By: Dipak Kurmi
The Earth comes alive during a festival that illuminates both its surface and the skies, filling the world with boundless joy. Deepavali, the Festival of Lights, transforms the entire landscape of India into a realm adorned with countless lamps. With its captivating charm, grandeur, and splendor, this festival has the power to illuminate not just the surroundings but also our minds and hearts. It serves as a beacon for promoting essential values like peace, harmony, and brotherhood in society. Deepavali stands as a unifying force, bringing together people of every religion, every home, and every heart.
The festival holds profound spiritual significance as it essentially signifies the Awareness of the Inner Light. In essence, it is a celebration that marks the awakening and awareness of the Inner Light – a force capable of illuminating the darkness and dispelling all obstacles in life.
Deepavali, literally translating to a row or array of lights, is celebrated on the thirteenth/fourteenth day in the dark half of the Kartika Masa (October – November). Despite occurring on the darkest night of the darkest period, it is a celebration of light. Like every festival in India, Deepavali holds its own inner significance beyond the rituals of lighting diyas, wearing new clothes, exchanging sweets, and bursting crackers.
Diwali’s essence is encapsulated in the sloka, ‘Tamaso ma jyotirgamaya,’ translating to “Lead me from darkness to light.” In the same spirit, Diwali calls upon us to illuminate the lamps of happiness, prosperity, and knowledge, dispelling sorrow, poverty, and disease in the process.
The Vedanta instructs every devout Hindu to fill their heart with the oil of love, ignite the wick with the knowledge of Truth, and dispel ignorance. It emphasizes the idea that, akin to a Diya lighting many others, we can ignite the light in numerous hearts.
The legends of Diwali include the tale of Lord Krishna slaying the demon Narakasura to liberate the Gopikas. This narrative symbolizes the imperative to combat the evil or demonic forces within ourselves by steadfastly following the path of righteousness.
The festival of Diwali serves as a poignant reminder for each of us that life transcends a mere journey; it is a continuous quest for truth and knowledge.
Unity in Diversity is reflected in the legends surrounding Diwali, highlighting the profound philosophical truths of the Vedas. The Festival of Diwali not only binds people together but also serves as a synthesis of spirituality, religion, culture, and social values.
In Northern India, the Festival of Lights is celebrated to commemorate the return of Lord Ram to Ayodhya alongside Seeta and brother Lakshman after a 14-year exile. Conversely, in South India, it signifies the victory of Lord Krishna over the demon Narakasura. Ultimately, both instances serve as a reminder of the imperative to eradicate evil forces and fortify the divine forces.
In Western India, Diwali is linked to the legend that narrates how Lord Vishnu, in his 5th incarnation as Vamana, rescued Lakshmi from the prison of King Bali on this day. This narrative provides another reason for the worship and invocation of Goddess Lakshmi during Diwali.
The epic Mahabharata recounts a legend stating that on Karthik Amavasya, the Pancha Pandavas returned from their 12 years of exile. On this day, those who cherished the Pandavas celebrated by illuminating thousands of earthen lamps and distributing sweets.
The greatest Hindu king Vikramaditya was coroneted on the day of Diwali, according to historical records. This fact elevates the festival to a historic significance, transcending its status from merely mythological.
The festival of Diwali holds immense significance for Jains, as it is believed that on this day, Lord Mahaveera attained Nirvana or eternal bliss.
The Sikhs find a reason to celebrate Diwali as historical accounts reveal that on this auspicious day, Guru Hargobind, the Sixth Sikh Guru, was liberated from the captivity of Jahangir, the Mughal Emperor. Additionally, Sikhs commemorate Diwali to mark the laying of the foundation stone for the Golden Temple in 1577.
Diwali is that festival when sweets persistently tempt us. Undoubtedly, if there is one festival that boasts loads and loads of sweets, it is Deepavali, which is just incomplete without them. Sweet boxes are generously exchanged among friends and relatives, contributing in a way towards harmonious co-existence.
In the modern-day world, Diwali celebrations are not confined to India but are embraced by Indians across the globe with the same festive spirit. It plays a crucial role in fostering a sense of brotherhood, encouraging people to come together and celebrate the festival regardless of their background.
The divine light burns within us and all around us. Let this Diwali bring joy and happiness abounds for humanity by dispelling the darkness of ignorance and many more evils that are creating havoc on mankind.
Let the Lights of Happiness spread across the globe.
The knowledge is all about discovering our infinite potential and dispelling ignorance. Diwali is also resplendent with the dawn of knowledge through the inner light, signifying the enlightenment of the soul.
The Spiritual Factor: The Vedanta instructs every devout Hindu to fill their heart with the oil of love, light the wick with the knowledge of Truth, and ward off ignorance. It further states that we can kindle light in many hearts, just like a Diya that can light many Diyas. (The writer can be reached at email@example.com)