Let’s understand our festivals! By Vardhan V Dharkar

Vijaya Dashami (Dasara)

A) Historical significance Vijaya Dashami (Dasara)

Vijaya Dashami means Victory on the Tenth day. Vijaya Dashami is tenth lunar day of a Hindu calendar month Ashwin (आश्विन). It signifies victory of Good over Evil. On this day, Ma Durga killed Mahishasur and Shri Ram killed Ravan. In Eastern and north eastern parts of India, it marks the end of Durga Pooja. In northern states it marks end of Ram Lila celebrating victory of Shri Ram and death of Ravan.

Vijaya Dashami is one of the three and half most auspicious days as per Hindu religion. On this day, there is no need to check the auspicious time (मुहुर्त). Full day is auspicious. As per traditional Hindu astrology, the Sun (Surya) and Moon (Chandra) are astrologically believed to be at their most exalted position on the day.

B) My interpretation of what Shri Ram and Ravan represent

First let us understand what Ravan represents. He was a great ruler and a great devotee of Lord Shiv. Earlier it was said that his ten heads represent his mastery over six Shastras, Yog-Shastra, Nyay-Shastra, Dharma-Shastra, Koka or Kama-Shastra and Moksh-Shastra, and four Vedas, the Rigveda, the Yajurveda, the Samaveda and the Atharvaveda. However, subsequently the ten heads came to be associated with the flaws in his character.

The ten flaws in his characters representing ten heads are:

  • Kaam (Lust): Ravan’s lust for a married woman (Sita) led to his end.
  • Mada (Pride): This means loving one’s perfect self. Ravan was knowledgeable but he was too proud about his intellectual and military prowess.
  • Ahankar (Ego): Ravan was full of ego and failed to see what he was doing was wrong.
  • Moha: (Attachment to possessions): He was too much attached to his possessions and chose to cross all boundaries to keep them.
  • Lobha (Greed): He was overpowered by his greed and decided to abduct Sita.
  • Krodh (Anger): Ravan used to get angry at not getting what he desired and that is what destroyed him.
  • Maatsar (Envy): He used to envy others for the things they had and wanted to possess those things by all means.
  • Jaddata (Insensitive): He never cared about other people’s feelings and always gave priority to satisfying his own ego.
  • Ghrina (Hatred): He hated other people. It was his hate that destroyed him eventually.
  • Bhaya (Fear): His fear of losing his possessions was the cause of his sinful deeds.

Now let us understand what does Shri Ram Symbolise?

Shri Ram, in the words of Swami Vivekananda, is “the embodiment of truth, of morality, the ideal son, the ideal husband and above all, the ideal king”. He is a symbol of the victory of right over the evil. Lord Ram characterizes how a man should fulfil his moral commitments and should strictly follow his limits so that social order can be maintained. It is precisely due to this fact, he is known as “Marayada Puroshattam” (मर्यादा पुरूषोत्तम) or “The man of limits”.

Journey from becoming less of a “Ravan” to more of a “Shri Ram”

Both Shri Ram and Ravan are present within us. All of us have the ten flaws in varying degrees that resulted in Ravan’s downfall. These flaws if not controlled and destroyed will eventually lead to our down fall. It is equally true that we also have all the qualities that Shri Ram had, again in varying degrees. Unfortunately, most of the time, these good qualities get overshadowed by the flaws in our character. If we don’t take corrective action and discard the flaws or bad qualities and consciously cultivate and grow good qualities, we will never attain true happiness and will continue to experience the hell in this life itself. On the other hand, if we overcome the flaws and imbibe the good qualities, then we will experience the heaven in this life. The choice is ours!

On this auspicious day of Vijaya Dashami (Dasara), let us start the journey of discarding the bad qualities in us and acquire the good qualities, a journey from becoming less of Ravan to more of Shri Ram!

Wishing everyone a very happy Vijaya Dashami/Dasara

5th October 2022
१0आश्विन शके १९४४

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