Rama and Diwali

6 June 2016

Diwali is the festival of lights. It is also known as’ Deepawali’. It is celebrated in our country which joy and happiness every year. It is one of the biggest festival of Hindus. Usually it comes in the month of October and November after twenty days of Dussehra, on the 13th day of the dark fortnight of the month of Ashwin. It is celebrated in the memory of coming back home of Lord Rama along with his wife Sita & brother Laxman after 14 years of exile. It is believed that on this day, Lord Rama returned to his kingdom, Ayodhya, after killing the demon, King Ravana and people lighted earthen diyas all around their house and celebrated his victory over Raavan. It is asymbol of victory of good over evil. Since then, the festival is celebrated by lighting diyas and candles to drive away the darkness of Amavasya and the dark of ignorance. Homes are decorated on the day of diwali and sweets are distributed. Laxmi Puja is performed in the evening and blessings of Goddess of Wealth is seeked. People present diwali gifts to their near and dear ones. Earlier, it was celebrated with diyas but slowly it took the form of lights, lighting lamps, candles and crackers.

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Now a days, people burn dangerous fire crackers limitlessly. Crackers have big hand in polluting our environment. The toxic substances used in the firecrackers release toxic gases that are harmful to the health of all living beings. The noise of the crackers cause immense suffering to birds and animals. Diwali is the festival of lights and not burning of the limitless crackers which takes the form of air and noise pollution. We should minimize the use of firecrackers during diwali celebrations and other celebrations. Noiseless diwali has become the concept for the last few years. It is slowly gathering momentum too. But it has not yet reached that level to which we all can say that yes, we celebrated a noiseless safe and pollution free diwali.

A festival must be treated like a festival not like enjoyment or nuisance. There is no need to pollute the environment for this. We must take steps to make ourselves and others aware to put an end to noise through rallies and hoardings. We must not buy unlimited crackers instead of that we can help a poor with that money.

These days, trend of diwali greetings, diwali messages, diwali cards, diwali ecards, diwali calendar, diwali greeting cards, diwali flash,diwali themes, diwali screensaver, diwali images, diwali rangoli, diwali scraps, diwali designs, diwali painting is going on. It seems and feels very nice to wish each other by different means. But we must also make each other aware of the harms of the pollution caused by the firecrackers that leads directly or indirectly to global warming. Hence, Say ‘NO’ to Crackers and play a safe, noiseless and pollution free Diwali.

The Hindus in India celebrate many festivals. The Diwali or Dipabali is one such festival. This festival is celebrated on the new moon day after the Dasahara. The Goddess Kali is also worshipped on this day. This is a festival of lights. The Hindus decorate their houses with lights. The rich and the poor, both celebrate it. They use oil-lamps and candles at night. In the evening a holy offering of Shradha is made by the people for their fore-fathers. Goddess Kali is worshipped late at this night. Diwali is a popular festival in Gujarat and Maharastra. It is also celebrated by the Oriyas with much enthusiasm.

People follow the tradition of wearing new dress and preparing cakes and sweets at home. They celebrate the festival in the company of their friends and relatives. Display of fireworks is the most interesting part of this festival. Many temporary stalls are made to sell fireworks of various kinds. People purchase the fireworks and use them at night. They enjoy the night. The festival has a legendary background. Lord Rama in the era of Tretaya won a glorious victory over the demon king Ravana of Lanka. After the victory, He came to Ayodhya with his dear brother Laxman and wife Sita.

The people of Ayodhya celebrated the victory by lighting candles and lamps. Thus Lord Ramachandra was congratulated. The Diwali has a great significance for the Hindus. The businessmen consider it as the beginning date of their business. Their business is renewed from this day. This day marks the end of autumn and the beginning of winter. On the Diwali night fire accidents also occur at some places due to carelessness.

Short Essay about Diwali Festival in English by Rehaan Bansal
Diwali is one the most important festival of Hindus It is celebrated with great enthusiasm throughout the length and breadth of India. It is a festival of lights. It falls on the Amavasya of the month of Kartik every year by Hindu calendar and in the last week of October or in the starting days of November by English calendar. Many legends are associated with this festival. It marks the victory of Ram over Ravana. As a matter of fact, Diwali is the symbol of the victory of the forces of good over evil. According to some on this day Lord Ram reached Ayodhya along with Sita and Lakshman. The villagers of Ayodhya welcomed Ram, Lakshman and Sitaby decorating and illuminating their village withdiyas. Jains says this is the day when Lord Mahavira attained “moksha or salvation”. They show lights in jubilation of thus attainment. Dayanand Saraswati of Arya Samaj also attained ‘Nirvana’ on this day.

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It is a festival of lights and firework. It comes after Durga Puja as the winter sets in. In West Bengal and some other places in North India Goddess Kali is worshipped during the Diwali. As the lights keep away the darkness, Goddess Kali drives away the evil forces in our world. Great perpetrations are made for this festival. Everyone starts making arrangement one month before Diwali, new cloths are purchased, houses are cleaned and decorated with lights, flowers etc. People call and invite their nearest and dearest ones. On this festival, sweets are made and distributed among friends and relatives. People indulge in fun and frolic on the day of Diwali. New clothes are worn by the young and the old.

At the same time during night, fire-works and crackers are also let off. The bright flames of the fire-work present an exquisite sight in the dark night. The festival wears a lovely look. Everyone is well clad gay and mirthful some celebrate it in the most enthusiastic way some indulge in gambling according to gamblers, forms a part of Diwali festival. At night the people illuminate their houses, walls and terraces with earthen pots. The glittering lights in the darkness of night present a bewitching spectacle. Apart from houses, public buildings and government officers are also lit up.

The scene of lights and illumination is very enchanting. The Hindus worship Lakshmi; the Goddess of wealth on this day. They say prayers, so that Goddess Lakshmi may visit their houses. Lakshmi Puja is the Puja of Lakshmi Goddess and is performed at the night during Diwali. Diwali festival is the festival of the whole country.

It is celebrated in every nook and Corner of our country. Thus this festival also creates a sense of oneness among the people. It becomes the symbol of unity. India has been celebrating this festival for thousands of years and continues to celebrate it even today which is both historical and religious.

One of the most widely celebrated festivals for Hindus is Deepavali, also known as Diwali. Diwali is celebrated with lots of enthusiasm and happiness. This festival is usually celebrated for five consecutive days, with the third day being celebrated as the main Deepavali day, or as the ‘Festival of Lights’. Fireworks are associated with this festival. The day is celebrated with people lighting diyas, or oil lamps, or sometimes candles all around their house. Lakshmi Puja is performed in the evening to seek divine blessings of Goddess of Wealth. Deepavali gifts are exchanged among all near and dear ones.

The auspicious day of Deepavali is determined by the moon position, according to the Hindu calendar, Amavasya, or the “no-moon day” is considered the perfect day for Deepavali. The dark night comes after every fortnight and in the Hindu month of Kartik (October/November), it marks the festive occasion. The Deepavali date holds special meaning among Hindus, since, the day is reckoned with Lord Rama’s coronation ceremony as the King of Ayodhya after his return to the Kingdom from 14 years of exile along with his wife Sita and brother Laxman after killing the demon, King Ravana. People celebrated this occasion by lighting diyas to drive away the darkness of amavasya.

Deepavali: Meaning & Significance:

Deepavali is a festival in which people from all age groups participate. They give expression to their happiness by lighting earthen diyas (lamps), decorating the homes, bursting firecrackers and inviting family and friends to their households for a sumptuous feast. The lighting of lamps is a way of paying obeisance to God for attainment of health, wealth, knowledge, peace, valour and fame.

Deepavali, also called Diwali or festival of lights, comes from the Sanskrit word Deepavali – ‘Deep’ means diyas, (small pots made from clay) or light and ‘Avali’, means a row – meaning a row of diyas or array of lamps. Thus placing small diyas, candles and lamps inside and around the home marks the festival of lights.

Traditions & Celebrations of Deepavali Festival:

The First & Second Day:
The first day is called ‘Dhanteras’ which falls on the thirteenth day of the month of Ashwin. The word Dhan means wealth. Believing this day to be auspicious, women purchase some gold or silver or at least one or two new utensils. The second day is called ‘Narkachaturdashi’ or ‘Choti Deepavali’ which falls on the fourteenth day of the month of Ashwin. This day therefore is dedicated to lights and prayers heralding a future full of joy and laughter.

The Third Day:
The third day of the festival of Deepavali is the most important day which sees colors of firecrackers, lighting of lamps, delicious sweets, new clothes and family get together exchanging gifts. On this day special pooja ceremony is observed to worship Lord Ganesh and Goddess Lakshmi. This is the day when the Sun enters his second course and passes Libra constellation (Nakshtra) which is represented by the balance or scale. Hence, this design of Libra is believed to have suggested the balancing of account books and their closing. Despite the fact that this day falls on an Amavasya (dark night) it is regarded as the most auspicious.

The Fourth & Fifth Day:
The grand celebrations of Deepavali spread through five days and the fourth day of Deepavali festivities is marked with different ways in the various parts of India. In northern part of India this day is celebrated two days after Deepavali as Govardhan Puja while in the western parts of India like Maharashtra state the same festival is celebrated as Padva, or Bali Prativpada. Govardhan Puja is also known and celebrated as Annakoot that means the mountain of food. On these particular festive days religious pooja ceremonies to seek the blessings of Lord Krishna are observed and special dishes with distribution of sweets are also an integral part of the celebrations.

Legend of Lord Krishna & Demon Narakasura:
For many, Deepavali is incomplete without firecrackers and the bursting of crackers is associated with the killing of the frantic Narakasura (ruler of Pragjyotishpur, Nepal) by Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna’s divine mediation led to the liberation of the imprisoned women, as a symbol of victory, he smeared his forehead with that evil’s blood. Lord Krishna returned home early in the early morning and bathed with scented oils to wash away the filth from his body. Since then the custom of taking an oil bath before sunrise on this day has become a traditional practice with at least bursting of one cracker which is an auspicious symbol.

Legend of Lord Rama, Laxman & Sita:
Deepavali is the day when King Rama’s victory was celebrated in Ayodhya after his epic war with Ravana, the demoniac king of Lanka. Rama and his wife Sita returned after 14 years of exile, ending the war in which the whole kingdom of Lanka was destroyed. On this dark night of Amavasya, Ayodhaya was lit up with rows of lamps, overcoming the dark nights to welcome home the king Rama. So, on this auspicious day, the lighting of lamps signifies happiness and the end of bad.

Legend of Goddess Lakshmi:

On this day Goddess Lakshmi emerged from the ocean of milk called the Ksheer Sagar. She brought with her wealth and prosperity for mankind. On that day, Lakshmi Pooja was performed to honor her and from then on Deepavali day, Hindus worship her every year in the evening. Hindus believe that Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth and good fortune, visits the homes of devotees on this day and they keep their places clean and well-lit to welcome her sacred steps.

Note: This material was adapted from _National Council of Hindu Temples UK (NCHT) – Posted by D. Dargan

It is since ancient times that Diwali has been celebrated. It is not easy to say now what really was the reason behind its origin. Different people believe different events to be the cause behind this festival. Here are ten mythical and historical reasons that are possibly behind the Diwali (Deepavali) celebrations.

The most well known story behind Diwali is in the Ramayana, the great Hindu epic. According to Ramayana, Rama, the prince of Ayodhya was ordered by his father, King Dasharatha, to go away from his country and come back after living in the forest for fourteen years. So Rama went on exile with his devoted wife Sita and faithful brother, Lakshmana.

When Ravana, the demon king of Lanka abducted Sita and took her away to his island kingdom of Lanka, Rama fought against and killed Ravana. He rescued Sita and returned to Ayodhya after fourteen years. The people of Ayodhya were very happy to hear of their beloved prince’s homecoming. To celebrate Rama’s return to Ayodhya, they lit up their houses with earthen lamps (diyas), burst crackers and decorated the entire city in the grandest manner.

This is believed to have started the tradition of Diwali. Year after year this homecoming of Lord Rama is commemorated on Diwali with lights, fireworks, bursting of crackers and merriment. The festival gets its name Deepawali, or Diwali, from the rows (avali) of lamps (deepa) that the people of Ayodhya lit to welcome their King.

Another well known story related to Diwali history is narrated in the other Hindu epic, ‘Mahabharata’. Mahabharata reveals to us how the five royal brothers, the Pandavas, suffered a defeat in the hands of their brothers, the Kauravas, in a game of dice (gambling). As a rule imposed on them, the Pandavas had to serve a term of 13 years in exile. When the period was over, they returned to their birthplace Hastinapura on ‘Kartik Amavashya’ (the new moon day of the Kartik month).

The five Pandava brothers, their mother and their wife Draupadi were honest, kind, gentle and caring in their ways and were loved by all their subjects. To celebrate the joyous occassion of their return to Hastinapura and to welcome back the Pandavas, the common people illuminated their state by lighting bright earthen lamps everywhere. The tradition is believed to have been kept alive through the festival of Diwali, which many believe, is held in remembrance of the Pandava brothers’ homecoming.

It is also believed that on this very Diwali day, the Goddess of wealth, Lakshmi rose up from the ocean. The Hindu scriptures tell us that long long ago both Devas (gods) and Asuras (demons) were mortal. They had to die sometime or other, like us. But they wanted to live forever.

So they churned the ocean to seek Amrita, the nectar of immortality (an event mentioned in the Hindu scriptures as “Samudra-manthan”), during which many divine objects came up. Prime among these was Goddess Lakshmi, the daughter of the king of the milky ocean, who arose on the new moon day (amaavasyaa) of the Kartik month. That very night, Lord Vishnu married her. Brilliant lamps were illuminated and placed in rows to mark this holy occassion. This event is supposed to have given rise to an annual celebration at the same time each year. Even today, Hindus celebrate the birth of the goddess Lakshmi and her marriage to Lord Vishnu on Diwali and seek her blessings for the coming year.

The origin of Diwali also refers to the stories narrated in the Hindu Puranas, the primary source of Hindu religious texts. According to the Bhagavata Purana (the most sacred Hindu text), it was on a Kartik day that Lord Vishnu, took on the form of a dwarf (Vaman-avtaara) and defeated King Bali. Bali, or rather King Mahabali, was a powerful demon king who ruled the earth. Once Bali got a boon from Lord Brahma that made him unconquerable. Even gods failed to defeat him in battles. Although a wise and good king otherwise, Mahabali was cruel to the Devas (gods).

Finding no way to defeat Bali, the Devas went to Lord Vishnu and insisted him to find a way to stop Bali. Lord Vishnu made a plan. He disguised himself as a short Brahmin and approached Bali for some charity. A large-hearted king, Mahabali tried to help the Brahmin. But the whole thing was a trick by Lord Vishnu and ultimately the King had to give up all his kingship and wealth. Diwali celebrates this defeating of Mahabali by Lord Vishnu.

The Bhagavata Purana also tells us about Narakasura, an evil demon king who somehow got great powers and conquered both the heavens and earth. Narakasura was very cruel and was a terrible ruler. It is believed that Lord Vishnu killed Narakasura on the day before Diwali and rescued many women whom the demon had locked in his palace. The people of heaven and earth were greatly relieved to have got freedom from the hands of the terrible Narakasura. They celebrated the occassion with much grandeur, a tradition that is believed to be alive through the annual observance of Diwali.

According to another legend, long ago after the gods lost in a battle with the demons, Goddess Kali took birth from the forehead of Goddess Durga to save heaven and earth from the growing cruelty of the demons. After killing all the devils, Kali lost her control and started killing anyone who came her way which stopped only when Lord Shiva intervened.

You all must have seen the well-known picture of Ma Kali, with her tongue hanging out? That actually depicts the moment when she steps on Lord Shiva and stops in horror and repentance. This memorable event has been commemorated ever since by celebrating Kali Puja, which is observed in several parts of India in about the same time as Diwali.

Historically it is believed that on a Diwali day in 56 BC King Vikramaditya, the legendary Hindu king of India famed for his wisdom, bravery and large-heartedness, was crowned and declared to be a king. This was marked by a grand celebration by the citizens of Vikramaditya’s kingdom celebrated the coronation of their king by lighting up small earthen lamps and that custom still prevails. Many people and even some historians say that this event gave rise to the annual observance of Diwali.

Diwali also marks the sacred occasion when on a new moon day of Kartik (Diwali day) Swami Dayananda Saraswati, one of the greatest reformers of Hinduism attained his nirvana (enlightenment) and became ‘Maharshi’ Dayananda, meaning the great sage Dayananda. In 1875, Maharshi Dayananda founded the Arya Samaj, “Society of Nobles”, a Hindu reform movement to
purify Hinduism of the many evils it became associated with at that era. Every Diwali, this great reformer is remembered by Hindus all over India.

For Jains, Diwali commemorates the enlightenment of Vardhamana Mahavira(the twenty-fourth and last Tirthankaras of the Jains and the founder of modern Jainism) which is said to have occurred on Oct. 15, 527 B.C. This is one more reason to engage in Diwali celebrations for pious Jains and other than the purpose of commemoration, the festival stands for the celebration of the emancipation of human spirit from earthly desires.

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