Dussehra, also called Dasara or Vijaya Dashami, marks the final day of Durga Puja. The festival's name is derived from the Sanskrit words Dasha (ten) and Hara (defeat). It signifies one who removes bad fate or 10 heads of Dashanana aka Ravana. From the victory of Goddess Durga over Mahishasura to Lord Ram killing Ravana, Navratri essentially denotes how goodness always prevails over evil.
Multiple stories related to Dussehra have been told and passed on to generations. Know more about 4 such interesting stories related to Vijayadashami.
Lord Ram kills Ravana
The great Indian mythological book Ramayana says that Ram who was an incarnation of Lord Vishnu killed Demon king Ravana to free his wife Sita from captivity and brought her home. Along with Ravana, his son Meghnad or Indrajeet and brother Kumbhakarna were also killed in the battle. That is why the effigies of all three of them are burnt on Dussehra. Exactly 20 days after killing Ravana, Ram returned to his native place Ayodhya where he was welcomed with thousands of diyas and that is the day when Diwali is celebrated in India.
Pandavas won in Kurukshetra on Vijayadashami
According to Mahabharat, a huge battle was fought between Pandavas and Kauravas, and the Pandavas due to the support of Lord Krishna and valour of Arjun emerged victorious on the day of Vijayadashami and reclaimed their kingdom.
Goddess Durga killed Mahishasura
Mahishasura was a demon king who had created havoc on both heaven and earth with his mammoth power. From God to humans everyone was afraid of him. That is why to stop his tyranny Goddess Durga was created by the trinity by combining all their energies. She was blessed with 10 hands and fought and defeated Mahishasura. Dussehra is the day when Goddess Durga finally killed the demon and that is one reason why Dussehra is celebrated in the country.
The story of Guru Dakshina
The story of a young Brahmin boy named Kautsa is also related to Dussehra. Kautsa was the disciple of Rishi Varatantu and insisted that his guru must take Guru Dakshina from him. At first, Rishi Varatantu was reluctant but on persistent request from the Brahmin boy he asked Kautsa to give him 140 million gold coins in the form of Guru Dakshina for the 14 sciences or shastra he taught him.
The boy asked King Raghu who was known for his generosity to give him those coins. King Raghu asked for a time of three days from Kautsa so that he could procure them from Lord Indra. The King of God in turn asked Kuber, the lord of wealth to shower gold coins on trees of Aapati and Shanu that surrounded the city of King Raghu.
Accordingly, Kuber started raining gold coins in Raghu’s city. Kautsa collected them all and offered them as Guru Dakshina to Rishi Varatantu. He kept the 140 million gold coins and returned the rest. On the day of Dussehra Kautsa went back to Ayodhya and returned the remaining wealth to King Raghu and from then on in many parts of India people offer leaves of Aapati to relatives or friends on Dussehra to friends and relatives.