Worshipping cosmic powers
Along with the fun and frolic with which people welcome Dashain, the religious significance it holds has a charm of its own and people eagerly wait for Navaratri, the nine days when people visit different temples around the Valley.
Navaratri begins from Ghatastapana. According to cultural expert Satya Mohan Joshi, “It is the patron deities that are worshipped during Dashain. Previously during the Malla period, these deities were placed around the town in the border areas as guardians to protect the town from enemies and other bad aspects. These deities were placed following the Tantrik Vidhya.”
“Dashain me devi ko shakti ko upasna garinchha. It is the puja of cosmic energy. It is cosmic energy that moves the whole universe and these deities symbolise cosmic energies,” he explained.
The deities that are worshipped during Navaratri are Guheshwori, Sankata, Naxal Bhagwati, Kalikasthan, Kankeshwori, Shova Bhagwati, Mahankal, Dakshinkali and Bhadrakali.
Another aspect that Joshi elaborates on and says holds equal importance in Dashain is the story of Lord Rama and Ravana. So, in order to win Lord Ram had done Shakti ko aradhana, Bhagwati ko sthapana (establishing Bhagwati) and worshipped the goddess. After gaining energy, he went into battle and won over Ravana, and so to rejoice over this victory, the Vijay Utsav is celebrated, which as falls on Dashami.
Importance of Jamara
“Even on Ghatasthapana when the ghat is placed it symbolises shakti, an abstract energy which no one can see. It is a way of inviting this energy by placing the kalash. Finally it is on the tenth day that people get together and worship it,” said Joshi.
According to Baldev Juju, retired Prof of Nepali Bhasa in TU, “Planting the jamara has its own significance. It is believed that the pujas that are done in the special room where the jamara is kept so as to gain Shakti. After gaining this Shakti, one gains the power to face any type of problem that may arise. For eight days pujas are done and bali or sacrifice is made on the ninth day. And on the tenth day prasad is taken.”