What is Dusshera?

Dusshera celebrates the victory of Lord Ramachandra over Ravana during the battle in Lanka. After his soldiers were all defeated, Ravana personally attacked Rama. When they were fighting, Lord Rama managed to sever Ravana’s head with an arrow. But, as that head fell to the ground, a duplicate one miraculously cropped up in its place. Lord Rama then severed that head, but once again, another one immediately manifested itself as a replacement. Again and again Lord Ram cut off Ravana’s head, until altogether one hundred such heads lay on the battlefield.

Because each time a new head appeared to replace the old one, Lord Rama began to wonder, “How is it that my arrows that have conquered so many enemies are now ineffectual against Ravana?” The duel continued at a furious pace. Both combatants were obsessed with the desire for killing the other. In fact, several days and nights passed without any break in the fighting.

At last, when Matali saw that Lord Ram was not gaining His desired victory, he suggested that He use the divine brahmashtra weapon. Being thus reminded of this ultimate weapon, Lord Rama picked up the arrow. That arrow had been constructed personally by Lord Brahma for Indra’s use, and later on it was presented to Agastya. Garuda supplied the feathers of that wonderful arrow and the sharp head combined the energy of the Firegod, Agni, and the Sungod. Mount Meru and Mount Mandara contributed their gravity to the arrow’s weight, and its shaft was made from the subtle ethereal element.

This brahmashtra weapon was omnipotent and infallible, and its dazzling effulgence made it rival the splendour of the sun. After empowering the brahmashtra with the required mantras, Lord Rama placed it upon His bowstring. As the monkeys gazed upon that flaming arrow, their hearts became filled with delight, while a dreadful fear penetrated the cores of the hearts of all the of Ravana’s associates.

As Lord Rama pulled the bowstring back to His ear, the earth trembled and the heavens also appeared to become disturbed. When Lord Rama released the brahmashtra, it sped through the air like death itself, and then violently fell upon the chest of the wicked Ravana. After piercing right through the King’s heart, that effulgent arrow entered deep into the earth, taking his sinful life along with it. As that awesome brahmashtra came and re-entered Lord Ram’s quiver, Ravana dropped the bow from his hand and fell down dead from his chariot.

With great, transcendental ecstasy, the monkey warriors loudly proclaimed Lord Rama’s victory as they attacked the fleeing Rakshasa army. From the sky, the demigods shouted, “Sadhu! Sadhu!” (“Well done! Excellent!”), as they completely covered Lord Rama’s chariot with showers of flowers, and beat upon their celestial drums.

Ravana was a great obstacle to Rama and he was only destroyed when his heart was pierced. Similarly, we have many bad qualities that form an obstacle to us developing love for God. These bad qualities can only be completely destroyed when the Lord Himself removes them from our heart. On this day, we can pray to Lord Rama to destroy those bad qualities in our heart, so we can quickly return to His kingdom where there is eternal happiness.