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Vijaya Dashmi

Vijaya Dashmi

Also commonly known as Dashera, this festival occurs on Aso sud 10.

There are many stories related to this festival:
1) As we saw in Navratri, the Lord's Shakti, Parvati, vanquished the demon Mahishasur on the 10th day after a 9-day battle. This is cited in the Skanda Puran. The sentiment here is that the uncontrolled indriyas are only conquered by the Lord's Shakti.
2) On this day Lord Ram vanquished Ravan. Therefore people celebrate the Lord's victory by burning Ravan's effigy on this day.
3) Dhaumya rishi's son, Mahaar married Shami, daughter of Aarva rishi, of Malwa. After marriage both were on their way to have darshan and blessings of Shaunak rishi. On the way they met Bhrachundi rishi who had a trunk on his head. Seeing this the two made fun of him. The rishi cursed them and both turned into trees. For succor both prayed to Ganeshji. He blessed them that they would be offered worship. From this day people offer pujan to the Mahaar tree and Shami tree (commonly known as 'Khijdo', Latin-Prosopis spicigera ). This pujan is considered to be as fruitful as Shiv's pujan.
The Skand Puran (2/8/5) also cites another story. Kautsa, the poor pupil of Vishwamitra rishi, approached Raghu Raja for wealth, to gift his guru. However Raghu Raja had already spent all his wealth to prepare a Vishwajit yagna. However so that Kautsa would not have to leave empty-handed, he raided Kuber - the treasurer of the devas, on this day. The defeated Kuber sprinkled 14 crore (14x107) gold coins on the Shami tree. Kautsa gathered and gifted them to his guru. In turn, Vishwamitra gifted these to the poor. Henceforth, the leaves of the Shami are symbolically equivalent to gold for purposes of pujan. Since the Shami tree gifted wealth, people perform its pujan on this day.
5) On this day, Arjun picked up his weapons hidden on the Shami tree, to battle with Duryodhan in order to retrieve Virat Raja's cows from him.


  • People offer pujan to weapons and vehicles. They also perform 'Sharda pujan' - of books. The latter is symbolic of conquest over one's self.
  • People embark on all forms of auspicious ventures on this day, without the need to consider the auspicious time in the 'panchaang.'
  • Students offer pujan to Saraswati, the goddess of learning.

The Lord being offered  jalebi and fafda with chutneyTraditionally, 'jalebi' (sweet made from plain flour and ghee) and 'fafda' (made from gram flour) with 'chutney' are offered to the Lord and devotees avail of this prasad. These food items balance the 'pitta' humour, of the 3 humours in the body. For, during and after Bhadarva, 'pitta' usually increases, which leads to various illnesses. Therefore the above foods of sugar and ghee balance 'pitta'.


The root sentiment of Vijaya Dashmi is victory; of good over evil and of self over one's mundane indriyas. Man forever wishes to be victorious over others and over creation. Moreover, the triumph of victory leads him to luxury and extravagance. These then ruin him. Therefore the scriptures advise us to attain victory over the mind. One who has not conquered the mind has not conquered anything. Even the stalwarts were subdued by their whims. Vishwamitra succumbed to Menka, Yudhisthir to gambling. Therefore the Gita (2/60) proclaims that even intellectuals who strive to control their minds are defeated by their indriyas and swayed towards sensual pleasures. Chanakya also revealed to emperor Chandragupta Maurya: 'The gist of the scriptures is to attain victory over the indriyas.'

In the 'Maniratnamala', Shankaracharya has stipulated:
Jitam jagat kena, mano hi yena.

i.e. One who has conquered his mind has conquered the world. For this, one needs to imbibe Dharma. Throughout the Mahabharat, sage Ved Vyas reiterates that:
'Yato Dharmastato jayaha'


i.e. Where there is Dharma, there is victory.
And where there is God there is Dharma. A common idiom associated with Dashera is that, 'One's horse should be able to run on this day' (if not during other times of the year). To ensure that our 'horse' (our life) does not collapse on Dashera, the scriptures advocate taking refuge in the God-realised Satpurush and to sincerely obey his commands.
The true Vijaya Dashmi is in consolidating this sentiment in our lives.

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