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Diwali – Knowing Its True Essence

Diwali or Deepavali is one of the most celebrated festivals in India. It is a five-day festival that not only Hindus but people of every community love to celebrate with zeal and jubilation. Diwali is marked with candles, ghee lamps (diyas), and lanterns. Every house and temple is illuminated with lights and decorations of rangoli designs beautify the floors. Cleaning and decorations of homes begin days before the festival. It signifies the cleaning of the dust accumulated in our hearts in the form of lust, anger, pride, illusion, and attachments. The devotees thus invite Lord Ram into their hearts and pray for the welfare of their families. Elderly people read Ramcharitmanas or Srimad Ramayan everyday to remember the lotus feet of the Lord within their hearts.

Lord Rama Killing Ravana

This festival is celebrated in the honor of Purushottam Bhagavan Shri Ram who fought with the great demon Ravan in Lanka and defeated him in Tretayug. The story of how the Lord returned to His kingdom Ayodhya after spending fourteen years in exile is known to everyone. Yet on this holy occasion, it is recommended that we hear about His glorious pastimes and teach them to younger generations who seem to have forgotten them. Let us know in detail about the journey of Lord Ram from Lanka:

Back To Ayodhya

Diwali, is the festival of enlightenment and hope. Lord Ram along with Mother Sita and brother Lakshman returned to Ayodhya after fourteen years of exile. After killing the demon Ravana in Lanka, Lord Ram’s exile was now over. He had promised the loving residents of Ayodhya that He would return immediately. They were consumed by grief and anxiety in separation from Him. He was especially worried about His brother Bharat who after hearing about the exile of Ramchandra, started living in austerity, bathing in cold rivers, and eating only a few fruits from the forest. Thus, the Lord now wanted to return to Bharat as soon as possible before he might give up his life. He had installed the valiant Vibhishan as the ruler of Lanka after the destruction of Ravan. Vibhishan out of his honor for the Lord invoked the Pushpak chariot, which moved according to one’s will. This jewel-encrusted chariot was taken by Ravan from Kuber. All the monkeys requested Ramchandra to take them to Ayodhya as they wanted to see their Lord installed as the emperor of the Kingdom. Lord Ram then invited Vibhishan and His servant monkeys to mount the chariot which in itself was like a golden city. All the people of Ayodhya were longing only for His return. The whole city was decorated with flags and flowers to welcome Lord Ram and Mother Sita. Thousands of people had come out of the city just to get a glimpse of Ram. Suddenly Bharat and all the people saw the celestial Pushpak and Hanuman shouted, “Here comes the glorious Lord Ram”. Bharat fell unconscious on the ground and tears of joy shed from his eyes. He then along with brother Shatrughna, ran over to Ram and Lakshman, and the four brothers embraced each other jubilantly.

The next day, Vashishtha Muni placed a golden crown on Lord Ram’s head and was crowned as the King of Ayodhya. Exquisitely beautiful Mother Sita was seated next to Her Husband on the throne and appeared like a shining moon.

Scenes From The Ramayana Tanjore Painting | Traditional Colors With 24K Gold | Teakwood Frame | Gold & Wood | Handmade | Made In India

Chhoti Diwali and its significance?

The day before Diwali is celebrated as Choti Diwali or Naraka Chaturdashi. This day glorifies Lord Krishna’s victory over the demon Narakasura, also known as Bhaumasura.

· The demon was very powerful and had kidnapped 16,100 young daughters of many great kings and imprisoned them in his palace. He always took pleasure in plundering the kingdoms of different planets. He turned greedy to possess everything that the heavenly gods had. He attacked heavenly planets and stole Lord Varuna’s umbrella, Mother Aditi’s earrings, and the playground of the devatas known as Mani Parvat.

· Lord Indra, the king of the demigods, felt humiliated at his mother’s assault and wanted to take revenge against Narakasura. He knew the demon’s power and considered Lord Krishna to be the only one capable of defeating him.

28" Brass Fluting Krishna with His Cow | Handmade

· Indra went to Dwarka when Lord Krishna was enjoying the company of His sweet wife Satyabhama in the palace. After hearing the insolence of the demon, Satayabhama became enraged.

· Lord Krishna decided to take Satyabhama along with Him into the battle with the demon since She did not want to leave Her husband’s company. The Lord mounted His divine carrier Garuda together with His Queen and headed to Narakasura’s Kingdom.

· After defeating his soldiers outside the city, Lord Krishna saw Narakasura entering the battlefield on the back of an elephant, where he was beheaded by the Lord’s Sudarshan Chakra.

Krishna and Narakasura

· After killing the demon, Lord Krishna freed all the 16,100 Princesses from the demon’s palace. As soon as they saw Him come to their rescue, they were charmed by His transcendental beauty and decided to accept Him as their husband. After witnessing the glorious victory of the Lord, all the devatas from the sky started showering flowers on Him and chanted His glories.

Lesson from this pastime: Diwali is the festival of enlightenment and removal of ignorance. Narakasura was the son of the Earth Goddess, Dharitri. But he became a demon due to his association with Banasura, another demon. Our Vedas emphasize associating with saintly persons who uplift our consciousness and lead us to the perfection of life. A bad association can turn even a saintly person into a ghastly demon. Thus Lord Krishna enacted this pastime to teach us the power of association.

How to Celebrate Diwali this year?

Diwali symbolizes the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance. Today, the essence of this holy festival is slowly fading its value among the youth. We need to know how to celebrate the festivals in the right manner and here are some tips you may follow to make this Diwali unique and joyful:

Prepare homemade delicacies

It is undeniable that the joy of any festival is incomplete without feasting over a variety of food items. Formerly women, during the festivities, remained engaged in making sweets in their homes. The taste of homemade sweets can never beat that of the readymade. This year, ditch the idea of buying sweets from the market. Help your mother in the kitchen and enjoy the festival of lights with great joy. You can make Gulabjamun, Rasgulla, Besan Laddoo, Besan barfi, or Jalebi with lots of affection and we bet you will love it.

Use natural colors and flowers for decoration

Rangoli designs on the floor and flower decorations on the walls will set the right mood for the celebration of Diwali. The fragrance of fresh flowers invokes religious sentiments and fills up the space with rays of positivity. Flower petals can also be used to make amazing rangoli on the floor. How about Vermilion and Rice? You may also sprinkle rose water all around. The basic formula is to “Go natural” and make your guests fall in love with the aura of natural décor.

Making Rangoli (Handmade Painting)

Light Ghee lamps

Diwali falls in the month of Kartik (the last month of Chaaturmaas) in which devotees ignite diyas or Ghee lamps and offer them to Lord Krishna or Vishnu. The earthen lamps symbolize the light of knowledge that opens our eyes blinded by material attachments and ignorance. The purifying aroma of ghee brings the mode of goodness within us. So, lighting diyas, especially on the day of Deepavali is a great auspicious move to please the Lord and to pray for His mercy to lead us to the path of spiritual enlightenment.

 Whom To Worship On Diwali?

As discussed above, the center of the festival of Deepavali is Lord Ram, the Supreme Lord. This day is celebrated in remembrance of His glories and victory, and this legacy must not be distorted. As Ayodhyawasis welcomed and worshiped the Lord along with Mother Sita and Lakshman, we should also try to follow them and serve the Lordships with devotion this Diwali. But we see people worshiping Lakshmi Ji in this festival instead of Lord Ram. Our glorified Vedas mention that Lord Vishnu’s soft chest has two marks which are known as “Srivatsa”, which is the residing place of His consort Goddess Lakshmi. The Goddess never leaves that place where the Lord is glorified, and she indeed never likes to go to the place where She alone is worshiped. So even if we want to worship the Goddess of fortune i.e., Lakshmi Ji, She should be worshiped along with Her Husband, Lord Vishnu, and wherever there is Lord Vishnu, victory, prosperity, and all auspiciousness automatically follow.

40" Standing Vishnu-Lakshmi Wall-Hanging Temple In Brass | Handmade | Made In India

Set Up The Right Mood For Diwali

The festival calls for buying new clothes, gold jewelry, and lots of gifts for friends, relatives, and colleagues. A different level of excitement is seen in children during the onset of the festival. The streets appear enthusiastic as if cheering for the Lord to welcome Him after His great victory over Adharma. This Diwali can prove to be something more than a mere reason to have a momentary pleasure. Spiritualization is the key; spiritualizing the festive mood. Here's how:

· While cleaning the home, you can chant the holy name of Lord Ram. The Vedic scriptures reveal that there is no difference between the Lord and His name. Chanting His name is equivalent to directly associating with Him.

· Offer your every activity for the service of the Lord – prepare sweets for Him, offer them to Him before eating, hear His pastimes, read Ramayan, and know about Him.

· One of the most interesting things to do on the occasion of Diwali is to sing devotional songs with your entire family post the worship of the Lordship.

Spiritualizing our activities makes the whole difference and the bliss that we get out of it is immeasurable, inconceivable, and transcendental. With the right consciousness, we can celebrate every festival with utmost joy and it can be a fun-filled experience.

Exotic India wishes you and your loved ones a very happy Diwali. May the light of beautiful diyas and the vibrations of holy chants fill your life with both material and spiritual prosperity. 

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