Diwali : A Festival Of Lights On The Path Of Earth To Heaven
Diwali, a festival of divine light which blast all the evil thought and spirits in the sky in form of colorful sparkles. In India it is widely celebrated in three different religions although they have a similar story of light overcoming the darkness for all of them. The meanings though are completely different to three different groups of people: the Jains, the sikhs, and the Hindus.
The Jains celebrate Diwali as a remembrance of Lord Mahavir and his teachings. The Lord was a teacher of compassion and tolerance, and was always explaining the importance of all beings, and their equality. When he passed away, according to the beliefs of the Jains he had met Moksha, which was the freedom from the circle of reincarnation. When this occurred, it was the tradition of the people that the earth and the heavens were then illuminated with lights to remember the occasion. When the anniversary of his enlightenment comes around, each year the Jains light lamps all over their region to keep his ideas alive and to share the remembrance with others. Another part of the celebration is fasting, singing, and mantras. This is also the day of the New Year for the Jains as they remember how to live life according to the teachings of the Lord.
Sikhs do not technically celebrate Diwali, rather, they observe Bandi Chhor Divas, which coincides with Diwali. For the Sikh population the holiday is very important as it is the celebration of the release of the sixth Guru as well as 52 other Hindu princes in 1619. There was a disagreement between the Emperor and Guru Hargobind. When the Guru’s release was arranged after many weeks of discussions, the Emperor agreed to release the princes, but it was only the number who was able to hold onto the coat of the guru as he was released. This stipulation was done as a means to control the number of people who were being released from the prison. The Guru, realizing the artifice of the Emperor decided that the way to outwit him was to create a cloak that had 52 strings, this way each prince would be able to hold a piece of the cloak. This was the way in which he was able to outwit the Emperor and bring all of the princes to safety. When the Guru reached the holy city of Amritsar, the people lit the city up in lights and candles, similar to Diwali. The name of the holiday is literally translated in Sanskrit as the Row of Lights. This is because of all of the houses as well as the public places that put up lights in remembrance of the holiday. The lights are called Diyas, which are made of clay. They are placed in the windows, the doors, and other locations throughout the city. This is a huge holiday for the country of India, and its similar and different connections in the meaning of the holiday as well as in the celebration are amazing. India is a land of similarity and difference that further shows the historic diversity that comes together as beauty in the country of India.
For hindus diwali is the victory of good over evil i.e. victory of rama over ravana which they celebrate as the end of an old year and beginning of a new year as per the hindu calendar the month of kartika. This festival is one of the longest festival for hindus that is celebrated in five days in five different ways.
Day1: Dhantras (Day of fortune)
In this day goddess laxmi, the godess of fortune is worshiped for general well-being and prosperity as well as money and valuables. Money is ceremonially purified by washing it in milk, to symbolize the renewal of good intentions towards it and the motivation to use it to benefit family and grater good. It is also a time for shearing wealth with those one considers deserving and replace feeling s of greed with generosity. This spiritual reinvigoration makes it auspicious day for buying gold and silver, often jeweler, so this day is also major shopping day.
Day2: Naraka Chaturdasi (Day of knowledge)
The day is related to the traditional story of Lord Krishna slaying the demon Narakasura and rescuing 16,000 captive princesses. As the princesses’ chastity could be called into question, Lord Krishna married them all. The story shows that God wishes to take care of his people and offer them protection. Rice is used to make rangoli patterns on or before the day.
Day 3: Diwali (Day of light)
Fireworks are lit to mark the high point of the festival. It is the last day of the Hindu year in many regions, when businesses close old accounts. On this day, Lord Rama rescued his wife from the demon Ravana after an epic battle. When he returned home, his people lit up his path home so he could return in the dark. Today, candles are lit to show the triumph of good over evil and homecoming. Gujarati Indians among others also light lamps in their windows to welcome Lakshmi into the home
Day 4: Annakut (New Year)
Food is piled up at hindu temples as an offering to Krishna in the festival of Govardhan pooja. The mountain of food is symbolic of govardhan hill. In this traditional story, Krishna lifted the hill to shelter villagers from a flood caused by the vengeful Indra, king of Haven. The same as Indra, Hindus learn to be humble in the face of the divine.
Day5: Bhai Duj (Day of love between siblings)
Brothers commonly give their sisters gifts on Bhai Duj This was traditionally one of the few days when brothers could visit their married sisters homes, to ensure that they are well cared. Much of the traditional gift-giving during Diwali is from men to women. This is to show them respect and offer protection. In the past if husband or father died, the jewelry he had given to his wife and daughters would save them from destitution.
The festival of light says the darkness is always shattered by light. The truth always wins over the lies. Greed is replaced by generosity so let’s share love and happiness this Diwali.
written by: Ambika. Kumari. Patra
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