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Diwali (The Festival of Lights)
Diwali is the most sacred and divine festival of lights, celebrated all around the world by Hindus, Buddhists, Jains. Diwali is also known as Deepawali, Tihar and The festival of lights. It’s a national holiday in India, Trinidad & Tobago, Myanmar, Nepal, Mauritius, Guyana, Singapore, Suriname, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Fiji and is an optional holiday in Pakistan. But it have many convictions about the reason to celebrate.
Why We Celebrate Diwali
Diwali is a Hindu festival, celebrated by Hindus, Sikh, Jain and Buddhists all over the world. There are many different beliefs celebrating the Diwali, all the religions have their own trust to celebrate the Diwali. But the ethics of celebration are alike in every religion and country, which is,
- Celebrate the festival of light as a symbol of victory of good over bad, light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance.
Know 15 beliefs and different traditions of celebrating Diwali,
1. The Fanfare of Lord Ram in Ayodhya, returned after 14 years of vanwas
The Hindus in the northern Indian states like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh believe that the Diwali celebration was started since the occasion of the fanfare of Hindu Lord Rama at his return to his kingdom (Ayodhya) after 14 years.
The Lord Rama returned to his kingdom after 14 years, with his brother Laxamana and Hanuman, wife Sita after victory over Devil king Ravana. The people of his kingdom (Ayodhya) were glad and excited to welcome him and they garlanded and lighted the whole city with flowers, candles and oil field lamps (Diya). Since then, it's become a tradition. The Hindus celebrate Diwali every year as a victory of good over bad and light over darkness. They clean and decorate their house, public and private places, lighting with lamp and Diyas and make a colorful Rangoli with garlands and flowers.
2. The Lord Krishna killed the Evil King Narkasur
In Western and Southern Indian states like GOA, Hindus believe that the Diwali celebration was started when Lord Krishna, the 8th incarnation of Lord Vishnu destroyed evil king Narkasura.
Narkasura was a giant, brave and powerful demon king of Pragjyotishapura, at present this place is located near the Assam state in India. He became proud, arrogant and dangerous to society and even to the gods, started kidnapping beautiful girls and forcing them to stay with him. He stole the earrings of mother of the gods (Aditi) and kidnapped 16,000 daughters of the gods. When no option was left to defeat him, then god prayed to Lord Krishna to save them. Lord Krishna granted their request and destroyed the demon king to rescued the 16,000 girls and since then this day is known as Narakchaturdashi and celebrated as, the victory of good over bad.
3. The Narsimhawatar of Hindu God Vishnu
In Southern Indian State (Tamilnadu), Hindus celebrate Diwali at the occasion of “The god Narsimha, killing the evil king Hiranyakashyap to save Prahlad”. Narsinhawatar was a lion headed man, and the fourth incarnation of Hindus, Lord Vishnu, who appeared from the wall to save his devotee Prahlad and killed the evil king Hiranyakashyap.
The story to destroy evil king Hiranyakashyap is,
Hiranyakashyap wanted to take revenge from Lord Vishnu. Because, the Lord Vishnu killed the brother of Hiranyakashyap (Hirṇayakṣa) at his previous avatar. He prayed the Lord Brahma, to get the boon for immortality. But Brahma replies that he himself is not immortal and he can't grant immortality to anyone. So he asked an indirect boon for immortality, that he can die only in certain situation which was almost impossible. According to the boon given Lord Brahma, no one will born to kill him, no any men or animal can kill him and he won’t be killed by any weapon also he can’t be killed in the battlefield, indoors or out, earth or space.
Once he got the boon and powers, he declared himself as a god and started killing, who denied his worship. When his son Prahlad (the Devotee, of lord Krishna) denied his worship, he gave him the last chance to call his god if he can save him. And when Prahalad called lord Vishnu at his last moment, then
Lord Vishnu appeared from the wall (Not born),
He was a lion headed man (No man or animal),
He didn’t defeat him in the battlefield (Was in his own home),
He didn’t used any weapon (Killed by nails),
He didn’t kill him on earth, space, air or in the battlefield (Killed him at his thigh)
And since then people started celebrating Diwali festival, as a victory of God over Evil.
4. The Birth of Goddess Lakshmi
The story started when Lord Vishnu came in the form of a giant tortoise in his second incarnation (Known as, the Kurma Avatar) to ensure the Smaudra Manthan event (churning the ocean) which was a joint effort by all the gods and evils. When Goddess Lakshmi appeared during the joint churning event of the ocean, she was so beautiful that everyone (all Gods, the evils and even Lord Vishnu) was amazed.
They stopped churning and started gazing her to get her attention. Even lord Vishnu also came out in a form of human. According to Hindu methodology this day was celebrated as the birth of goddess Laxmi who is also the goddess of wealth and prosperity. And many Hindu believe the Diwali celebration was started to welcome the goddess Laxmi.
5. Lord Vishnu Rescued the Goddess Lakshmi
When Goddess Lakshmi appeared from the sea, she was looking so beautiful that all the Gods and Devils were amazed, they stopped churning and started gazing her to get her attention. It was the accustomed during those days that a woman of marriageable age has the right, to choose her own husband (called as swayamwara). So the Gods, Evils and even Lord Vishnu gathered around her and were waiting for the Goddess to choose any one among them. The goddess smiled once and garlanded Lord Vishnu, selecting him above all the others and she married to Lord Vishnu. Hindus believe that the Diwali is a celebration the marriage of godless Laxmi and Lord Vishnu.
6. Overcoming of Mahabali by Lord Vishnu
According to the Bhagavata Purana methodology the fifth avatar of lord Vishnu the Vamana rescued Lakshmi from the prison of King Bali on the day of Diwali.
The King Bali was a powerful demon king who had a granted boon by Lord Brahma and he defeated the entire kings on earth, even he won over gods and he was ruling entire earth and heaven. On request of the Gods, Lord Vishnu came in his Vamana avatar to overcome of Mahabali. Lord Vishnu tricked the king, he masked himself to look like a short Brahmin and he approaches the king for some charity. The brave, moral and kind King accepted the request and he have to give his crown and prosperity. Many people believe that the Diwali is celebrated to reminisce the overcoming of Mahabali by Lord Vishnu.
7. Appearance of Goddess Kali
The Compilation of goddess Kali is totally mistaken in some iconography. Who associate her with death, sexuality, violence, and paradoxically in some of her later historical appearances, motherly love." Actually the world Kali is taken from the Sanskrit word that means the Time. Essentially, it was the ”KAL” that means “TIME”.
It’s not coherent to associate the word Kaali with color or complexion, the meaning of Hindi/Sanskrit word “Kala” means “Black”. The meaning of KAAL is "the one whose time is over" or "the fullness of time", you can catch it the extension of time as "that which brings all things to life or an end”. So, at some respect, it’s acceptable to call her the goddess of Death because she provides Moksha or liberation to her children with her destroyer complement Lord Shiva.
The earliest appearance of the goddess was in the form of a destroyer mainly of daemons and evil forces. Though she is worshiped all over in INDIA, but she is a most admired and worshiped in Kashmir, Kerala, South India, Assam and mainly in Bengal. The Hindus from these regions celebrate the Diwali as the occasion of first appearance of Goddess Kali.
8. The Return of the Pandavas
The five brothers Yudhisthitr, Bheem, Arjun, Nakul and Sahdev were the brave and adored prince of Hastinapur, who were known as Pandawas because they were the son of Pandu (The former king of Hastinapur). And the Duryodhan was the ambitious and brave son of governing King Dhritrashtra, who had the ambition to be the king of Hastinapur. But idyllically Yudhister (The Eldest brother of Pandavas), was the choice to be the king.
Duryodhan make a planned with the help of his maternal uncle Shakuni to get the kingdom and he invited them for a game of gambling. The Pandawas lost the game and according to the norms of gambling, the slacker was supposed to be destined for 12 years of outcast into forests and the 13th year to must be spent incognito. And if the cover be blown during the 13th year, they need to repeat the same cycle for next 13 years.
Pandawas completed the terms and returned back to the Hastinapur after 13 years, on the day of Diwali. The people of Hastinpur celebrated a festival in a fanfare of their adored princes. Since then the people from that reason started celebrating Diwali festival.
9. The Coronation of Greatest Hindu King Vikramaditya
The Vikramaditya was an intelligent, brave and legendary king of Ujjain in ancient India, who was known for his justice, bravery, kindness and courage. Also, he is known as the one of a greatest Indian king who ruled the largest empire.
He defeated the Shakas monarchs of the time and started the Vikram Samwat era in 57 BCE. And after the 9th century CE, this era was professed as "Vikrama Samvat". The King Shalivahan was the other brave and prevailing king at that time and they were the biggest rivals, their political rivalry was also extended to support of the language, the Vikramaditya was supportive for Sanskrit and Shalivahana supporting Prakrit. But lastly Vikramadiya was accomplished to transmit the Sanskrit and Vikram Samwat to further generations. And the The first day of Vikram Samwat starts, from the day of Diwali.
10. The Foundation of Jain Religion
Jainism was started from Eastern India and was introduced in 7th century BC. It was the era of religious revitalization for traditional Hinduism. The 24th and last Tirthankara, Mahavira is usually regarded as the founder of the Jain religion. He is traditionally thought to have lived from 599 to 527 BC. He bragged 14,000 monks and 36,000 nuns by the time of his death.
Jainism is based on four principals, seven concepts. Which are,
PRINCIPLES OF JAINISM: The fundamental principles of Jainism can be briefly stated as follows.
(1) Manï¿½s personality is dual: The first fundamental principle of Jainism is that manï¿½s personality is dual, that is material and spiritual.
(2) Man is not perfect: The second principle that man is not perfect is based on the first principle. The imperfectness in man is attributed to the existence of karma embodied with soul.
(3) Man is the master of his material nature: Even though man is not perfect, the third principle states that by his spiritual efforts man can and must control his material nature.
(4) Man alone is responsible for his future: The last basic principle stresses that it is only each individual that can scientifically separate his own soul from the matter combined with it.
Concept of Reality (six Entities)
Characteristics of Reality
Concept of Soul
Concept of Space
Concept of Time
Concept of Motion and Rest
Concept of Matter
Concept of Karma
11. The Enlightenment of Swami Dayananda Saraswati & The Foundation of Arya Samaj
The Dayanand Saraswati (formerly known as Mulashankar) was a Brahmin pujari from Gujrat, Tankara. He was born in 1824, and was cultured and matured as a traditional Saivite.
He left the house in search for salvation and spent fifteen years as a travelling monastic. In year 1860 he met to Swami Vrijananda in Mathura, he was a great Vedic intellectual. Swami Vrijananda depicted the devotion of his scholars, to the sunken state of Hinduism. Mulashankar became his student and accepted his implantations. From here Mulashankar became more popular as Dayanand Saraswati and he started travelling to other rest part of India to in search of cram to elite facts of the Vedas.
And he founded Arya Samaj in 1875, on the day of Diwali. He, also, started publication of the book Satyarth Prakash (The light of truth) since 1875, which he continued till 1982. His fundamental of Hinduism were largely welcomed and many people joined the Arya Samaj,
The ideology of Satyarth Prakash was,
"I accept as Dharma whatever is in full conformity with impartial justice, truthfulness and the like; that which is not opposed to the teachings of God as embodied in the Vedas. Whatever is not free from partiality and is unjust, partaking of untruth and the like, and opposed to the teachings of God as embodied in the Vedas—that I hold as adharma." "He, who after careful thinking, is ever ready to accept truth and reject falsehood; who counts the happiness of others as he does that of his own self, him I call just."
— Satyarth Prakash
The people, who joined the Arya Samaj are also celebrating thee Diwali as an occasion of establishment of Arya Samaj.
12. The foundation of Golden Temple of Sikhs in year 1577
The golden temple of Amritasar is the most religious temple for Sikhs that was established in 1589, by Guru Ramdas ji (The fourth Guru of Sikhs). The idea to create a central place of worship was presented by Guru Arjan ji. The construction of the Gurdwara (golden temple) was accomplished in 1604. Guru Arjan installed the Guru Granth Sahib in it and appointed Baba Buddha as the first Granthi (To chant it) of it in August 1604. The first massive gathering and prayer was conducted on the day of Diwali and Sikhs, also celebrate the day with Diwali.
13. Start of Hindu New Year
According to Hindu methodology the New Year starts from the day of Diwali. And Hindus, Buddhist, Jains and Sikhs celebrate it as a function, in India, Nepal, Bhutan and some other countries. Also, it’s a government’s holiday in India, for schools and some government offices. People celebrate it along with the festival of Diwali.
14. Start of Harvest cultivation in Hindu Countries
Farming is still the major occupation in India that involves more than half of the Indian population. The harvest cultivation starts in India, after Dusera festival. This is a precious and happening time for the formers and their family, when they expect to get the reward for their hard work and normally people start it with a celebration of Diwali.
15. The most pleasant weather of year
The month of October and November are preeminent time in India and best to celebrate festivals. Generally the weather in India is extreme and tropical throughout the year, but it’s pleasant during the month of October and November and most of festivals are celebrated during these months, whether Dusera and Diwali are the most celebrated festivals.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2016 Arai
Aaradhya on November 18, 2016:
Diwali is celebrated around the world by other religions also, where people have different trust to celebrate the festival. Like, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar and Suriname.