Here are five things you can do to celebrate Dussehra at your home.
Clean your heart and house
Declutter your house, not to forget your heart either! This is one of the best ways in which you can celebrate the festival of Dussehra. Cleaning signifies ‘Shauch’. Shauch is the process of not only outward cleaning but also inward cleaning. Cleaning your house/heart essentially accelerates your spiritual development. Maharishi Patanjali too, in his Yoga Sutras, mentions the significance of cleaning.
Cleaning has a deeper impact not only on your environment but also on your soul. The structures that you live in have a deep impact on your mind. Dussehra is the time when you vacuum every corner of your house and throw away anything that is not required anymore. The key emphasis of Dussehra is on spiritual cleansing. While you clean and spick-span your house, don’t forget to chuck out the greed, lust, and anger thriving in the minute crevices of your heart. This is the time to forget the hurt and apologise to the ones you’ve hurt. When you forgive and forget, you become light, make yourself more receptive and open up channels to attract both material and spiritual advancement.
Splash some color and make the design
Rangoli creating is an important aspect of Indian culture. The symmetry of Rangolis have spiritual benefits and signify one’s spiritual transformation. The use of different colors, forms and patterns deeply influence the vibrations of the place where Rangoli is made. The symbolism of Rangoli has deeper meanings than meets the eye. The colors used in Rangoli patterns not only heal but also open up intuition. Spiritual awakening can come through colors and the motifs used in Rangoli. For example, green symbolizes luck, fertility, vitality and prosperity while red symbolizes warmth, strength, creativity.
The combination of colors used in Rangoli cleanses your mind, alters your state of consciousness, promotes overall healing and changes your energy patterns. Before you begin drawing the Rangoli on your chosen piece of floor, cleanse it with water, cow-dung and Gangajal. If cow-dung and Gangajal are not available, then you may only use plain water to clean it. Once you clean it with water, you can further use the smoke of incense sticks to purify the place.
It’s time to light the Diyas
Diyas symbolise power, strength, prosperity, and good luck. The Dussehra celebrations are incomplete without the lighting of the diyas. Diya as a symbol has deep significance. The wick of the diya signifies the soul, while the oil/ghee is symbolic of the human mind. When we light the diya, the flame cleanses the dirt in our minds and makes way for the enlightenment of self-realization.
Brighten up your house not with artificial lights but by lighting the lamps. While you light the diyas, pray to Maa Durga and Shri Ram that they may cleanse your mind and help you get rid of pride, ignorance, and jealousy.
Worship Maa Durga and Shri Ram
It is said that Shri Ram worshipped Maa Durga before fighting Ravan. Thus, on the day of Vijaya Dashami, both Shri Ram and Maa Durga hold equal importance. Worship these deities by praying to them early in the morning on Vijaya Dashami. If you do not have their deities in your puja room, then do not worry much. It’s not compulsive to worship their deities on this day. You can chant mantras on this day as mantra chanting holds greater significance. Take a bath early in the morning and wear loose and clean clothes. Then, you may sit on the floor or in a chair (as you feel comfortable). After you settle down, start chanting Durga Stotram and Ram Raksha Stotram (you may recite both or choose any one). While you chant, keep your focus on the words of the Stotram and keep the (form) of the deities in your heart.
Time to dress your best
Dussehra is never around to encourage fancy clothes and glaring outfits. So, do dress your best, but avoid over-doing it. Keep the essence of Dussehra in mind and try to avoid flaunting it as much as possible. After all, simplicity is elegance! Clothes protect us from negative energies. While you get busy with the Dussehra preparations, keep your clothes and rituals simple. Vijaya Dashami is all about attracting the blessings of our beloved deities, so let’s do our best to keep everything simple and elegant. This will enable us to save our energies and siphon them towards the real essence of the festival.
The meaning and significance of Dussehra is beyond measure. It’s been since the ages that man—both raw and civilized has struggled to nail down his path to the final truth. In the tryst between good and evil, man has been flung like a tight-rope walker, being able to balance sometimes while falling out on other occasions. The ten heads of Ravan signify lust, fear, attachment, ego, greed, insensibility, pride, hatred, anger, and envy. All of these reside in us, tightly holding on and grievously influencing our existence. This reminds us of one of Sant Kabir’s prime dohas—'Bura jo dekhan mai chalya, bura na milya koi. Khoja jo mann apna, mujhse bura na koi'. The ‘bad’ resides in me and only me. This Dussehra, let’s make an effort to reflect on ourselves, courageously encounter evil and weed it out right from its root so that the truth may seek us.