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Thread: Diwali?

  1. #1
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    August 2011
    St. Louis, MO
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    I'm new to Hinduism...and I have googled it..but I can't get a straight is it? How is one "supposed" to celebrate it? I read about the lamps and how the holiday is a symbol of moksha.

    I guess I'm just still really confused.
    "I'm alright, right now."

  2. #2

    Re: Diwali?

    Dear Friend,

    Here is a summary regarding the significance related to Deepavali...

    What is Deepavali?

    Deepavali, in Sanskrit means numerous lamps ....darkness which is representation of tamasa guna needs to be eliminated by illumination..or light of knowledge and hence this festival is celebrated by lighting
    lamps....the actual meaning being, removing one's the darkness caused by ignorance and illuminating ourselves with the light of knowledge to understand Paramathma...

    What is its significance?

    Deepavali in core is celebrated for three days...
    1st day: Naraka chaturdashi
    2nd day: Maha Lakshmi Pooja
    3rd day: Bali PrathiPaadya

    Please see the three stories in summary [long but does not cover all details], in case you are interested, else please skip to the part after that, below....

    1st day: Naraka chaturdashi

    As the name indicates, chaturdashi is the 14th day of a paksha[here Krishna paksha]...Naraka whose original name is Bhauma, according to our Puranas, was the son of Sri Varaha[Sri Vishnu's Boar Avatar] and Bhumi or Earth...
    Being son of Bhumi, he was very proud and hence started doing all sorts of evil things...the Devatas approached Sri Vishnu and requested
    Him to control His son....Sri Vishni promised them that He shall kill Bhauma when the right time occurs...once this was known to Bhumi,
    She approached Sri Maha Vishnu and requested Him to grant a long life for their son and should only kill him in presence of Her, after
    She gives Him permission...Sri Maha Vishnu also agreed to Her....Bhauma, got to know that about it and become even more evil....he once invaded the reigns of Indra and took 16000 thousand apsaras under his control...he was then having his base in a city called "Pragjyotisha"...Sri Maha Vishna by now had taken up the avatar of Sri Krishna and one of His beloved wives, Satyabhama was an incarnation of Bhumi...Bhauma by then had started troubling Indra and others knowing that he cannot be killed by them, as his death was only in the hands of Sri Maha Vishnu...Aditi, who is mother of Purandara, the current Indra, approached Satyabhama and reminded Her of
    Her son and his evil deeds....Sri Krishna then called in for Garuda and along with Satyabhama left to the city of Pragjyotisha...

    That city was well guarded by yet another asura called Mura-asura...he was extremely powerful, but Sri Krishna easily killed him, and thus one of the names of Sri Krishna is Murari...One who is the enemy if Mara or One who killed Mura...

    After that Sri Krishna showed Satyabhama the evil deeds of Bhauma and reminded her words...He then fought with Bhauma and killed him....its believed that it was on this chaturdashi, Sri Krishna killed bhauma or popularly known as Naraka and hence it was victory of good over evil, elimination of darkness by light....

    Sri Krishna also married the 16000 apsaras in order to protect their dignity and also to fulfil their once happened that these 16000 apsaras were travelling to one of the great Yagna and on the way they met an enlightened sage Ashtavakra...when they served him with devotion, he was pleased with their devotion and granted them a boon and asked them what they wanted...
    all of them requested the sage to grant a boon where they would have the most perfect divine person as their husband....Ashtavakra
    granted the boon...and who else other than the Purushottama, Sri Krishna can fit to the category of most perfect divine person...hence Sri Krishna, in order to keep up the boon granted by ashtavakra, also married those 16000 apsaras who were under the control of Narakaasura...

    2nd day: Maha Lakshmi Pooja

    This is the day of amavasya or the no moon day....It is believed that it was on this day, Sri Maha Lakshmi, consort of Sri Maha Vishnu, took up an incarnation during the churning of the kshera saagara or the milky ocean in heavens....
    According to our Puranas, it once happened that Indra, was travelling on his elephant, Airavatha and a renowned sage Durvasa happened to pass by...Sage Durvasa, as a friendly guesture, gave Indra a special garland to wear...Indra accepted it but did not wear it, instead made his elephant wear it...his elephant got irritated by the garland and threw it down....Durvasa seing this cursed Indra that because of his dis-respect to the sage, he shall loose everything he possesses....when the Daityas, Danavas, other asuras came to know about it, they attacked Indra...Indra unable to
    defend himself, because of Durvasas words, fled to Sri Maha Vishnu for help...Indra wanted a long term solution as it was becoming a habit for others to attach the Devatas...Sri Maha Vishnu asked Indra to diplomatically extend a hand of friendship with others in the process of getting Amrutha..
    a liquid which would grant immortality[for a long period of time]...They found that this Amrutha was lying in the deep parts of the milky ocean in the heavenly planets...they thus decided to churn the order to do that they took the celestial mountain Mandara as the churning tool...Vasuki, the king of serpents, became the churning rope....Sri Maha Vishnu took up
    the avatar of Kurma the turtle and acted as a base to hold the mountain while they churned the ocean...many objects came out of the ocean and from the ocean of milk, also appeared Sri Maha Lakshmi...and when She appeared, while trying to search for Sri Maha Vishnu, Her eyes meagerly glanced at Indra, and its that power of Sri Maha Lakshmi that Indra later on got back his
    wealth and became prosperous....Hence, on this auspicious day, Sri Maha Lakshmi pooja is done for the prosperity of everyone, so that people can do their prescribed duty...

    3rd day: Bali PrathiPaadya

    Prathi paadya and paadya indicates the first day after the full moon or no moon day....Bali is one of the most renowned devotees
    of Sri Maha Vishnu.....Bali, is the grand son of Sri Prahaladha, yet another greatest devotee who was the reason why Sri Maha Vishnu took up Sri Narasimha Avatara....Bali is the king of Daityas and is very well known for his great qualities...once he decided to conquer all the three spheres, bhu loka, bhuvar loka and suvar loka....Earth and solar system, Region till the polar star
    and Ursa minor, and beyond....Bali was so strong that he defeated Indra and got the control of all the three spheres....After conquering them, he started ruling them in a very just manner...he is most renowned for his charity...he always respected the learned Bhamhanas and was perfect in every aspect...Aditi, mother of Purandara, the Indra, requested her
    husband Sage Kashyapa to teach her a way to get a child who would be an incarnation of the Supreme Lord...Aditi and Kashyapa had a boon from Sri Maha Vishni, in their previous life that in every life, Sri Maha Vishnu would take birth as their Son...and its the same Aditi and Kashyapa who in their next life were Devaki and Vasudeva, parents of Sri Krishna...Aditi did
    vigorous penance and finally Sri Maha Vishnu took birth as their Son Sri Vamana or Sri a very yound age, Sri Vaamana
    became a dvija, or a bramhachari, and then he started towards Bali's palace...Bali was about to complete one of the greatest Yagnas and when he saw this small divine child, in the form of a Bramhachari, he was more than pleased to give Him charity...
    Bali requested Sri Vaamana to ask for anything and promised that it would be given to Him...Sri Vaamana, asked for land which can be covered by three steps using His lotus feet ...Bali agreed to it, but then Sri Vaamana, started to increase in His size, using Yoga maya, and took up a huge Vishwaroopa...with His first step, He covered the first two spheres, bhu and bhuvar lokas...
    with His next step He covered the Swarga loka...and now He wanted to place His third step for which, Bali, that blessed soul,
    who gave charity to Him who is the Supreme most of the Universe, requested Sri Vamana to place His third step on his head and bless him...Sri Vaamana, pleased with the devotion of Bali, made him the ruler of Sutala, one of the regions below earth, and promised him that he will the Indra in the next Manvantara....

    This is a summary of the significance of the three days of Deepavali....

    Whom to pray?

    1st Day: Sri Maha Vishnu's Avatar of Sri Krishna
    2nd Day: Sri Maha Lakshmi
    3rd Day: Sri Maha Vishnu's Avatar of Sri Vaamana

    How to celebrate?

    People all over Bharatha light the lamps, pray to God, and burst fire crackers for the three days, celebrating the victory of good over evil..

    How can you pray?

    Please light a few lamps and think of that lotus eyed ever auspicious Sri Maha Lakshmi, eternally situated in the heart of that Supreme Lord of the Universe Sri Maha Vishnu, with utmost devotion....not only during Deepavali, but always...

  3. #3
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    January 2007
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    Re: Diwali?


    Diwali is also celebrated in the honor of Lord Shree Ram's home coming after 14 years of banishment in the forest.

    Diwali is time for reflection, family getting together, having lots of delicious food, Diwali would not be Diwali without the fireworks.
    it is joyous it is fun in celebration of triumph of good over evil, lighting of Diyas to dispel darkness is symbolic of removing ignorance.

    asato ma sadgamaya
    tamaso ma jyotirgamaya
    mrtyorma amrtam gamaya
    Lead me from the asat to the sat.
    Lead me from darkness to light.
    Lead me from death to immortality.

    Jai Shree Ram
    Rig Veda list only 33 devas, they are all propitiated, worthy off our worship, all other names of gods are derivative from this 33 originals,
    Bhagvat Gita; Shree Krishna says Chapter 3.11 devan bhavayatanena te deva bhavayantu vah parasparam bhavayantah sreyah param avapsyatha Chapter 17.4 yajante sattvika devan yaksa-raksamsi rajasah pretan bhuta-ganams canye yajante tamasa janah
    The world disappears in him. He is the peaceful, the good, the one without a second.

  4. #4
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    June 2011
    NJ, USA
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    Re: Diwali?

    Some confusion, which some members here know tortured me, comes from the calendars used.

    On the calendar for this part of the world (US east coast) today is actually Diwali. Calendars also have today showing the new moon, Amavasya, during which Lakshmi Puja is performed. Additionally, one article I read says to begin the celebrations two days before actual Diwali, making it five days, with Diwali the third day. The first day is Yamadeepdaan, the night of which lights are lit to keep Yamaraj, Lord of the dead, away. The article said to lit lamps all five nights M 10/24 - F 10/28 here.

    Now, Amavasya passes at 15:52 today (3:52 pm), which means that Lakshmi Puja could not be properly performed tonight, as there will be no new moon. Until 17:40 or 5:40 pm (moonset), I expect to see a crescent. We will then be into the shukla paksha (gaura paksha on the Vaishnava Reminder Services). So Lakshmi Puja was performed last night during the new moon.

    I think the best way to determine dates and times is by using a temple calendar. This is the one for my area However, following the moon, it shows yesterday as Diwali.

    I didn't notice if it was mentioned above, but Diwali also commemorates Lord Rama's triumphal return to Ayodhya and His rightful installment as king, after defeating the demon king Ravana and rescuing Sitadevi from Ravana's clutches. All of Ayodhya's population turned out with great fanfare, lighting up the city, to welcome their new king. Hence one reason for the lights and festivities.

    Some articles also state that Maa Saraswati and Lord Ganesha are also honored during Lakshmi Puja. I wish I could find one; it's one of those tidbits that just stuck in my head.
    śivasya hridayam viṣṇur viṣṇoscha hridayam śivaḥ

  5. #5
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    July 2010
    The Holy Land - India
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    Re: Diwali?


    Here is a recap of all the info provided above:

    The word Deepavali = Deep (lamp) + Aavali (row)
    So, it means a row of lamps, or many lamps.
    Many people refer to it in its shortened form as Diwali.

    Brief historical background: Lord Ram was sent to spend 14 years of an austere life in forests. His brother Laxman and his wife Sita accompanied Him. Through a sequence of events, the demon king Ravan abducted Sita. Shri Ram attacked Lanka (modern day Sri Lanka), which was Ravan's kingdom at the time. On Diwali day Shri Ram returned to his kingdom of Ayodhya after completing 14 years in the forests. The citizens of Ayodhya lit up lamps to welcome Him and to provide (street) light to their favorite and much loved king Ram.

    Celebration: For a first timer, be happy, enjoy your favorite vegetarian food and in the evening leave all your lights on and if you have access to an Indian store, buy one or more diyas, put some vegetable oil in it, make a wick with a cotton ball, set it in the diya, light it and put it on your porch or outside your house/apt. Alternately, light some candles and put them outside your house (door, porch) in the evening, in a safe manner (you don't want to burn down the house, or violate any city safety codes). Also late in the evening, perform, or in this case just listen to the aarti (at the following link) to LaxmiMa being sung, while sitting down in a reverent mood.

    Goddess Laxmi is the Goddess of wealth and on this day we perform Her puja (with obvious desire for Her mercy to keep sending some change our way ).

    Never mind the multiple days of celebration and other finer details for now. Just be joyous/festive today, be reverent towards Shri Ram and perform/listen to the aarti of LaxmiMa.

    Happy Diwali.


    PS Why overload an already confused 25 year old Westerner, new to Hinduism with so much information? Always remember KISS - Keep It Simple Stupid!

  6. #6

    Re: Diwali?


    Now the videos for each event (Can be found in Bhagvat, Mahabharat and Ramayan)

    1. NDTV Ramayan - Shri Ram returns to Ayodhya - Diwali Day

    Mothers First
    Bharat holds Ram's pAdukA (footwear) on his head - he kept these on the throne for the 14 years that he ruled the kingdom in Ram's name.

    Watch Diwali celebration @7:32

    2. Destroying NarkAsura : KRshNa and SatyabhAmA on the mission - (Narkachaturdashi)

    After destroying demon Mura, Narkasur's guard (hence KRshNa is called MurAri), with SatyabhAmA's assistance KRshNa destroyed the dangerous Bhaumasur a.k.a. Narkasur (hence KRshNa is NarkAri).

    KRshNa to the 16000 captives of Narkasur who said they will be His slaves in protection : " You are not my slaves. Daughters who are kidnappped by force should not be looked down upon by society for living in Bhaumasur's palace. All women are to be respected and can be either Mothers, Daughters or Wives."

    The captives said they cannot be His mothers as they were unmarried. So Dwarkadheesh (KRshNa) said, "Then I shall marry all of you, but remember, I am doing this ONLY so that the society does not look at you the wrong way and gives you due respect. So each of you will be treated as a queen of Dwarka."

    Mother Aditi's earrings, VaruNDev's Umbrella, Indra's elephants that were all snatched by Bhaumasur are returned, after Bhumi Devi's prayers of praise for KRshNA.

    Jai Shri RAm
    Jai Shri KRshNa MurAri
    Last edited by smaranam; 26 October 2011 at 02:28 PM. Reason: demon MUra, NarkAsur's guard
    || Shri KRshNArpaNamastu ||

  7. #7
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    Re: Diwali?

    wow thanks for all the info! so i could celebrate Lakshmi puja on friday here in the US? (that would be oct 28)
    "I'm alright, right now."

  8. #8
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    September 2007
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    Re: Diwali?

    Vannakkam: It's not one of my personal biggies like Shivaratri, or Chaturthi, but Boss celebrates it by buying, then distributing sweets to close friends. Every years she goes for the same little drive, it seems. To the sweethouse, and then around to a couple of houses. Then she often goes to the puja at the temple.

    I'm more likely to do Skanda Shasthi, for all 5 days beginning this Friday the 27th. Normally it is 6 days, but this year for some calendar reason its only 5.

    Aum Namasivaya

  9. #9
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    Re: Diwali?

    Quote Originally Posted by heather.s View Post
    wow thanks for all the info! so i could celebrate Lakshmi puja on friday here in the US? (that would be oct 28)
    Not sure how we communicated that to you, but Diwali and Lakshmi Puja are being celebrated/conducted today in the US!

  10. #10
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    March 2011
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    Re: Diwali?

    Namaste to all,

    I like to make new additions to the above all.

    Day of Diwali is last day of Vikram Samvat. So next day of the Diwali is new year for Hindus. So tomorrow is new year Vikram Samvant 2068 starts. Details as here

    Now a days we have computers for bookkeeping but before we have traditional bookkeeping books called chopada. Chopada ( accounting books) comes in red colors and they are folded in. These books opens vertically. In our normal book can be open by turning over a page or a cover from right to left but these traditional chopada opens upside and downside, vertically. In opened position chopada may be 5 ft long.

    So on the day of Diwali, business community do Chopada Pujan, so they pray to Shri Ganesh, Shri Laxmi and Shri Sarasvati. Today is last day of the accounting day as per traditional bookkeeping method, called Desi Namu. Mostly first page of these accounting book is identified as Puja Page., see attachment.
    Tomorrow business community will do Muhrat to start business for new year. Tomorrow all the employee gets Boni, which we all know by name of Diwali Bonus. With this Boni each and every employee gets box of sweets. Next 5 days are slow in business as people visit their friends, families, relatives. Regular business start on the Labh Pacham.

    Here is small description of Diwali.

    Tomorrow is new year day, in temples there are going to be Annakut prasad. Here is photo of Annkut prasad. All the Vaishnav Temples in India will have Annakut prasad. In this Annakut prasad, there are many many many more items. It takes whole day today and today night to cook soooooo many items of prasad.

    Diwali festive is the longest festival of the festivals. Tomorrow is new year day, next day is Bhai Bij, I described Labh Pancham and then comes agiyaras ( 11th day from new year day) is also called a Dev Diwali, day of Tulsi vivah. Tulasi Vivah day marked as is beginning of Marriage season in Bharat.

    I am still short of words to describe Diwali.
    Attached Images Attached Images

    AmIHindu ?

    यज्ञानां जपयज्ञोऽस्मि ।

    नाम्नोऽस्ति यावती शक्तिः पापनिर्हरणे हरेः । श्र्वपचोऽपि नरः कतुँ क्षमस्तावन्नकिल्विषम् ।।

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