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Dussehra (Vijayadashmi): Date, Time and Significance

DussehraDussehra also known as Dashahara, Dashain (in Nepal), Durgotsav, Navratri, or Vijayadashmi) is one of the greatest Hindu festivals celebrated on the tenth day of Shukla Paksh in the month of Ashwin and is celebrated in a variety of ways in India and the neighboring countries where Hinduism is followed. Dussehra also known as Vijayadashami falls on September 30, 2017 Saturday. Some of the rituals and pujas performed on Vijayadashami are Shami Puja, Aparajita Puja and Seema Avalanghan.

Dussehra is major festival that is celebrated on the tenth day of the Ashwin month as per the Hindu calendar. The festival of Dussehra falls is in the month of September or October as per the Gregorian calendar. Dussehra word is derived from two word ‘Dus’ meaning ten and ‘Hara’ meaning defeat symbolizing the slaying of the ten-headed demon king Ravana by Lord Rama, the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu. It is also celebrated for the victory of Goddess Durga over the buffalo demon Mahishasura.

Dussehra Puja & Tithi Timings:

Vijaya Dashami Tithi Begins at 23:49 on September 29 and ends at 01:35 on October 1. Vijay Muhurat falls between 14:08 to 14:55 and Aparahna Puja Time between 13:21 to 15:42. Puja is performed with great devotion and enthusiasm on this day. In many households across India, a holy image of Dusshera is drawn on the floor and worshipped. A printed illustration of Dusshera may also be worshipped. Customary rituals including doing the puja with water, cow dung, offerings of grains, flowers, fruits and sweets along with the lighting of dhoop and deepak followed by the parikrama are observed. After the puja, food and dakshina are dutifully offered to Brahmins for successful achievement. In the evening, effigies of Ravana, his brother Kumbhkaran and son Meghanath are burnt in a grand manner, which is an event eagerly watched by thousands.

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Significance of Dussehra or Vijayadashami:

The festival commemorates the victory of good over evil as it is the day when Lord Rama killed the ten-headed demon king Ravana, who had abducted Rama's wife, Sita and held Her captive in Lanka. But the devoted wife Sita braved all ordeals resiliently and waited to be united with Rama. An epic war was fought between Rama and Ravana to rescue Sita. The war lasted for ten days, which culminated on Dashmi (the tenth lunar day of the Hindu calendar month) when Rama valiantly destroyed the ten-headed Ravana and took Sita home. The glorious victory of good over evil and the homecoming of Rama, Lakshman, Sita and Hanuman were celebrated with great happiness, which continues to be followed by Hindus to date in the form of Dussehra.

Ram Navami festival - the antecedents of Dussehra

The festival of Ram Navami is the celebration of birth of Rama. It is celebrated on the ninth day of the Hindu month of Chaitra. On this day elaborate celebrations are held in which devotees throng temples, offer special prayers, participate in religious processions and the special recitals of Ramayana (akhanda paath). The festival of Dussehra is a celebration of continued reverence of Rama and His virtuous reign. It is also, in its own manner, the celebration of good, just and right.

Legends of Dussehra

  • All the legends about Dussehra portray riveting narrations and stories that inspire us to side with the good and destroy the evil. On this day, Goddess Durga emerged victorious by killing Mahishasura and his demons. Goddess Durga derived gigantic powers from many of the Gods to kill Mahishasura, which She did after nine nights on the tenth day, which is called Vijaya (victory) Dashmi.
  • It is also believed that on this day Rama had performed "Chandi Homa" and invoked the blessings of Durga, who provided Him the secret knowledge of the way to kill Ravana. On the tenth day, Rama found Sita in Ashok Vatika and defeated Ravana, a great event called Vijaya Dashami.
  • Vijayadashami is also regarded as an auspicious day to begin formal learning. Goddess Saraswati is invoked on this day as students keep their books before the Goddess on the ninth day of Navratri and take them back after puja on Vijayadasami, the tenth day.
  • Dussehra also marks the return of the Pandavas to their kingdom at the end of their exile to rule their subjects in a just manner.

Importance of Dussehra

First and foremost, Dussehra is the celebration of the good and defeat of the evil. It is celebrated in a beautiful manner with gaiety and colors. Garba, the traditional dance form of Gujarat, is observed by thousands who gather on all the nine nights to dance and pay obeisance to Ambe Mata (Durga Devi) by dancing to upbeat traditional Gujarati songs and tunes in a circle.

Dussehra is considered an auspicious day to begin new ventures like business or any kind of work. Different states across India observe rituals distinct from each other. Dussehra is truly a beautiful, enriching occasion of celebration, happiness and worship of good.

Neeta Singhal's Personal Message on Dussehra

On this Auspicious day of Dussehra watch Neeta Singhal talk about the real significance behind this festival. The battle between Rama and Ravana is the war between Sankalpa (your ultimate Intention) and Distractions due to Vrittis of the mind to bring back awareness (Sita) within.

One needs to shed the vices of KAMA VASANA (Lust), KRODHA (Anger), MOHA (Attachment), LOBHA (Greed), MADA (Pride), MATSARYA (Jealousy), SWARTHA (Selfishness), ANYAAYA (Injustice), AMANAVTA (Cruelty), AHAMKARA (Ego) to purify the Citta and realise the Self within:

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