Vijayadashmi: The triumph of righteousness

via www.keralaonline.com published on September 28, 2009

In Samskritam, ‘Vijaya’ means Victory and ‘Dashami’ means 10th day. ‘Vijaya Dashami’ means victory on the 10th day.

The nine-day Navratri festival and the Vijayadashami day in Kerala is mainly dedicated to Goddess Saraswathi and is noted for the Vidyarambham ceremony. Another important ritual is the Ayudha Puja. On the Vidyarambham day, young children are introduced into the world of alphabets or letters and they take the first step into the world of knowledge.

The Vidyarambham festival is a unique annual event held in Kerala on the Vijayadashami day. Parents, grand parents, elders, writers, teachers perform this initiation of children into the world of learning and other renowned personalities associated with literature. They adorn the role of Guru to the children.

The children sit on the lap of the guru and the guru writes ‘Hari Shree’ on the child’s tongue with a golden ring. Then, the child writes ‘Hari Shree Ganapathye Namaha’ in Malayalam with the right index finger, with the help of the Guru, on a bed of raw rice.

This is among the most auspicious days in the Hindu calendar and comes as the finale of the nine-day festival, Navaraatri. This festival of victory is preceded by worship of Saraswati the Goddess of Learning, Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth and of Durgaa the Goddess of Strength. Grand processions of all Gods and goddesses are taken out in every town and village on this day, signifying the victory of the forces of righteousness over those of wickedness. Various have been the names of the Goddess of Strength – Durgaa, Mahaa Kaali, Mahishasura Mardini etc., under which that supreme protector of the good and the holy put to rout, time and again, the demoniac forces and established the supremacy of the righteous.

This shows that the victory is possible only when one has strength, wealth and knowledge.Truly has it been said, ‘ Sanghe shaktih kali yuge ‘ – Being together holds the key to strength in Kaliyuga. And this is the one single, most important lesson which the Hindu people have to learn today.

Vijayadashami is the day when Sri Rama killed the demon Ravana.

In Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Western Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, it is traditional to plant barley seeds in earthen pots on the first day of Navrathri. On the day of Dussehra, the nine-day old sprouts (called noratras or nortas) are used as symbols of luck. Men place them in their caps or behind their ears. Ravana effigy being burned in Hyderabad

In most of the northern India (Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Delhi, Hariyana etc…) and some parts of Maharashtra, Dasha-Hara is celebrated more in honor of Rama.

During these 10 days many plays & dramas based on Ramayana are performed. These are called Ramlila.

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