Many of us know of Dashami and Navarathri, but what are the stories behind these events? Well, today, we will find out! There are 2 tales about the origins of Dashami.
The first is the story of Mahisasura Mardhini, or goddess Durga. When the evil half-demon half-boar Mahisasura received a boon from Lord Brahma, he started to wreak havoc on the earth. Mahisasura’s boon was that no man or god could kill him. The Devas were at a loss - they didn’t know what to do. They ran crying to Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, and begged them to save the earth. Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva thought about this problem, then discovered a loophole in the boon given to Mahisasura. Using their powers, the three Gods created a fabulous Goddess. She had long, flowing hair, 10 arms, and a power stronger than all the Gods. Her name was Durga. Durga was given 10 weapons from the Gods, one for each of her hands. One of these was a ferocious lion, on which she sat as she rode to face Mahisasura. The battle between them lasted for 9 days. On the 10th day, Durga wielded all her power, and used her trident (given to her by Shiva) to kill Mahisasura. Because of this victory, Durga is also called Mahisasura Mardini. She has 3 forms: Parvathi, Lakshmi, and Saraswathi. Her forms are worshipped for 3 days each over the course of Navarathri, and on the 10th day, we celebrate Durga killing Mahisasura, and the victory of good over evil.
The second story of Dashami is the story of Lord Rama, his wife, Sita, and his brother, Lakshmana. Rama was the son of King Dasharatha, the king of Ayodhya. Upon the advice of her maid, one of his wives, Kaikaii, used her boon to make Dasharatha send Rama to the forest for 14 years. This was done so he could not become king, and Kaikaii’s son Bharatha could be king, instead. And so, Rama, Sita, and Lakshmana went to the forest to live a simple life until they could return to Ayodhya. After some time, a demoness named Surpanaka disguised herself as a maiden, and asked Rama to marry her. Since Rama was already married to Sita, he jokingly said she should ask Lakshmana. When Surpanaka asked Lakshmana, and he said no, she flew into a rage. Surpanaka revealed her true self, and went to attack Sita. Before she could, Lakshamana chopped off her nose, and Surpanaka fled the area. She went straight to the court of King Ravana of Lanka, her brother. Making up a story about why Lakshmana cut off her nose, she mentioned the beautiful Sita, and how Ravana might like to marry her. So, after talking with the demon Maricha, Ravana kidnapped Sita, and took her to his palace in Lanka. Rama and Lakshamana enlisted the help of Hanuman and the monkeys, but even with that, Ravana refused to give back Sita. Finally, a great battle ensued, Rama’s army against Ravana’s army, all fighting to decide the fate of Sita. Ultimately, Rama and his army won the battle, and Rama, Lakshmana, and Sita returned to Ayodhya on Dashami day. Some say the reason they could come home safely was because Rama prayed to Durga before their journey.
No matter which story you look at, Vijaya Dashami represents the victory of good over evil, and love over hate. On this Vijaya Dashami, remember these stories of victory when you do your pujas and learning. Happy Dashami!
Check out our dance skit here - one of our stories....