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Dussehra : The Festival of Victory of Virtues over Evil

The festival of Dussehra is celebrated every year on the tenth day of Shukla Paksha of Ashwin month. This festival symbolizes the victory over evil. Over the period of time, this festival also comes to instil a new energy into the cultural consciousness and the sense of patriotism in the country.
|| By Lalit Garg | Writer, Journalist, Columnist

Even today, the need to enliven the culture of this inspirational and motivational festival has become all the more necessary in order to fight the forces of darkness. The question is who should protect the culture? Who should lead the rise of ideals? Who should get his first name written in the foundation of life values? The process of fighting evil is very difficult. This practice of awakening brilliance and power is very difficult. It is very complex to give a high peak to self-existence and self-identity. After all, how to fight the evils hidden in our house, when Ravana is taking birth in the courtyard of the house, be it in the form of corruption, be it in the form of political criminalization, be it in the form of those spreading communal hatred, be it in the form of anti- national elements. Be it in the form of terrorists who break the law, or in the form of those who make education, medicine and justice a business. Celebrating this festival every year, where strength is prayed for, attention is drawn towards various issues of national importance. This provides new inspiration, new freshness, new strength, new dreams and new directions.

The festival of Dussehra, which follows Navratri, is a very special festival for Hindus; it comes 20 days before the festival of DiwaliDussehra is celebrated to mark the victory of Lord Shri Ram over the demon king Ravana. People stage the war between Shri Ram and Ravana in the form of a drama for ten days prior to the arrival of Dussehra. This dramatic life depiction is called Ram-Leela in North India– people organize Ram-Leela by wearing masks and through various dance forms, which they enjoy, making it a medium of Hindu culture, following the verses of Ramayana. They also make giant size effigies of the three great demons namely– Ravana, Meghnad and Kumbhakarna in which big fire-crackers are filled; and when the effigies are made to burn, they turn out to be the brilliant spectacles to watch on.

Lord Shri Ram is, thus, the symbol of truth, while his opponent Demon King Ravana is the evil incarnate. This great religious festival and custom is celebrated by the Hindus with the worship of Goddess Durga. The traditions and procedures of celebrating this festival are different across the country. Lord Ram was a devotee of the war goddess Maa Durga, who worshiped Maa Durga for nine days preceding the war, and killed Ravana on the tenth day of war. After this, Shri Ram rescued His Divine consort Sita through fighting a big war in company with His brother Lakshman, devotee Hanuman, and an army of monkeys. Therefore, Vijayadashami is a very important day of the victory of Good over the Evil, of the Truth over the Falsehood and the Light over the Darkness. On this day, along with burning of Ravana, there is also a tradition of worshiping weapons, vehicles and worshiping Maa Durga, Lord Shri Ram and Ganpati Devata. Therefore, Vijayadashami has also been called as Vijaya Tithi. It is believed that this day is very auspicious to please Goddess Lakshmi.

Dussehra has a cultural aspect also. It is also a festival to unite the cultural unity and integrity of the country. This year’s Vijayadashami festival has special significance, because with the positive revolutionary energy of this festival, not only a strong message has to be given to the negative and anti-national forces active in the nation, but also a challenge and caution against the misdeeds of neighbouring countries like Pakistan, China etc. After celebrating the Amrit Mahotsav year of Independence, the nation has to be strengthened for the Centenary Year that is 2047. The new consciousness that has come in the country with the strengthening of fundamental beliefs, nationalism is a living evidence of a powerful leadership. The efforts being made in search of renewable sources of energy for nationalism, self-identity, patriotic sentiments and the Hindu culture are unprecedented. The contemporary environment in which the nation is being led in accordance with the popular aspirations is extraordinary.
Dussehra is also a festival of Shakti sadhanakarma, new creation and worship. During the last eight decades, there have been continuous political moves to weaken the Hindu religion and culture. Actually Hindu is not a religion, it is an idea, and a culture. Being a Hindu nation does not mean to be a theocratic state, but the all-embracing spirit of Hindu culture. Hindu culture is the inherent sound of generosity, because it is the only culture in the entire world which embraces pluralism i.e. all religions, ideas and cultures. This country also gave the title of Rishi to a materialistic philosopher- thinker like Charvak who had said that ‘Rinaam Kritva Ghritam Peevet’ i.e. whatever is there is today, who has seen tomorrow, hence today should be lived to the fullest and even if one has to take loans. If it has to be done, it should be done. Along with this, our other sages also gave us this advice that ‘Satyam Buryat Na Buryat Satyam Apriyam’ i.e. speak the truth, but do not speak the bitter truth. The greatness and specialty of Hindu culture has been that it advocates the beloved truth, but also asks for its prohibition when it becomes harsh.

The Hindu culture is that of non-violence, but it also talks about self-defence by taking up arms if necessary. The word ‘Hindu’ itself gives the sense of ‘Swarashtra’ which is a part of the larger form of Hindu culture. Vijayadashami festival is a powerful medium to strengthen this ideology. Through this festival, everyone’s voice and objective is to destroy evil and encourage goodness. After Navratri, the last i.e. tenth day of Dussehra is Vijayadashami, which means that you have conquered all the three gunas – Tamas, Rajas or Satva. You passed through these three qualities, saw all three, participated in all three, but you were not attached or tied to any of these three in any way, you overcame all three of them. This is Vijayadashami – the day of your victory.
Indian culture is a worshiper of bravery and valour. The festival of Dussehra has been organized to display bravery in the blood of individuals and society. The festival of Dussehra provides good inspiration to give up ten types of sins – lust, anger, greed, attachment, jealousy, ego, laziness, violence and theft. One who is full of hatred, full of anger, full of malice, full of jealousy, full of greed, is increasing fear. All these lead to fear and powerlessness. While celebrating Dussehra festival of force and bravery, the biggest need is to burn these vices within us.

India never supported war or violence, but when somebody challenged us and created war-like situations, the skill of Indian politics is to attack and defeat the enemy, instead of waiting for his attack. Since the time of Lord Ram, this day is the symbolic day of victory. Lord Ram had left for the war against Ravana on this day. Maratha Ratna Shivaji also protected Hindu religion by leaving for war against Aurangzeb on this day. There are many examples in Indian history when Hindu kings used to march in victory on this day. The celebration of Dussehra symbolizes protection of religion, display of power and coordination of power. Apart from this, Dussehra symbolizes the victory of positive forces over negative forces.

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