Diwali Posted by kunthra on Oct 27, 2009 in Hindi Language
This month is the celebration of Diwali (दिवाली) or Diipaavali (दीपावली), which is known as the Celebration of Lights. Small lamps are lighted to signify the triumph of good over evil. More specifically, Diwali recognizes the inner light of the aatman (आत्मन्) or the soul. Diwali is a festival where Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Jains alike observe the same festival for different reasons.
Jainists believe that Lord Mahavira (महावीर) was one of the last sages who had attained nirvana (निर्वाण) or enlightenment on Diwali. Lord Mahavira is considered one of the foremost Tirthankar (तीर्थंकर) (or teachers who have achieved enlightenment) responsible for establishing the dharma (धर्म). Jainists try to follow Lord Mahavira’s path to enlightenment by observing the holiday with an ascetic focus.
The festival of Diwali contain several significant events for the Sikhs. The Sikhs celebrate the release of the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak’s (गुरु नानक देव) release from prison. The Sikhs also celebrate the release of Guru Harobind Ji, the sixth guru. According to the story, The Mughal Emperor Jahangir agreed to let Guru Harobind Ji and whoever could hold unto the Guru’s cloak, go free. Guru Harobind made a large cloak with 52 tassels. Each prince was able to hold unto the tassels and leave the prison. Diwali is also associated with the martydom of Sikh scholar Bhai Mani Singh, who was executed for encouraging the Sikhs to not pay a tax to a government bent on killing Sikhs.
For Hindus Diwali is associated with Lakshmi Puja or Lakshmi worship. Lakshmi is the goddess symbolizing wealth and prosperity. In order to attract the goddess to one’s home (and therefore attract wealth and prosperity) the Rangoli is left at the doorstep. Rangoli is a form of sand painting that uses finely grounded powder. The house must also be clean, because it is believed that Lakshmi will only visit a household that is industrious and clean. Water, nuts, fruits and flowers are left for Lakshmi. In the evening lights are lit so that the goddess can find her way to her worshippers’ houses.
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