Dusshera or DASHA HARA: Arjuna’s lessons


The boastful prince

“I cannot stand this mammoth army!” exclaimed Uttar, the prince of Matsya, looking at the ocean of Kaurava army, along with whales like Bhishma, Drona, Karna, Duryodhana, Ashwatthama, Kripacharya. Minutes ago, he was boasting his prowess to Brihannala -the eunuch-also his charioteer. The Kauravas had captured the kingdom’s livestock and the prince had set to recover the same singlehandedly. However, as soon as he saw the mighty Kaurava army he lost his nerve and began to flee the battlefield. Nonetheless, the charioteer Brihanalla caught hold of him.

“Why don’t you leave me alone?” exclaimed Uttar.

At this Brihannala said, “Cowardice does not befit a Kshatriya.”

Uttar spat “What do you know about being a Kshatriya. You eunuch!” Little did he know who his charioteer was?

The Ten Vices

“I am no ordinary eunuch prince. I am Arjuna disguised as a eunuch for the thirteenth year of Incognito. If you don’t believe me climb the shami tree. You will find my magnificent bow Gandiva!” said Arjuna

Uttar was humbled when he found the true identity of the eunuch and fell at his feet.

Raising him Arjuna said, “Fear is an inherent quality of every human being! It’s all about overcoming it. Today is Vijay Dashami or Dusshera. The day when Lord Rama defeated Ravana who represented the ten vices of a human being. Hence it’s called Dasha Hara i.e. conquering the ten vices”

“Please elucidate the ten Vices, O fabled archer!” Uttar requested.

“Dear Uttar our enemies represent them. Firstly, Duryodhana represents ahamkara (ego), mada (pride), lobha (greed) and krodha (anger). He is the root of all our suffering. Secondly, Dushasana represents amaanavta (cruelty), anyaaya (injustice), and kaam vaasana (lust). It’s evident the way he treated Draupadi”

Arjuna continued, “Thirdly, Karna personifies jealousy (Matsara). His jealousy for me knows no bound. Finally, Guru Drona represents swartha (selfishness) while the Grandfather represents moha i.e. attachment to his vow”

Brihanalla to Arjuna

Uttar was amazed at the godlike transformation in Arjuna. “Please honour me with the reins of your Chariot,” pleaded Uttar. Arjuna agreed to it

What followed was the testimony of Arjuna being the greatest warrior in history. Singlehandedly he routed the entire Kaurava Army and its commanders.

After the Kaurava army was rendered senseless Uttar asked Arjuna to kill them. At this Arjuna replied “Prince, these warriors are the greatest in the annals of mankind. If you take away their vices, they are gems. Moreover, we need to give them another chance to repent their follies.”

“I see the reason why they call you the greatest warrior,” said Uttar.” It’s not only about skill. It’s about winning over your anger (one of the ten Vices)!”

Dusshera viz. Dasha Hara

For centuries, we have been celebrating Dusshera to mark Rama’s victory over Ravana. This festival marks Ram’s victory over Ravana, the ten-headed demon. This occasion was called Dasha Hara i.e. when Rama vanquishes Ravana and his ten vices. However, over time this occasion evolved as the festival of Dussehra.

But, this occasion marks another spectacular victory of Arjuna over the Kaurava army in Virat. Furthermore, this occasion also signifies the end of Pandava incognito.

For more details about Pandava incognito and Virat war, read this article: When Amarendra Bahubali reminded me of Arjuna.


The part where Arjuna elucidates on the 10 vices is fictional.

Featured Image Credit


Prasad Kulkarni is a Data and Analytics professional. At work, he analyses historical data and ponders over historical events otherwise.

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