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Significance of Dussehra

Dussehra celebrations start from the next day of Mahalaya Amavasya. The 9-day festival has great mythological / social significance. There are several mythological stories in connection with the festival.

Mythological story related to Dussehra

The well known mythological story connected to this festival is Mahishasura Mardini. According to Devi Puranam, the Eternal Trinity viz. Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva could not defeat Mahishaasura. He was a powerful demon king with the head of a buffalo-headed. Hence the name Mahishasura - the Sanskrit word 'mahishi' means buffalo and 'asura' means demon. Instead of using his power for the welfare of the society, he started to misuse his power and created havoc in all the lokas / worlds including Earth. All the Devas of the Devaloka and the great rishis from Earth approached Trimurti i.e Brahma, Vishnu and Siva for rescue. In order to end the atrocities of the powerful Mahishasura, all the gods including Trimurti gave away their powers to form an all-powerful Shakti i.e a power-packed Power from this collective power or shakti.

And lo!, there appeared a dazzling and the most powerful Shakti in a female form on a roaring lion. This powerful Sakti Swaroopini has been named as Goddess Durga Devi, also known as Simha Vahini and came to be known by the name Mahishasura Mardini after killing the demon king Mahishaasura.

In addition to their powers, all the gods even gave away their powerful weapons to Durga Devi as additional weapons to kill Mahishasura. For several days, there was a fierce battle between Mahishasura and Goddess Durga Devi and finally on the Dussehra Dasami day i.e on the 10th day in the Hindu month of Aswayuja, Goddess Durga Devi beheaded the demon king with Her Trishulam or the trident. Thus, She freed all the lokas from the clutches of Mahishasura. People rejoiced the death of the ferocious asura and celebrated the day as Dussehra festival on account of victory of good over evil. It is believed that the battle took place for 9 continuous days and these 9 days are celebrated as Dussehra Navaratri. On the 9th day, the wicked asura was beheaded by Goddess Durga. Hence the 9th day of Dussehra festival is also known as Vijaya Dasami as it falls on Dasami tithi i.e the 10th day after Amavasya. It was a great victory of good over evil. From thence, these days are considered highly auspicious and highly successful and are celebrated by Hindus as Dussehra Navaratri.

Importance of Dussehra

Dussehra i.e Vijaya Dasami day is considered highly auspicious as it symbolizes the victory of good over evil. It is believed that starting of new ventures on this day brings great success. Dussehra Navaratri celebrations in India differs from one region to the other. However, worshiping Durga Devi in 9 different forms during the nine nights is common in all the regions.

Other popular mythological stories of Dussehra

According to puranas, in the ancient times, the kings of some regions used to cross the frontiers of their neighboring kingdoms and participate in friendly feasts on the Dussehra day. Such a practice of border crossing for friendly relationship is known as Simolanghan. Such a practice is still in practice in some regions of the country, particular in the Western / North Western states.

As per Hindu mythology it is believed that on the Vijaya Dasami / Dussehra day in Treta Yuga, Lord Rama killed Raavana - the king of Lanka. Hence, the day symbolizes victory of good over evil. In the Northern states of the country, the story of Ramayana is enacted by the theater artists and on the Dussehra day huge effigies of Ravana, Kumbhkarana (brother of Raavan) and Meghnath (son of Raavan) are set to fire by the people in the famous Ramlila grounds in New Delhi.

As per Mahabhaarat, in the Dwapara Yuga, Pandavas lost their kingdom to Kauravas in the game of dice and were in 13 years of exile period in the forest followed by 1 year of secrecy or Angyatwaas in the shelter of the King of Viraat. It was on Vijaya Dasami day Prince Arjuna in the disguise of Brihannala drove along with prince Uttara Kumar - the son of King Viraat to face the attack of the Kauravas and was defeated in the attack. Then, prince Arjuna worships his armor that was kept hidden on the branch of a Sami tree.

Accordingly it became a culture in some regions of India, particularly in the Southern states to perform Ayudha Pooja or worshiping the machines on this day. Prince Uttara Kumar's sister Sasirekha requests her brother to bring small colorful pieces of clothes worn by the Kauravas after defeating them, to decorate her dolls and put these in an array. Thus the tradition of Bommala Kovulu during Dussehra continued in some of the South Indian states.

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