Description: This article provides information about how Hindu youth /children can celebrate Diwāli, the festival of lights.
Diwali or Deepawalī is one of the important Hindu festivals, which comprises of four consecutive days of celebrations. This year, the four day Diwali festival starts on 31st October 2013 with Dhantrayodashi or Dhanteras, followed by Narakchaturdashi and Lakshmīpūjān on 2nd November and Balipratipadā on 3rd November.
(Please note: The dates mentioned above are as per US EST)
- Dhantrayodashi / Dhanteras : Dhan means that aspect due to which our life runs smoothly. Dhanteras is very important for business men, who worship their treasuries on this day. Āyurvēdic doctors (vaidyas) worship Deity Dhanvantari (on this day. To avoid untimely death, thirteen lamps made of wheat flour are lit and offered to Deity Yama (Deity of Death) and His blessings are sought on this day.
- Narakchaturdashi : It is celebrated to symbolise the slaying of the demon Narkasur, by Shreekrushna. The elderly lady of the house does aukshan (waving of lit lamps) for the family members. Offering of food and clothing is done on this day.
- Lakshmipujan : On this day, rituals worshipping Goddess Lakshmi (Goddess of Wealth) are undertaken to drive off poverty (alakshmī).
- Balipratipada : It is celebrated to symbolise Shri Vishnu’s conquest over the demon Bali.
Significance of Diwali
Every day of Diwali represents the conquest of good over evil. The word Diwali is made of two words; deep (lamp or diya) and avali (row), which means a line or a row of lamps. During the festival of Diwali, lamps are lit in every home and workplace. That is why this festival is also known as the ‘Festival of Lights’.
How can we celebrate Diwali so as to get maximum benefit?
Abhyangasnān is the bath taken before sunrise, after applying coconut oil and ubtan (fragrant herbal powder). By applying ubtan the sensitivity of the body to absorb Chaitanya (Divine Consciousness) increases. Such a bath increases our Sattva component by 0.00001% compared to regular bath on other days. Starting from Narakchaturdashi such a bath should be taken on the three consecutive days of Diwali.
- If we pray and chant during the day we will be able to derive maximum benefit of the positive vibrations present in the atmosphere.
- We can greet family and friends on this occasion and pay obeisance (do namaskār) to elders to seek blessings from them.
- Drawing rangolī on the floor with rangoli powder attracts positive vibrations. Sāttvik designs like lotus, swāstik, conch, etc can be drawn. Rangoli drawn in this way is better than the ready-made forms which are available, nowadays.
- We can string flowers like marigold, interspersed with mango leaves and hang the garland at the door-step. This attracts Deity principle into the home.
- Wax candles may be easier to handle but do not attract positive vibrations due to their chemical composition. Earthen lamps filled with oil when lit, attract positive vibrations into the house. At twilight such lamps can be lit outside the houses in a row.
- Electric lights too are not natural and hence do not attract much positivity into the home.
- A hexagonal or round Sky lantern when hung attracts more positive vibrations than a star or Chinese lantern, which are nowadays in vogue. Such Sky lanterns can be made by pasting coloured paper on a bamboo framework.
Do you know that when we burst fire-crackers the harm that we cause is manifold ?
- Bursting crackers not only results in the waste of money but also creates excessive trash, dust and smoke which are harmful.
- Ailments related to lungs and respiratory tract are aggravated due to crackers.
- The chemicals can seep into the ground thus polluting water.
- Noise from crackers affects new-born and other patients and even pets.
- Permanent deafness could develop. ‘Acoustic trauma’, is an immediate loss of hearing after a sudden, exceptionally loud noise.
- Ailments like headache, blood pressure, heart diseases are aggravated due to noise pollution caused by crackers.
Instead of wasting money on crackers this Diwali we could donate the money towards a more expansive mission like for example towards imparting education of Dharma.
Diwali cultural activities
The trend in recent years in India is to arrange music programmes of famous artists at dawn. So instead of having abhyangsnan, lighting lamps etc people go to attend them, thus losing out on the opportunity of deriving spiritual benefit.
Bhai dooj also known as yamadwitīyā comes after the 4th day of Diwali. It is celebrated as a symbol of the Divine bond of love between brother and sister. On this day, Shreekrushna slew the evil demon Shakatasur and liberated the women from the demon’s clutches. On this day the sister does aukshan for the brother and the brother gifts the sister.
As Dharma education is not imparted in our schools or colleges, the Hindu youth of today are unaware of the true meaning underlying the celebration of festivals like Diwali. Though wearing new clothes and having sweets can be a part of the enjoyment of this festival; we should realise that only when we spiritualise it, will we derive the true benefit. Let us therefore bring the true spirit of the festival into the celebration.
We would like to hear from you about your experiences of celebrating Diwali in the spiritually correct way.