Conquering the Demon King Raavan, Raam along with his wife Sita and brother Lakshman, returned to his Own Kingdom - Ayodhya on the day of Dussehra.

Therefore, Dussehra can also be interpreted as "Das-Haraa", which signifies the cutting of the 10 Heads of Raavan. Since then, the observance of Dassehra is celebrated more in admiration of Prabhu Raam Chandra than Durga Devi.



Another legend associated with this auspicious occasion is the story of Kausta, the youngest son of Devdatt.

After successfully accomplishing his study under the guidence of Rishi Varatantu, he requested his mentor to accept any gift as Guru-Dakshina.

Though initially Rishi Varatanu refused the offer but afterward he asked for 100 Million Gold Coins for each of the subject taught, as Kausta learnt several subjects, it amounted to 140 Hundred Million Gold Coins.

To keep his promise Kausta asked King Raghu for the money, who was renowned for his generosity.

 

With the help of Kuber, the God of Wealth, he brought a Shower of Gold Coins near the Shanu and Apati Trees.

 

After giving what his Guru asked for, the rest of the Coins were distributed among the Poor and Needy People on the day Dassehra.

 

Since then, people of Ayodhya pluck the Leaves of Apati Tree and present each other as 'Sona' or Gold.

 

Dussehra Festival is the day to worship the Weapons as well.

 

According to the epic - Mahaa-Bhaarat, Arjun the Pandav Prince, concealed his weapons in a Shami Tree when Pandavas were on exile.

 

After a year they came out of the forest and retrieved their weapons on the day of Dussehra and they worshipped their Weapons along with the Shami Tree.

 

Mahaa-Bhaarat is also a Story of Victory of Goods over Evils.