Dear children we all know that Vijayadashami is celebrated as a victory of good over evil. But some times in our day to day life, knowingly or unknowingly we do certain activites which hurt the
sentiments of others. This Vijayadashami popularly called Dussehra lets take a pledge that we will always move towards positivity and create an atmosphere which is not only beneficial to us but to others too.
Since Bharat is a land of diverse cultures, we have in the North, the burning of the effigies of Ravan and other demons and in the East to mark the culmination of Dussehra celebrations we have submersion of the idols of Goddess Durga. This difference in celebrations is based on the popular religious belief systems followed by people of these regions, which are deeply rooted in different intriguing legends.
Vijayadashami is celebrated across Bharat, Nepal and some south Asian countries. This festival is celebrated on the Dashami (tenth day) of the Shuklapaksha (bright fortnight) in the month of Asvin of the Hindu calendar. This festival starts on Padyami (first day) of the Shuklapaksha and is celebrated for nine days which is also referred as Navratri (nine nights).Durgastami (the eighth day in the series), Navami (ninth day) and Vijayadashami (the tenth day ) are the most important days of the festival.Vijayadashami is the last day of Durga Puja and Dusshera festival. It is observed on the day after nine-day Navratri festival. This day is also observed as Madhva Jayanthi Day – it is on this day that Vayu Deva descended as an avatar as Sri Madhwacharya. ShirdiSai Baba Mahasamadhi is also observed on this day.Some of the most significant legends related to Vijayadashami are :
Death of Mahishashura
Mahishasura, was a demon who unleashed evil and terror all over the world. The Gods were unable to defeat him. Due to his increasing demonic activities the very existence of Universe was in danger.He could not be killed by Lord Shiva, Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu. This was because of a boon granted by God Brahma to Mahishasura according to which he would not be destroyed by any deity or man. According to the blessing only a woman could defeat and kill him. He thought women are weak. So there is no chance that he can be defeated or killed by a woman. Gods worshipped Aadi Shakti to get rid of this demon. Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma decided to create a powerful force to destroy the invincible Mahishasura, as they were unable to vanquish him themselves. The unified powers of all the Gods resulted in the creation of a fiery mass from which, a magnificent Goddess was born. With the light of Lord Shiva, her face was created, Lord Vishnu gave her his arms, and Lord Brahma provided her legs. She was blessed with all the powers given to her by the Gods. She also acquired her weaponry from the Devas. She was decked with jewellery, a sari and garlands. Maa Durga was also given a lion by Lord 'Himalaya', the God of the Mountains. This Goddess came to be known as ‘Mahadevi’ (Goddess Durga), the most powerful and invincible of them all. With the combined forces of all the Gods, Mahadevi was created. With her fierce lion as her carrier, Goddess Durga (Mahadevi) rode towards the lair of Mahishasura. Riding a lion, she attacked Mahishasura. After a fierce battle, Durga transformed into Devi Chandika, the most ferocious form of the Goddess, and beheaded Mahishasura. After nine nights and ten days of continuous battle the demon was finally killed. Thus, Mahadevi also came to be known as ‘Mahishasura Mardhini’—the slayer of Mahishasura. n
Sri Ram’s Victory
The celebration of Dussehra is rooted in the Hindu epic of Ramayan, according to which, Sri Ram, the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu, killed the ten-headed demon Ravan, in Satyug. Ravan had abducted Sri Ram’s wife Sita. Ram, along with his brother Lakshman, follower Hanuman, Sugreeva, and an army of monkeys, headed towards Lanka (Ravan's Kingdom) in order to rescue Sita. Sri Ram fought a successful war against Ravan.In the war, Sri Ram, symbolising the good, killed Ravan, the symbol of wickedness, on the day of Vijayadashami. This is the reason why effigies of Ravan, Meghnatha and Kumbhkarna are burnt on Dusshera, all over northern India. It is usually celebrated in form of a dance-drama ending in burning of effigy of Ravan, commonly this is termed as Ramleela (act of Sri Ram).
Legend of Shami Tree
Another interesting legend associated with the origin of Dussehra is related to the grandest Hindu epic of Mahabharata. Legend has it that after the Pandavas were defeated in gambling by the Kauravas, they were served with the punishment of 12 years of banishment and one year of living in disguise by the winners. For 12 years, the Pandavas lived in forests but for the final year, they had to hide themselves from all their divine and powerful weapons, as they were well-known throughout various lands and were posing a hindrance to their incognito status.Therefore, the Pandavas hid their weapons under a Shami Tree. Although Kauravas made great efforts to find Pandavas in the final year of their concealment so that another exile of 12 years could be levied on them, but were unsuccessful. As soon as the period of disguise was over, the Pandavas went to the Shami Tree and retrieved their weapons after worshipping the Shami Tree and the sacred weapons. It is believed that this happened on the day of Dashmi. Hence, this day came to be known as Vijayadashmi, since Pandavas were triumphant in completing their exile. Since then, people hug each other under the Shami Tree and exchange its leaves on Dussehra.
Legend of Kautsa
According to this legend, the young son of a Brahmin Devdatta, named Kausta. After finishing his education under the guidance of Sage Vararantu, requested his teacher to ask for a gurudakshina. After initial hesitation, seeing the adamancy of his student, the sage decided to test his pupil and hence, asked for an incredulous sum of 140 million gold coins. The determined Kausta went to King Raghu of Ayodhya to ask for the sum, since he was known to be a great philanthropist. However, the king had just emptied his treasury to give alms to the Brahmins after performing a yajna.The king took three days' time from Kausta and went to Lord Indra to ask for the gold coins. Lord Indra called the treasurer of the deities, Kuber and asked him to shower gold coins on the Shanu and Aapti Trees located around King Raghu's Kingdom. Kuber followed the orders and due to this, Kausta fulfilled his promise to his teacher and distributed rest of the coins to the poor and the needy. It is believed that this happened on the day of Dussehra. In Ayodhya, people, even today, observe the ritual of presenting leaves of Aapti Trees to each other as a sign of prosperity on Dussehra.
This period also marks the beginning of the harvest season with farmers praying for a rich crop. People worship everything that helps them in their day-to-day activities—be it books, vessels, spades, even vehicles. It is an important festival for the Kshatriyas as they do Shastra Puja on this day and worship Goddess Aparajita.
Children let us take a pledge to eliminate the evil in us this Vijayadashami.