Several days ago, I was researching Dussehra, a festival of Triumph of Lord Ram over the ten-headed demon Ravana. Interestingly, I read numerous other mythological stories about why Dussehra is being celebrated. This means, the triumph of Lord Rama over Ravana, is not the only reason behind this festival.

Enjoy these tales and share them with your kids :

Triumph of Durga Maa over Mahishasura

Legend 1: Triumph of Durga Maa over Mahishasura

This is again a well-known reason for celebrating Dussehra. One Asura, Mahishasur, in the form of a buffalo, grew very powerful and created havoc on the earth. Under his leadership, the Asuras defeated the Devas. To fight against Mahishasura’s tyranny, the Devas joined their energies into Shakti, a single mass of incandescent energy.

A very mighty band of lightning emerged from the mouths of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva and a young, beautiful female with ten hands appeared. All the Gods gave their special weapons to her. This Shakti united to form the Goddess Durga. Riding on a lion, who assisted her, Durga fought Mahishasur. The battle raged for nine days and nights.

Finally, on the tenth day of Ashvin Shukla paksha, Mahishasur was beaten and killed by Durga. Hence we celebrate this day as the conquest over evil.

Triumph of Lord Rama over Ravana

Legend 2: Triumph of Lord Rama over Ravana

As per our Hindu mythology, the day Lord Ram killed Ravan who abducted Ram’s wife Sita is celebrated as “Vijaya Dashami”. The phrase Vijaya Dashmi is made from two phrases Vijay and Dashmi.

As per our Hindu Calendar, the day when Ram conquered and killed Ravana was Ashwin ( Hindi Month) Shukla Dashami (10th day of the month). Hence the name emanated. Many individuals perform “Aditya Homa” as a “Shanti Yagna” on the day of Dussehra. These Yagna performances are believed to create powerful mechanisms in the atmosphere surrounding the house that will keep the household atmosphere clean and healthy. Incense can be a great addition to any pooja or ritual practice, and burning incense sticks is a soothing ritual in itself. So, find an aroma (or four or five) that you love, and burn away.

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These rituals are planned to rid the household of the ten bad qualities, which are characterized by 10 heads of Ravana as follows:

  1. Kama Vasana (Lust)
  2. Krodha (Anger)
  3. Moha (Attraction )
  4. Lobha (Greed)
  5. Mada (Over Pride)
  6. Matsara (Jealousy)
  7. Swartha (Selfishness)
  8. Anyaaya (Injustice)
  9. Amanavata (Cruelty)
  10. Ahankara (Ego)
Legend Behind Homecoming of Parvati

Legend 3: Legend Behind Homecoming of Parvati

Do you know about this? I came to know about it recently when I was reading about Dussehra. Okay, so Maa Parvati was Maa Sati in her previous birth. Maa Sati was a great devotee of Lord Shiva and prayed for getting Lord Shiva as her husband. Being delighted with her worship, Lord Shiva married her. Maa Sati’s father was against this marriage but couldn’t prevent it. Daksh arranged a Yagna in which he invited everyone except Lord Shiva. Being ashamed of his father’s act and seeing the insult of her husband by father Dasksh, she jumped into the fire of Yagna and killed herself. Lord Shiva was anguished when he came to know this. He lifted Maa Sati’s body on his shoulders and started dancing. As the supreme power danced with rage, the world was on the verge of destruction.

Lord Vishu came forward as a savior and used his Sudarshana Chakra to cut Maa Sati’s body into pieces. Those pieces fell from the shoulders of the dancing Lord Shiva and scattered throughout the Indian subcontinent. Lord Shiva was pacified when the last piece fell from his shoulder. In her next birth, Maa Sati was born as Maa Parvati, the daughter of Himavat, ruler of the Himalayas.

Lord Vishnu asked Lord Shiva to forgive Daksha. Ever since peace was restored, Maa Parvati visits her parents of previous birth each year during the season of Sharatkal or autumn, when Durga-Puja is celebrated.

Legend behind Arjuna and Maa Saraswati

Legend 4: Legend behind Arjuna and Maa Saraswati

According to the Mahabharata, Dussehra also marks the day when Arjuna single-handedly put the huge Kaurava army to sleep by invoking the Sammohan Astra. Arjuna was also called Vijaya – the one who was ever victorious. Thus, the day became popular as “Vijaya Dashami”.

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In other parts of the country, Dussehra is celebrated as the festival of Maa Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge. People worship the goddess along with their instruments of trade.

Legend Behind Kautsa's Guru Dakshina

Legend 5: Legend Behind Kautsa’s Guru Dakshina

This is again a new story that I never knew. Kautsa, the young son of a Brahmin called Devdatt, lived in the city of Paithan. After completing his education with Rishi Varatantu, he insisted on his guru accepting Guru Dakshina as a present. The guru said Kautsa to give Dakshina in return for learning wisdom is not appropriate. Graduation of the disciple makes the guru happy, and that is the real Guru Dakshina. Kautsa was not satisfied. He still felt it was his duty to give his guru something. The guru said, All right, if you insist on giving me Dakshina, then give me 140 million gold coins, 10 million for each of the 14 sciences I have taught you. Kautsa went to King Raghu.

Raghuraja was an ancestor of Lord Rama, famous for his generosity. But just at that moment, he had spent all his money on the Brahmins, after performing the Vishvajit sacrifice. Raghuraja asked Kautsa to return in three days. Raghuraja immediately left to get the gold coins from Indra. Indra summoned Kuber, the god of wealth. Indra told Kuber, Make rain full of gold coins, fall on the Shanu and Aapati trees around Raghuraja’s city of Ayodhya. Rain of gold coins began to fall. King Raghu gave all the coins to Kautsa, and Kautsa hastened to offer the coins to Varatantu Rishi. Guru had asked for only 140 million, so he gave the rest back to Kautsa. Kautsa was not interested in money, considering honor to be more valuable than wealth. He asked the king to take the remaining gold coins back. But the king refused, as kings do not take back the daan (gift).

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Finally, Kautsa distributed the gold coins to the people of Ayodhya on the day of Ashvin Shukla Dashami. The tradition of picking leaves from the Aapati tree and then presenting them to one another as gold has been performed in remembrance of this occasion.

Dussehra Celebration in Various Parts of India

Dussehra Celebration in Various Parts of India

Since the festival marks the victory of good over evil, Dussehra is considered an auspicious day to begin a new venture or investment. Another trend is the immersion of idols, commonly practiced across the nation.

In various parts of northern India, to mark the end of evil, huge colorful effigies of the demon king Ravana, his son Meghanada, and his brother Kumbhakarna are set on fire with the help of a flaming arrow. The legend of the Ramayana is brought to life as well through theatrical enactments of the epic called Ram Leela.

Further north, in the Kullu valley of Himachal Pradesh, one can also witness large fairs and parades as a part of the celebrations.

Gujarat, Maharashtra, and West Bengal, fasting and prayers at temples are perceived. Dances and folk songs are an integral part of the celebrations, with devotees performing regional dances such as the dandiya raas, Garba, and dhunachi during the 9 nights of the festival.

Down Southern India, temples and major forts are illuminated, and one can find interesting displays of colorful dolls and figurines called golu or bommai kolu.

During these festivals,  At Aparna Groups, we make all our incense with pure essential oils and natural resins. We believe in keeping clean, and that starts with cleaning the air we breathe. Our agarbatti sticks made with bamboo-derived charcoal and wood powders clean the air as it burns by pulling impurities and germs out of the air. A wide range of agarbatti sticks from Aparna Groups are Masala Incense, Scented Agarbatti, Perfumed Agarbatti, Dhoop sticks, Dhoop Cones, and Incense Cones available at the lowest prices. We manufacture high-quality incense sticks in Pune and supply them.