Today is Vijaya Dashmi, also known as Dashahara and Yatra. It is on ashwin shukla dashmi( the tenth day), a very auspicious day. Vijaya means victory, since it was on the tenth day of the month, so it is called Vijaya Dashmi. According Hindu mythology there are two story. First one is said that after nine days fight with demon Mahishasur, godess Durga, got success in killing him on Dashmi. So it is called Vijaya Dashmi.
Second one is that the great Ravan, the ten headed demon was killed by Ramachandraji on this day and before that Ramchandraji prayed and worshiped godess Durga for nine days, so the victory day that is tenth day is called Vijaya Dashmi.
It is actually a festival of victory of goodness over evil. This is a ten day festival and it is called Durga Pooja or Navratra. The idol pooja is mostly performed in the temple and by the societies of town, cities and in villages of Bihar, Bengal, Uttar Pradesh andOrrissa. In Gujrat people do Navratra and garba or dandia during this pooja.
It starts on first day of Ashwin(month) shukla paksh and it is called kalash sthapan. This day a pitcher is filled with water and a mango and some other fruits top sticks with leaves which is called palav is kept in it. That pitcher is kept on the mud which is placed around the pitcher and the oat(जौ) is sprinkled on the mud. Every thing is placed and kept with chanting of mantras in a place where pooja is to be performed and that place is covered, that is called pandal. From this day the pooja starts and every morning path of Durga Shapthsati, arti etc. is done till shashthi. On shashthi (sixthday) vilwabhimantranam (विल्वाभिमंत्रनम) is done and in the evening the idol of Durga comes.
Now from Saptmi (seventh day) the idol pooja starts. Till Navami(nith day) every morning and evening pooja is performed with chanting of mantras and Durga Shaptsati path. People gather together for pooja in the pandals. On Dashmi the tenth day visarjan is performed and the idol is immersed in the water.
In Bihar especially in Mithila this festival is performed in each and every house and all the members of the family do the pooja and path. Some people do the kalash sthapan in their house and the regular Durga Shaptsati path, some do the navratra, that is nine days fast. but idol pooja is not done in the house.
During pooja every one is in festive mood and variety entertainment programme is also performed. After whole day engaged in pooja and work, people get variety of entertainment programmes.
Previously it was done for religious purpose, so the maximum money was spent on pooja, decoration was done but very little. Now a days lots of fund is needed for decoration and pandals people give a minimum priority to the pooja. Now it has become a prestige for the society and some powerful and influenced person too and it is increasing every year. Some poojas or the pandals are named after powerful and influenced person. Mostly there is a competition how much money is spent on pandal and programmes. For the fund in societies, a minimum amount is fixed. But in powerful and influenced person's poojas or pandals, a huge amount is given by the person whose name is involved and rest is forcibly taken by business men and resident of that locality.
Donation for pooja or for any purpose should not be compulsory or taken forcibly people should be free to give the amount voluntarily. Instead of spending so unnecessarily on decoration , people should collect and during the programme it should be distributed among the needy or give them some scholarship.
This time I am in Pune and here very few societies do this Durga Pooja. I did my navratra(nine days fast) as usual but this time I was not able to do elaborate pooja and the full Durga Shaptsati path. This time since I am on medication so my children objected for my fast but I did it and I was perfectly alright. In fact I had nice feeling and felt better during my fast. How can I explain them that this I do for their good health and prosperity and all the mother do these things for their children. I don't say that those mother who do not fast or do not do pooja are not concern about their children but this is me. I feel good doing this. I think, I must have done some wrong and doing fast and pooja I feel better.
Today after my pooja gave my blessings to Puttu, Shweta. Vickie, Anu called on phone to take my blessings. I also took blessings from my elders.
Wishing "Happy Dashahara" to all my friends, family members relatives.