Significance of Dasarā

The whole world is the embodiment of the three guṇas (attributes). In a worldly sense, Dēvi means Strī liṅgamu (feminine). However, in this word Strī (woman), there are three letters: sa, ta and ra. Sa means sa-kara, ta is ta-kara and ra is ra-kara. The first and foremost in Strī is Sāttvic. This Sāttvic nature is the very first to emerge in man. It is in the proximity of the mother – the womb, that love begins to develop. She transmutes her blood into love and offers it to her children. Therefore, it is not possible to define a mother’s love. 

The second is ta. Ta does not mean tatva or Tamas quality as in sleeping, eating and other such activities that are said to be characteristics of Tamas. The ta syllable in Strī means bashfulness, shyness and pride. They have a lot of shyness and remain modest for the sake of their honour and respect. Because of such pure qualities, ta-karam develops. But unfortunately, assuming ta-karam to mean eating, sleeping and repeating this cycle, women earn the title of Kumbakarna’s¹ sisters! 

The third and final is Rajas. In truth, the qualities of sacrifice, generosity, etc. are represented by the letter ra in Strī. When the time comes, they sacrifice their very own life and will try to protect and uphold honour, without thinking of pain, losses and sadness. They are ever prepared to eliminate those Tamas tendencies which invade the Sāttvic

Dēvi, the embodiment of Shakti (Primal Energy), uproots bad qualities by adorning the Rajo guṇa and nourishing the Sāttvic. In this world, the bad qualities of  injustice, illegality, immorality and untruth have monstrously developed and wreaked havoc. When society was drowned in selfishness and self-interest, and humans were behaving mercilessly, devoid of love, the Ātmic principle embodied itself in the form of Shakti. When the Dēvi was continuously exterminating these bad qualities, she adorned a very fierce form. For the sake of pacifying this form, all women, who are considered to be her progeny, worship her with the red kuṅkum (vermilion). The Mother, on seeing this blood-like kuṅkum, is pacified thinking that all the bad-doers have been extinguished. Therefore, the symbolic meaning of worshipping the Dēvi with this kuṅkum is to pacify her fierceness. In these 10 days, the demon-like bad qualities which have further developed in this world are eradicated. Demons are not the ones with any particular form. Our bad qualities and feelings themselves are demons; the ego itself is a demon.  



¹Kumbakarna is the brother of the demon-king, Ravāṇā. Legend goes that Kumbakarna ate for six months and slept for six months.

²Sometimes translated as purity (Sathwa), activity (Rajas) and inertia (Tamas) but contextually, these terms assume different meanings.

³Sa as in Sun / Ta as in Thursday / Ra as in Run

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