Dasara Festival is one of the important and fascinating festivals to the Hindus. It is celebrated in the lunar month of Ashwin from the Shukla Paksha Pratipada to the Dashami or the tenth day of Ashwin. This Dasara festival also celebrates in eastern countries like Java, Sumatra, Japan and some other countries.
Dasara is a Sanskrit words. The meaning of Dasara is the combination of two words one is ‘Dasha’ and another one is ‘hara’. This means removing the ten. And Dasara Festival also called as Vijaya Dashami which means victory on the tenth day. Dasara Festival is also known as Navaratri, in first nine days, Goddess Durga is worshiped by the devotees in various manifestations of her Shakti. The tenth day is the honor of Durga Devi. Dasara festival also celebrates in the principle of respecting all women, because women are the guardian of the family and with her activities the culture and integrity sustain in the society. The festival also indicates the path of social justice, righteousness, equality, and divinity.
Interesting stories behind Dasara Festival:
There is two stories cause of celebrating the Dasara festival. One is according to epic Ramayana; Rama was the eldest son of King Dashrath and all the people and family beloved him and want him to be the next King of Ayodhya. One day King Dashrath wanted to retire from the throne and wish to make Rama as the King of Ayodhya. But Dashrath’s another wife Kaika asked Dashrath to make her own son Bharata be the king and banish Rama from Ayodhya for fourteen years of exile. With squeezed heart, the king Dashrath accepted her wish and asked Rama to accept his unfortunate situation. Then Rama gladly accepted his stepmother’s wishes and left the palace and the kingdom with his wife Sita and brother Lakshmana. This was known to Bharatha and went to the forest and asked his brother Rama to come back from the forest. However, Rama felt very glad at his brother Bharata and refused to go back to the kingdom before the term expired. In the forest, Lord Rama faced another problem that the demon-king Ravana kidnapped Sita and took her to his kingdom Lanka. Rama and Lakshmana searched for Sita but their attempts were failed, then the monkey king Sugreeva and his army helped him to find the place of Sita. In this efforts, Lord Hanuman find Sita in Lanka. Rama invaded Lanka with monkey army and killed the demon-king Ravana and won back his wife. On the day of Dasara Rama gain the victory and killed Ravana, so the day also called Vijayadashami. With this victory, the main concept of the Dasara festival honor the woman was fulfilled by saving Sita from the brutal hands of Ravana.
Another story about celebrating Dasara Festival according to Hindu mythology Mahishasura was very powerful and devotional demon, did a long and hard penance to appease Lord Shiva. With his strong desire Lord Shiva impressed at his devotion and blessed him that no man or deity would be able to kill him and only a woman can kill him. Mahishasura felt very proud and intended that the women powers were less to compare to man so a woman can never defeat him. His thoughts made him very proud and lunatic nature brought up in his mind. The arrogant Mahishasura started terrifying the people and killed them mercilessly. He did not step back to attack the adobe of the gods and conquered the heavens and became the leader of angles and gods also. He started tauchring the gods also, then all the gods took refuge under Lord Brahma. Then Brahma took all the refugees to Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. All were discussed how to defeat Mahishasura and thought only solution left was the creation of a woman who has the ultimate power to defeat Mahishasura. Then Pure energy blazed from the three Supreme Gods, and the energy formed as the pure energy of Godhood, all concentrated at one point that took the form of Goddess Durga.
Worshipping Weapons of Goddess Durga on Dasara Festival:
The gods gifted Her their weapons and other divine objects to help her to kill Mahishasura. She received trident from Lord Shiva, the disc from Lord Vishnu, conch and noose from Varuna. Indra gave her a thunderbolt, received sword and shield from Yama, Axe and armor received from Vishwakarma. Himavat, the god of mountains gifted her with jewels and a lion to ride on and many she received from the gods.
Battle with fierce Storm:
In the battlefield, Goddess Durga fights fiercely with the demons. No demon could fight her and win. Her gorgeous figure makes fear to demons. All the demons were defeated and captured by Durga. Mahishasura did not think about the power of Durga, he was very shocked after he looks at her fierce efforts to defeat the demons. He himself entered into the battlefield by mounted a demonic buffalo. Then Durga’s Lion jumped on buffalo and killed it. Then Mahishasura hid in the mountains, at the mean time Durga drank the divine nectar, and pounced on Mahishasura and pushed him to the ground with her left leg and killed him.
Dasara festival is celebrated with much joy and happiness in the entire country. The festival celebrates on the occasion of the triumph of Lord Rama over Ravana, the victory over evil. First nine days perform the stories of Lord Rama’s life and on the tenth day celebrate Vijayadasami. On the tenth day the devotees prepare the colossal effigies of Ravana, Kumbakarna and his son Meghnad and place in open spaces. Then the devotees arrived in the dresses as Rama and Lakshmana and shoot the arrows of fire at these effigies. The effigies are stuffed with crackers and the lit light and explosion of sound and light. Then the spectators shout of triumph over evil.