Vijayadasami or Dusshera is the 10th day of the Hindu lunar month of Ashwin. At the end of the nine days pooja to Goddess Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati, the tenth day is called Vijayadasami. It is the most auspicious festival during Dakshinaayana or the southern motion of the Sun. Vijaya means victory. Goddess Durga got victory over the demon Mahisha and vanquished him on the 10th day after nine days of fierce intense battle. It actually means Victory over evil.
- Goddess Durga vanquished the demons- Mahisha, Chanda-Munda, and Shumbha- Nisumbha.
- When Goddess Parvati asked Lord Shiva on the importance of this day, he replied, “In the evening of the tenth day of Ashwin Shukla, a star rises in the sky and this period of time is called “Vijaya Kaal” – most auspicious time to get victory over enemies and to get all wishes fulfilled. If Shravan nakshatra is formed on this day, it becomes even more auspicious.”
- Lord Rama defeated Ravana on this day.
- As Sage Veda Vyasa is the foremost Guru, Vijayadasami is celebrated as Vyasa Pooja.
- Shastra or Astra or weapons are also worshipped. Different kinds of weapons were used by the Goddess to kill the demons.
- It is observed as Madhwa Jayanthi Day.
- It is also the day of Mahasamadhi of Shirdi Saibaba.
“The word Vijayadasami can be split as 'Vijayata' and 'Sami' when it gives the meaning that victory comes to one who worships the Sami tree (a holy tree whose wood when struck to gether produces fire necessary for the performance of Yajna). In Mahabharata there is mention of the Pandavas hiding their weapons in the Sami tree during the year they had to remain incognito during their exile, so that they could emerge victorious later. Another important point that has to be remembered is the firmness necessary to succeed in any enterprise. So victory being synonymous with this day, those who succeeded in their lives is especially worshipped on Vijayadasami, like Indra, Arjuna, Hanuman and Durga.”
Auspiciousness of VijayadasamiIt is the beginning of harvest season, where prayers are observed to Mother Earth for bountiful harvest. It is also the beginning of a new season, when it is considered highly auspicious to start anything new, like business venture, moving into a new house, buying of assets or property. It assures one of success and prosperity. It is an auspicious occasion for children to get initiated into learning of all arts like classical music and dance and start education. It is called Vidyarambham or introduction to education. All forms of auspicious ventures are embarked upon on this day, without the need to calculate the auspicious time through Panchang.
How it is celebrated?
- Hindus celebrate the festival by inviting friends and family for sumptuous meals. The Goddess is worshipped by offering sweets, food, flowers and fruits. Puffed rice, jaggery, groundnuts, fried gram dhal, rice flakes, sugar candy are offered during pooja.
- People decorate their homes with flowers and torans or doorway hangings of mango leaves or fresh palm leaves.
- Sweets are made and distributed among friends, family and neighbors. Gifts too are given away to them. Business places and offices are also decorated and pooja is done to their books, computers, vehicles, tools, machineries and weapons. It is to pray for auspicious good vibrations and victory and above all protection from all kinds of harm. It is called Astra or Ayudha pooja.
- Ayudha or Astra Pooja is an expression of gratitude to God for granting us tools for everyday use to fulfill our duties, by prostrating before it on this day.
- Government offices celebrate this festival by offering worship to office equipments, computers, laptops and printers.
- It is a common sight to see buses, trucks, vehicles decorated with banana stems, flowers, with splash of sandal wood paste and kumkum on them. Houses and offices also use banana stems and flowers for decoration.
- Pumpkin is broken and kept in front of shops to ward off evil eye.
- Sharadha pooja is done with books of children. Books are kept for worship and blessings of Goddess are invoked for the gift of learning and knowledge.