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Dussehra (Dasshera, Dassehra) signifies victory of good over evil, particularly the defeat of Ravana by Lord Rama, an avataar of the Supreme Lord.
Ravana was the highly intelligent demoniac king of the Golden City of Lanka (modern-day Sri Lanka), and who, like Mahishasura, conquered the material worlds by force of material strength.
Ravana sought to attain the spiritual worlds similarly, but failed because material accomplishments devoid of spiritual strength deteriorate in time and do not carry over to the spiritual realms. Only spiritually energized and healed activities carry one to the spiritual, eternal zones of existence.
The name ‘Ravana’ was given by Lord Shiva and means ‘one who utters a terrifying roar.’ Bhaktivedanta Swami expanded the purport of this meaning to explain that it effectively means, ‘one who makes others utter loud cries of fear, lamentation and pain.’ All in all, Ravana was a fit candidate for Divine intervention!
Dasshera also celebrates Durga Devi’s victory over the Mahishasura demon and is the culmination of the Navratri festival.
Or the tenth day of the increasing moon in the month of Ashwin (September-October). It is a day of ‘vijaya’–victory. This is a culmination of a 5-week sequence of karmic healing events starting with Ganesh Chaturthi, the appearance day of Lord Ganesh who unlocks the doors of our destiny chakras for 10 days in a major way.
After the appearance day of Sri Ganapati, the 15 day Shraadh period is a time to heal the dead and our own negativities. This is followed by the auspicious 9 day Navratri festival celebrating the universal sustaining and mother energies in the form of Durga devi.
The global healing continues during the 21 days following which is the lead up to Diwali. The Festival of Lights celebrates the return of Sri Sri Sita-Rama to Ayodhya who are the embodiment of compassion and opulence. The day after Diwali is Vishwakarma day, celebrating the day of the Architect who helped Lord Brahma create the universe (to ‘Kleem’ mantra page) and more famously carved the deity form of Lord Jaggannath of Puri.