Navaratri / Dussehra / Vijayadashami
Navaratri/Dussehra/Vijayadashami is a Hindu festival dedicated to the worship of Shakti. The word Navaratri means nine nights in Sanskrit. During these nine nights and ten days, nine forms of Shakti/Devi are worshiped. The 10th day is commonly referred to as Vijayadashami or Dussehra.
The beginning of spring and the beginning of autumn are two very important junctions of climatic and solar influence. The dates of the festival are determined according to the lunar calendar by finding the most auspicious days for worshipping The Divine Mother.
Navaratri represents celebration of Goddess Durga, the manifestation of the deity in form of Shakti [Energy or Power]. The Navaratri festival or ‘Nine Nights festival’ becomes a ten-day festival with the addition of the last day, Vijayadashami which is its culmination. On all these ten days, the various forms of Mother Mahisasura-mardini (Durga) are worshipped with fervour and devotion.
The Legend behind Navaratri
Mahishasur (an asura), in the form of a buffalo, grew very powerful and created havoc on the earth. Under his leadership, the Asuras defeated the Devas. The world was crushed under Mahishasura's tyranny, the Devas joined their energies into Shakti, a single mass of incandescent energy, to kill Mahishasur. A very powerful band of lightning emerged from the mouths of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva and a young, beautiful female virgin with ten hands appeared. All the Gods gave their special weapons to her. This Shakti coalesced 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 defeated and killed by Durga. Hence Dasha-Hara is also known as Navaratra or Durgotsava and is a celebration of Durga's victory. Durga, as Consort of Lord Shiva, represents two forms of female energy – one is mild and protective and the other being fierce and destructive.
The significance of Dussehra
According to the Ramayana, on this day in the Treta Yug, Rama, the seventh incarnation of Vishnu, killed the great demon Ravana who had abducted Rama's wife Sita to his kingdom of Lanka. Rama, his brother Lakshmana, their devotee Hanuman and an army of monkeys fought a great battle to rescue Sita. Rama had performed Chandi Homa and invoked the blessings of Durga, who blessed Rama with secret knowledge of the way to kill Ravana. During the ten days of Dasha-Hara, idols of Ravana, his brother Kumbhakarna and son Meghnaad are erected and burnt by enthusiastic youths at sunset.
According to the Mahabharatha, in the age of Dwapar Yuga, the 5 Pandava brothers lost to Kauravas in a game of dice, and both spent twelve years of Vanawas, or exile to the forest, followed by one year of Agnyatawas (exile in disguise). The brothers hid their weapons in a hole in a Shami tree before entering the Kingdom of Virat to complete the final year of Agnyatwas. After that year, on Vijayadashmi, they recovered the weapons, declared their true identities and defeated Kauravas, who had attacked King Virat to steal his cattle. Since then, Shami trees and weapons have been worshipped and the exchange of Shami leaves on Vijayadashmi has been a symbol of good will and victory.
Offer puja to Goddess Parvati, Lakshmi & Saraswati Temples during Navaratri & ensure your success, wealth, peace & prosperity.