Friends, we celebrate many festivals and we are able to learn many life values through them. If we put into practice these moral values then our life turns into an ideal and happy one. Each of our festivals is a lesson for living an ideal life. Dasara is celebrated on Ashwin Shukla paksha Dashami. In a year there are 3 and a half auspicious muhurts, out of which Dasara happens to be one. Let us learn the importance of this festival.
1. Dasara is a day to decide firmly to eradicate 10 personality defects
Dasara is also known as Dashahara. ‘Dash’ means 10 and ‘Hara’ means ‘defeated’. Shri Durgadevi fought a battle for 9 days, that is till the previous day of Dasara and gained control over all the ten Directions (Disha).
Friends, that is the day of Dasara. As Durgadevi slew the asuras, destroyed the evil, we too should make a firm decision on this day to eradicate any 10 personality defects present in us. That is like defeating 10 durgun (bad qualities) in us. That will be Dasara for us in the real sense. Dear friends, are you ready to do it?
2. Historical importance of Dasara
The day on which ShriRam defeated Ravan and Pandavas retrieved their weapons after completing their adnyatvas is the day of Dasara ! : In Tretayug (the second in the cycle of four Eras since the origin of the universe), Shri Ramchandra won against Ravan, that is the day of victory hence, the day is also known as Vijayadashami. In Dwaparyug (The third Era in the cycle of four Eras since the origin of the universe), after completing their adnyatvas (living in exile), Pandavas worshipped ‘Shakti’ and reclaimed their weapons which they had hidden on a shami tree.
One day Kautsa, on completion of his studies, wanted to give Guru-dakshina to his Guru, although the Guru had not asked for it. As Kautsa was poor the Guru declined. But Kautsa was very keen to give Guru-dakshina and repeatedly insisted. The Guru was so annoyed that He told Kautsa to give him 14 crores of gold coins. So Kautsa came to King Raghu and asked for 14 crores of gold coins. King Raghu (ShriRam’s ancestor) who was the king of Ayodhya then, had just performed the ‘Vishwajit’ yadnya. He had donated all his wealth and started living in a hut. King Raghu was himself penniless, but he did not want to send Kautsa empty handed. Raghu, reknowned for his generosity, decided to declare war on Kuber (the Deity of wealth) to get gold. Before that Kuber Himself showered Gold coins on the Shami and Apta trees under which King Raghu was camping. The following morning when Kautsa came King Raghu told him to take away all the gold coins that Kuber had showered on the trees. But Kautsa took only 14 crores from king Raghu and went away. The remaining gold coins were then distributed among King Raghu’s subjects.
3. Distributing leaves of an apta tree among the relatives and friends on Dasara day
In earlier times, maratha soldiers returning from conquests would bring the spoils of war which would consist of gold ornaments among other things. All these things that the soldier brought home would be offered to God and then distributed among the elders of the house, relatives and friends. We follow this tradition by distributing leaves of apta as a symbol of gold.
4. Worshipping weapons and other means (Upakaran)
4 A. King : Kings worship their weapons on this day. Weapons have to be worshipped with a bhav (Spiritual emotion) that each of them contains God’s element.
4 B. Farmers : Farmers also worship the tools which help them to till their farmland.
4 C. Students : Students worship their texts and note-books. Friends, we should worship our books, note-books, pencil etc. because they are our ‘weapons’. We should also learn to perceive God’s element in each of them. If these weapons are not there then we will not be able to do anything (i.e. study, gain knowledge). Hence, we should pay gratitude to them on the day of Dasara, as we can study, only because of these tools. Friends, these tools are symbols of Shri Saraswati Devi. On this day of Dasara, let us worship all the tools which help us to gain knowledge.
5. Asking pardon from the tools used in school-life
Some children are seen throwing their note-books, playing ‘pen-fights’, troubling others and also throwing their school-bags etc. This is very wrong. Friends, let us ask for pardon from all these implements on this day and pray to God to give us wisdom to refrain from insulting them. You will do this, wont you? Doing so would be celebrating Dasara in the true sense !
The Evening of the Dussehra is called “Vijay Kaal” (Period of Victory).
On this evening, instead of wandering around one should do Jap & Dhyan ( chanting & meditation).
During this period do one round of chanting of the folloing Mantra by remembering Shri Hanuman Ji:
“पवन तनय बल पवन समाना, बुद्धि विवेक विज्ञान निधाना ।
कवन सो काज कठिन जग माहि, जो नहीं होत तात तुम पाहि ॥”
Also by remembering Goddesses Durga, one should do the Jap (Chanting) of following Mantra:
“ॐ अपराजितायै नमः”