From time to time, many festivals are celebrated by the Hindus of India. Every festival has its own importance. Dussehara, also known as Vijaya Dashami is the festival which is unique and of great significance.
Vijaya means victory and Dashmi means tenth, so Vijaya Dashami is the other name of Dussehara, victory on the tenth. This festival falls on Aswin Shukl tenth. Lord Rama invaded Sri Lanka on this day and came out victorious. This day has been recognized auspicious to defeat an enemy. According to astrology, that period, before the rise of stars on Aswin Shukl tenth, is ‘Vijaya’. That awards Siddhi (Supernatural powers) to all deeds. Before this tenth day is widow night, which is pure. The sunrise after this is the most superior. Vijaya Dashami is a national festival of India. Prominently this is a festival of the Kshatriyas. Public, in general observe this as Ram Lila. For first nine days (Nava Ratri) of Shukl Paksh, Rama Lila is performed. On the tenth (Vijay Dashami) day, Lord Rama is taken out in a procession on a be jewelled chariot all over the streets. This day is still more lucky, if one happens to have a glance at Neel Kanth (a small eagle of blue colour). Any king, who celebrates this festival every year, against victory over his enemies with all his horses, elephants and carriers, all weapons and armour, all family members and attendants, he goes out of town and worships Gods and then pervades his enemy or his effigy, backed by enchantment of Vedic hymns, such a king is always victorious.
Lord Rama was the seventh incarnation of Vishnu. He was born during Treta Yuga, on the ninth of the light half of the month of Chetr (March-April) in the city of Ayodhya, with Dashrath as his father and Kaushalaya as the mother. At the first dawn of intelligence, he acquired much learning and withdrawing from all worldly pursuits, set out journeying through wilds and gave a fresh beauty to his life by visiting holy shrines.
Dashrath, during a war with the ashuras and in order to help the gods, was injured and his third wife, who was with him on the battle field, saved his life. So Dashrath had promised a boon to Kekeye to be availed, as and when she desired. Rama was declared as the successor to old Dashrath. Kekeye availed off the promise and got Rama to be sent to exile for fourteen years. The aim was to get her son Bharata installed in place of Rama.
Rama being righteous person, in order to save the word of his father, went into exile. His younger brother Lakshman and his wife Sita accompanied him, voluntarily. During the exile, Rama visited many saints and saved their heritage from atrocities of the demons. By a trick and magical powers, Ravana stole away Sita. Lakshman insulted Suparrnakha, the sister of Ravana.
Ravana, one of the rakshasas, two generations in descent from Brahma; the son of great rishi Visravas (son of Saint Pulsateye) born out of a Gandharva marriage with a demon wife, is said to have performed sever austerities for a period of ten thousand years, in the hope of obtaining sovereignty of the three worlds. The deity appeared to him and granted his prayer Ravana was highly learned and had obtained power from Brahma. He is said to have had ten heads, which may signify intelligence, but the ego in him was his curse. The Gods were afflicted by his rule. They solicited his dethronement, which was vouchsafed, and Rama was incarnated to accomplish this end.
Dussehara is celebrated in remembrance of the victory of Rama over Ravana. A ten headed person, has never been born, nor is, nor would be born, so this myth of ten heads is superfluous. In fact it signifies the victory over evils. Burning of the effigy of Ravana on the Vijaya Dashami day, means to get rid of the evils in a man, which are sex, lust or carnality; anger or rage, greed, avarice or temptation, attachment, allurement or infatuation, arrogance, ego or pride, jealousy, hatred, feeling of revenge, insulting others or talking ill of others, dishonesty, selfishness, intolerance, violence, cruelty or hurting others.
Rama was known for his strict abidance to truth, virtue and righteousness. Rama’s main role was to spell out the law of virtue. Rama symbolizes a perfect life and those who follow the path laid by him will enjoy peace. Although Rama conquered Sri Lanka and killed Ravana, yet his aim was only to liberate Sita, to put and end to the atrocities of Ravana.It was not a revenge. It was not selfishness, because he handed over the kingdom of Sri Lanka to Vhebeeshan, the brother of Ravana, Rama assures protection to all, who seek refuge in him, such as Sugriva, the monkey king. The Story of Rama and his victory over Ravana, was originally compiled in Valmiki’s Ramayana, later recited in the Mahabharata and then illustrated in Tulsi Dasa’s Ram Charit Manas.
Ram Lila begins on the first day of Navaratris, when the enactment of Rama Drama begins. The whole life story of Rama, right from his birth on earth, his childhood, his education and training, his winning over Sita in a sweyeambar (Competition). His coronation to be, his exile, encounter with demons in safeguarding Rishi ashrams, stealing away of Sita, meeting Ahalyabai, meeting Hanuman, friendship with Sugrieva, invasion of Sri Lanka and the killing of Ravana and return to Ayodhaya all these incidents, form topics for day performance over the stage, in most parts of India. On the last day, the day of Dussehara, the effigies of Ravana, Kumbhkaran (Ravana’s brother) and Meghnath (Ravana’s son) are burnt with an arrow shot from Rama’s bow. The crackers fitted inside the effigies explode with great noise and to the laughter of the crowd in Dussehara fair.
The Rama Barat of Agra, marriage procession of Rama. from Ayodhya to Janakpur, the capital city of Janaka, the father of Sita, is famous, which attracts crowds from all nearby places, who come in thousands, carried on buses, tongas, tractor trolleys and on foot. The Dussehara melas (fairs) at Mysore, Kulu and Kota (Rajasthan) are famous for their magnificence, although every place in India, celebrates the fair in one form or the other.