Festival of Dussehra – Learning from the legends

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There are two legends of Dussehra, the legend of Ram’s victory over Ravana and the legend of the victory of Goddess Durga over the demon Mahishasur.

Let’s begin with the legend of Rama.

Lord Rama was the eldest son of King Dashratha, of Ayodhya, a place situated in the Eastern part of India. Just a day before that Rama was to be crowned as the King of Ayodhya, his stepmother Kakeyi, asked Dashrath to make Bharatha the king, instead of Rama.

Since Dashratha had once given three boons to Kakeyi, he was forced to bow down to the wishes of Kayekei.

Following the wishes of Kaykei, Bharatha became the king and Rama was sent to spend his life in the forest for 14 years. His wife Sita and the younger brother Lakshmana accompanied him to the forest.

While in the forest one day Sita saw a beautiful deer, she requested Rama to bring the deer to her. Ram went to get the beautiful deer for her beloved wife. When Ram did not come back for a long time, Lakshman went looking out for Rama, leaving Sita alone at home.

Little did they know that all this was a trap designed by Ravana, the king of Lanka. When Ravana found Sita alone, she kidnapped her and took her to Lanka.

Out in the forest, Ram and Lakshman realised that all this was a trap so they came home looking for Sita, but she was not found anywhere.

Ram got clues that Sita was kidnapped so he went out with brother Lakshman to bring her back. On the way, he met Hanuman. Together they fought the war against the massive army of Ravana and won the battle. Got Sita back.

Do you know why is Ravana always shown to have 10 heads?

The 10 heads show that he was as intelligent as 10 men put together. While other legends say, that the 10 heads showed his 10 bad qualities. Rama won over Ravana on Dussehra, that’s why people burn the statue of Ravana to celebrate Dussehra.

It was very difficult to defeat Ravana because he prayed to Lord Brahma for years and asked for the boon of immortality. Lord Brahma gave him the nectar of immortality which rested in the naval of Ravana.

So Rama destroyed the nectar to defeat Ravana.

And now, the legend of Durga.

Long ago there lived a demon named Mahishasur. He was very powerful and wanted to rule the world. So he prayed for years to get a boon.

A boon is a blessing or a wish that is granted is called boon.

Mahishasur was given the boon to win every war. And that’s exactly what he wanted to rule the world.

But as he became the king, Mahishasur started troubling people everywhere. Everyone was scared of him. So the Gods together to plan for his defeat. They created a powerful woman by the name Durga. She was given the divine weapons, so she could defeat Mahishasur.

The battle between Mahishasur and Durga continued for 9 days and on the 10th Day, Durga killed Mahishasur. So Dussehra is also known as Vijayadashmi, where Vijaya means victory and dashmi means 10.

So that means victory on the 10th day.

Now think, what did you learn from the two legends?

Well, we all have different qualities, but it’s more important to be mindful of the qualities and the blessings that we have.

Ravana was intelligent, he could have used it to serve his countrymen. Mahishasur had power, he could have used it to fight evil in the world. That would have made the world a better place. We have to be mindful of our powers or qualities and use them in the right direction.

Similarly, we can use our intelligence to play a dirty prank on my friends or to help them with studies.

So, friends, this Dussehra lets promise to use our qualities mindfully and help make the world a better place for everyone.

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