Vijaya Dasimi is victorious 10th day of the dasara navarathris, when we celebrate Devi’svictory over Mahishasura, Pandavas victory over the Kauravas at Matsya Desa and Sri Rama‘s victoy over Ravana.. all depending on which part of India you were born/hail from…
But methinks that is really the victory of the devas (luminaries/stars) over the clouds. FINALLY, we can see the stars, yay!! My gut feel is that some how Indra‘s victory over Vrtra may also be celebrated around now.
Generally any of the ratri festivals, eg Sivaratri, navarathri.. have to do with brilliant starry skies. (EVEN in cloudy bangalore).
BTW, these are also calle s’aradA navaratris, as s’arad Rtu (autumn) begins and varSa Rtu (rainy season) ends.
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Arjuni’s Comment : July 18, 2011 at 3:03 am
“My gut feel is that some how Indra‘s victory over Vrtra may also be celebrated around now.”
Vishwakarma is credited as crafting Indra’s vajra (along with everything else!), and his puja is celebrated about 2-1/2 weeks before Vijaya Dashami, in Bhadrapada month.
Three weeks before Vijaya Dashami, I read that it’s Ashvin month by the north Indian calendar, and that’s when Indra puja/Indra Parab (a ten-day festival) is celebrated in Bengal and certain other northern regions. The worship is of a pole buried in the earth with a flag or banner atop it.
By the Nepal calendar also it is Ashvin month around that time, and that’s when Indra Jatra is celebrated in Kathmandu. This festival is also a ten-day affair that begins with the raising of a pole/flag, and whose legend centers around Indra’s capture and how he is freed – in exchange for taking all of the souls of the newly-dead back to heaven with him.
The day after Vijaya Dashami, there falls the ‘noose and goad’ Ekadashi, whose story tells us, “Yama, lord of the departed, comes to fetch the dying with a noose and goad to snare their spirits. But whoever will keep this fast will be enabled to escape him and proceed straight to Indra’s heaven.”
Incidentally, Ashvin Purnima (five days after VD) is also celebrated as Lakshmindra puja (and Satapatha Brahmana tells us in detail how Purnima and Amavasya are associated with the Indra/Vritra legend).
So yes, I think the general spirit of prosperity, fertility, and victory over death/mortality is certainly celebrated around this time of year, and you’re quite right to associate it with the Indra/Vritra tale, given the number of festivals that honour Indra with symbols of victory.