DIWALI – FESTIVAL OF LIGHT
Celebrated on the return of Lord Rama
To his kingdom of Ayodhya,
After 14 years’ of exile,
To fulfil the wishes of his father,
The King Dhashratha of Ayodhya,
Whilst away from his kingdom and dear subjects,
He withstood toil and tribulation,
In the forests with no habitation,
Subsisted merely on wild herbs,
With his consort Sitaji and brother Lakshmanji along,
He neutralized many a demons,
Demons who desecrated the religious places,
Of worship of hermits,
These demons respected no rules,
Of humanity and had their writ,
Of the demon King Ravana,
Who abducted, with deceit, Sita Mata,
Lord Rama invaded the fiefdom of Ravana,
There ensued a battle, so violent,
In which Lord Rama decimated Ravana’s arrogance
And with it his wickedness, for good,
From the Mother Earth,
The purpose for which Lord Vishu,
Had taken Ram’s Avtar.
People spruce up their houses tastefully
To welcome the Lordess of Wealth and Wellbeing,
The Mother Lakshmi, the benevolent one,
Fire-works and lighted earthen wicks lined, so stylishly,
The houses are lighted nicely,
There is atmosphere of happiness all around
Business people worship their books of accounts,
And pray for prosperity for the days to come,
People celebrate Diwali,
With traditional fervor and gaiety,
By praying at the temples,
With a pray for their welfare.
And those of their nears and dears.
It is the festival whence goodwill prevails all around,
Good wishes and greetings along with sweets are exchanged,
For each others’ prosperity and good omen.
O my dearest Lord,
And Mother Divine,
Shower Thy graces,
To one and all – without bias,
So that all ills and intolerances are neutralized,
Like the demons done to death by Lord Rama,
So that everyday may be like a Diwali Day,
For celebration with enthusiasm and gaiety.
DEEPVALI / DIWALI – A SACRED FESTIVAL OF LIGHT AND SOUND
Literally, the word DEEPVALI means (deep – light and vali a row and together it means a row of lights)
After the expiry of Lord Ram’s 14 long years of exile, winning over the ‘Sone Ki Lanka – GOLDEN LANKA’ and killing the demon king Ravana with it all his evil Karmic deeds; Lord Rama, accompanied with his brother Lashmana and Sita and all his followers including Hanumanji (a reservoir of strength, knowledge and intelligence, courageous but without even a touch of pride, an epitome of Bhakti and Shakti – despite all these qualities he considered himself to be the humble servant of Lord Rama).
When Lord Rama reached Ayodhya, he was accorded a rousing reception / welcome by the happy populace there. They welcomed all by lighting their homes and streets of Ayodhya with earthen wicks. The righteous emperor Bharata, the virtuous one coroneted his elder brother Rama to the throne of Ayodhya.
Dhanteras : It falls two days prior to Diwali. Dhan means wealth and teras means thirteenth day as per Hindu Calendar. On this day, devout purchase gold, silver ornaments / coins or any other precious metal or utensils as per the propensity of the person concerned. Maa Lakshmi – the Goddess of Wealth and wellbeing is worshiped on this day. Also Kuber, the treasurer of gold and silver is also worshipped. On this day, houses and business established are spruced up for the ongoing Diwali. It is also accompanied with Yama poojan (worship – the God of death) for ensuring sound health and wellbeing with his blessings.
THOUGHTS ON DIWALI
A Sterling Example of Obedience. The king of Ayodhaya Dhashratha, had made a solemn pledge to his wife Kakto ask for two boons or promises when she had saved him from a certain critical situation. She was given promises she could realize those boons whenever she wanted. While there was a strong news that the king wanted Ramji to be coroneted as the king, Manthra the maid servant of KaIkeyi poisoned the ears of the queen Kaikeyi and exhorted her to ask for realization of two promises given to her by the king.
First the coronation for Bharata (Kaikeyi’s son) and second, 14 years’ exile for Rama (the son of Kaushilya). As there was the dictum in the family since ages together: – Raghukul Reet Sada Chali Aayi Puran Jaaye Par Bachan Na Jaye (There is a tradition in Raghukul that they will prefer death to break a promise), so Ayodhya king had to concede the demands of Kaikeyi though with heavy heart/ grudgingly.
After hearing about the turn of events (Coronation for Bharata and exile for him), Rama did not say even a single word. Contrarily, he put on his the simplest dress to depart for exile, thus obeying the directive of his father without demur or reservation. Sitaji (consort of Ramji and Lakshamana (the son of Sumitra) too wanted to accompany Rama. This is a fine example of obedience of the orders of elders in the family. We ought to imbibe this fine trait of Lord Rama and thus follow a righteous path in our life.
Fine example of cohesion in the family. As Bharata came to know about the 14 years’ exile to Rama and coronation for himself, he felt very disappointed. He flatly refused to be crowed as a king of Ayodhya in the absence of elder brother Rama and Lakshmana. No arguments of any sort could placate him. He thought this act of being emperor as adharam (irreligiosity). He even went to the jungles in order to persuade Rama and Lakshmana to persuade them to come back to Ayodhaya but Rama did not agree to this because of the promise of his father. This is termed as Bharat Milap.
Finally, he extracted a promise from Ramji that on his return back from 14 years’ exile, he will take the reigns as an emperor. Such was the love between the brothers – an unparallel one. Rama’s love for Bharta was also an example that ought to be followed by brothers now for ensuring goodwill in our families. Wealth or any other consideration should not be an impediment for a good relations in our families.
Ravana the Demon King was most Learned Demon King. Ravana, the son of Vishwashrava (A Brahman rishi) and his mother Kaikasi (from a demon family) was a scholarly person who had the knowledge of Vedas and other scriptures at his finger tips but he is taken in negative light because he did not make use of this knowledge for the benefit of demon clan. But Ravana was intoxicated with his prowess and knowledge. So much so he was swayed by ego that he stooped to abducting Sita Mata the consort of Lord Rama – an evil act. It goes to prove that if we do not use the knowledge with sagacity, we sure will fall prey to unethical karma leading to our sure downfall.
Kuber Puja. Kuber is the step brother of Ravana and is considered as the treasurer of wealth. It is believed amongst the devout that worship of Lord Kubera, especially on the auspicious day of Diwali, brings affluence and progress in business. Just as we can have fresh water from the fresh water reservoir, we can have Lord Kubera’s blessings if we pray sincerely and work hard for that. Meaning, he bequeaths wealth if we sincerely do our karma as per the natural laws. His graces those who resort to right karma and possess right attitude in life. Kubera pooja is done on Diwali Day so that there is sufficiency of everything for meeting the needs of our family.
Lordess Lakshmi & Lord Ganesha Pooja. Diwali is considered complete without first inviting Lord Ganesha because He is an embodiment of good beginning and removes obstacles besides being the Lord of Wisdom. Lordess Lakshmi represents wealth and well being. On the auspicious day of Diwali, both of the deities share a single altar thus ensuring blessings of the both. The former is taken as Lordess of wealth and the latter as the bestower of prosperity.
Playing Gamble on Diwali Day. A legend has it that on Diwali Day Goddess Parvati played dice with Lord Shiva and He ordained that anyone who gambled on this day, prosperity will smile on that person. This tradition continues even today. But some unscrupulous / unethical people just gamble away their homes and hearths on this day and have to fend for themselves. This is bad. Tradition is OK, but excess of everything is bad – should never be forgotten.
It should never be forgotten that when tradition marries with modernity, may it be celebration of festivals or any other day, we consider this as a pious and worth celebrating, it gives us feeling of wellness amongst our fellow beings. But one thing we ought not forget that celebration should never be individualistic in nature. When all are happy then celebration gives more satisfaction. May it be celebration of Diwali, Christmas Day, EID or any other religious day – when all accompany us, celebration becomes more meaningful and eventful in true sense of terms.
Message: Care to be taken that the crackers used (if at all) should be of low intensity and should produce less no or less noise or air pollution.