Significance of Dasara Vijayadashami festival and Shamee pooja

Vijaya dashami is celebrated in almost all parts of the country on Ashwayuja Shudda Dashami.  This day is also called as the Madhwa Jayanthi Day,  it is on this day that Vayudevaru made his avatara as  Sri Madhwacharyaru,  to condemn 21 kubhashyaas of Advaitha,  Vishistadvaita, and other kumataas as per the orders of Sri hari.

Importance of Vijaya Dashami day as per Hindu Mythology :

1. It is on this day that in Tretayuga Sri Ramachandra killed Ravana –  When Ravana kidnapped Seeta Maata, Sriramachandra with the assistance of Kapi Sainya, under the able leadership of Sugreeva and Hanumanta invaded Lanka and killed Ravana, Kumbhakarna and brought back Seeta devi.  As a rememberance of the day, some youths all over the country celebrate the day by burning the  huge idols of Ravana, Kumbhakarna (brother of Ravana) & Meghanad (son of Ravana) are erected and are set on fire by the enthusiastic youth at the sun set During these 10 days of Dasha-Hara.

Significance of Dasara Vijayadashami festival and Shamee pooja

2. Durgamaata (Mahishasura mardhini/ Chamundeswari) killed Mahishasura on this only –  Once under the leadership of Mahishasura, a buffaloe looked asura, attacked Deva loka and defeated  swargadhipathi and other devategalu. As such, Goddess Lakshmi made the avatara of Chamundeswari (also called as Mahishasura mardhini after his killing) with ten hands, riding on a lion.  The battle went on for nine days and on the last day, i.e., on Vijaya Dashami Day, the Rakshasa Mahishasura was killed alongwith his assistant asuraas.

3. Pandavaas’ agnaatavaasa samapthi – It is on this day, that Pandavaas finished thier Agnatavasa.  Immediately after the agnatavasa period, Arjuna in the disguise of Bruhannale took his Ayudha from Shamee Vruksha and fought against Kauravaas in Uttara Gograhana, when they attacked Virata Nagara.  Arjuna brought victory for Virata Raja.

4. Mysore Dasara Procession – It is a traditional practice in Mysore to celebrate Dasara with great enthusiasm.  People from all over the world comes to Mysore just to see the Dasara Procession.  (Earlier when the Kings were ruling Mysore, the kings used to sit on Ambari Elephant) Chamundeswari idol will be put on Ambari Elephant decorated with great dresses, followed by many chariots, and procession which usually will be more than 1 km will start from Mysore Palace to Mysore Bannimantap, where there is Banni  Vruksha and torch light parade will be celebrated there.

5. Shamee Pooja : –

“Shamee” or” banni”was the kula devate for Paandavaas and even Srinivasa also told that it is his kuladeva.

शमी शमयते पापं शमी शत्रुविनाशिनि ।
अर्जुनस्य धनुर्धारि रामस्य प्रियवादिनि ।
shamI shamayatE paapaM shamI shatruvinaashini |
arjunasya dhanurdhaari raamasya priyavaadini |
शमी शमयते पापं शमी शत्रुविनाशिनि ।
अर्जुनस्य धनुर्धारि रामस्य प्रियवादिनि ।
Shamee Tree destroys our paapaa, it destroys our enemies. It was holding the Dhanas of Arjuna for one full year and it is Sri Ramachandra’s favourite tree.

Pandavaas after being cheated by kauravaas, and having finished their 12 years “vanavaasa” (stay at forest), had to observe Ajnathavasa, (i.e., to stay in a well known place, but their identity not to be traced by any).  So, in order to stay in Viratanagar, they kept all their weapons in a Shamee tree.  When they returned from Ajnathavasa, the weapons were safe there, so, to express their gratitute, they started worshipping Shamee tree.  The same custom is being practiced even today.

Shamee is helpful for pregnant woman to prevent miscarriage.  Shamee is useful for treatment of astama, bronchitis, desentery, locoderma and piles.

There is a custom on Vijayadashami Day to do the pooja for Shamee Tree.  People also exchange shamee leaves among other friends and elders with the shloka ”Shamee shamayate paapam ..”.  In  Mysore on the Dasara procession day, i.e., on Vijayadashami day, the Procession starts from palace grounds and ends at Bannimantap,  Mysore, wherein we can find Banni trees, and which Mysore kings used to worship.

Why Shamee leaves are exchanged among brahmins –

People  distribute leaves of Shamee tree  on Dussehra and Vijayadasami day. In this ritual,  Shamee  tree leaves symbolically represents gold or sona. People present shamee  tree leaves to friends, relatives and neighbours and wish happy Dasara. There is an interesting story on why shamee tree leaves are presented on Dussera.

There is a story about Guru Dakshine & shamee Tree-

An young brahmin  named Kautsa in Ayodhya, during Tretayuga,  once after completing education from Guru asked his Guru to accept a Guru Daskhina – a present offered by students to Guru named Varatantu, after completing their studies.

Guru Sri Varatantu at first said he did not want any Dakshina. But young Kautsa insisted that he should take a Dakshina.   Guru Varatantu to get rid of Kautsa asked him for 14 crore (140 million) gold coins. One hundred million for each subject taught.

The student then went to Sri Ramachandra devaru,  who was ruling Ayodhya and asked for the gold coins needed to pay his Guru Dakshina.  Sri Ramachandra promised to help Kautsa and asked him to wait near the Shamee  (Shamee Tree is favourite for Ramachandra).   In three days time, Sri Ramachandra with the help of Lord Kuber, the God wealth, showered gold coins from the leaves of Shamee Tree. The leaves of the trees became gold coins.

Kautsa collected the coins and gave 140 million gold coins to Guru Sri Varatantu. The rest of coins were distributed to the needy by Kautsa. This happened on a Dussehra day. To commemorate this event even today people collect leaves of Shamee tree and present it as  gold

- Contributed by our community member