Vijaya Dashami – Dusshera

Across India, the tenth day is celebrated as a day of victory; it known equally as Vijaya Dashami or Dusshera. It is a day that children are initiated into writing and pooja is performed on your articles of work. Students have their books blessed and it is a good day to start any new venture.

Vijaya Dashami: ‘Jaya’ is victory and ‘dasa’ refers to tenth day, thus “victory on the tenth day”. This indicates the day after the nine nights of Maha Navaratri. This commemorates Durga‘s most celebrated victory: the defeat of the buffalo demon Mahishasura, as narrated in the second episode of the Devi Mahatmyam. For the full story see:

Dusshera: Many variations exist of this name: Dassara, Dasshara, Dussera and the like. The origin also refers to ten, ‘dasa’ and means “removing of ten”. The story celebrated is the final victory in the epic Ramayana. After King Rama‘s long search, aided by his brother Lakshmana and dear friend Hanuman, he finds his abducted wife Sita prisoner on the island of Lanka. Rama’s armies are finally able to cross to Lanka and engage in fierce battle with the armies of culprit, an asura king, the ten-headed Ravana. His ten heads are interpreted as the ten negative qualities of man:

  1. Kama (lust)
  2. Krodha (anger)
  3. Lobha (greed)
  4. Moha (delusion)
  5. Mada (excessive pride)
  6. Matsara (jealousy)
  7. Manas (mind)
  8. Buddhi (intellect)
  9. Chitta (impressions)
  10. Ahamkara (ego)

The first four are generally regarded as the cardinal vices of Hinduism. The last four are the four parts of the mind. People celebrate in their homes in an effort to sweep the house clean of the negative qualities. In the story, Rama prays to Devi and it is she that grants him the secret to Ravana’s destruction. For more on the Ramayana see:


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