Vajaya-Dashmi

 

 

Nature worship -

There are two main agricultural seasons in India – winter and monsoon.  Harvest for the winter crop comes in during Holi and monsoon crop is harvested during Navratri.  As a result, Hindus celebrate two Navratris – Chaitra and Asho.  Till the time of the British Raj, ruler of India – Hindu or otherwise, used to collect their bi-annual tax after the Navratri and hence, Vijay-dashmi was one of the major tax-collection dates.

 

 

New Year -

Vijay-Dashmi is the New Year of the warrior caste.  Kings and soldiers used to venerate their weapons on this day.  One of the most colourful celebrations of this tradition is still conducted in Maysore, South India.  Indians celebrate various New Years.  These depend on regions, historical events, castes etc.  Diwali and Holi are also celebrated as New Years. 

 

 

Goddess worship -

Great Goddess has been worshiped since time immemorial and many Hindu festivals celebrate the female divine.  Nature worship meant various agricultural and “earth” related divinities are worshiped in the female form. 

Hinduism has given pride of place to the female divine.  All the main jobs – such as wisdom, wealth and war are governed by the female powers.  Sarasvati, Lakshmi and Durga are the three forms of the great goddess.

 

India being as diverse as it is, there are many tales that relate to Vijaya-dashmi. 

There are two main tales –

1)      Devi conquering the demon.

2)      Rama defeating Ravan. 

 

 

Tale of the Devi -

“Hell hath no fury like a woman !”

It was like that 10,000 years ago, in 2010AD and will be the same in 20,000 AD !!

 

Heavenly denizens, threatened with chaos brought on by demons, seek the aid of the creator Brahma.  He tells them this particular menance can only be defeated by a woman and a virgin at that !    They sought the help of Devi, the primodial female.  Flattered that none of the “men” could deal with this, Devi consented to come down and help.  All the divine beings gifted their weapons to help her win the battle. 


Devi came down to earth and meditated to regain her beloved Shiva.  While meditating, the demon Mahisasur was blinded by her beauty and tried to carry her away.  Devi fought with the vigour of a woman on a warpath.  No matter how many forms he took, she fought and eventually killed the demon.  Durga was so furious, she continued to kill anything that came in her path.  Shiva came to pacify her and lay down in her path.  The moment her foot touched him, she realised it was Shiva and stopped. 

 

In another tale, Shiva, the primordial man, but a man none-the-less, forget to come in time and Devi was furious.  She spilled her prayer tray in the sands of Cape Comarin and went back to her meditation.  Thus the sands of the cape have red and yellow sand and white rice like stones.

 

 

Victory of Rama over Ravan -

Rama’s wife was abducted by the lecherous king of Lanka.  Though Ravan had a prosperous kingdom, amazing intelligence (hence 10 heads), golden city and numerous wives, his greed knew no bounds.  He stole the island of Lanka from his brother – Kuber.  He stole the city from his deity, Shiva.  He abducted various women from around the universe to increase his harem.  His latest conquest was a married princess from North India.  With the help of various tribes from South-India, Rama defeated Ravana and handed the kingdom over to Ravan’s brother. 

 

People burn the effigy of Ravan to celebrate victory of good over evil.  What they forget is, Sita had held Ravan at bay for over 11 months !  Her self-restraint, ability to resist the most powerful emperor of the time, and to stopping from imposing his will on her must be amazing ! 

 

 

Hence Navratri and Vijay dashmi are celebration of the female energy.  Woman’s ability to resist and restraint others is worshiped and celebrated during this festival.

 

 

© Bhagwat    Bhagwat_s@Yahoo.com

 

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