Lessons from Dussehra: Victory of Virtue over vice

The festival season begins round the globe..

We mustnot just celebrate them blindly but understand the true reason they mean and the underlying wisdom of our ancestors. We must seek the answer that why are they celebrated? , If you can find one that great if not, you can make one.

At the same time we must be courageous to drop those traditions and festivals which don’t confirm to natural justice or are harmful to the environment like bursting crackers or sacrificing innocent animals to please gods.

Here is my reason why I celebrate the Indian festival of Dussehra.

Dussehra also known as Vijyadashmi is an important festival celebrated in India in various manners and traditions .Ramleela, play based on Ramayana is staged and effigies of Ravan, Kumbhakaran and Meghnath are burnt.

Since ancient time, people in India, clean and worship their instruments of work, Soldiers their guns, Scholars their books, Carpenters their saws and bloggers their PCs. It shows a mark of respect and sacrament to your instrument of work and this tradition is followed till date by many professionals.

Dussehra in Sanskrit means Dash Hara i.e. Removal of ten bad qualities within you namely

  • Ahankara* (Ego)
  • Amanavta* (Cruelty)
  • Anyaaya* (Injustice)
  • Kama vasana* (Lust)
  • Krodha* (Anger)
  • Lobha* (Greed)
  • Mada* (Over Pride)
  • Matsara* (Jealousy)
  • Moha* (Attachment)
  • Swartha* (Selfishness)


War within

Dussehra is a mark of two important events from the epic Ramayana and Puranas

1.Ram killing the ten headed demon king Ravan

photo credit: kaniths Ramlila via photopin (license)

The killing of Ravan, the mighty king of Lanka who had abducted Sita , by Ram, a prince in exile.  Ram with his brother Lakshman, disciple Hanuman and ally Sugrive gathering an army of monkeys went to Lanka to rescue her.

Here Ravan, mighty king of a prosperous nation like Lanka, lord of a huge invincible army was defeated and killed by an ordinary person with no official title, wealth or professional army.


-This story tell us that though virtue and righteousness may seem weak and small in front of the ever pervading power and might of greed , arrogance ,lust , injustice and mean ways of the corrupt but it is always more stronger than we think and will eventually overcome great odds.

– In the final battle, Ravan is shown to have grown 10 heads, Ram after strenuous efforts used to cut one head off and it used to be replaced soon by another .Bhibhishan , brother of Ravan who had sided with  Ram, advices him to pierce Ravan’s navel with his arrow .Doing this Ravan is finally slain .

The 10 heads represents 10 vices and killing of a vice once in no ways guarantees that it won’t arise again. So if we have to kill all the vices at once we must hit them at their place of origin that is ignorance. We must equip ourselves with arrows of wisdom and use them to hit ignorance, thus killing the demon within and ensuring that no vice arises ever again.

2.Killing of demon Mahishasura by Mother Durga in battle lasting 10 days.

By Jonoikobangali – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11774784


Mahishasura represents sloth, greed, arrogance, cruelty and ego. Mother Durga represents the Shakti, the supreme, pure and divine energy pervading the universe i.e. virtue itself

This tells of the block which our greed, ego, arrogance, gluttony, sloth creates over the naturally flowing divine, transcendental, blissful energy of virtue within us. It’s our duty to destroy this block and we should remind ourselves that this battle is not going to be over in a day but will be long and involve strenuous efforts.


The interesting point to note here is that Ram and Ravan, Durga and Mahishasura are not some mythological figures from a different dimension but reside within us, they represent virtue and vice which are fighting a fierce battle continuously even today.

The evidence of this battle can be seen in the choices we make like choosing a fruit juice over cola ,exercise over comfort of your bed ,education over drugs ,love over lust, integrity over corruption or virtue over vice.

It’s up to us to choose whom to make victorious Ram or Ravan, Durga or Mahishahura, Gandhi or Hitler.

If you ask me who shall win?

The one we feed and train the most.