Deepavali: When the light of wisdom dispels the darkness of ignorance

Elaiya Sivayoganathan

Deepavali is a spiritual festival celebrated by Hindus all over the world during October -November. This year Deepavali falls on November 5. Deepavali signifies the emergence of the soul from darkness Avidya to light, vidya or awakening.

Deepavali, a Sanskrit word, literally means rows of light. The observance of this festival is brought out by displaying rows of light at the entrance of homes, places of worship etc. Taking an oil bath, worshipping the goddess Luxmi are some of the important rituals observed by Hindus for a period of 21 days on the new moon during the period October-November.

Deepavali is a celebration of victory of Shri Krishna over the demon Narahasuran who by practice of austerities had gained strength to draw the gods out of the celestial kingdom. There is also a legend that when Asuran [Demon] was to be eliminated he was allowed to crave a boon at the moment of death and he preferred that the day be one of fasting and rejoicing.

This request was granted and he was killed. Hence it is known as Narakachturdasi. Deepavali is celebrated differently in different places but bathing early in the morning, wearing new clothes, going to temple for religious rituals is common to all. Short eats, sweet meats and other eatables are shared among relations, friends, neighbours and visitors.

On this day people clean their homes and in the courtyards kolams (designs) are drawn using rice and turmeric flour. Beautiful lamps are lit in Hindu homes to symbolize the annihilation of ignorance and sorrow and the awakening of wisdom in ignorant mankind. Let the Deepavali festival bring happiness and prosperity to all.

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