Harish Jharia

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12 November 2012

The Biggest Festival of Hindus Diwali: Celebrating Victory of Good over Evil

© Harish Jharia 

Diwali is the festival of light that is celebrated to mark the victory of Lord Ram over the demon king Ravan and his return to Ayodhya after a fourteen year eviction वनवास.  This is also celebrated as the festival of wealth and prosperity and Goddess Lakshmi is worshiped on this occasion. The traditional Indian business communities observe Diwali as their commercial New Year and the beginning of their financial year.  Their ledgers खाता-बही are also written accordingly and the Balance Sheet prepared on the Diwali day. 

Diwali दीवाली, also called Deepavali दीपावली, is unequivocally the most important and biggest festival of Hindus. Diwali is celebrated on the ‘Kaartik Amavasya’ कार्तिक अमावस्या… that is the New Moon day of Kartik month of Hindu calendar. This is the 15th day of the dark fortnight (कृष्ण-पक्ष) of Kartik month. 

This is the 2069th year of the Vikram Calendar, initiated after the name of the famous ancient emperor Vikamaditya, which is followed by most of the Hindus of central and northern India.   

Diwali falls in the months of October and November alternately year after year on different dates of Christian calendar.  The basic reason for this error is that the Vikram Calendar and the Christian calendar are based on different astronomy that are lunar and 
solar constellations respectively. 

The only Hindu festival that falls on the same date of the Christian calendar is ‘Makar Sankranti’ that always falls on 14th January every year. Read more in the article “Why Makar Sankranti (Hindu Solstice) always falls on 14th January...?” 

The story behind Diwali: 

Diwali is believed to be celebrated to mark the victory of Lord Ram over the demon king of Lanka- Ravan. Lord Ram, the king of Ayodhya was dethroned from his kingdom out of a family dispute and expelled to live a tribal life in the wilds. Lord Ram, along with his wife Goddess Sita and brother Lakshman, left behind the royal life and set off for a fourteen year sojourn in the deep forests. 

One fine morning the demon king Ravan, in the guise of a sadhu, intruded the secured territory of lord Ram’s wild residence when Goddess Sita was all alone in the camp. Ravan begged to her for alms in the guise of a sadhu and motivated she to step-out across the secured barrier (लक्ष्मण रेखा) laid around the residential structure by Lakshman.  

The moment Goddess Sita stepped-out of her secured barrier, Ravan immediately abducted her.  He carried her on his miraculous flying machine ‘Pushpak Viman’ पुष्पक विमान and flew to his island Kingdom Lanka. He eventually put the godess under solitary confinement in his royal gardens. 

Ravan was also involved in many other criminal and inhuman activities and atrocities against innocent sadhus, yogis, devotees of God and tribal kings and their subjects. Lord Ram, who was believed to have appeared in human incarnation for eliminating evil forces, wedged an open war against the demon king. He established diplomatic treaties with all the tribal kings and with their help recruited a huge army of tribal people and predators. Lord Ram eventually conquered over the mighty and wealthy demon king Ravan after his assassination. 

After winning the prolonged war of Lanka and the at the end of the fourteen year eviction, Lord Ram returned to his motherland Ayodhya along with Goddess Sita and Lakshman. It is believed that the royal family and the people of Ayodhya decorated their houses with glowing lamps and celebrated the arrival of the lord with songs, dances and loud beats of drums. 

The day of the return of Lord Ram was ‘Kaartik Amavasya’ कार्तिक अमावस्या and thereafter Hindus adaped this day as their biggest festival and named it as Diwali दिवाली or Deepawali दीपावली. 

Link to Discover Life's Diwali 2012 Greetings:
The biggest Hindu Festival: Happy Diwali दीवाली मंगलमय हो

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