The Stories Behind Vijayadashmi Or Dussehra Festival

By Subodini Menon

Dussehra, also known as Vijaya Dashmi or Bijoya  Dashami, is the final day of celebration during the festival of Durga puja. The festival of Durga puja is celebrated all over India under various forms and names.

Durga puja is arguably the most important religious festival of the eastern part of India. The state of West Bengal is home to some of the lavish and exuberant celebrations during this time. 

The Stories Behind Vijayadashmi Or Dussehra Festival

Vijaya Dashami is celebrated on the last day of Durga Pooja celebrations. It is done on the Dashami Tithi or the tenth day of the month of Ashwin, during Shukla Paksha. In the year 2018, the celebration of Vijaya Dashami falls on October 19, which is a Friday. The Vijay Muhurt starts from 1.58 pm to 2.43 pm and it lasts for 45 minutes. The Aparahna pooja time starts from 1.13 pm to 3.38 pm. It lasts for 2 hours and 25 minutes.

Bijoya Dashami is an auspicious time and people gather to celebrate it. The people of all classes and creeds come together as one to give the Goddess a lovely send off. The devotees of the Goddess worship her in all her forms for the nine days and on the day of Vijaya Dashami, they send her away with lots of respect and love.

Just like most festivals in India, the day of Bijoya Dashami has a lot of legends and stories associated with it. On the occasion of Bijoya Dashami, let's take a look at the many stories associated with it.

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The Slaying Of Demon Mahishasura

The most popular story associated with Bijoya Dashami is the story of Goddess Durga and the Demon Mahishasura. It is said that Mahishasura often appeared in the form of a wild buffalo. The demon had received boons that no man or God shall be able to kill him. He assumed that this boon would be enough to grant him immortality. Armed with this boon, he started terrorizing all the three worlds.

The creatures of all the three worlds begged and prayed for respite from the clutches of this demon. Answering this, the Goddess appeared in her fierce form. This form of Durga was resplendent as well as fear evoking at the same time. She rode her vahan, which was a lion and held terrible weapons in all her 10 hands.

In this form, she fought the demon Mahishasura. It was on the day of Bijoya Dashami that Mahishasura was defeated and killed.

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The Defeat Of Ravana

The celebrations of Vijaya Dashami also mark the defeat of the Rakshasa King Ravana. It is said that it was on the day of Vijaya Dashami that Lord Rama finally killed the tyrant Ravana and rescued his wife Sita from his clutches. This occasion is also known as Dussehra in various parts of the country.

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The End Of Exile For The Pandavas

According to the Mahabharata, the Pandavas had to go on an exile of 12 years and 1 year of Agyatvaas, when they had lost the game of dice to their cousins, the Kauravas. Agyatvaas refers to when one is supposed not to reveal his identity before the public. The day of Vijaya Dashami marks the day that the Agyatvas period in the exile was over and the Pandavas were free to come back and reveal their identity in the eyes of the public.

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Reunion Of Goddess Durga With Lord Shiva

It is said that on the day of Bijoya Dashami, the Goddess got back to her husband Lord Shiva having achieved the aim behind taking the avatar as Durga. After killing the demon Mahishasura, the Goddess returned to her home to reside with Lord Shiva as Goddess Parvati. The devotees worship Goddess Durga for 9 days and then perform Visarjan on the Bijoya Dashami day. It is seen as a ritual that resembles the return of a bride back to her husband's home.

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