Diwali or Deepavali means a line of lamps. Throughout our history, many stories have become associoated with this greatest festival of the Hindu diaspora.
Most of us celebrate Diwali, but how many of us know the real reasons behind celebrating this festive time of year? It’s not only about having fun but there are mythical and historical reasons behind celebrating Diwali. Let us celebrate Diwali with a new understanding of wealth and prosperity.
Here is the line of events associated with the festival!
- Goddess Lakshmi’s Birthday: The Goddess of Wealth and wellbeing, Lakshmi incarnated on the new moon day (amaavasyaa) of the Kartik month during the churning of the ocean (samudra-manthan). Hence the association of Diwali with Lakshmi.
- Vishnu Rescued Lakshmi: On this very day (Diwali day), Lord Vishnu in his fifth incarnation as Vaman-avtaara rescued Lakshmi from the prison of King Bali. So, this is another reason for worshipping Ma Larkshmi on Diwali.
- Krishna Killed Narakaasur: On the day preceding Diwali, Lord Krishna killed the demon king Narakaasur and rescued 16,000 women from his captivity. The celebration of this freedom went on for two days including the Diwali day as a victory festival.
- The Return of the Pandavas: According to the great epic ‘Mahabharata’ , it was ‘Kartik Amavashya’ when the Pandavas came back from their 12 years of banishment that was a result of their defeat in the hands of the Kauravas at the game of dice (gambling). The subjects who loved the Pandavas celebrated the day by lighting the earthen lamps.
- The Victory of Rama: According to the epic ‘Ramayana’, it was the new moon day of Kartik when Lord Ram, Ma Sita and Lakshman returned to Ayodhya after vanquishing Ravana and conquering Lanka. The citizens of Ayodhya decorated the entire city with the earthen lamps and illuminated it like never before.
- Coronation of Vikramaditya: One of the greatest Hindu kings, Vikramaditya had his coronation on the Diwali day. This makes Diwali an important historical event as well.
- Special Day for Arya Samaj: It was the new moon day of Kartik (Diwali day) when Maharshi Dayananda, one of the greatest reformers of Hinduism and the founder of Arya Samaj attained his nirvana.
- Special Day for the Jains: Mahavir Tirthankar, considered to be the founder of modern Jainism also attained his nirvana on Diwali day.
- Special Day for the Sikhs: The third Sikh Guru Amar Das institutionalized Diwali as a Red-Letter Day when all Sikhs would gather to receive the Gurus blessings. In 1577, the foundation stone of the Golden Temple at Amritsar was laid on Diwali. In 1619, the sixth Sikh Guru Hargobind, who was held by the Mughal Emperor Jehangir, was released from the Gwalior fort along with 52 kings.
- The Pope’s Diwali Speech: In 1999, Pope John Paul II performed a special Eucharist in an Indian church where the altar was decorated with Diwali lamps. The Pope had a ’tilak’ marked on his forehead and his speech was full of references to the festival of light.