|Vijaya dasami is a very important occasion in the world of classical dance and music. It is the occasion to venerate dance, music, all arts and learning.
Vijaya dasami is the tenth day of the Navratri festival. Navratri is a festival of India dedicated to the worship of Shakti. The word Navaratri literally means nine nights in Sanskrit. During these nine nights, various forms or manifestations of Shakti are worshiped. Shakti is the primordial cosmic energy and represents the dynamic forces that are thought to move through the entire universe. In Hinduism, Shakti is the concept of feminine divine creative power.
The first three days are dedicated to the worship of Durga, or Mahisasura mardini - a manifestation of Shakti in which she kills the demon Mahisha
The second three days are dedicated to the worship of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth
The final three days are for the worship of the goddess of learning and arts, Saraswati.
In order to have all-round success in life, believers seek the blessings of all three aspects of the divine femininity, hence the nine nights of worship.
The festivities culminate on Vijaya dasami which is the tenth day. It is celebrated the day after Saraswati Puja, when the Goddess of learning is worshipped by placing books, musical instruments, and other professional tools at her feet to be blessed. Vijaya Dasami is considered a very auspicious day when all fine arts like dance and music, are venerated, and any new venture in learning is begun.Every year students come dressed in nice attire, bring flowers and fruits to be offered to the deities. After prayers to Saraswati and Nataraja (the Lord of dance) they wear bells that are blessed by their teacher and perform what they have learnt. Parents, family and friends are invited to join in the prayers and observe their children dance.
Posted below are pictures of this occasion, celebrated on October 24, 2010 at the Hindu Bhavan Temple in Fayetteville, North Carolina. This year we were very fortunate to have Smitha Prasad who is a very accomplished singer begin the festivities by singing the invocatory prayer to the elephant-headed god, Ganesha. She followed this by chanting the Mahishasura mardhini verse in Sanskrit in praise of Shakti. This was followed by the studentsí solo performances.