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Dussehra - Victory of Good over Evil

Legends

 The Dussehra festival celebration is unique in its perspective and significance. It is  the celebration of the Victory of Good over Evil.

     There are various legends associated with the festival of Dussehra. As we have seen in all of the festivals the roots of origin of the festivals can be traced in the Hindu mythology. According to the legends  Dussehra can also be interpreted as "Dasa-Hara", which means the cutting of the ten heads of Ravana.  On the day of Dussehra / Vijay dashmi, Ram, killed the great demon Ravan, who had abducted Ram's wife Sita to his kingdom of Lanka . Rama, who was a devout believer of Durga, the Goddess of War, prayed to her for the first nine days of battle and killed the evil Ravana on the 10th day along, with his brother Lakshman follower Hanuman, and an army of monkeys fought a great battle to rescue his lovely wife Sita. He shot Ravana with a bow that pierced his navel. Sita had been returned to her husband Ram and they now make their way to Ayodhya in triumph and glory. Thus, it is on the Diwali day that Lord Ram, the incarnation of Lord Vishnu in the Treta Yug, returned to his capital Ayodhya after the exile of fourteen Years.

     Rama also slew Ravana’s brother Kumbhkarna. Lakshmana killed Ravana’s son, Meghnath. And Dussehra is the festival that commemorates this triumph of Good over Evil. To this day Rama Lila (the enactment of the Ramayana, or literally the saga of Rama) is staged in towns and villages across the length and breadth of the country.

      Another legend that is linked to Dussehra is that of the Goddess Durga slaying the buffalo-demon, Mahishasura. According to popular mythology, the gods were compelled to grant Mahishasura indomitable powers for his unparalleled meditation. As expected, the omnipotent buffalo-demon Mahishasura raised hell at the gates of heaven, astounding the gods with his mammoth dominion. The infuriated gods then created Durga. It is believed that Durga was actualised by the combined effort of all deities. Durga possesses a weapon of each god and is said to be more powerful than all of them put together.

       According to another story, Kautsa, the young son of Devdatt, a Brahmin, was living in the city of Paithan. After studying under the guidance of Rishi Varatantu, he insisted on his guru accepting a present, or gurudakshina. Initially the guru refused but later asked for 140 million gold coins, one hundred million for each of the subjects taught. The obedient student went to the King Raghu to ask for the money, as the king was renowned for his generosity. Within three days the king made the God of Wealth Kuber make a rain of gold coins near the shanu and apati trees. After giving the promised amount to the guru, Kautsa distributed the rest of the coins among the needy on the day of Dussehra. Even today, in Ayodhya, the capital of King Raghu, people loot the leaves of the apati trees and present to each other.

         In ancient times kings used the feast of Dussehra to cross the frontier and fight against their neighbouring kingdoms. This border crossing is known as "seema ollanghan". Dussehra marked the beginning of the war season. This was also the day to worship the weapons. According to legend, Pandav went to dwell in the forest. On the way he hid his weapons in the hole of a "shami" tree. After one year he returned from the forest and on Dussehra day he took again his weapons and worshipped the shami tree and the weapons. Hence the custom of worshipping weapons on this feast started.