As you read various Dussehra greetings on your phones and social media accounts, there is one thing that is commonly said – ‘victory of good over evil’ – in different ways. Why do we say that? Because Ravan’s each head signifies a vice, that we win over.
Hindu mythology is one of the best teachers there is. While we cannot clearly infer from various scriptures that Ravana physically head 10 heads, we can infer that these heads might have been symbolic of the qualities that human possess.
However, these symbolisms were drawn centuries ago. They meant, Kama (lust), Krodha (anger), Lobha (greed), Moha (attachment), Madha (arrogance), Matsarya (hatred and jealousy), Manas (mind), Buddhi (intellect), Chitta (consciousness) and Ahamkara (ego).What would his each head mean in the 21st century?
1. Kama or lust:
In the 21st century, this head can be interpreted as winning over lust that leads us to the paths of adultery and outraging the modesty of a woman. We live in a time when not only cheating on partners is common but also when women are treated as objects of sex. Dussehra, gives us an opportunity to weed out those who indulge in these vices, together.
2. Krodha or anger:
Anger is what leads to violence. In the 21st century, anger is what is fuelling communalism, terrorism and on a personal level, enmity. These are the vices of today that can be won, if we overpower our anger. When we burn this head of Ravana, we burn violence and promote peace.
3. Lobha or greed:
It is so common to hear cases of children abandoning their parents after they have inherited the money or about people killing for a few thousands or countries burning for vested economic interests. We hear of so many scams committed by politicians every now then. The 21st century is the time when people are focused on one simple goal – money even if they have to go to the extent of sacrificing their family for it. Burn this head. Look beyond greed.
4. Moha or attachment:
In the 21st century, this literally translates into materialism. Accumulating things but having no experiences, attachment to material things likes clothes to such an extent that our souls are completely ignored is moha. The needs of the body are different from the needs of the soul. Do you know anything about the latter?
5. Madha or arrogance:
What are the three things almost everyone dreams about? Fame, power and wealth. Many succeed in achieving atleast one of the three. What comes after? Arrogance. You are boastful, you underestimate everyone else, you disregard the efforts of those who love you forget that even though your head is in the clouds, your feet should be on the ground. Being down-to-earth is the way to burn this head.
6. Matsarya or hatred, jealousy:
If love can run the world, hatred stops it. In the 21st century, we hear cases of jilted lovers throwing acid on the face of the women who rejected them out of jealousy and hatred. It is matsarya that is causing communal riots in various part of the nation – it is hatred that leads to wars that end but last for generations. Wining over it is simple – accept that not everyone is same, deal with rejection gracefully and spread love.
7. Manas or mind:
There are two ways of living life in this ‘modern’ era. Either you let your mind run you, or you run your mind. This head stands for self-control, awareness and knowledge. Today, the very first step towards knowledge is educating your child, be it a girl or a boy. Being aware about the social evils is the only way how you can stop them. It is your self-control that will help you for something as tiny as losing weight to something as big as achieving your dream.
8. Buddhi or intellect:
There are so many advertisements today that talk about making your body stronger and fitter. The false goals set by various people have made it a question of ‘peer pressure’ to have a built body for men and a curvaceous for women. But will we stop for once and think that what did we do about developing our intellect? Technology can be used to learn, what we are using it for is making us dumber.
9. Chitta or consciousness:
Most of the illnesses come from the mind. Our dreams originate from the sub-conscious. We act through the conscious mind. There are three other states of mind that we don’t know much about because we haven’t worked on being conscious – being aware – being awake. We absent-mindedly do things. We are turning into human robots. It is this robotic existence that we can burn this Dussehra. Your sub-conscious mind is the memory you have forgotten but it still affects you in drastic ways. Work towards it by taking time out for yourself, everyday.
10. Ahamkara or ego:
Ego has been a vice for centuries that humans have never let go of. Today in the 21st century, ego makes people suffer. Whether it is the ego of a gender, a caste or a section of politicians, it wreaks havoc into the lives of people. Imagine the world without ego! Ego is the over importance we give to our own self, the pride that we have about what we are. How to beat it? Remember that nothing is permanent. What you are today, you might not be tomorrow. And the world will continue to function even without you.
This is the time when we can recognise these ten heads within us and as the effigy of Ravan burns today, we let the vices burn in ourselves. Happy Dussehra!