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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Dussehra Legends

Dussehra is celebrated with great fanfare in India. It is the culmination of Navaratri, observed for nine days. The tenth day of the festival is known as Dussehra or Vijayadashmi. Ramlila is the main event conducted during the day, in northern parts of the country. In the eastern state of West Bengal, Vijayadashmi is observed as the day of 'visarjan' (submersion) of the idols of Goddess Durga, after the celebrations of Durga Puja in the preceding nine days. A number of legends are connected to Dusshera, which commemorates the triumph of good over the evil. Go through the following lines to know about the legends of Dussehra.

Legends Of Dusshera

Dussehra is mainly associated with the story of Rama based on Ramayana, one of the two great Indian epics. Set around 1000 BCE in India, this epic attempts to establish the social ideals and explains the depth of human relationships. Lord Rama was the protagonist of the epic, while his wife Sita was its female lead. He has been idolized as the ideal son, husband and king, while she is the epitome of womanhood. Lord Rama was the eldest son of Dashratha, the king of Ayodhya and was beloved of all, because of his genial ways. The king decided to hand over his throne to him and retire. 

Contrary to her husband's decision, Lord Rama's stepmother (Kaikayi) wanted her own son Bharata to be the king and forced Dashratha to banish Rama from Ayodhya, the kingdom and give him fourteen years of exile. Rama gladly accepted the stepmother's wishes and left the palace and the kingdom with his wife Sita, and brother Lakshmana. The grief-stricken father soon died. When Bharata, who was on a visit to his maternal grandfather, came back and came to know what his mother had done, he immediately set out to being his brother back from the forest. 

Rama was glad to welcome his brother Bharata, but he refused to go back to the kingdom before the completion of his exile. Rama had another loss at hand, as the demon-king Ravana, abducted his wife Sita and took her away to his kingdom. This became the reason behind the long search and the various events that followed, which led to the destruction of Ravana by the hands of Lord Rama, with the help of the monkey army he had befriended on his way to Lanka. Dussehra is the day, when Rama killed Ravana and won back his wife. Hence, Dusshera is also called Vijayadashmi.

Dussehra celebrates the victory of good (Rama) over the evil (Ravana). This is the reason why effigies of Ravana, Meghnatha and Kumbhkarna are burnt on Dusshera, all over northern India. Apart from this, Vijayadashmi also symbolizes the victory of Goddess Durga over Mahishasura, the demon who held the earth and the swarglok (heaven) with his tyranny and invincible power. Hence, it can be said that two legends are connected to the celebration of Dussehra in India.

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