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Tag Archives: rama

Vijaya Dasami, the 10th Day of Navarathri

Posted on October 22, 2015 by śrīcaraṇāravindaṁ

Today marks the tenth day of the annual Navarathri festival. This tenth day is called Vijaya Dasami, which literally means “triumph on the tenth.”

Goddess Durga standing on the head of the buffalo demon Mahishasura
Goddess Durga standing on the head of the buffalo demon Mahishasura

It is commonly believed that Goddess Durga vanquished the buffalo demon Mahishasura on this day.  This victorious day also marks the day that Lord Rama defeated the demon king Ravana and made his journey home to Ayodhya.  Some narratives of Rama’s story describe Rama as having invoked Goddess Durga through the powerful Chandi Puja, or worship of Durga in her passionate and furious form.  Since Rama’s triumph over Ravana and Durga’s triumph over Mahishasura were both on this day, Vijaya Dasami has become a day synonymous with good beginnings. Many people around the world begin business ventures, musical study, dance, and other undertakings on this day.  While Navarathri is a festival dedicated to the Goddess in her various forms, the tenth day of the festival is a day on which both Durga and Rama are worshiped.  In North India, re-enactments of Rama’s life are portrayed in vivid theatre performances called Ram-Leela.  At the end of the play, a larger than life effigy of the demon Ravana is burst into flames to signify Rama’s victory.  Another key component of this day is the Ayudha Puja, or worship of weapons and instruments.  Children place their books in front of their home shrine, while others pay respect to the implements that make their livelihoods possible.  Cars, kitchen utensils, knives, hammers, chisels, computers, and other objects are cleaned and venerated by those who use them. In South India, there is a custom of erecting a doll display, which is worshipped for the nine days of Navarathi.  On Vijaya Dasami, the dolls are symbolically put to sleep after last minute visitors come and admire their beauty. These dolls, mainly of gods and goddesses, represent the same gods and goddesses that gave their power, Shakti, to bring Goddess Durga to life.  After the gods and goddesses gave their power to Durga in order for her to vanquish Mahishasura, they became as lifeless as dolls.  On the tenth day, after Durga killed the buffalo demon, she restored the life to the gods and goddesses and become reabsorbed into them.  This idea is seen in action in Eastern India, where large idols of the Goddess Durga and her retinue are immersed on this day after five full days of worship.  Wherever you find yourself in India, or abroad, this day is one of enjoyment and happiness. It marks the triumph of good over evil, and reminds us that we must cultivate the good in our hearts, and have victory over our not-so-good tendencies.



Avatars of Hindu God Vishnu

Posted on March 14, 2013 by Ashley Lovett
Yoga Narasimha, avatar of hindu god vishnu
Bronze Narasimha statue, 4th avatar of Lord Vishnu

When most people think of Avatars they think of the recent Blockbuster hit by James Cameron.  But the original concept of Avatars stems from the Hindu Religion and is most widely associated with Hindu God Vishnu.  Within Hinduism, Avatars are thought to be descendants of Hindu deity’s, deliberately placed upon earth.  The reason Hindu God Vishnu, the Preserver, is most closely associated with this concept is because he is thought to have many, each with a specific aim or purpose in existence.


Within the Bhagavad Gita there is a passage that describes the purpose of these destined Avatars of Vishnu as bringing about dharma back to the social order of the world:



 “Whenever righteousness wanes and unrighteousness increases I send myself forth.  For the protection of the good and for the destruction of evil, and for the establishment of righteousness, I come into being age after age.”


Another reason for the close association with Vishnu and his Avatars is because his descendants are thought to be integral to his teachings.  Other deities do not have such close ties to their descendants.

Although there are thought to be countless descendants of Vishnu in some respects, there are 10 main avatars that are often referred to as Dasavatara.  Krishna and Rama are the most widely known of Vishnu’s 10 avatars.

The other 8 are as follows:

1)      Matsya- fish avatar

2)      Kurma- tortoise avatar

3)      Varaha- boar avatar

4)      Narasimha- half man-half lion avatar

5)      Vamana -dwarf avatar

6)      Parashurama- sage avatar

7)      Gautama Buddha

8)      Kaliki- who has yet to come

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