We know Diwali as Festival of Lights. In simpler terms, Win over evil is the message. This festival is celebrated in India and now all over the world. Each part of India celebrates this in various beliefs. I do not know any other festival out there with this many stories and beliefs. As a part of my blog series about my homeland Kerala. I found this as an apt time to write about Diwali. This weekend we celebrate Diwali. So why not?
When I was growing up, my parents told me why we celebrate Deepavali. (in my language Malayalam we say Deepavali for Diwali- If we break this word “Deepam” meaning Lights. “Vali” means crackers). South India, we celebrate this all night long with crackers. Women made lots of delicious delicacies and no one sleep that night. The story my parents and grandparents told me was.
This auspicious day, Lord Shiva gave a boon to Chundasur (a demon). After many years of penance, Chundasur asked Lord Shiva, “If I point my finger to anyone, that person should blow up”. Lord Shiva gave him that power. Chundasur knows there are many times Gods have cheated demons. So he said, “Lord, I want to test this power on you. I want to make sure this works” Lord Shiva sensed the danger, and he started running. Chundasur followed him. The people put fireworks to hinder Chundasur’s path and placed lights for Shiva for a safer path. They made nice delicacies for Shiva to keep him energized. Later Chundasur got tricked to touch his own head, and he dies. What an interesting story isn’t it? As a child, I loved this festival. We placed crackers after crackers to make sure we keep this demon away from our homes and placed Diyas. This festival is etched in my heart and soul. I am sure very few people know about this story and its relation to Diwali.
There are many more stories.
The one we all know or popular is Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile and winning a war against Ravana. On this day there was no moon to show the path. People of Ayodhya welcomed him with thousands of lights on streets and houses. This is also a story we believe happened, and we celebrate Diwali.
Narakasur (Son of Earth and Varaham- third incarnation of Lord Vishnu) – Here Earth request Vishnu to make their son Narakasur the strongest of all. Later, Narakasur became a problem for everyone. He conquers the entire world and heaven. Vishnu had to incarnate himself as Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna kills him and frees almost 16000 women from slavery. Before death, Narakasur realized his mistake and prayed to Lord Krishna that his death should be celebrated with light and crackers. Hence a lot of us celebrate Diwali.
According to Jainism. Lord Mahavira attained Nirvana on this auspicious day. We believe that his soul attained the purest form on this day. He preached Dharma.
According to Sikhism. Guru Har Govindji–Sixth Sikh Guru got released from prison. He came home with other prisoners got freed. People celebrated with decorating the streets with oil lamps. This marked Diwali.
If you read all these stories, one aspect we can see. Win over evil. A beautiful message. World need this. A little love and hope. Diwali definitely shows us the importance of this. We need to stand unified and fight for good. Let us flourish the light of hope on this November 14 and celebrate Diwali. Let us all welcome the positive vibes over to our homes. This year 2020 need this hope of new beginning. Let’s make this happen. Happy Diwali everyone.