The Many Legends Behind Dussehra 

- October 23, 2020

By Sandeep Mishra  It’s called Dasha-Hara in the north, Vijayadashami in the south, and Durgotsava in the east. Whatever the name, one has to agree that the festival of Dussehra is one that unifies the nation celebrating the victory of good over evil.  The festival is the culmination of the nine-day long Navaratri celebrations. Observed on the tenth day in the month of Ashvin or Kartik (September-October), the most popular legend associated with it is the triumph of Vishnu’s Rama avatar over the demon king of Lanka, Ravana, who abducted Rama’s wife, Sita. However, this is not the only story in Indian mythology that is tied to Dussehra.  Rama VS Ravana Illustration: Arijit Dutta Chowdhury Most of the northern states of India see this festival as the day when Rama killed the ten-headed king of Lanka, Ravana. According to the Ramayana, Ravana kidnapped Rama’s wife, Sita. After several years of penance, Ravana had received a boon from Lord Brahma which made him indestructible. Rama, the seventh incarnation of Vishnu, circumvented the boon and managed to kill the demon king in a fierce battle on this day. The word ‘Dussehra’ is made up of two Hindi words, ‘dus’ meaning ten and ‘hara’ meaning annihilated. Therefore, when combined, ‘Dussehra’ stands for the day when the ten evil faces of Ravana were destroyed by Lord Rama. Durga VS Mahishasura  Illustration: C.M. Vitankar...

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Prahlad drove his monstrous father to a murderous rage. He insisted on praising Lord Vishnu who was considered a sworn enemy by his father Hiranyakashipu. When he tried to punish his disobedient son, Hiranyakashipu's potent poisons turned to nectar while his lethal weapons fell harmlessly away. In this tale of bloodthirsty revenge, Prahlad's only defence is his devotion which dramatically puts an end to all evil.

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