Deepavali : or Diwali is the largest and the brightest festival cheerfully celebrated all over India. It is happily announcing that the “festival of lights” is delighted by children to elders which also symbolically marks the commencing of the forthcoming New Year. “Deepavali” factually means “Row of Lights”. It signifies the victory of Goodness over Evil and Light over Darkness, accompanying the New Year.
Four Days Festival : All Hindu religious festivals are celebrated as per the Hindu lunar calendar. Deepavali is celebrated on four successive days namely the thirteenth, the fourteenth and the fifteenth day or new moon day of the dark fortnight of the Hindu lunar month Ashwini and the first day of the bright fortnight of the Hindu lunar month Kārtika. These four days generally fall in the English calendar month of October or November or both. This year it is in November.
First day of Diwali : Is called Dhanteras or Dhanatrayodashī: It falls on the 13th day of the dark fortnight of the Hindu lunar month Ashwini. Dhanteras is very significant for the people in trade and business, as they worship their treasuries on this day, and Vaidyas known as Ayurveda doctors also worship Deity Dhanvantari on this day.
The second Day of Diwali : Is called Narakchaturdashī: It falls on the 14th day of the dark fortnight of the Hindu lunar month Ashwini. This day has been celebrated in regular since Sri Krishna killed the evil demon Narakasura.
The Third Day of Diwali : Is called Sri Lakshmi puja: It falls on the new moon day of the dark fortnight of the Hindu lunar month Ashwini. On this day, rituals worshipping Goddess Sri Lakshmi known for the Goddess of Wealth are carryout to drive off poverty.
The Fourth Day of Diwali : Is called Balipratipadyami: It falls on the 1st day of the bright fortnight of the Hindu lunar month Kārtika. It is celebrated to represents Lord Sri Maha Vishnu’s conquest over the demon king, Bali chakravarthy.
On eve of Diwali night, people clean, restore and beautify their homes, workplace and offices. On Diwali night, they all wear new clothes, light up jyothis or lamps and candles inside and outside their homes, join in family pujas, celebrations, enjoy feasts with families and friends, exchange greetings, wishes, gifts and bursting crackers, fireworks, etc.
There is substantial variant in regional performs and customs. Depending on the province, prayers are offered in front of one or more deities, with most often being Goddesses Lakshmi, representation for Goddess of wealth, light, fortune and wisdom, besides Ganapathi the “Remover of Obstacles” and the “Lord of Beginnings”.
Here I quoted the words of Sri H. H. Pande Maharaj, Akola, India.
Diwali symbolises this conquest of Divine thoughts over evil tendencies. Today, unfortunately, Diwali is celebrated just as a cultural festival, without an understanding of its spiritual context.
However, if people learn, appreciate and understand this spiritual context then all the ills in society; caused by spiritual ignorance, carnal and bad tendencies would reduce and even the dominance of immoral people over the pious masses will subside.
Therefore, igniting the flame of one’s soul with spiritual passion, by reducing all worldly attachments can be known as true “Diwali.” The increased power of piousness will lend happiness to everyone. This is possible by sacrificing our carnal pleasures without any expectations. The Upanishads have advised to seek pleasure in the reduction of that very pleasure itself!
O God, through this Diwali, please light the bright flame of doing every action without any expectations in our hearts. We have surrendered ourselves unto you completely. Please give us the spiritually pure (Sattvik) intellect (sadbuddhi) and strength to spread these noble thoughts to everyone so that we can become like a single earthen lamp that ignites multiple lamps around it. Through this we would be graced to celebrate ‘Diwali ‘in its truest purpose and spirit. I wish everybody a Blissful Diwali!”
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