Dussehra or Vijayadashmi : Old festival in a new light

RaavanDussehra (दशहरा ) or Vijayadashmi (विजयादशमी ) is an Indian  festival celebrated just after “Navratri” (9 days of celebration of Goddess of power,wisdom,and wealth) in all parts of India.

Ask any Indian about the significance of Dussehra and most probably the most common answer will refer to Lord Ram’s victory over the ten-headed demon king Ravan(रावण) and basically signifies victory of good over evil.Mostly this day effigy of Raavan is burnt and he is shown with the 10 heads .

This is how we understood the Dussehra festival up until now. The festivals or rituals were created as checks and balances for the survival of the community.In order for the common people to follow these checks and balances , they were introduced as customs/rituals and people followed it as part of their tradition. But with ever changing and developing society all these rituals/customs need to be understood in a new sense or a new light.This is the only way we can make the younger generation understand why we do what we do.This is how they will understand the significance of our age old traditions.

Dussehra is derived from Sanskrit Dasha(दस/दश) -hara(हरा ) literally means removal/defeat of ten (Dasha(ten) and Hara(defeat)).

In todays perspective the 10 heads of Ravan represent 10 bad qualities that one should try to remove. We all have these qualities/bad qualities in us
1.  EGO (ahamkara)- अहंकार
2. ATTACHMENT (moha)-मोह
3. SELFISHNESS (Swarth)-स्वार्थ
4. ANGER (krodha)-क्रोध
5. HATRED (ghrina)-घृणा /नफरत
6. PRIDE (Mad)-मद
7. JEALOUSY (irshya)-ईर्ष्या
8. GREED (lobha)-लोभ
9. LUST (kama)-काम
10. INSJUSTICE (Anyaay)-अन्याय

These are all traits of human nautre. All of us have either some of these traits or all of these traits and there is no denial to this universal truth.Some amount of few of these traits should definitely be developed in a human being like attachment (for parents, for family, for loved ones,for country etc), pride (for what you are and what all you represent people,country etc). Basically where there is pride , there is attachment, where there is attachment , there is selfishness , so the point is we all possess these traits more or less.Hence some amount of few of these qualities are must ..especially in today’s world..but “अति किसी भी चीज़ की बुरी “..meaning Too much of a good thing turns out bad or harmful too.

To live the precious “LIFE” (we have been blessed with) happily, attachment(to family and loved ones) is required to some extent….politeness and humbleness are must…but not to the extent that it crushes…”Self Respect” but too much of it may lead to EGO and PRIDE…which is not good…similar points go for all the above mentioned.I guess for every person…that level/bar varies.All in all in a nutshell..BALANCE of these is the MANTRA of HARMONY IN LIFE ….:-)

May we all can strive for winning(vijaya) over these 10(dashmi) demons within us . Wishing all a very happy Dussehra !!!!


दहन कागज़ के पुतले को रावण का नाम देकर कर भी दिया
तो दशहरे के मायने नहीं समझे हैं तुमने ,
मन के अंदर बसी दुर्भावनाओं का दहन हो तो सही मायने में दशहरा  है ,
प्रेम भी तुम में द्वेष भी तुम में
राम भी तुममे ,रावण भी तुममे ,
गुण भी तुम में ,अवगुण भी तुममें ,
विचार करो गहन किसका करोगे  दहन
क्योंकि राम भी तुम में रावण भी तुम में
प्रण करें की एक अवगुण का नाश  हो ,
बाहर नहीं किन्तु अपने अंदर के रावण का विनाश हो

-प्रीती मिश्र तिवारी


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