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Why Do We Celebrate Dusshera

BY Mr Shiv Sagar June 12,2020
Why Do We Celebrate Dusshera

Why Do We Celebrate Dusshera

“The dread of Ravan was over, veracity has risen and the sky was clear now, darkness was over and light was everywhere and the Earth was now stabilised after quivering of the war. The world could now breathe without any fear. The wind started flowing with divine odor, justice was delivered and truth had finally prevailed. The devtas showered flowers at Shri Ram; they praised him and blew trumpets and conch shells”

Dusshehra/VijayDashmi is among the prime Sanatan festivals celebrating the victory of good over evil. On this day, Bhagwan Ram ended Ravan’s terror and reinstalled Dharm in the land of the rakshasas, Lanka under Vibhishan’s regime.  It is observed on the full moon day in the Hindu calendar month of Ashvin, which typically falls in the Gregorian months of September and October.

Coincidently, it falls on the tenth day after the completion of nine days Aswin Navratri/Durga Pooja, the celebration of the feminine. The key feature of Dusshehra is “Ramleela”; almost in every city/town/village, plays are staged by actors reprising the characters from the epic of Ramyan to reminiscing the golden era. Ramleela is majorly played from the first day of Navratri and concludes with Ravan-vaddh on the tenth day.

At many places it continues for two further days with ‘Bharat-Milap’ on the eleventh day and ‘Ram-rajyabhishek’ on the twelfth day.The festival of Navratri is very much related to Bhagwan Ram, though the legends happen on different timelines. While the Chaitra-Navratra concludes with Ram-Navmi, nineth and final day of the festival and Birthday of Bhagwan Ram; the Ashwin Navratra ends with the festival of Dusshehra.

 The day of Dusshera is considered to be very auspicious. It is believed that any new venture started on this day is bound to be successful. Implements of agriculture, manufacturer’s machines, the children’s school books etc are placed before the idol of Durga and worshipped on this day.

''The elders of the households bless their children with applying tilak on their forehead and a token money as a sign of shagun. On Dussehra, an effigy of Ravana is burnt to celebrate the victory of Lord Ram, during Ramleela. In burning the effigies a message is sent to the people to burn the evil within them and follow the path of truth because just like Ravana, who in spite of being powerful, was destroyed for his evil ways.''

Legends:

Ramyan: In Tretayug (second eon in Sanatan timeline), when Rakshas-king Ravan’s tyranny had cross all limits, devas and mother Earth went to Brahmm Dev for redemption. Brahmm Dev, along with Bhagwan Shiv prayed Bhagwan Vishnu as being the preserver of the creation; it was he who could relieve the beings of their agony. Vishnu consoled them and promised to incarnate on Earth and end Ravarn’s terror forever.

Soon he incarnated in the glorious kingdom of Ayodhya as Ram as king Dashrath & queen Kaushalya’s son. When Shri Ram reached adulthood, he won Devi Sita’s hand in a swayamvar organized by King janak of Mithila, Sita’s father. Ram triumphantly completed the swayamvar’s condition by lifting the amazing Shiv-dhanush that other kings and princes were unable to move even.

After their marriage, king Dashrath decided to crown Ram as the next king of Ayodhya, but Kaikeyi, Ram’s step-mother trapped Dashrath in an forgotten episode and compelled him to banish Ram for exile and crown Bharat, her son instead. Shri Ram humbly accepted the exile and accompanied by Devi Sita Lakshman, spent his next 14 years in forests. In the 14th year, rakshas-king Ravan abducted Sita forcefully and held her captive in Lanka.

''Shri Ram, with the help of Lakshman and the vanar army, led by Sugreeve and Hanuman, charged at Lanka and eliminated Ravan with his sons and brothers. Vibhishan, Ravan’s noble brother was then crowned as Lanka’s next king. The day when Shri Ram ended Ravan’s terror is remembered as VijayaDashmi.''

Durga Pooja: In Satyug (first eon in Sanatan timeline) Mahishasur, a daitya, observed penance to please Brahma Dev and one day, he succeeded. The mighty demon obtained the boon that only a female could eliminate him, as he considered women inferior and weak.

Soon, he started killing and harassing innocent people and set out to win all the three lokas or realms. The devas in swarga loka appealed the supreme trinity, to find a way to get rid of the demon. To protect the world from the atrocities of Mahishasura, the Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiv united their powers and created a divine female warrior, Durga.

Mahishasura, when saw the divine beauty of Bhagwati Durga, got mesmerized. So fascinated was Mahishasura by her beauty that he approached her with the intention of marriage. The Bhagwati agreed to marry him, but put forth a condition - Mahishasura would have to win over her in a battle.

''Mahishasura, proud as he was, agreed immediately! The battle continued for 9 nights and at the end of the ninth night, Bhagwati Durga beheaded Mahishasura. The nine nights came to be known as Navratri, while the tenth day was called Vijayadashmi, the tenth day that brought the triumph of good over evil.''

MahaBharat: There’s another legend related to this occasion; as per our great epic Mahabharata, Pandavas after living in the forest for twelve years hung their weapons on a Shami tree before entering the court of king Viraat to spend the last year in disguise.

After the completion of that year on Vijayadashmi, the day of Dussehra they brought down the weapons from the Shami tree and declared their true identity. Since that day the exchange of Shami leaves on Dussehra, became the symbol of good, will and victory.

Celebrations:

 Dusshehra is celebrated in whole India with absolute reverence and minimal variances, depending on the regions and faith. Most of the northern and western India, the festival is celebrated in honor of Bhagwan Ram. Thousands of dram-dance-music plays, known as Ramleela are based on the Ramyana and Ramcharitmanas , performed at outdoor fairs across the land, in temporarily built staging grounds featuring effigies of demons KumbhakarnaMeghanada & Ravan are held.

The effigies are burnt on bonfires in the consecutive evenings till Vijayadashami respectively. The performance arts tradition during the Dussehra festival was inscribed by UNESCO as one of the “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity” in 2008. The festivities, states UNESCO, include songs, narration, recital and dialogue based on the Hindu text Ramcharitmanas by Tulsidas. In Himanchal Pradesh, locals celebrate Kullu Dusshehra featuring the arrival of floats containing deities from different parts of the nearby regions and their journey to Kullu. In south India, people celebrate the day revering both deities; Shri Ram and Devi Durga.

''Several South Indian regions dedicate this festival to Saraswati, the Hindu Bhagwati of knowledge, learning, music and arts. She is worshipped, along with instruments of one’s trade during this festival.''

In Gujarat, both Bhagwati Durga and Bhagwan Ram are revered for their victory over evil. Fasting and prayers at temples are common. A regional dance called Dandia Ras, that deploys colorfully decorated sticks, and Garbha that is dancing in traditional dress of women are a part of the festivities through the night. In Mewar region of Rajasthan, both Durga and Ram have been celebrated on Vijayadashami, and it has been a major festival for Rajput warriors.

The Maharashtrians worship Bhagwati Durga & Bhagwan Ram on the occasion of Navratri & Dusshehra. They also remember Shivaji Maharaj, who played an important role in the downfall of Mughal Empire. His deployed soldiers assisted farmers in cropping lands and adequate irrigation to guarantee food supplies. Post monsoons, on Vijayadashami, these soldiers would leave their villages and reassemble to serve in the military.

''In Eastern India, Vijaya Dasami is observed after Navratri, on the tenth day, marked by a great procession where the clay statues are ceremoniously walked to a river or ocean coast for a solemn goodbye to Durga. Many mark their faces with vermilion (sindoor) or dress in something red. ''

It is an emotional day for some devotees, and the congregation sings emotional goodbye songs.  People distribute sweets and gifts, visit their friends and family members. Some communities such as those near Varanasi mark the eleventh day, called ekadashi, by visiting a Durga temple.

Traditionally, in Indian culture, Dussehra was always full of dances, where the whole community mixed, met and mingled. But because of external influences and invasions over the past two hundred years, we have lost that today. Otherwise Dussehra was always very vibrant. Even now it is still so in many places, but it is being lost in the rest of the country. We have to bring it back.

''The Vijayadashami or Dussehra festival is of a tremendous cultural significance for all who live in this land – irrespective of their caste, creed or religion – and should be celebrated with gaiety and love. It is my wish and my blessings that all of you should celebrate Dussehra with total involvement, joy and love.''


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