Monday, October 27, 2008


Dubai - Tuesday. 28 October 2008 - Deepavali, or Diwali, is a major Indian holiday, and a significant festival in Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, and Jainism. Many legends are associated with Diwali. Today it is celebrated by Hindus, Jains and Sikhs across the globe as the "Festival of Lights," where the lights or lamps signify victory of good over the evil within every human being. Diwali is celebrated on the fifteenth day of the month Kartika.

In many parts of India, it is the homecoming of King Rama of Ayodhya after a 14-year exile in the forest, after he defeated the evil Ravana. The people of Ayodhya (the capital of his kingdom) welcomed Rama by lighting rows (avali) of lamps (deeva), thus its name: Deepavali. This word, in due course, became Diwali in Hindi.

But, in South Indian languages, the word did not undergo any change, and hence the festival is called Deepavali in southern India. There are many different observances of the holiday across India.

Jainism marks Diwali as the nirvana of Lord Mahavira, which occurred on 15 October, 527 BCE.

Among the Sikhs, Diwali came to have special significance from the day the town of Amritsar was illuminated on the return to it of Guru Hargobind (1595-1644) who had been held captive in the Fort at Gwalior under the orders of the Mughal emperor, Jahangir (1570-1627). As the sixth Guru (teacher) of Sikhism, Guru Hargobind Ji, was freed from imprisonment - along with 53 Hindu Kings (who were held as political prisoners) whom the Guru had arranged to be released as well. After his release he went to the Darbar Sahib (Golden Temple) in the holy city of Amritsar, where he was welcomed in happiness by the people who lit candles and diyas to greet the Guru. Because of this, Sikhs often refer to Diwali also as Bandi Chhorh Divas - “the day of release of detainees."

The festival is also celebrated by Buddhists of Nepal, particularly the Newar Buddhists.

In India, Diwali is now considered to be a national festival, and the aesthetic aspect of the festival is enjoyed by most Indians regardless of faith.

More on Diwali ……

Diwali is celebrated on a no-moon night (Amavasya). It is the darkest night of the Indian autumn, falling in the Hindu lunar month of Karthika. So it’s a tradition to light oil lamps all around during Diwali. Diwali literally comes from the Sanskrit word Deepavali meaning row of lights.

Amavasya (no moon day) is considered to be auspicious in South India. It is said that Goddess in Her form of Laxmi (Goddess of wealth) resides in sesame oil on a new-moon day. Hence the ritual to apply sesame oil on one’s body before bathing on the Diwali morning.

Diwali, basically revolves around the Goddess Laxmi. She is specially worshipped on this day according to the sacred rites.

Hindus regard wealth as an important part of life. Artha is the word for material prosperity in Sanskrit. It is one of the four goals an individual should pursue in his lifetime in order to attain fullness in one’s life, the scriptures say. The four Goals are Dharma (right conduct), Artha (wealth), Kama (sexual gratification), and Moksha (self-realization or God-consciousness or Nirvana)

Happy Diwali to all our visitors.

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