November 12, 2012
Deepavali (Diwali, Divali or Deepavali ) also known as the festival of lights is an Indian festival that brings a series of festivities with it. The feast symbolizing the victory of righteousness and the lifting of spiritual darkness. The word “Deepavali” refers to rows of diyas or clay lamps. This is one of the most popular festivals in the Hindu calendar. It marks the beginning of the Hindu New Year according to the Lunar Calendar. It celebrates the victory of goodness over evil and light over darkness. People are cleaning their houses and wear new cloths and share sweets, people enjoy this festival by playing, bursting crackers, feasting, dancing and making of crafts like star and goodudeepa as well as cooking special meals. This festival falls on the last 2 days of the dark half of karmic (Oct-Nov). It commences on the 13 the day of the dark half of karthik, followed the next day by the Narak Chavdas the 14th day and by Deepavali proper on the 15th day.
India is a land of diverse culture and traditions as there are hundreds of festivals celebrated, the Diwali festival holds a special place for all people of the world in general & Hindus in particular. It is one of the most auspicious and grand occasion celebrated with great zeal and warmth among all races & religions in India, not only from religious but also from aesthetic aspects of this festival. People indulge themselves in a number of activities to utilize their holidays in the best possible way. More to say even in the past years Deepavali was celebrated in the White House, USA.
Diwali is a five day long festival and for some it is 3 days. Each day being significant in its own terms.The celebrations commence on Aswayuja Bahula Chaturdashi and culminate on Kartika shudha vijaya, the first day of this festival is called “Dhan Trayodashi or Dhanteras” wherein people worship Goddess lakshmi and purchase utensils made of silver. The second day of Diwali is called Narak chaturdashi which is popular as “Chhoti Diwali” , the third day of Diwali which is also called “Badi Diwali” is the main day of the celebrations of the festival. People perform lakshmi Puja (Worship of Goddess lakshmi) on this day they offer prayers to her. To bless them with wealth and prosperity.
The fourth day of Diwali is devoted to Govardhan Pooja (Worship of Lord Govardhan Pavat). The fifth or the last day of the Diwali is” Bhai Dooj”, the time to honor the brother – sister relationship, bursting crackers, social gatherings, exchange of greetings/sweets and gifts with the loved ones are also part of the festival. People following Hinduism offer prayers and worship their favorite deity, worshipping of Goddess lakshmi, worship of Lord Ganesha, worship of mother Kali worship of Chitragupta and worship of Govardhan pavat is considered very auspicious for the occasion.
Deepavali celebrations take place in many countries in the world. On the first day of the Diwali people pray and having a special breakfast made of many different foods. The Hindu Goddess Lakshmi’s statue and images are carried through the streets in procession. There are various legends and stories associated with the Diwali festival. The story of Bali emergence of Laxmi, Krishna narakasur fight, victory of Lord Rama over Ravana and many more. Dipa lights (also called Diwali Diyas), kankils, ghee lamps or Parvati Ganesha lamps) made of clay, fueled with oil from coconuts, mustarad ghee the wick made of cotton wool – are placed outside of houses, on floors and doorways. During Diwali festival doorways are hung with torans of mango leaves and merigolds. Deepavali meals are being served and enjoyed by Hindus, Sikhs, jains & Buddhist alike, on the day of Diwali people exchange gifts, bursting fire crackers, lighting fireworks, colorful sparklers and bonfires and having festive meals with other religious people. Diwali melas (Fairs) are held throughout India and the celebrations abroad. The Indian festival of lights takes place after the mansoon season has finished and the weather is nice and pleasant.
The festival is special for the children as they buy firecrackers from pocket money or collected money from parents and enjoy the occasion with celebrating of firecrackers along with all family & other religious groups of faiths. They also wear new clothes and exchange special homemade sweets and eatables.
Waking up during the Brahmamuhurtha (at 4 a.m.) is a great blessing from the standpoint of health, ethical discipline, efficiency in work and spiritual advancement. On this day Hindu merchants in North India open their new account books and pray for success and prosperity during the coming year. The homes are cleaned and decorated by day and illuminated by night with earthen oil-lamps. The best and finest illuminations are to be seen in Bombay and Amritsar. The famous Golden Temple at Amritsar is lit in the evening with thousands of lamps placed all over the steps of the big tank. Vaishnavites celebrate the Govardhan Puja and feed the poor on a large scale.
He who Himself sees all but whom no one beholds, who illumines the intellect, the sun, the moon and the stars and the whole universe but whom they cannot illuminate, He indeed is Brahman. He is the inner Self. Celebrate the real Deepavali by living in Brahman, and the eternal bliss of the soul. The sun does not shine there, nor do the moon and the stars, nor do lightnings shine and much less fire. All lights of the world cannot be compared even to a ray of the inner light of the Self. Merge yourself in these lights and enjoy the supreme Deepavali.
In a happy mood of great rejoicing village fold move about freely, mixing with one another without any reserve, all enmity being forgotten. People embrace one another with love. Deepavali is a great unifying force. Those with keen inner spiritual ears will clearly hear the voice of the sages, “O children of God! Unite, and love all”. The vibrations produced by the greetings of love which fill the atmosphere are powerful enough to bring about a change of heart in every man woman in the world. That heart has considerably hardened, and only a continuous celebration of Deepavali in every home can rekindle in us the urgent need of turning away from the ruinous path of hatred.
Many Deepavali festivals have come and gone. Yet the hearts of the vast majority are as dark as the night of the moon. The house is lit with lamps, but the heart is full of the darkness of ignorance. O man! Wake up from the slumber of ignorance. Realize the constant and eternal light of the Soul which neither rises nor sets, through meditation and deep enquiry.
May all attain full inner illumination! May the supreme light of lights enlighten your understanding! May all attain the inexhaustible spiritual wealth of the Self! May you all prosper gloriously on the material as well as spiritual planes!
Wishing all the readers in particular and to everyone a very Happy Deepavali ! May God bless all.
Please note the writer is a fan of this great festival of Deepavali and his birthday falls on during the festivities of Deepavali.
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