The Navratri festival is probably the most vibrant festival of India. Spreading across the expanse of India it is celebrated in different hues in different parts of the country each imparting its own flavour.
This is the only festival that lasts nine days and culminates with Dushera. A celebration of the triumph of good over evil.
There are enough tales, plots and sub plots to keep an inquisitive reader engaged for months. Here is a selection of short stories. One story for each of these ten days, to learn more about what made this such an absorbing contest.
Tales of one who had ten heads, yet not a sound mind.
Tale Seven – Nostril
In the Rajasthani folk narratives of the Ramayana, we learn that in order to kill Ravan, Ram needed to liberate Ravan’s soul locked in the nostril of one of the horses that pulled the chariot of the sun-god. Only a celibate man could do this. Since Laxman was not married (the local version is ignorant of Laxman’s wife, Urmila, who he left behind when he followed Ram) he was able to shoot an arrow that struck the nostril of that horse which pulled the sun-god’s chariot. As a result, Ravan’s soul was no longer hidden and Ram was able to kill Ravan.
In some versions, it is Laxman, not Ram who kills Ravan showing the influence of Jains who believed Ram, being perfect, followed non-violence.
Read Tale Eight tomorrow