Saturday, October 16, 2010

Diwali – A festival of light at Akshardham


There are five stories celebrating this day:
  1. Lord Krishna vanquished Narkaasur, releasing people from misery.
  2. Lord Pruthu extracted goodness from the earth.
  3. During the Samudra Manthan, Lakshmiji emerged from the ocean.
  4. The Pandavs returned from their forest exile.
  5. Lord Ramachandra returned to Ayodhya after his victory over Rawan in Lanka.
    In essence people light divas on this day to depict their joy on being released from suffering inflicted by evil elements.

It is traditional to eat 'vadaa' and items made from 'udad' (lentils) on this day. Also known as Deepawali and Deepotsav, this festival occurs on Aso vad 15 (Amaas), the final day of the Hindu year.

1. To augur success, those involved in trade and business do pujan of their new ledgers. This is known as   Sharda Pujan.
2. People light divas in their homes every evening.
3. During Diwali it is a tradition in every Hindu home for the housewife to decorate a 'Rangoli' at the entrance or near the doorway, after washing the floor. A Rangoli is an intricate and artistic design or sketch, using colored powder. It represents an auspicious welcome for Lakshmiji who visits people during Diwali to grant wealth.
4. It has been an annual tradition to light thousands of divas at the "Akshardham" memorial and its parikrama, from Diwali till Labh Pancham, since its inauguration in 1992. Every evening people throng to have darshan of this dazzling sight, the only one of its kind in India.

People forgive and forget misdeeds of the past year and resolve to spend the coming year in peace, harmony, purity and to earn Lakshmi by observing dharma.

Diwali is a festival to resolve personal discord and familial conflict, to increase love, unity and harmony in the family and society.

Finally, since we are graced by their infinite love, we should feel fulfilled and content, known as 'purnakampanu'. Therefore we should endeavor to consolidate our dharma, gnan, vairagya and bhakti to further receive their benediction.

This is the ultimate sentiment of Diwali, poetically described by Brahmanand Swami - a poet paramhansa of Bhagwan Swaminarayan:

'Raaj maare din din Diwali re, vala maltaa tamane Vanmali re, jiho Giradhari.'

Akshardham light show - Peace in Pink Stone, Gandhinagar

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