The Inspiring Mythological Stories Behind Dusshera Celebrations
Every year, Navratri concludes with Dussehra. This celebration of the triumph of ‘Good over Evil’ takes place on the tenth day of the Hindu month of Ashwin. It is not only celebrated across India, but also in our neighboring countries such as Nepal, Bangladesh and Malaysia.
Dusshera, or Vijayadashami also marks the beginning of the harvest season. Farmers pray to God for a rich crop and harvest. However, a lesser-known fact is that it is also observed as Vishwakarma Divas or Labor Day by some communities in India. Therefore, devotees worship everything that helps in their day-to-day activities, including books, kitchen knives, spades and even vehicles!
The victory of Lord Rama over demon Ravana isn’t the only reason behind Dussehra celebrations. Just like every other Indian festival, Dusshera has lots of mythological stories attached to it.
Here are four interesting Dusshera stories from Mythology listed exclusively for the readers of Apeksha News Network.
Lord Rama’s Victory Over Ravana
In Indian Mythology, the concept of victory of ‘Good over Evil’ has been depicted by many stories. Many stories have been written over thousands of pages of various scriptures and mythological books wherein each story ended with a common moral - ‘Good triumphs over Evil’. However, the most inspiring is that of demon Ravana's killing by the hands of Lord Ram.
Legends say that it was on this day that Lord Ram, a manifestation of Vishnu, mercilessly killed the demon king Ravana and brought back his abducted wife, Goddess Sita. Following that, every year effigies of Ravana, his brother Kumbhakarna and son Meghanad are burnt across the country, marking Lord Rama’s courageous victory over Ravan.
The day also marks the shift in season, from harsh summer to pleasant cold winters.
Many devotees perform ‘Aditya Homa’ as a ‘Shanti Yagna’ on Dusshera to keep the household environment clean and healthy. These rituals intend to keep the ten 10 bad qualities that represented Ravana, including Kama Vasna, Moha, Krodha, Lobha, Mada, Masatra, Swartha, Anyayaya, Amanvata and Ahankara.
It is believed that Lord Rama, his brother Lakshmana along with Sita returned to Ayodhya around 20 days after Dussehra. To welcome their lord, people of Ayodhya lit up the city with thousands of earthen lamps. And this victorious return is celebrated as Diwali.
Five Pandava Brothers end their Agnyatwas
During the time of Dvapara Yuga, Pandavas lost everything they owned in a game of dice. Kauravas, their cousin brothers exiled Pandavas to 12 years of living in the forest, i.e. vanvas and a year of living incognito.
All five brothers had spent 12 years living in different forests and during the final year they decided to live in the Kingdom of Virat. Meanwhile, they safely hid their divine weapons in a hole of a Shami tree.
The brothers and their wives spent the final year in disguise. But when the Kingdom of Virat was attacked by Kaurava army, the Pandavas headed back to the Shami tree and for the first time in that year they took their weapons in their hands on Vijayadashmi.
On the battlefield, the Kaurava army was routed, and it was the first chain of events that led to the ultimate war of Kurukshetra. Since then the Shami tree and weapons have been worshipped and exchanged on Dusshera as a symbol of goodwill and victory.
Goddess Durga’s fierce fight with Mahishasur
This is yet another story of killing the evil demon!
In an eternal war between the Gods and the demons, Asura, a demon created havoc on the earth and managed to defeat the Gods.
As he tried to rule the earth with an iron rod, all the Gods combined their energies, due to which the Shakti coalesced and Goddess Durga came into being.
Goddess Durga was blessed with ten hands and the Gods armed her with mighty weapons. With these weapons, she battled the demon for nine days continuously. Ultimately, on the tenth day, she slew the demon Mahishasur and emerged victoriously.
Kautsa’s Special Dakshina to his Guru
While all other stories were related to demons and battles, Kautsa’s story is different.
Kautsa was a young Brahmin boy who insisted that his guru, Rishi Varatantu, accepts Guru Dakshina, a fee or present for all his precious teachings.
Though the guru refused to accept fees as he thought it was inappropriate to take Dakshina for wisdom, the disciple was persistent. Bowing down to Kautsa’s stubbornness, Rishi Varatantu asked him to give him 140 million gold coins in return for the 14 sciences that he taught the young lad.
Kautsa then approached King Raghu, who was known for his generosity. But luck seemed to be not in Kautsa’s favor. The king had just spent his money and donated it to the Brahmins. So, king Raghu requested Kausta to give him three days to arrange the money and immediately left to ask for the coins from Lord Indra.
Lord Indra, in turn, seeked help from Kuber, the lord of wealth and asked him to rain gold coins on the Shanu and Aapati trees around King Raghu's city. Soon it began raining gold coins in King Raghu’s city and he collected the gold coins and gave it to Kautsa. Kautsa handed over the same to his teacher as Guru Dakshina. Since Rishi Varatantu had only requested for 140 million, he returned the rest to his disciple.
Kautsa, in turn, returned the wealth to the people of Ayodhya on the day of Dussehra.
Thus, the practice of distributing Aapati leaves has its roots here.
So, did you ever realise that one festival can have so many inspirations? It is important to learn the true meaning behind festivals that are integral part of our lives.
Now that you know about Dusshera, it’s time to lift the goodness inside you!
A very Happy Dussehra from Apeksha News Network!