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Oct 28, 2011 03:18 PM
by t_s_theosophist


This past Wednesday October 25, the Hindu Community worldwide celebrated the Diwali festival
celebrating the Victory of Truth & Goodness over evil.

Deepavali or Diwali is one of the important festivals of the year for Hindus of all denominations and regions. It generally covers a few days of varying significance. It occurs at the end of the traditional Chaaturmaasya period comprising the four months - Aashaada, Sravana, Bhaadrapada and Aasweeja. The last two days of Aashweeja, - Trayodasi and Chaturdasi followed by Kaarthik Amaavaasya, Baliprada Pratima, Bhaai Dooj and Akkatteej. The significance of these days vary depending on the region of India.

Tradittiomally, it is believed that Lord Naaraayana is in Yoga Nidra during Chaaturmaas and wakes up during the Deepavali/Diwali time. Goddess Lakshmi prepares for His awakening by lighting lamps on Trayodasi. Hence apart from lighting lamps, we celebrate this day to welcome Goddess Lakshmi as Dhana Lakshmi Day, as she brings prosperity for all her devotees. 

The next day is celebrated as Nraka Chaturdasi in commemoration of destruction of Narakaasura who had brought darkness to the whole world by hiding the Sun and other heavenly bodies of light. 

Lord Vishnu/Sri Krishna is credited with this act.  To mark this 'destruction of evil and darkness' , lights are lit all around the house and great festivities are held, both in the family and friends. Early morning oil bath, wearing of new clothes, seeking the blessings of elders, preparation of sweets, exchange of gifts, bursting of crackers all form part of the event. On Bhaai Dhuf, brothers are invited for a grand lunch, and wished long life. Then on Akkatteej, elder sisters are honored by brothers with gifts.

The Amaavaasya and the following day, the Baliprada Pratama, as a continuation of the Chaaturmaas, the ancestors are worshiped. Among Bengalis, the whole Diwali period becomes a period of remembrance and paying homage to ancestors. 

The other belief is that Sri Rama returns to Ayodhya after vanquishing Raavanaa and also from his exile, as King. The people of Ayodhya are happy and thrilled to welcome their King back home along with Queen Sita. They lit lam-ps all around and celebrate with all the festivities befitting the occasion. This is the general custom in north India.
Thus, on many counts 

Deepavali/Diwali and the period around it is of great significance to everyone in India. It is also the New Year for Gujkaraatis and further new Business year starts after Dhana Trayodasi.

This year, Nraka Chaturdasi falls on October 25th, as per English calendar.

So, let us all celebrate the 'victory of light over darkness' and worship Goddess Lakshmi to give us Prosperity, and all our ancestors and elders to bless us for health and longevity. 

---Dr.Deendayal Khandelwal


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