DIWALI – A SACRED FESTIVAL OF LIGHT AND SOUND: HAPPY DIWALI ON 19TH OCTOBER 2017
Literally, the word DEEPAVALI OR DEEPVALI means (deep – light and vali a row and together it means a row of lights) – a light which enlightens spirits and broadens our strength of mind.
PRECURSOR TO DIWALI
Apart from blessed thoughts which emanate from the inner recesses of our heart, the enthusiasts besides lighting their homes and hearths also make sure that their houses are spruced up for inviting the blessings of Maa Lakshmi, the Lordess of wealth and wellbeing. For this purpose, we can say with fair amount of certainty that Swachchta (cleanliness) has its own reward. Not only our houses, we clean up our surroundings too and for this purpose, Swachch Bharat Abhiyan has done much. Need is to keep not merely ourselves but also clean up our environment. For this, use of crackers which produce huge amounts of pollutants should not be used. It would be in the fitness of things to confine ourselves to lighting our houses to the best way possible. Deepavali is more of the festival of light than of the sounds generated by exploding of crackers.
SWACHCHTA OF BODY & MIND THERE SHOULD BE CHABAACHCHTA OF HOMES
It is not merely Swachchta of our homes and surrounds, the DIWALI LIGHTS, by the grace of LORD RAMA should bring the purity of our body, mind, and soul so that we live a spiritually oriented life for a better living. Lord Rama’s philosophy of compassion for all; RAMA RAJYA (based on the righteous rule) should be the exhortation for all of us. One man’s celebration should not be the lamentation for others.
A STERLING EXAMPLE OF OBEDIENCE
The king of Ayodhya Dhashratha had extracted a solemn pledge to his wife Kakeyi that she could ask for redemption of two boons or promises, at a time of her likings. She had saved the life of king Dasaratha while on a hunting trip in the jungle. She was given promise that she could realize those boons whenever she wanted. While there was news that the king wanted Ramji to be crowned as the of Ayodhya, Manthra the maidservant of KaIkeyi poisoned the ears of the queen Kaikeyi and exhorted her to ask for the realization of two promises given to her by the king.
TWO PROMISES WERE EXTRACTED BY QUEEN KAIKEYI
First making Bharata (Kaikeyi’s son) the king of Ayodhya 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 (Crowning of Bharata and 14 years exile for Rama). Rama did not say even a single word. On the other hand, in order to comply with the directive of his father, 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 Lakshmana the son of Sumitra) too wanted to accompany Rama. This is a fine example of obedience to the orders of elders in the family. Our youth should imbibe this exceptional trait of Lord Rama and thus follow a righteous path in our life.
WELCOMING LORD RAMA WITH IMMENSE ENTHUSIASM
After the expiry of Lord Ram’s 14 long years of exile, winning over the ‘Sone Ki Lanka – GOLDEN LANKA’ and killing of demon king Ravana with it all his evil Karmic deeds; Lord Rama, accompanied by his brother Lakshmana 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.
It falls two days prior to Diwali. Dhan means wealth and teras mean the 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 pooja (worship – the God of death) for ensuring sound health and wellbeing with his blessings.
THOUGHTS ON DIWALI
The love between the brothers. As Bharata came to know about the 14 years’ exile to Rama and crowning for himself, he felt very disappointed. He flatly refused to be crowned 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 the ruler as adharam (irreligiosity). He even went to the jungles in order to persuade Rama and Lakshmana to come back to Ayodhya but Rama did not agree to this because of the promise was given to his father. This is also termed as Bharata Milap (meeting of Rama and Bharata).
Finally, he extracted a promise from Ramji that on his return back after 14 years’ exile, he will take the reigns as a ruler. 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 to good relations in our families.
BEING KNOWLEDGEABLE DOES NOT MEAN HAVING WISDOM. 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 fingertips but he is taken in the 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 the 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.
GAMBLING ON THE DAY O DIWALI. 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 hearts on this day and have to fend for themselves. This is bad. Tradition is OK, but the excess of everything is bad – should never be forgotten.
It should never be forgotten that when tradition marries with modernity, may it be the 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 to forget that celebration should never be individualistic in nature. When all are happy then celebration gives more satisfaction. May it be the celebration of Diwali, Christmas Day, EID or any other religious day – when all accompany us, celebration becomes more meaningful and eventful in the 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. The Apex Court has rightly imposed the ban on cracker sales in Delhi-NCR.
DIWALI – A FESTIVAL OF LIGHT
A festival celebrated by the devout
They tastefully illuminate their homes
Which look so dazzling
In the darkest Amavasya night
Amidst the crackers bursting
That too, having cleaned our homes and surroundings
And also providing us opportunity for introspection
And finding out our negative aspects
Like greed, anger, lust, and jealousy
Then do everything possible for cleansing our mind and body
Off obsolete detestable thoughts
Which have made residency in our mindset
Preceding Diwali days
Provide us ample time for cleaning everything’s
So that Diwali bestows our opportunity to live aesthetically
And fill the people with unending love and huge satiety
With the bountiful graces of the Lordess Devi Lakshmi
Who fulfills the needs of all
Without even an iota o bias.
In the end memories of return of Lord Rama
To the kingdom of Ayodhya
Ater 14 years’ of exile
As per the wishes of his father
The king Dasaratha of Ayodhya.
Whilst away from his kingdom and dear subjects
And bereft of lavishness and comforts of palace
He withstood toil and retribution
In the forests with no inhibition
Subsisted merely on wild herbs
Obtained from the woods
Filled with wild animals and demons
With his consort Sitaji and brother Lakshmanji along
He neutralized many demons
Demons who desecrated and defiled the religious places
Of worship of hermits, who worshipped God
These demons respected no natural laws
Of humanity and only obeyed the dictates
Of demon king Ravana of Lanka
Who abducted, with utter deceit, Sita Mata
Lord Rama invaded Lanka, 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 of which Lord Vishu
Had taken Ram’s Avtar.
People decorate their houses tastefully
To welcome the Lordess of Wealth and Wellbeing,
The Mother Lakshmi, the most benevolent one.
Fire-works and lighted earthen wicks
Are lined up, so stylishly and systematically
The houses are lighted nicely
There is atmosphere of happiness all around
Business people worship their books of accounts
And pray for peace and prosperity for the days to come
People celebrate Diwali happily
With traditional fervor and gaiety
By praying at the religious places
With a sincere prayer for their happiness
And those of their nears and dears
It is the festival whence air of goodwill prevails all around,
Good wishes and greetings along with sweets are exchanged
For each others’ well-being and prosperity
People light the wicks in rows tastefully
Burst crackers to celebrate joyfully
Yet, we ought to realize the importance of pollution free atmosphere
To rid the world off gases most poisonous
And celebrate every day with the feeling of Diwali – so joyous.
O my dearest Lord
And Mother Divine
Be gracious in Showering Thy bounties
So that all ills and intolerances are neutralized,
Like the demons done to death by Lord Rama,
So that every day may be like a Diwali Day,
For the celebration with enthusiasm and gaiety.