Customary zeal with a tinge of religiosity marks
2010 Dussehra Festivities at Atlanta Vedic Temple
Dusshera 2010 was celebrated - with traditional gaiety and a
sprinkling of religious fervor - at the Atlanta Vedic Temple.
Dusshera signifies the triumph of good over evil, the
annihilation of the mighty king of Lanka - Lankapati Dashmesh
Dashanand Rawan or more familiarly known as Raavana by Lord Sri
Rama the exiled king of Ayodhya.
Raavana was depicted as a biologically impossible ten-headed
person only to denote the degree of erudition he had acquired in
the study of the Vedas and other scriptural texts and his
profound spiritual wisdom. He was fully knowledgeable about the
entire lofty content of the six Shastras and the four Vedas
(amounting to ten). He represented in one physical body the
combined wisdom of ten sages. But in a moment of weakness -
uncharacteristic of him – sinful thinking clouded his sense of
values and hence Lord Rama came to Lanka to destroy him.
Ardent devotees thronged the Atlanta Vedic Temple to be part of
the Dusshera celebrations – some aware of the mythological
background and others presumably out of sheer curiosity. Atlanta
Vedic Temple had planned and made elaborate arrangements for all
devotees to participate and enjoy a sense of belonging.
Volunteers had worked tirelessly to structure yet again one of
the most beautiful effigies of Ravan – arguably the most
realistic in the entire South East.
With imaginative lighting arrangements, and meticulous planning
for vehicle parking and location of stalls, the surging crowd of
over 500 guests was managed with consummate skill. The evening
had an eclectic feel to it. The weather was a perfect low 60’s
nippy with low humidity and a gentle breeze wafting across.
There was a wide variety of stalls that included caterers,
traditional jewelry vendors and other vendors of multifarious
One of the stalls that stood out was by the Atlanta Vedic
Temple, displaying and selling books, audio and CDs on Vedas,
Vedic Sanskaras, Hawaan, Satayarth Prakash - the Light of Truth
by Swami Dayand Saraswati. The Arya Veer Dal – The Youth Wing of
the Atlanta Vedic Temple had, truly reflective of the cultural
values they had inculcated, erected a stall selling homemade
Diwali Cards and gift box sets. They were busily engaged in
helping guests, selling cards, dispensing drinks, and
distributing laser tags.
A delightful entertainment for the crowd who were voraciously
feasting on Samosas and Dahi Vaadas was the presence of Lord
Shri Rama, Lakshman, Sita and Hanuman mingling amongst them! The
crowds loved them and they were the most photographed
personalities of the evening – not to speak of the all-pervasive
effigy of Ravan. The volunteers of Atlanta Vedic Temple had
donned the appearances of the mythological characters of the
Ramayan and all of them looked stunningly real.
At the designated time a Raffle was held and generous prizes
including gadgets from Apple were distributed. The crowd swarmed
around Raavan at the appointed hour, and the Acharya delivered a
short discourse on why we celebrate Dusshera and how it
symbolizes the time to banish all our evil thoughts and inaction
towards proper karma and reaffirm our pledge to work for the
betterment of the individual and the society at large.
Accompanied by the dramatic background music of the classical
Ramanand Sagar epic ‘Ramayan’ depicting the scene when Lord Ram
shoots the fatal arrow, our Ram aided by the priest torched the
navel of Ravan. The crowd demonstrated a significant feeling of
relief as the massive effigy of Ravan was engulfed in flames.
As one young professional from Metro Atlanta, who witnessed the
consignment of Ravan to the flames, said, the entire evening and
the Ravan effigy and its burning was reminiscent of the same
event annually conducted in New-Delhi’s famed Ram-Leela grounds.
The crowds lingered on in its bid to exhaust the remaining food
and hot masala tea while the zealous group of volunteers
regulated the traffic and undertook the cleaning operations. To
sum it up, the evening had the perfect feel for a Hindu Fall