Guiding Light: Victorious Vijaya Dashami

Dr. S. AinavoluUpdated: Tuesday, October 04, 2022, 10:07 PM IST
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Navaratri, worship of nine nights during the Sharad rutu (pre-winter) culminates with the victory celebrating tenth day called Vijaya Dashami or Bijoya or Dasara. The importance of the Vijaya Dashami from Mahisha demon getting killed by Devi or Rama eliminating Ravana are well known. Another important occasion attached to Vijaya Dashami is when Arjuna also called ‘Vijaya’ single-handedly defeated Kaurava’s army on this day. Thus, the tenth tithi occurring during the ‘up’ curve of the moon during the Ashweeja month is celebrated as the festival of victory due to multiple puranic incidents associated with the day centered around becoming victorious. Aptly it is one of the maha-muhurtas, muhurta being an auspicious time to begin any new enterprise.

Pandavas after losing the dice game with Kauravas had to survive in the forest for twelve years as ‘Aranyavasa’. They do complete this demanding ordeal and reach the end of the period. The additional year, the thirteenth was to be spent in ‘agnyaata’ (incognito, not to be recognised). The condition was in case they get detected, the aranyavasa had to be repeated. The game plan was simply to deprive Pandavas of the opportunity to seek their kingdom.

Pandavas chose and entered the kingdom of Virata in disguised form and more importantly one after the other. The year passes quickly but Bhima killing the brother-in-law named Keechaka of King Virata aroused the suspicion that Pandavas were hiding in Virata’s place. To expose and fail Pandavas, Duryodhana organised war from one direction which Virata engaged with his entire army. The second war was launched from the other side in which the cow wealth of the king was taken away by Duryodhana’s army.

As no warriors were left in the kingdom to defend cows, Arjuna breaks his disguised form on the Vijaya Dashami day and defeated the entire enemy force. The one year in agnyaata form was over and hence he could come out in the open to protect Virata’s wealth. The tree on which the arms of Pandavas were kept in safe custody for agnyaatavasa year was Shami, and as gratitude Shami is worshiped on Vijaya Dashami day. We recite ‘shami shamayate papam, shami shatru vinashini’, meaning the Shami tree removes our karmic burden and also contains enemies.

Dr S Ainavolu is a professor at VPSoM, DYPU, Navi Mumbai. Views are personal. You can read more at https://www.ainavolu.in/blog

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