Vijayadashami (Vijay-Dashami) is celebrated as victory of Lord Rama over ten headed Demon Ravana, on the tenth day of the month of Ashwin according to the Hindu lunisolar calendar which corresponds to September or October of the common Gregorian calendar. The first nine days are celebrated as Nav-Raatri (nine nights) and concludes on the tenth day as Vijaydashmi or Dasheharaa.
Dash-Hara literally means ‘ten defeated’ or ‘defeat of the ten’, in reference to the defeat of ten headed demon king Ravan.
Similarly, Vijay-Dashmi is translated as the ‘victory over the ten’, also in reference to ten headed king Raavan.
All ancient traditional rituals have some hidden deep meanings behind them. Besides the historical figures of King Rama and king Ravana (pronounced as Raam and Raavan respectively) represent good and evil; god and demon. Raam is considered ‘Maryaada-Purushotam’ a role model of ethics and morality, whereas Raavan has ten faces; ten masks that hide his real face and consciousness.
Many scholars, especially in the recent times have argued that Raavan was not at all as bad as is usually portrayed. Deep at heart, he was a good and fair man. But looking at the overall picture, his masks became so prominent that they overshadowed his good qualities and hid whatever was underneath.
But Raavan was not the only ‘Ten-headed’ person; with ten different faces or masks.
These ten masks represent the ten varied vices that flourish in all human beings. Sometimes these vices become so strong and prominent that they overshadow our real being and conquer and dominate our consciousness as well.
These ten prominent vices are:
1. Kama ….. Lust and desires (Excessive)
2. Krodha …..Anger
3. Lobha ……..Greed
4. Moha …..Attachment
5. Mada ….Over Pride (intoxicated with pride)
6. Maatsarya or Irshya .. Jealousy
7. Swaartha ……Selfishness
8. Anyaaya …. Injustice
9. Amaanavata …. Cruelty
10. Ahankaar ……. Ego
Dashehara means defeat of these ten above mentioned vices that flourish within us. Only when we overcome our shortcomings, we emerge victorious and achieve the ultimate goal that is to attain the ‘Absolute Truth’.
Although, Vijaya Dashami also means the triumph over these ten vices but let’s analyze this word again.
Dash means ten and ‘Dashami literally means the ‘Tenth’.
Since it is celebrated on the tenth day of the month of Ashwin, hence the name ‘Vijay-Dashami’.
But philosophically speaking, it could mean the ‘triumph over the tenth’; the tenth of the above mentioned evils, which is Ahankaar or Ego.
Though it is imperative to give up all of them but if we can achieve the victory over ‘Ego’, everything else would automatically be defeated, since everything else exists because of the ego.
Without the ego, there would be no anger or jealousy, injustice or cruelty.
If there is no ego, then there would be no need for excessive desires and attachments, selfishness and greed to satisfy the ego.
For this reason, all Holy Scriptures have emphasized to get rid of the ego, since this is the strongest and most difficult of all the evils to defeat.
So let us try to overcome our shortcomings to emerge as a finer human being, not only on the day of the Vijay Dashami, but every day and every moment of our lives.
Happy Vijayadashami / Dashehara