Travel to Nepal
Dashain - The Universal Mother - Goddess triumphs over Evil
Travel to Nepal
Dasain, like the Western Christmas season, is by far the longest, most auspicious and most joyous time of year, celebrated country-wide by all castes and creeds during the bright lunar fortnight ending on the day of the full moon in late September or early October. Families are reunited; blessings, gifts and glad tidings are exchanged, public parades, ancient processions and traditional pageants are held; and the all-powerful goddess Durga, in all her various manifestations and names and forms, is widely acclaimed with innumerable pujas, ritual holy bathing, profuse offerings and thousands of animal sacrifices, so that her many idols are drenched for days in blood.
The festivities of these two weeks glorify the ultimate and inevitable triumph of Virtue over the forces of Evil, commemorating a great victory of the gods over the wicked demons and devils who harassed  mankind in ancient times. The Ramayana story is retold of the righteous King Rama, defied  by Hindu mythology as an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, or again as God himself, who after epic struggles slaughtered Ravana, the  fiendish king of the demon hordes from Lanka, a legendary country  believed by  many  to have been Ceylon. Some say Lord Rama was successful in his  battle with the demon only when  he evoked the Shakti or Supreme Energy vested in Goddess Durga , the Divine Mother of the  Universe. Others have  it that  Rama's saintly wife Sita, having been kidnapped by the demon Ravan, assumed the form of the Terrible Destructress, Goddess Kali- otherwise known as  Durga -and destroyed this  thousand - headed King of the Demons.

Greatly celebrated during Dasain, again glorifying the triumph of Good over Evil, is Goddess Durga's slaying of the terrible demon Mahisasura, who roamed the earth, terrorizing the populace in the guise of a ferocious water  buffalo. Other accounts reveal how Lord Rama, having sworn to kill the evil Mahisasura of the Underworld , enlisted the Divine Energy of Goddess Taleju still another of Durga's many forms- promising to take her to his Indian capital of Ayodhya and erect there a temple in her honor. It seems that Goddess Durga, as Taleju, was King Rama's ancestral family deity, eventually taken as clan goddess of the Nepalese Malla kings . She is to this day the Divine protectors of Nepal and her rulers, her  temples standing adjacent to all the old royal palaces.
No matter how the story is told, victory is celebrated during Dasain fortnight with great rejoicing, and Goddess Durga is adored throughout the land as the Divine Mother Goddess who liberated the suffering people from the miseries of Evil.

In preparation for Dasain every home is ceremonially cleansed with cow dung, decorated, painted and freshened for the visitation of Goddess Durga and the long - awaited return of distant and near by family members. Footpaths and roads are congested with homebound travelers trekking overland, crowding into bullock carts, buses, trucks, automobiles and, in recent years, the airplane. Bazaars and shops are filled with holiday buyers seeking new clothing, gifths, luxuries, and tremendous supplies of temple offerings for weeks in advance droves of sheep, goats, ducks, chickens and water buffalo are herdd into the valley from the southern Terai flatlands and outlying hills in preparation for the great slaughter. These are sold by villagers who return to their homes laden with the city produce necessary for Dasain.

All government, educational and military institutions and many business houses are closed  for ten to fifteen days . Hiring of laborers is impossible. Workers expect bonuses, leave and salary advances; loans are often taken to cover the heavy expenses incurred by one and all. In recent years the Western innovation of exchanging greeting cards has  come into vogue,and at every turn the traditional blessings 'Vijaya Dasami' and 'Subbha Dasain!' are heard.

The first nine days of Dasain are called Nawa Ratri, Nine Nights; Tantric rites were formerly conducted in the secrecy of night, but in Nepal are openly observed. Here the infinitely ancient mother-cult of Mother Earth and Mother Nature takes form in the worship of Shakti, where the Life Force is embodied in the Divine Energy or power of the female, depicted as Goddess Durga in all  her many forms. All Mother Goddesses who emanated from Durga  are  Known as Devis, each  with different  aspects and powers, nine of whom, collectively called Nawa Durga,are listed in the scriptures, but many more are worshipped in Nepal.
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Roly Lloyd from Australia
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