Description: This article provides information about the spiritual significance of Diwali, the festival of lights.
During the four months preceding Diwali (festival of lights), the Absolute fire principle (Tēj tattva) is almost absent in the atmosphere. Due to this, the Demons (in the earlier Eras) used to dominate and trouble the people. In order to effectively counter the threats from Demons, Diwali, a worship based on the Absolute fire principle was celebrated. In other words, Diwali stands for the destruction of the distressing elements that dominate the environment. Every day of Diwali represents the conquest of good over evil, piousness over immorality and virtue over vice.
Meaning of Diwali
The word Diwali is made of two words; deep (lamp or diyas) & avali (row), which means a line or a row of lamps. During the festival of Diwali lamps are lit in every home, office, etc. that is why this festival is also known as the ‘Festival of Lights’. Diwali is also called as Deepavali.
When is Diwali celebrated?
All Hindu Dharma festivals are celebrated according to the Hindu lunar calendar. Diwali is celebrated on four consecutive days – the thirteenth, the fourteenth and the new moon day of the dark fortnight of the Hindu lunar month Ashwin and the first day of the bright fortnight of the Hindu lunar month Kārtik. These four days usually fall in the English calendar month of October or November or both.
- 1st Day of Diwali, Dhanatrayodashī (or Dhanteras): It falls on the 13th day of the dark fortnight of the Hindu lunar month Ashwin. Dhanteras is very important for people who do business as they worship their treasuries on this day, and Āyurvēdic doctors (vaidyas) who worship Deity Dhanvantari on this day.
- 2nd Day of Diwali, Narakchaturdashī: It falls on the 14th day of the dark fortnight of the Hindu lunar month Ashwin. This day has been celebrated ever since Shrīkrushna slayed the evil demon Narakasur.
- 3rd Day of Diwali, Lakshmipūjan: It falls on the new moon day of the dark fortnight of the Hindu lunar month Ashwin. On this day, rituals worshipping Goddess Lakshmī (the Goddess of Wealth) are undertaken to drive off poverty (Alakshmi).
- 4th Day of Diwali, Balipratipadā: It falls on the 1st day of the bright fortnight of the Hindu lunar month Kārtik. It is celebrated to symbolise Deity Vishnu’s conquest over the demon king, Bali.
In addition to the above days, following festivals are also included as a part of Diwali –
- Vasubaras (a celebration held in the honour of cows): It falls on the 12th day of the dark fortnight of the Hindu lunar month Ashwin. This is celebrated on one day before the 1st day of Diwali. On this day, cow is worshipped along with her calf.
- Bhaubij or Yamadwitiya (also called as bhai duj): It is celebrated on the 2nd day of the bright fortnight of the Hindu lunar month Kārtik and comes after the 4th day of Diwali. This festival is celebrated as a symbol of Divine bond of love between brother and sister. On this day, Shrīkrushna slayed the evil demon Shakatasur and liberated many women from the demon’s clutches.
However, in reality, the above two festivals are not part of Diwali (Festival of lights); but altogether different Holy festivals.
According to Hindu Dharma, spiritual festivals increase the sattvikta in us as well as in the society. Unfortunately, these days, Diwali is celebrated either for namesake or without any efforts made to gain spiritual benefit from the same. As a result, Diwali has turned into a festival of pollution of smoke and noise of fire crackers, exchange of expensive gifts, new clothes, variety of foods, etc. During Diwali, many people get injured due to the fire crackers. Bursting of fire crackers with Deity’s pictures on them leads to denigration and sin. This festival has lost its true spirit depriving Hindus from getting the full benefit of the Divine Consciousness (Chaitanya) that is integral to all our festivals and celebrations.
On the occasion of Diwali, let us make a firm resolve to celebrate this festival in a spiritually correct way and derive maximum spiritual benefits.