Dushera or Conquering Limitations of Body & Mind


Dushera is one of the most significant festivals in India. It is celebration of the legendary victory of Lord Ram over Ravan, the demon king. It has been interpreted to be the celebration of Good over Evil. Indian politicians claiming to be secular don’t believe in the existence of Ram or Ravan. May be the modern scientists have to invent a machine that can display clippings from history for people to believe in the events of the past!  Meanwhile, the call given by social scientists like Prof Sukhdev Thorat (Indian Council of Social Science Research) to Technologists like NR Narayana Murthy(Infosys) for research in all fields of knowledge and academic excellence, should be taken seriously with due deference that they deserve. Actually any Day is a reminder of the need of special attention to something required in the attitude of the people, so that they don’t give it a miss in the rigmarole of daily life. There are so many demands on our time in life that we are generally complaining of lack of it. Even then it is necessary to keep on extending our horizons.

Ravan is depicted as a demon with ten heads. There is no denying the fact that such freak persons can be born. But the legend of him getting beheaded one moment and another head cropping up the very next moment, tends to suggest that it may symbolize something else. Indeed it does. It represents the good and the evil side of each individual. We all have the same virtues and vices, albeit in differing degrees. Depending on the totality, our personalities come to be regulated by good behaviour or bad behaviour; good attitude or bad attitude; positivity or negativity; pious or sinful mindsets! It makes of us gods or demons.So long the number of these attributes remains within the tolerable limits of a single digit, it doesn’t cause harm of a magnitude where the whole society feels terrorized. But the moment one more digit is added, it lets loose all hell. One added to nine makes it ten and Ravan had ten heads! The astonishing fact is the last digit is a zero, which is infinity. Once the vices exceed the outer limits of a single digit and reach the two digit figures, the individual falls to the power of evil and his  end is arrived. The reason is that the individual mind goes out of control, the individual becomes autocratic and whimsical, his desires refuse to acknowledge limits. Exceeding limits causes clash with others, who are in control of their body & mind and thus easily score their victory.

The ten heads include; the part of the body plus kaam(desires), krodh(anger), mad(hubris), moh(attachment), lobh(greed),chhal (dissimulation), bal(armed force)and kaushal(skill). All of us bear one or more of these heads. Depending on our mindsets (vratti), we turn good or bad. Those controlled by aasuri vratti (demonic mindset) act like Ravan whereas those given to sur vratti (godly mindset) follow Ram. Festivals like the Dushera only emphasise the value of good behaviour. Recourse to bad behaviour brings about all round destruction in the family and society. Since the enzymes are naturally present in the DNA of all of us for both the types  of vrattis or mindsets, it is left to us to allow either of them  to fructify. Since history and other empirical evidence establishes a preference for the good mindset, such festivals instill in the children a deep love for good behaviour. Ultimately, everything depends on the mindset and attitude. Comprehend the mindset of the terrorists in this context: they have been made to believe that terror activities are good and an insurance for admission into heaven! The fall of Ravan was also because of such a mindset about everything and everyone, otherwise he was a renowned scholar and warrior!

Shouldn’t the behaviour scientist take up the research . Religion apart, such significant guides of social behaviour need employment and application in our own times after research in the contemporary context. There are numerous news stories of delinquent human behaviour in daily newspapers, only because of mindsets. Most crimes are being committed by young girls and boys, cutting loose from their axis of normal social behaviour and indulging in experiments with their lives and those of others. They are like a car running fullspeed without brakes or any other controls on busy city roads! Individual losses compare poorly with societal losses in such cases, as would be seen from terror activities in the world. Festivals like Dushera (preceding Diwali, the festival of lights),  when effigies of Ravan, his dearest son Meghnaad and dearest brother Kumbhakaran are burnt publicly deserve to be celebrated widely.

Happy Dushera!

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