Dussehra, also known, as Vijaydashmi is a Hindu festival celebrated across India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh. Dussehra was derived from the Sanskrit work Dasha-hara which means devil’s defeat. The festival is celebrated to mark the victory of Lord Ram over Lanka’s king Ravan. The day also marks the victory of Goddess Durga over the demon Mahishasur. Thus Dussehra popularly celebrates the victory of good over evil.
Dussehra is also known as Vijaydashmi, as it is celebrated on the tenth day of the Ashwin month according to the Hindu lunar-solar calendar. The first nine days of this month are celebrated as the Maha Navratri and the tenth day concludes to Dussehra marking big celebrations across the country.
It is believed when Lord Ram won over Ravan the victory also signified win over ten bad qualities. 10 heads of Ravan are said to represent these qualities that include lust, anger, attraction, greed, over pride, jealousy, selfishness, injustice, cruelty, and ego. People perform pooja or yagnas in their homes to purify the negative effect of these emotions, and bring peace and prosperity in their homes. Special larger than life figures of Ravan are set up in grounds and parks that are destroyed ashes before sunset. The story of Lord Ram is depicted through street plays, and processions before they destroy the figures of Ravan, his son Meghnath, and bother Kumbhkaran.
Apart from the victory of Lord Ram, Maa Durga also fought Mahishasur over nine days, and nine nights and finally defeated and killed him on the tenth day. It is believed that Maa Durga came to life with special powers and blessings of all Gods to fight over the powerful and ambitious demon.
Along with the popular mythological stories of Lord Ram, and Maa Durga there are other episodes that mark the win of good over evil on the day of Dussehra.
May the ‘Good’ in us always win!