Deepavali or the Festival of Lights is an important and popular festival and one of the four main festivals celebrated In India. Deepavali. "Deepavali" derived from Sanskrit Deepa = lamp, awali = row, line, when It literally translated means "Row of Lights". It means "row of lighted lamps" or the Festival of lights. It celebrates the victory of goodness over evil, light over darkness. During Deepavali people pray to Lakshmi, Goddess of wealth, light, prosperity and wisdom, but also to God Ganesha, the 'Remover of Obstacles' or the 'Lord of Beginnings'. Deepavali is associated with many legends.
Legends of Deepavali:-
There are many festivals in India. Some festivals are celebrated in certain regions, like Holi in Northern India, Onam in Kerala. However, Deepavali is the only festival that is celebrated across the country, by everyone without distinction of class and creed with slightly different set of rituals and customs. This slight deviance in the set of rituals and celebrations of this festival is due to the prevalent legends of the specific regions and states. The reason for celebrating Diwali in North India is based on the return of Lord Ram from exile to Ayodhya. But in South India the legend is of Krishna defeating demon Naraka with the help of Satyabhama.And an another legend says that Goddess lakshmi emerged from Ksheera Sagara (Ocean of Milk).
The festival is actually celebrated over a period of five days. First Day - Dhanatrayodashi" or "
The first day is called the Dhanatrayodashi" or "
The second day is called Narak Chaturdashi. Demon named Narakasur who had managed to acquire such awesome powers that he began to terrorize the three worlds. He was killed and defeated by Lord Krishna. As a symbol of that victory Lord Krishna smeared his forehead with the demon king's blood. Krishna returned home early morning on the day of Narakachaturdashi. The womenfolk massaged scented oil on his body and gave him a bath to wash away the demon's blood. Since then the custom of taking an oil bath before dawn on this day has become a traditional practice especially in Maharashtra and in the South. Normally according to dharma shastram, one is not supposed to take an oil bath before sunrise on any day. But on Deepavali, there is an exemption. People get up early in the morning and have an oil bath in hot water especially before sunrise. This is equated to having a bath in the Ganges. On Deepavali chathurdashi day, Mahalakshmi resides in gingelly oil and Ganges resides in water until sunrise. So we get the blessings of Mahalakshmi as well by doing this.This is clearly mentioned in Tula puranam.
The thrid day is called Diwali. On this day Mother Lakshmi emerged from the ocean of milk called the Ksheer Sagar. She brought with Her wealth and prosperity for mankind. On that day, Lakshmi Pooja was performed to honour Her and as such, every year on Diwali day, Hindus perform Her prayer and worship. On this day, Lakshmi Pooja was performed and the making and distribution of various sweets and total vegetarian foods are the special of the day. Many people believe that Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth and good fortune, visit the homes of devotees on this day. Worship of Lakshmi is performed in the pradosha time of the deepavali which is considere as very auspicious.
The fourth day is called Govardhan Puja is dedicated to the Govardan Mountain near Mathura, which was lifted by Lord Krishna to save the people of Braj from heavy rains and flood created by Lord Indra. Apart from worship of Lord Krishna and Govardhan Mountain, people perform Govardhan Pradakshina, circumambulating the hill is an important event on the day.Bali Padyami in south India is the day when King Bali rules the world with blessings of Sri Hari Vishnu. It is observed on the first day of the Kartik Maasa in the traditional calendar followed in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. On the day people remember King Bali and pray for the return of prosperity that existed during his rule. Exchanging gifts on this day is a major highlight. Bali Padyami is the half muhurta among the three and a half auspicious muhurtas in a year. One need not look for auspicious time on the day. There is a popular belief that what ever is gifted on the day will be returned manifold with the blessings of Lord Vishnu.
The fifth day of Diwali celebrations is known as Yama Dvitiya, or Yam Dwitiya - a symbol of love between brothers and sisters. The day is observed as Bhai Dhooj or in North India and Yama Dvitiya is the name used popularly in South India. The legend of Yam Dwitiya is associated with Lord Yama, the Hindu god of Death, visiting his sister Yami.
What is the Message of the festival:-
All festivals of India have an inner divine significance. In Bharat the festivals are celebrated to prove the immanent divinity in humanity. The slaying of Naraka by Sathyabhama could also be taken to interpret that parents should not hesitate to punish their children when they stray on to the wrong path. The message of Naraka Chaturdasi is that the good of the society should always prevail over one's own personal bonds. It is said that before dying Naraka realized his mistakes and requested for a festival in his name from his parents which will remind people what will happen when they are overtook by inflated egos. Naraka Chaturdasi thus indicates that good and evil rises from the same root.
Deepavali teaches a sacred inner meaning to humanity. During the night of Deepavali the little clay lamps (diyas) silently send forth message of Deepavali: "Come, let us remove darkness from the face of the earth." No other element in this world is as significant as light. It is the light that shows us the way dispelling the darkness. It is because of the light that man is able to attend to his daily duties. The flame of a lamp has two significant qualities. One is to banish darkness; the other is a continuous upward movement. The flame always points upwards. Even if we keep the lamp upside down, the flame will burn upwards. The message is that our mind should be focused on the the Self wherever we are.
Thus the festival signifies the victory of good over evil – where the good and the evil are present in us. The religions and cultures may be different but they all share a universal principle of divine creation.
People celebrate this festival by bursting firecrackers signifying the victory of good over evil. One way it is rainy season and it is good for killing of insects and mosquitoes. And in another way it is very dangerous to people which creates health problems also. Please don't use hazardous crackers which cause health problems. Moreover bursting firecrackers was not part of our Deepavali tradition. In all festivals I like and love Deepavali very much and I used to celebrate the festival with great pomp and enthusiasm. But when I am pursuing LLB degree I studied a public interest litigation case filed by Mr.M.C.Mehta which made me tear jerking and from that time onwards I decided not to buy crackers because many kids are made to work in the fire cracker factories by giving up their golden life. So I decided I should not buy it to promote child Labour.
My appeal to all my fellow Indian's is that on this holy day; Stop Buying and bursting crackers. Save a few children their lives and save yourself. Think about the children below 12 years and thousands of other Children involved in child labor in our Fireworks factories. For those poor kids this festival of light simply translates into more forced and hazardous work. Think about them before buying and bursting crackers. Please do not buy and burst crackers because if you do that then in a way you intend to help an industry that unethically and inhumanely employs thousands of children. Stop supporting child Labour.
If you still want to burst, make sure to buy low decibel ones from brands which carry NCLE/NHLI (NO CHILD LABOUR EMPLOYED/INVOLVED) SEAL.
If you want to burst, make sure you don't cause trouble to neighbors, pedestrians and traffic.
Don't burst high decibel, high sounding crackers to cause panic to sick & elder people.
Don't burst crackers from 10PM to 6AM - it is illegal as per Supreme Court orders.
As you celebrate this Diwali, spare a thought for the people of Sivakasi because they are the ones who make your Diwali sparkle. We all continuously oscillate between happiness and sorrow. Instead of exaggerating and thinking about our own happy and sad experiences, if our action can bring a little bit of comfort and happiness to some one else we must pray and do that work. This attitude alone is the best. This is the core meaning of festivals like Deepavali. Instead of brooding that "I have problem, I have sorrow" let us pray that entire universe should be happy. Let us celebrate Deepavali keeping in view the underlying philosophy behind it and not convert it into a huge extravaganza or display of wealth and luxury.
Aano bhadra krtavo yantu vishwatah.(- RIG VEDA)
"Let noble thoughts come to me from all directions"
Miss.Shaija Vallikatri Bhaskaran
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