Vijayadashami... Festival, Mythology and Musings
With her divine presence spread throughout, she fades away to nothingness... Only to return once again
Days of celebrations are over as the days of wait begin. A-midst the rhythmic beats of the drum we bid adieu to mother with her promise to return again next year.
And in these moments where tears awkwardly merge into joy, the mind switches to the thinking mode and tries to look beyond the stories... and asks, "What is the essence of the celebration?". For those who are unaware of the story, here is what the Hindu mythology has to say about the festival (in brief)...
Once upon a time, there was a demon or 'asura' named Mahishasura (The demon who could change into buffalo) who aspired to capture the all the worlds and rule them via unjust means. To accomplish his task, Mahishasura meditated and pleased Lord Brahma (the creator). As a boon he got the assurance that he won't be killed by a man. Overjoyed with the boon, he fights and conquers the heavens and the earth. Commotion is created across the universe. On seeing this dangerous situation, the supreme gods: Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver and Shiva the destroyer combine all their powers to give rise to Durga, a female warrior. She is depicted with 10 arms, adorned with numerous weapons gifted by various gods. The creation of Durga is marked by Mahalaya (the first day of the 10 day festival). Subsequently after 10 days of fierce battle, Durga kills Mahishasura and perishes his army. The 10th day is celebrated as the day of victory called Vijayadashami.
Overall, it is the same old story of victory of good over evil, but the subtleties are worth pondering upon. One of the highlighting features of the story is the depiction of woman in her powerful, ruthless form. The same woman who is seen as peaceful, loving and caring in motherly forms like Parvati, Saraswati or Ganga is depicted in a devastating form here. So if time arises, women can perform acts of courage and bravery which are even beyond the reach of men.
Some other points that catch my attention include the meditation and boon of Mahishasura. The creator gave the boon to Mahishasur knowing its potential misuse in future. This in my viewpoint shows the concept that regardless of who you are, efforts always yield the fruits. Anyone who is dedicated to his work, gets his reward - be it a saint or a demon.
There is also a point of unification of powers. Durga was created by the combined powers of the trinity. To me it signifies the importance and necessity of unity of good to combat evil.
It may be very well possible that there was never any Mahishasur or Durga in the real world. But this story would always be a source of motivation and inspiration to millions. The story, which may seem rudimentary at first glance has simple yet deep interpretations hidden within...
Anyways, this festival has much more to do with culture than religion. This is an excuse for thorough cleaning of the household; new clothes; fabulous food; creativity in designing of idol, pandals, rhythms and... overall the environment. There has to be a something in this grand festival that so many eyes await her arrival, so many hearts celebrate her stay, and so many eyes moisten as she departs... There has be a reason so many poets write in her praise and so many musicians sing in her awe.
Shubho Bijaya to all... Celebrate the victory... Spread the joy :)