Diwali, the festival of light | Daily News

Diwali, the festival of light

Deepavali, a festival celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains, is usually known as Diwali. It originated in the Indian subcontinent and later celebrated all over the world by the Indian migrants. The festival is celebrated in India with different religious sentiments and inclinations. The socially based religious festival was earlier celebrated to mark the harvesting season.

In the North Indian States of India, people celebrate the event to welcome the arrival of Lord Rama to Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh after 14 years of exile and killing King Ravana in Sri Lanka. The festival takes place 20 days after the Dasara festival which is known as Vijayadashami in Tamil. In the Sothern States of India and Sri Lanka, it is celebrated to mark the death of the demon king Naragasuran who was killed by Lord Krishna.

Lord Krishna

The demon King Naragasuran indulged in numerous inhuman activities and created difficulties in the world. At the end of his life, he realized his faults and appealed to Lord Krishna to request the world to celebrate his death by lighting lamps all over the world. In some parts of Assam State of East India, people celebrate the event to mark the death of demon king Naragasuran who kept 16,000 young girls as captives. With the killing of Naragasuran by Lord Krishna all the young girls were released.

In the West Bengal State of India and some parts of Assam people celebrate the event with Kali worship. Similarly, in some parts of the Western Indian State of Gujarat people observe the festival in collaboration with the Goddess Lakshmi cult. They hold celebrations for five days conducting certain rituals. They celebrate the event to mark the wedding of Goddess Lakshmi with Lord Vishnu.

Besides such practices and celebrations of Diwali, it is associated with numerous other Hindu deities including the worship of Goddess Sita, Lord Rama, Lord Vishnu, Goddess Durga, Goddess Kali, Lord Krishna, Lord Hanuman, Lord Ganesha and Lord Kubera.

It is generally believed that the Diwali function could be analyzed under four different approaches. One is the historical approach and the other is the social approach. In addition, there is the cultural approach and the religious approach. Diwali is celebrated as the festival of lights. It reveals the dispelling of darkness and brings light and brightness to the life of people all over the world. The basic theme reveals some worldly truths of victory of good over evil, the victory of light over darkness and the victory of knowledge over ignorance.

According to ancient Sanskrit inscriptions, Diwali has been described differently. Diwali has been mentioned differently in numerous stone and metal inscriptions. It was known earlier as Dipaotsava, Deepavali, Divali and Divalige. In Tamil, it is still called Deepavali.

Ancient historical scripts of India reveal how it originated and how it was celebrated by the people of the Indian sub-continent.

Such references could be found in Padma Purana and Skanda Purana of ancient Indian literature.

Many ancient foreign tourists who visited India in different periods also have described the festival beautifully. For instance, in the 11th century, the famed Persian historian Al Buruni mentioned that the Diwali festival was celebrated in the month of Karthika in the Indian lunar calendar. He further mentioned that it was celebrated by the Hindus of India.

The month Karthika falls approximately between October 15 and November 15. It reveals the beginning of autumn. The autumn falls in between the summer and winter seasons.

The famed historian, traveller and merchant Conti of the 15th century had mentioned that the people of India lighted the lamps on the rooftops of their houses and temples, and let the lights burn throughout the day and night.

Historical records

Similarly, the famous Portuguese traveller Domingo Paes who wrote about Diwali in one of his outstanding historical records mentioned that the people of India illuminated their houses with oil lamps. An outstanding historian named Sultanate of Delhi had mentioned that the Mughal King Akbar gave full patronage to the practices of Diwali for the Hindus and he participated in numerous Diwali celebrations.

According to some ancient historical works, the Diwali festival marked the beginning of the harvest session.

According to the Jain faith, Diwali is celebrated to mark the death of Mahavir and the salvation of the great sage on an auspicious day. Similarly, in Sikhism, the festival is celebrated as Bandi Chhor Divas. It reveals the release of Guru Hargobind from the Mughal prison by the Muhal king Jahangir and he reached the sacred Golden Temple in Amritsar.

Ultimately, all the above-mentioned facts reveal the fact that Diwali reveals the significance of the triumph of good over evil, triumph of light over darkness and triumph of knowledge over ignorance.

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