Significance of Dussehra

Revisiting legacy of Dussehra: Here’s how you can defeat the 10 vices

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The Hindu festival of Dussehra, popularly known as Vijayadashmi is something of a cultural motif in the Indian milieu. The message of this ‘Great Indian Festival’ is the victory of good over evil, which is symbolised by the ceremonial burning of an effigy of Ravana, the anti-hero of the Hindu epic Ramayana.

Through centuries of cultural conditioning, we have come to visualise Ravana as the demon with eyes full of rage, ruddy face and clenched fists. We’ve been told though that the very demon was an exceptional ruler, scholar and a Lord Shiva devotee.

So, why then an exceptional individual such as him is remembered as a villain?

Mythological legends tell the story that Ravana’s ten heads actually represent ten vices: jealousy, hatred, anger, arrogance, impulsiveness, lethargy, greed, delusion, despair and indecisiveness. Legend has it that in a conversation with Mahabali, Ravana justifies how these vices make him a complete man. It was poetic justice that these vices became the end of him. Generations have passed by leaving behind the ritual of burning the effigies of Ravana to symbolize the burning of these attributes. One wonders though whether burning of an effigy can truly eliminate vices?

We decided to take a deep dive into the legacy of Dussehra perhaps to revisit and redefine the ten-headed demon and its vices.

Jealousy

The struggle faced by each person in achieving something is different, it is never the same nor comparable. We always tend to focus on what others have that we don’t and that feeling gives rise to jealousy. It stems from insecurities and competition. The key is to be thankful for what life has bestowed upon us; to focus on what we have and how we can make the best of it rather than focussing on what’s missing.

Arrogance

In a world full of chaos, each one of us is fighting one battle or the other to be successful in life. Every step taken and every move made in the direction of progress takes us to a whole new level of learning. But sometimes multiple events of success in life may trigger feelings of superiority over others. There’s a fine line of distinction between being arrogant and being confident. It is hard to realise that arrogance restricts growth and learning. It prevents us from having healthy relationships.

So how do we defeat a feeling as sneaky as arrogance? Mindset coaches advise practicing compassion and empathy. With focus on acceptance and self-improvement, it becomes easier to empathise and be open to flaws – others’ and our own.

Anger and Hatred

We are all familiar with anger and hatred, two of the most intense emotions known to human beings. The power these emotions wield can cripple all reasoning. It could be said that anger and hatred are two sides of the same coin. Anger causes hatred and hatred further fuels anger. Anger can truly mar a perfectly good relationship and block the path to personal growth.

Overcoming anger is the direct path to inner peace. But it’s easier said than done. Meditation experts recommend practicing slow breathing exercises to release anger and to let go of pent-up emotions.

Impulsiveness and Greed

Impulsiveness is a common vice which often goes undetected. Reacting without a thought, acting without anticipating the consequences is the very definition of impulsiveness.

Greed, on the other hand, is a double-edged sword that can motivate and spur blind obsession for material desires. Greed goes beyond need and desire.

This one isn’t easy. Tackling greed can only come with practice. Conscious introspection and practising generosity are the antidote to greed. Developing an abundance mind-set is another effective solution.

Lethargy and Indecisiveness (Also known as procrastination in 2022)

Have you ever struggled with starting a task even though you are adept at it? Have you wondered why you lose track of time or delay tasks until it is do or die? If your answer is yes and your question why, then you are in the right space. The reason the simplest of tasks don’t get done is procrastination. According to mental health experts, procrastination tends to be rooted in deeper internal patterns and needs practice and consistency.

Indecisiveness is another extension of procrastination. Rooted in self-doubt, unrealistic expectations, and obsessive perfectionism, it can be challenging to take the simplest of decisions.

Trusting your abilities, setting up practical goals, and taking one step at a time can be the simple steps to addressing procrastination and indecision.

Despair

There are times in life when we feel that everything is hopeless and there’s no coming back from it. Nothing seems right and it’s hard to find conviction within to turn things around. Meet despair, another face of negativity.

Meditating, encouraging healthy thought process, reading and being surrounded by optimistic people helps break through the vicious cycle of despair.

Delusions

Having pre-conceived notions about people or experiences which may or may not be true is delusion. Be it relationships or family, a delusional mindset can be detrimental.

How do we let go of delusions? By slowing down and reflecting positively on the matter at hand, no matter how tough it may appear. It is crucial to get rid of negative emotions and not get influenced by crises and challenges. Being in touch with reality, openminded and practical approach help steer clear of misunderstood notions and delusion.

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