Navratri Parana, Dussehra, and Durga Visarjan completes Vijayadashami

The tenth tithi that falls on the Shukla Paksha (waxing phase) during the month of Ashwin is celebrated in India and the world over as Vijayadashami. This day has been witness to a victory of humongous proportions on two separate occasions of Dharma over Adharma in ancient history. Traditionally, this day is celebrated as the culmination of the 9-day Durga Navratri Puja, which heralds the season of Sharad or winter. The 2021 Vijayadashami falls on Friday, October 15.

Multiple threads of spiritual significance from ancient history come together to create a vibrant atmosphere on the occasion of Vijayadashami. This is the day that is universally celebrated as the day when good triumphed over evil. The most famous of them is the victory of Lord Rama over King Ravana. In an even earlier period, Goddess Durga eliminated from existence the Demon Mahishasura on this same day. On this same day, the followers of Vedic culture also worship and celebrate the nature of the feminine with all its purity and innocence.

The Navratri Parana

It is customary for devotees to observe vrat during the Navratri Durga Puja period. The devotees break their fast on Ashtami or the eighth tithi. On the ninth day, Kanya Puja is observed. The last puja of Navaratri is the Parana, during which devotees complete their fast and partake in the consumption of proper food. Since this was the day when evil was slain at the hands of the good, Navratri Parana is considered an auspicious day on which new beginnings can be made. Kanya Puja is the special ritual for Navratri Parana. As per Vedic culture, young girls are believed to be the form of Goddess Durga in its truest form. On this day, people usually worship nine young girls representing the nine forms of Goddess Durga.

The Kanya Puja Vidhi is as follows

  • Invite nine girls and a boy to home for the puja
  • The girls represent the nine forms of Durga, and the boy represents Bhairon (Shiva)
  • Wash their feet with clean water and wipe them with a cloth.
  • Apply a tilak to the foreheads of the children and pour akshat over them (mixture of raw rice and turmeric). After that, do aarti.
  • After that, the children are served food
  • After that, Dakshina is given, and blessings are sought

Dussehra

Dussehra is the festival celebrating the victory for Lord Rama in his quest to defeat King Ravana and re-establish Dharma. The word Dussehra is a combination of the words ‘Dus’ and ‘Hara’, which means ‘ten’ and ‘defeated’, respectively. This is symbolic of the fall of the ten-headed king Ravana. Lord Rama rescued Goddess Sita from the palace of Ravana and returned to a hero’s welcome in his Kingdom of Ayodhya along with Lord Hanuman and his brother Lakshmana. In northern India, the Dussehra celebration sees the burning of enormous dummies of King Ravana. Sometimes the effigies of his brother Kumbhakarna and son Meghanad are also burnt. Dance, drama and musical plays of Ramlila, which depicts the story of Ramayana, are held on this day. This day is the victory celebration of all that is good in life, like freedom, love, loyalty, valor, and brotherhood.

Special Puja is performed as part of Dussehra celebrations by devotees to ensure happiness, health, wealth and prosperity in life. Goddess Durga is worshipped during this puja. Taking part in Dussehra Puja will gain the devotee blessings from the divine. It bestows happiness and prosperity in the family. It fulfills the wishes and desires of the devotee and blesses him or her with increased wealth. Doing Dussehra Puja also protects the person from the spite and malignant intentions of others. The following are some of the rituals observed during the Dussehra Puja.

  • Goddess Durga is worshipped placed in the North-East or the Eastern direction of the house. From there, she can control the nine planets in a horoscope.
  • Chant Durga Suktamas after ascertaining the direction of worship. This mantra will ward off all negative energies at home.
  • After chanting the Suktam, the idol of Goddess Durga is placed facing eastwards.
  • Colorful Rangolis are laid out to bring positive energy into the home. Dark colors, especially black, are avoided while laying out the Rangoli
  • A string of mango leaves and marigold flowers are hung across doorways to invite luck, happiness, and success to your home
  • It is believed that worshipping the Shami Tree on this day can please Lord Shani and get his blessings. This will also bring devotees happiness and resolve their problems
  • To gift Green Gold (Leaves of Apta Tree) is considered lucky and brings happiness and success for devotees.
Devotees offer prayers to Lord Ram, Lakshman, Bharat, and Shatrughan as part of Dussehra Puja. Flowers, fruits, jaggery, radish, rice, incense sticks, limestone and cow dung, are some of the important ingredients of the puja. The Dussehra day or Vijayadashami is an auspicious day to buy electronics, vehicles and gold ornaments. This is also the best time to start new ventures and projects.

Durga Visarjan

The nine-day Navratri Puja comes to an end with the Durga Visarjan on the day of Vijayadashami. The nine incarnations of Goddess Durga are worshipped during the nine days of Navratri. On the tenth day, the idol is immersed in a river or a pond. This is called Durga Visarjan. After Durga Visarjan, the Dussehra celebrations begin. The name Durga in Sanskrit signifies ‘the impenetrable’. She was born by the combined focus of the powers of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, and she exists in a condition of independence and extreme power. The carrying out of Durga Visarjan symbolizes the departure of the Goddess to her home and her husband, Lord Shiva, in the Himalayas. The submersion of the idols of Goddess Durga is also to remind people about the cycle of creation and dissolution. Everything in the universe that has a beginning, or takes birth, has to experience an end and disintegration into the whole of the cosmos. In a way, everything, in the end, returns to the cosmic ocean only to rise again in an unending cycle of birth and death.

Durga Visarjan rituals

After the Kanya Pujan, a flower and a few rice grains are held in the palm, and a pledge is taken. The coconut placed in the container is received as a prasad and offered to the family. The sacred water in the Kalash is sprinkled around the house and also consumed by the members of the family as prasad. The coins kept in the bowl are kept as savings. This is believed to prove beneficial in the long run. The betel nut is also distributed as prasad to the members of the family. Now, keep the Singasan back in the place of worship. Place the idol of Lord Ganesha at the appropriate place in the place of worship. Fruits and sweets are distributed as offerings. Rice is collected and offered to the birds. Take blessings of Goddess Durga. Then, perform the ritual of Visarjan in a river, lake, or sea. It is considered auspicious to perform Visarjan in a river or lake. All the Puja essentials should also be immersed in the holy waters. No harm should be brought to the idol of Goddess Durga on the way to Visarjan. Proper aarti should be performed before Ma Durga’s Visarjan. This ritual creates an environment of joy and happiness among the gathered people.

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