Hindu puja on the eve of Diwali While Deepavali is popularly known as the “festival of lights”, the most significant spiritual meaning is “the awareness of inner light”. Central to Hindu philosophy is the assertion that there is something beyond the physical body and mind that is pure, infinite, and eternal, called the Atman. Just as we celebrate the birth of our physical being, Deepavali is the celebration of this Inner Light, in particular the knowledge of which eclipses all darkness (removes all obstacles and dispels all ignorance), awakening the individual to his true nature, not like the body, but as the immutable, infinite, immanent and transcendent reality. With the realization of the Atman comes universal compassion, love and awareness of the oneness of all things (higher knowledge). This brings Ananda (Inner Joy or Peace).
Diwali celebrates this through festive fireworks, lights, flowers, shared sweets, and worship. While the story behind Deepavali varies from region to region, the essence is the same: rejoicing in the Inner Light (Atman) or the underlying reality of all things (Brahman). Diwali, the Festival of Lights, is celebrated with fervor and joy. The festival is celebrated by young and old, rich and poor, across the country to dispel the darkness and illuminate their lives. The festival symbolizes unity in diversity as each state celebrates it in its own special way.
The four-day festival celebration begins at Aswayuja Bahula Chaturdasi and concludes at Kartika Shudda Vijiya. The first day of the Naraka Chaturdasi festival marks the defeat of the demon Naraka by Lord Krishna and his wife Satyabhama.
Hot on the heels of Dussehra, Diwali is celebrated on the last day of the Gujarati calendar year, usually falling in the months of October or November, on the English calendar. It is one of the most important Indian festivals and is celebrated on a large scale by Indians not only in India but also all over the world.
The actual festivities begin on Dhanteras, which is celebrated two days before Diwali. Everyone goes out of their way to make big purchases and buy new clothes and jewelry. This is because this day is considered auspicious for wealth, and it is said that if you buy silver or gold on this day, you will be lucky throughout the year. Goddess Lakshmi is worshiped on this day through a Lakshmipujan, which is performed not only in homes but also in shops and offices.
Legends associated with Diwali
Lord Rama, who was a distinguished warrior king, was banished from the kingdom by his father Dashratha, the king of Ayodhya, after his wife provoked him. Sita, Rama’s wife, along with his younger brother Lakshman, accompanied him in his exile. After defeating the demon Ravana, Lord Rama returned to his kingdom in Ayodhya at the end of his 14-year exile. Lord Rama’s victory over Ravana signified the triumph of good over evil and people welcomed him home by lighting rows of clay lamps and since then Diwali is celebrated to mark the triumph of good over evil.
According to Hindu mythology, Diwali is celebrated to mark the triumph of Krishna, the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu over the demon Narkasura, who unleashed great misery on the people of the world. Narkasura, who was a demon of filth, kidnapped beautiful young women and forced them to live with him. However, his cries for help reached Vishnu, who appeared in the form of Krishna. Initially, Krishna had to subdue a five-headed monster that was defending the demon’s house. However, Narkasura pleaded with Krishna to make his death a joy for others. Krishna agreed to his request and the women were released. For Hindus, this legend is an indicator of the fact that good can still come from evil.
According to another legend, Diwali acts as a reminder to Hindus of the importance of food. According to folklore, many years ago in the village of Gokula, the people paid obeisance to the God Indra believing that it was Indra who sent the rains that made their crops luxuriant. However, Krishna insisted that the people should worship Govardhan Mountain, as the mountain and the adjacent land were fertile. This angered Indra, who feels thunder and heavy rain over the village. The people sought the help of Krishna. Krishna came to the aid of the villagers by lifting the top of the mountain with his finger.
The other version is that when Lord Vishnu, disguised as Vamana, sought three feet of land from the generous demon king Bali, the latter had to give up his head as Vamana had conquered earth and heaven in two strides. Lord Vishnu banishes Bali to Pathala Loka (Netherlands) keeping his third step on Bali’s head. Later, pleased by his generosity, Lord Vishnu grants him a boon and he, in turn, asks the Lord to guard his palace at Pathala Loka.
Importance in Sikhism
The story of Diwali for Sikhs is a story of the Sikh struggle for freedom. From the time of Guru Nanak (1469 – 1539), the founder of Sikhism, popular seasonal or folk festivals such as the harvest festival of Baisakhi, or previously ancient Hindu festivals such as Holi and Diwali began to take on a new meaning for Indians. Guru students. , the Sikhs. The Guru used these festivals and special days, for example the first day of each lunar month, as symbols or pegs for his teaching subjects. Guru Nanak’s enlightened ideology gave a new meaning to ancient festivals like Diwali and Baisakhi.