Essence and importance of Vijaya Dashami

Dr. Govinda Tandon

October 5, 2019

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Essence and importance of Vijaya Dashami
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Dashain is a prominent festival of the Nepalese people. It is also a national festival. The government provides a vacation during this festival.

The celebrations depend upon the traditional values of individual societies. It is also the time of the year when the relatives living in far-off places come together. It hurts the sentiments of people unable to make it to their homes.

The inability to receive the blessings from elders and unable to wish the goodwill to relatives hurts them the most. People enjoy Dashain in their own ways.

Rural kids enjoy the bamboo swing whereas the urban kids fly kites either in the open field or on their rooftops. Planning and managing festival processions keep parents busy.

Some parents get occupied by the thought of buying new clothes to their young ones, deciding upon which friends and elders to meet and some are stressed about the kinds of meditative practices to attain self-realization.

The nine-day festival starting from “Ghatasthapana” is also called “Nauratha” or “Navaratri”. Various avatars of Goddess Durga- Shailputri, Brahmacharini, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skandamata, Katyayani, Kalratri, Mahagauri and Siddhidatri get worshipped individually on individual days; on the tenth day the Prasad is distributed in the form of “jamara” and sweets, along with which elders bless young ones with Dakshina (money given to the young ones).

It is believed, the reason behind naming the Kojagrat Purnima lies in the fact that on this night, goddess Lakshmi observes the people who have stayed awake to worship her and those not worshiping her.

Young ones receive blessings from grandfathers, grandmothers, father and mother. It is also a festival where married women and their children get to visit their maternal home.

In this way, the Tika and Prasad distribution which begins from Ashwin Shukladashami concludes on Ashwin Shuklapoornima.

The festival concludes after worshiping the Mahalakshmi by observing various processions and staying awake the whole night. The night is also called “Kojagrat” Purnima.

It is believed, the reason behind naming the Kojagrat Purnima lies in the fact that on this night, goddess Lakshmi observes the people who have stayed awake to worship her and those who have not worshiped her.

The night is made for waking intellect, intelligence, knowledge and wisdom. There is no point in staying awake and wasting time, effort, energy and money on gambling and partying.

The main objective of Dashain is soul-cleansing. The festival is about individual purity, detoxification and devotion.

The main objective of Dashain is soul-cleansing. The festival is about individual purity, detoxification and devotion. The festival aims to cleanse the negativity, individual deviances, demonic attributes damaging an individual, society, country and the world as a whole and impart positivity, energy and willpower to work for carving the glorious future of an individual and society.

Festival inspires us to suppress vile in us and encourage the virtue, mobilize our energy in the right path to conquer our arrogance, pride, anger and corrupt soul.

People pray to goddess Durga for the amendment of villainous, immoral, corrupt and evils and impart morality, prosperity, virtue, excellence and righteousness. Due to lack of proper social, religious and moral understanding, the virtues of Dashain have been wrongfully dubbed as the festival of partying and gambling or “ eat, drink and be merry”.

Historically inherent relation of Vijaya Dashami with Kings, nobles, war and battles seems slowly diminishing. Unlike old ages, small kingdoms are non-existent. No need for trespassing borders to conquer new kingdoms.

Although the superstitious animal sacrifices performed in the old ages in the name of the weapon, Maulo and Kotpuja are lessening to a large extent, the practices are still evident in Nepalese neighborhoods.

As human beings, we are the supreme in the living ecosystem. Intellectually aware beings, we should ask ourselves, what would we do if our kids get hurt? Obviously, we are ready to do many things and give tit for tat.

But the animals that get sacrificed in the name of tradition, they also have feelings, cry when hurt, have family, are mothers and fathers, bleed when cut, feel hurt when injured. These animals also possess the same senses that human beings have, lament upon seeing their own dying.

The beautiful weather squeezed in between the departure of rainy season and arrival of winter, warmer days, lovely sunrays, foggy and dark mornings make Dashain even more blissful.

Are we being just by sacrificing the harmless divine creations in the name of traditions? Ask ourselves. Vedic literature is vast ocean; anything can be found- from the holy nectar to the most powerful, ever- destructive “Kalkuta” poison. What are our visions for ourselves, family, society and the country?

The choice is ours- If we prefer the society of violence and cruelty, it is alright to shut our senses and suffer in the melodrama, if not, we should eliminate and banish these superstitious malpractices from our lifestyle to create a society of peace, prosperity, happiness and pleasure, again, should we fail, we and our society will suffer eternally tangled in the darkness backed by superstitions.

It is hard to know how Dashain was celebrated in various historical eras. There is a lack of evidence to exactly confirm the ways of observing Dashain in Gopal, Mahishpal and Kirat ages. Similarly, nothing can be said regarding the Lichchhavi era as well.

Few pieces of evidence can be found of the middle ages. According to an inscription from N.S.798 (B.S. 1735), the Malla king of Kathmandu, Nripendra Mall and The king of Gorkha, Prithvipati Shah had formed a friendship bond at Mohanchowk of Hanumandhoka on the day of Vijaya Dashami.

They would anoint themselves during Dashain. The notes found from those days claim that Kings would wait for Dashain to begin important tasks and assignments because of the holiness of the festival.

The fact that there was a feeling of initiating virtuous and righteous tasks during Dashain can be proved from a gold gilt inscription of N.S. 786 (B.S 1723) according to which, Shri Niwas Malla had initiated the temple construction of Mahalakshmi and worshipped on Ashwinshukla Pratipada (Ghatasthapana) at the main square of his palace.

The specialties of Dashain like a family reunion, elder’s blessings, bonding, intimacy development, celebrations and entertainment make Dashain vacation fun-filledd and different from all other holidays.

The beautiful weather squeezed in between the departure of rainy season and arrival of winter, warmer days, lovely sunrays, foggy and dark mornings make Dashain even more blissful.

The aspects like family reunion and bonding make Dashain a highly valuable and unforgettable experience. It is also the biggest opportunity for yogis to meditate and take a shower in the divine blessings.

From the day of “Nauratha” the sweet melodies of Fluit, Mohalibaja, Jhyamtebaja and Dhime remind us of the arrival of Dashain, be it the Newar households of Kathmandu or outside Kathmandu.

It was a normal sight in the past of the meet up of Dhime groups roaming different temples in an organized manner, playing sweet melodies and exchanging best wishes with other groups. Those have become a rare sight these days. Malshree Raag has always been the comfort of our ears.

The lack of successors and willingness to learn these folk tunes make it difficult for long-lasting existence. In yesteryears, the government was active and supportive of the preservation, protection and promotion of folk identities but these days, the government does not bother either there is curiosity among youths.

These identities are getting extinct each day because of our attraction towards first-world deviant culture. Dashain is celebrated according to the ability and income.

The unnecessary enmity gets created among the individuals, in society and the country and demonic attributes spread due to the pride and arrogance of a few people intoxicated by power who see themselves as supreme.

There is popular Nepali saying: “Dashain aayo dhol bajaai, gayo Dashain rin bokaai”, meaning Dashain comes with assets and goes with liabilities and debts. There are such extremely backward communities in Nepal where people wait for Dashain to have one-delicious-meal.

Dashain is about devotion, worships, blessings, social harmony, respect and entertainment. The aspects of devotion and accomplishment have almost become extinct.

Due to failure to understand the intrinsic values of worshipping Mahadurga, Mahasaraswati and Mahalakshmi to relieve oneself of the evils, vices, anger, greed, intoxication, pride and winning over one’s own self, the festival has been pushed towards perversion and deformation.

Renouncing the vices and evils in us makes us good human beings. Not even millions of animal sacrifices will be enough to cure our vices if we are unable to rid ourselves of the darkness in us.

For moral cleansing, devotion to righteousness, social harmony, prosperity, welfare and longevity one should use their energy, intellect and power. To achieve that everybody should enlighten the divine attributes in themselves has been a hidden message of Dashain.

The unnecessary enmity gets created among the individuals, in society and the country and demonic attributes spread due to the pride and arrogance of a few people intoxicated by power who see themselves as supreme.

The inherent humanly philosophy of “live and let live” and the feeling of “the world is our family” has to be developed among each and every human soul is the main meaning and aim of Dashain festival and Durga Worship, is to be perceived.

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