Celebrating Victory of Good Over Evil
Dussehra, also called Vijayadashami (‘Vijaya’ means victory and ‘Dasami’ denotes the tenth day), is the culmination of the nine-day Navaratri celebrations across India. The tenth day is celebrated as Dasara or Dussehra; (‘Dasha’ means ten, and ‘hara’ translates to defeat) and symbolises good prevailing over evil.
According to the epic Ramayana, it is a festival that marks the killing of the demon king of Lanka - Ravana, his son Meghanada and brother Kumbhakarna, by Rama, the Prince of Ayodhya.
While Rama was in exile, he lived with his wife Sita and brother Lakshmana. One day, Sita was captured by Ravana. Rama and an army of monkeys and Lakshmana attacked Lanka to rescue Sita. This was followed by a fierce battle between the two armies for many days. At this time, Rama prayed for nine days to nine different aspects of goddess Durga in the midst of his difficulties at war. Finally, he accumulated enough strength to defeat Ravana, and so Dussehra is a tribute to Rama’s victory over Ravana.
When we compare it to our world today, it draws a beautiful parallel of our minds being caught up in the web of negativity & our constant battle with it. When we surrender this intention humbly to the divine and seek spiritual guidance to show us the path and protect our minds, we win over our small minds and all the thoughts that don’t serve our purpose. This victory of the divine power of the higher self over pettiness is the essence of this important festival.
With the onset of Dussehra, the preparations for Diwali begin. Across India, Stories of Rama’s life are enacted as plays called Ramlila. which is celebrated twenty days later. Giant paper effigies of Ravana almost 100 feet high are set ablaze with fireworks representing evil destruction.
Dussehra in Mysore
In the palace city of Mysore, located in close vicinity to Samyak Yoga, the celebration is a traditional one organised by the Royal family. A grand procession of decorated elephants carrying the idol of Goddess Chamundeshwari is the main attraction. A celebrated procession from the Royal Mysore Palace ends in Bannimantap. The Mysore palace during this time is adorned with many lights, and the festival is complete with dance, concerts and exhibitions. According to legends, Goddess Chamundeshwari or Durga slew the demon Mahishasura & so devotees visit the temple on Chamundi hills during this auspicious day.
One of the significant Dussehra rituals is dedicated to the Goddess Saraswati. She is regarded as the Goddess of learning, arts & knowledge. Goddess Saraswati is worshipped along with instruments of one’s trade during this time. Young children are also enrolled on school during this favourable period.
The metaphor of this critical event is a symbolic reminder to break free of the unnecessary noise in our lives. When one’s intellect is free from negative inclinations, you feel lighter. This translates to happiness & positive energy within and this is victory in its most authentic self. The mind is free from worldly experiences. The very purpose of this celebration is to embrace the richness of inner joy and contentment.
Ravana is symbolic of ego. Lord Rama is symbolic of both self-knowledge and the soul. When Self-knowledge dwells within a person, ego has no place and is destroyed.
The imbalance in today's society is an authentic witness to the lack of self-knowledge. The moment ego is replaced with self-knowledge, true happiness can be rejoiced to its fullest.
Wishing each of you, our readers, a Happy Dussehra. May the fire of knowledge kindle within us an inner awakening to manifest peace, brighten our lives with joy and evoke happiness always.
Let us be inspired to multiply this blessing with everyone we meet & together as a community, strive to create a meaningful tomorrow.