Diwali is a short name for Deepavali.
Deepavali is the festival of Lights. The word ‘Deepavali’ is made up of two simple words. ‘Deepa’ means light and ‘Avali’ means a row. Hence ‘Deepavali’ means a row of lights.
It could also be Deepaavali-Deepam+Aavali=Deepaavali.In Sanskrit Deepam=Lights–Aavali=A garland-as in Ratnaavali=a garland of precious 9 gems(Nava Ratnam).Deepaavali=A garland of lights= Diwali is a festival of the light which dispels the darkness of our ignorance and lights the way through the jungle that we call life.
The festival is associated with many legends and beliefs. One of them is to commemorate the killing of Narakasura, a notorious demon, by Lord Krishna. Narakasura, because of his previous store of virtue, had been granted a boon at the moment of his death. He asked that his death might ever be, commemorated as a day of feasting. Hence Deepavali is known as ‘Naraka Chaturdasi’ Krishna proclaimed Narakasura’s son Bhagadatta as his father’s successor.
It is believed that Narakasura lived in a place called Pragjyotishapura, which is known as ‘Assam State’ today.
What is interesting to know is that when Krishna wanted to wage war against Narakasura, Krishna’s wife Satyabhama, who was adept in archery, wanted to join her husband…and she did.
The fireworks that are burst during Deepavali symbolize the use of fiery weapons used during the war that Krishna waged against the demon. Amongst the North Indians it is believed that Deepavali is the day on which Sri Ram returned from His 14 years of exile in the forest, after having got rid of various demons who made life hell for the sages and common people. Deepavali symbolizes the victory of good over evil, and it celebrates the triumphant return of Sri Ram to His Kingdom. People rejoice by burning earthen oil lamps to welcome Sri Ram back to His throne.
On Deepavali day, the members of the mercantile community open and worship new account books and ledgers. This is because during Deepavali the Sun enters its second course and passes Libra, which is represented by the ‘Balance’ or ‘Scale’.
During Deepavali, spring cleaning is done as it is believed that the Goddess of Wealth Laxmi would enter a clean and cheerful house. Plenty of long-lost items are found and a lot of dirt is removed from the house.
How much we care to cast away the rubbish that stirs up trouble within us, is a matter to consider. By lighting lamps in our home, let us strive to dispel the spiritual darkness that we seem to be seeped in, and let us make our heart a place in which Sri Ram may reign and bring about peace love and prosperity. A true Ram-Rajya, the All-Around Auspicious Kingdom of Sri Ram. Happy Diwali
Sudhamahi Reghunathan (Excerpts)
When darkness of the night gives way to the new dawn on Naraka Chaturdasi, Deepavali is celebrated in South India.
What is the legend behind the Deepavali celebrations in the south? Narakasura was the son of Bhoodevi or Mother Earth and Lord Vishnu, the Protector, in his incarnation on earth as the wild boar — Varaha avatar.
Perfect lineage, one would think. But misplaced maternal affection was detrimental. Bhoodevi is believed to have asked her divine husband to make her son invincible. The busy father who had to return to the heavens to attend to his duties and an overworked mother bearing the burden of so many people tended to indulge the son more than necessary. The result? Narakasura turned out to be a demon, and along with his friend, Bana the Asura, he created a lot of trouble.
Narakasura wreaked havoc on earth. Soon his father, Vishnu, was invoked to save the people and the story is that Bhoodevi herself — in the form of Satyabhama, Krishna’s consort — had to put an end to Narakasura’s life.
Narakasura, on the one hand, symbolises power. On the other hand, he represents every one of us: a combination of the divine and the mortal. If we misuse the powers given to us, we are killing ourselves: Satyabhama killing Narakasura is symbolic of an environmental impasse, when the earth reaches the limits of endurance.
One can discern a message: Live in harmony with the environment. For when we don’t, then even the earth that harbours life might one day be forced to destroy it.
There is also the strong message that to be powerful is not enough. It has to be supported with values that sustain it. Armed with this realisation a new day, a new year is ushered in.
Festivals are primarily social events that are designed to bring people together. In India, not just stellar movements, even agrarian and seasonal activities lend themselves to festivity. Deepavali came at a time when the rainy season had given way to autumn. The traders had once again to commence their long distance travel with their entourage of scholars, holy men and their other companions from different walks of life. Therefore, a new calendar year was born. There was the need to invest in celebration of life itself and reaffirm one’s values and commitments…
What makes the Diwali Dawn special?Every morning, as dawn breaks with the rising sun, hope re-emerges with a new resplendence. When darkness of the night gives way to the new dawn on Naraka Chaturdasi, Deepavali is celebrated in south India.
The dawn is the most powerful part of the day. Celebrated in the Vedas as Ushas, the dawn is symbolised as a beautiful maiden who is dynamic, who wards off evil spirits and illumines new paths. In all the Vedas, Ushas, daughter of Heaven, is portrayed as the medium of all awakening and activity; she is the first condition of Vedic realisation. By her increasing illumination the whole nature of man is clarified, and we arrive at the Truth and enjoy the beatitude.
In order to make the Deepavali dawn special, certain rituals are observed by all members of the family. It is believed that the river goddess Ganga comes to reside in all waters in the special day so as to have a purify effect on those who bathe in the early hours. Goddess Lakshmi is believed to manifest in the oil that is used to massage the scalp and body before the “Ganga snaan” or holy oil bath. New clothes are worn, symbolising fresh and new aspirations and determination. The external state of preparedness is set to match the internal state of realisation.
First, one oil lamp is lit so as to carry the light of realisation that the dawn gave you through the darkest of nights, and then from that flame, other lamps are lit.
Sudhamahi Reghunathan (Excerpts)
There are various days celebrated along with Diwali.
The Gujaratis and Rajasthanis celebrate Wagh Baras three days before Diwali. This day signifies the importance of women…
Dhanteras comes from the word ‘dhan’ meaning wealth. People buy gold and/or silver or utensils…
Lord Yama is worshipped on this day for prosperity and well-being…
The next day is Kali Chaudas for Gujaratis, Rajasthanis and even a few Maharashtrians. Kal meaning dark Chaudasi , fourteenth is celebrated on the fourteenth day of Ashwin month according to the Hindu Calender and it is devoted to the worship of Maha Kali or Shakti. It is believed that on this day Goddess Kali killed the wicked Raktaveeja…
On the day prior to Diwali Samudra Manthan took place…
The day after Diwali Bhai Beej or Bhau Dooj. On this day it is believed that Yamraj went to visit his sister and from then on all sisters pray for their brother well being…
Info taken from Downtown plus Oct 26, 2008
The Flame of the Diyas
Diwali falls during a dark period of a year. While most of us pray during this time, negative practices are also prevalent during this time. The best way to dispel negative influences is to light candles, or as is the practice amongst us Hindus, Diyas. Why is the fire worshipped by all the religions in one form or another? Let me share with you what I have learned.
While water finds its level by moving downwards, fire does quite the opposite. Even if you hang a lamp upside down, the flame will rise upwards. Human nature tends to be like water, flowing to lower levels. The flame that we light reminds us to soar upwards.
As one moves forward on the Spiritual path, the darkness of ignorance is replaced by the Light of knowledge. The flame in this case is symbolic of this light which brightens as we journey within.
Tapa in Sindhi means fever. It also stands for fire and penance. Fire destroys the impure. The flame of the fire reminds us of the fact that we should cleanse ourselves of all impurity of our ego and attachments, until only the purity of our soul remains
It is said by Mystics that he who loses his ego will cease to be. The fire rises towards the sky and vanishes.
Not only does the fire vanish as it rises, but after burning the fuel, it becomes silent. Isn’t that what we are meant to become after, burning all our desires and attachments to falsehood?
So this Diwali, as you shop for Diyas, ponder upon its flame’s spiritual nature. It will not only beautify and brighten your home, but will remind you of the transformations that it is meant to bring within.
Thought Three (For 2001)
One worships Laxmi, the Goddess of Wealth on Diwali day.
Allow me to introduce to you, Her various manifestations.
- It is stated in the Scriptures that MahaLaxmi accepted Lord Vishnu as her spouse on this day.
- MahaLaxmi is also known as “Sri” or “Kamla”
- In the Rigveda, MahaLaxmi is called “Hiranyavarna” which means that she radiates a golden lustre. She is full of Grace and She is very beautiful!
- There are about 100 manifestations of Goddess Laxmi.
- Eight manifestations (AshtaLaxmi) of MahaLaxmi are traditionally worshipped.
- Adi Laxmi: She emerged from the Ocean with the pot of Nectar in Her hands.
- Dhanya Laxmi: She grants abundance in sustenance, eg: food.
- Dhairya laxmi: She provides patience during difficult times.
- Gaja Laxmi: This is the most popular manifestation of the Goddess MahaLaxmi which comes to our homes in the form of Greeting cards. She has 2 elephants behind Her. She is seated, or stands on a lotus with 8 petals.
- Santana Laxmi: For married bliss and children.
- Vijay Laxmi: Grants success to undertakings.
- Vidya Laxmi: Gives knowledge and success in studies.
- Dhana Laxmi: She showers wealth.
The above explains why account books are worshipped by the business community on Diwali.
On Diwali day, the sun has a weak position. It is Kartik Amaavasya. A new moon day.
Deeyas and lamps are lit to rejoice over the Victorious homecoming of Shri Ram after spending 14 years in the forest.
Fire is worshipped by almost all religions as the element that wards off negativity.
So light lamps not only in your homes, but in your hearts.
Maha Laxmi mostly wears red. Red is the color of action, and Mother is the Goddess of prosperity. The message is that to obtain true prosperity in life, we must engage in action.
Perform your pujas with faith and devotion and don’t worry too much if you do not do it very correctly. Say ‘Haraye Namaha’ 3 times. That takes care of all the mistakes that you may have committed knowingly or unknowingly during the ritual. What is most important is your faith and love.
Below I offer you Laxmi mantras for you to choose from.. Choose them according to your Lagna (Ascending sign)
For that you may have to check your Hindu horoscope.
MESHA LAGNA—— —- EIM KLEEM SAUHA
VRISHABH LAGNA——-AUM EIM KLEEM SHREEM
MTHUN LAGNA———–AUM KLEEM EIM SAUHA
KARKA LAGNA————AUM EI KLEEM SHREEM
SIMHA LAGNA————AUM HEEM SHREEM SAUHA
KANYA LAGNA—-AUM SHREEM EIM SAUN (N has a nasal sound)
TULA LAGNA—————AUM HEEM KLEE SHREE
VRISHCHIK LAGNA——-AUM EIM KLEE SAUHA
DHANU LAGNA————-AUM HEE KLEE SAUHA
MAKAR LAGNA————-AUM EIM KLEEM HEEM SHREEM SAUHA
KUMBHA LAGNA———–AUM HEE EIM KLEE SHREEM
MEEN LAGNA—————-AUM HEE KLEE SAUHA
I learned a very nice 2 minute meditation which I would like to share with you this Diwali.
Close your eyes take a few deep breaths until you feel relaxed.
Imagine yourself in the center of your house.
Now ‘see’ the walls expand and the ceiling disappear.
See MahaLaxmi standing above you in all Her Glory!
She is showering you with wealth, health, happiness and anything else that your heart desires. Look at Her and thank Her.
Then gradually allow the walls and the ceiling to return to position.
Open your eyes when you are ready.
May the Goddess bless you this festive season!
I received the following note from the internet…shall be happy to give credit where it is due…
Today, we have unfortunately lowered the status of Lakshmi Devi to that of a banker. In reality, her name stems from the word, ˜Laksh”, meaning,˜ the goal”, implying that she stands for the ultimate goal of perfection that human beings can reach. The wealth that she has to offer is of knowledge and virtues; a divine character alone can attain prosperity (material and otherwise) and peace. Homes are cleaned thoroughly in her honour, but we forget that a clean mind and intellect are the easiest ways to attract her.
Sweets (maintaining loving relationships), new clothes (discarding everything old), new account books (settling karmic accounts), fireworks (burning evil off) and other, interesting rituals prepare us spiritually for the New Year or Age. The darkness of ignorance cannot remain; our deep desire to create a world of happiness will become a reality. The key lies in lighting a single diya – my own spiritual awareness – and then….
Jyot se Jyot Jagaate Chalo