Vijayadasami is the culmination of the Dashara festival. On the 10th day, Goddess Durga annihilates the demon Mahishasura to signify to this world the truth and good ultimately triumphs. The shakti of Ma Durga is invoked in different manifestations and worshipped on the previous 9 days while Durga Devi is worshipped on the 10th day.
Durga means a fort or a place fully protected and inaccessible. Durgatinashini means one who eliminates the sufferings. The Goddess protects her devotees from all miseries and sufferings.Durga incarnated as the untied power of all divine beings to eliminate the demon Mahishasur. Mother is a Simhavahini and trinetrhi and incarnated with 10 hands holding sword, mace, bow and arrow, sangu (conch), lotus, chakram, trishul and thunderbolt.
There are many stories related to this festival. It is said Ma slays demon Mahishasur after a 9 day battle in which his many forms and associates are vanquished.
Legends say Lord Rama slayed Ravana on the Vijayadasami day and Ram Lila is celebrated in the northern parts of India.
In today’s world, there are no demons and asuras lurking in the outer space or forests. The relevance of celebrating Vijayadasami today is to slay the inner demons in each one of us. Kama, Krodha, Lobha, Moha and Ahankar are the main devils to be slayed. We should aim to overpower and conquer these vices by worshipping and meditating on Goddess Durga.
Navratri worship is observed in the evenings running into the night to signify we have to overcome the darkness of ignorance and invoke spiritual awakening.
On this auspicious day, let us surrender ourselves at the Lotus feet of Mother Durga and attain inner enlightenment.
Note from the Author: It was with great pleasure I took up this series and thanks to my fellow committee members and Subbu in particular who encouraged me to write. I had known about many forms of Durga, Navarathri as a festival and the battle of Durga and Mahishasur as a layman. While researching on the subject for these articles, I stumbled on some jewels of information and got a deeper understanding of the festivals and Hindu religion. This is my first attempt to write on a religious subject. There are bound to be different interpretations and/ or misinterpretations of some facts and concepts. My humble apologies to the readers for any such thing and please put it down to my ignorance and limited exposure and experience on such subjects.
Wish all of you a great festival season.