By Parijata devi dasi
On the occasion of Dusshera, the students and teachers of Bhaktivedanta Swami Mission School, Mumbai, burned an effigy of Ravana.
Dusshera, also known as Vijayadashami, is a celebration to mark the victory of Lord Rama over Ravana, the ten-headed king of Lanka, who had abducted Rama’s wife, Sita. It also symbolizes the triumph of Goddess Durga over the buffalo demon, Mahishasura.
The festive mood gripped the students of Bhaktivedanta Swami Mission School, located on Hare Krishna Land at ISKCON Juhu, as they prepared to burn a seven feet effigy of Ravana. The rancorous looking effigy made from eco-friendly materials was the handiwork of the Schools Art & Craft teacher Ms Bhairavi prepared with assistance from other teachers and students. As the Grade 10 students prepared to burn the effigy the entire school including the teachers and administrative staff fervently chanted the glories of Lord Rama and Hare Krishna Maha mantra. The children cheered and clapped as fire crackers entwined around Ravana burst creating an astounding light and sound effect and finally setting Ravana to flames.
Bhaktivendanta Swami Mission School celebrates the festival since its inception 20 years ago. The students, who come from all walks of life, learn about Lord Rama and Dusshera festival through skits, coloring sheets, story telling and puppetry.
Vijayadashami is celebrated with great splendor in various part of India. In olden days effigies of Ravana were burnt in public places but at the present time one can see a Ravana or two burning in by lanes, school and even individual homes. The effigy burning is symbolic of burning the vices, greeds and various ill which plague individual’s life or society in general.