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Author Topic: EDITORIAL DEEPAWALI  (Read 3179 times)

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Offline JR

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« on: February 19, 2007, 09:04:08 AM »
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  • Deepawali or Diwali as it is commonly called, is the festival which is most joyfully celebrated throughout India by the rich and poor alike. Other festivals are of short duration and hence no   special   preparations   are   made  for   them;   but   this   festival normally   lasts   for   four   days   and   every   day has got a special importance of its own.   Hence all the people in the  house  from young to old take interest in celebrating the festival in their own way and make preparations for the same for days together.

    The usual days for this festival are the last two days of the month of Ashwin and the first two days of the month of Kartik. Sometimes   according  to the almanac,    the   festival lasts for only three  days   or   sometimes   it   is   extended   upto   five   days.   The general tendency of the human beings is to expect joy for as long a   period   as  possible   and   hence   people   expect   the Deepawali festival to last for a long period.    The elders, who have   enjoyed this   festival   for   many   years   are   not  much worried about the duration   of   this    festival;   but   the   youngsters   who are having special holidays for this festival always like to have the Deepawali lasting for the maximum number of days.    Whenever the calendar for   the  new year is received, the youngsters in the house always try to find out from that as to the number of days   allotted   for this   festival.    The   children   also   want   this festival to last long because when the elders are celebrating a festival, they are usually giving full freedom to the youngsters and they   do   not   mind   if they behave a little out of the way.
    Like   other   Hindu   festivals,   this festival also has a mythological and social background behind it.   Though the first day of Deepawali is known as Narak   Chaturdashi,   the  day   preceeding is   day   also has its importance.    This day is the thirteenth day the   second   half of the month of Ashwin and it is known as ie   "Dhanteras"   The distinguishing   feature  of   this   festival   is row   ( Awali) of lights ( Deep) from which the festival gets name and these lights are   actually   kindled   from   Dhanteras. The mythological story behind the importance of this day goes to say that Yama the Lord of death once asked his assistants  as to 'whether they felt sorry  any   time   while   performing   their   duty, 'hey   replied that once when they had to snatch away the son of King   Haima,   only on the fourth day of his marriage, they were pained much to inflict premature death on that young boy.    They further requested that in future no such case should  happen  and _take   them   to   suffer   from the pangs of grief.   Yamaraj agreed and declared that those who   will   observe   the   festival   for  five days   from   Dhanteras   and   light   lamps will not have premature death.   From   that   time   it   became   a   practice   to   observe this festival by lighting lamps for five days.

    The programme for the first day of Deepawali starts early morning with a hot water bath accompanied by ointments, scented soaps and scents of various kinds according to the choice of every individual. This day is the fourteenth day of the second half of the month of Ashwin and is known as Narak Chaturdashi. As usual a mythological story is told bringing out the importance of this day also. Once upon a time, a demon named Narakasur became very powerful. He was having his kingdom in the region south of the present Nepal and Bhutan states. He invaded the territories of the surrounding kingdoms and imprisoned sixteen thousand ladies whom he had captured by force. He had the audacity even to trouble the gods.
    When Lord Shrikrishna knew about this disorderly behavior of the demon, he decided to kill him; but his wife Satyabhama came forward to achieve this task and marched on the demon.

    She fought bravely with the demon and killed him before the dawn of the fourteenth day of the second half of the month of Ashwin and freed all the ladies in distress. They all went home and expressed their joy by illuminating their houses. Hence we even now get up early morning on this day and have a bath and have the illuminations by the night.

    The second day of the Deepawali festival is the no-moon day or Amavasya. Usually the no-moon day is supposed to be inauspicious for any festival; but this day is supposed to be auspicious, because this was the day when the Goddess Laxmi was freed from the fetters of King Bali by Lord Vishnu in the Waman incarnation. On this day Laxmi i. e. wealth (Cash, Gold etc.) is worshipped in all the houses as well as in all the shops. In old days the merchants and businessmen used to celebrate this day on a very grand scale. They used to have special illumination on that day. They used to entertain their customers with sweets and drinks; but with the scarcity of all things and the sky high prices of all essential commodities, they are not now able to celebrate this day on the same scale as before. However the old practice of worshipping the accounts books etc. is continued by them as before. Their financial year ends on this day. Hence the new books of accounts that they have to open on the new year are worshipped by them on this day, which is dedicated to the Laxmi Pujan.

    The third day of the festival is the Padwa. This is the first day of Kartik. The samvat year starts from this day. Many of the business firms who still observe traditional way of keeping accounts, begin their financial year from this day. This way of counting the year is even recognised by the Government, because the assessment of income tax is also done according to this year for so many business firms, who maintain their accounts according to this financial year.

    The fourth  day   of the  Deepawali  festival is a  day  of the brothers and sisters. On this day sister is supposed to entertain the brother, give him a feast and the brother in his turn, has to give a gift to his sister. In all the houses this function is celebrated on a grand scale. Waving the Aarati round the face of the brother by the sister on this day is supposed to be very auspicious and it is scrupulously observed by all. Most of the brothers make it a point to pay a visit to their married sisters even if they are staying far away. A mythological story of Yama, the God of death, and his sister is told in this context which throws light on this custom of fostering the relations of the brother and sister on this day.

    Thus ends this great festival of the year. This festival is of the longest duration and there is more of social element in it than religious. There might be some economical background behind the celebration of this festival at this particular time of the year. Since long India is essentially a country of farmers. Our whole economy even today depends on the agricultural products that we procure in the year. Though of late some dams have been constructed and few irrigation works are supplying water for farming, still we are even today mainly depending on the crops which we produce in the monsoon. By the end of Ashwin the monsoon mostly gets over in our country and expectation of a good crop, which is by that time blooming gaily in the field, makes the farmer hilarious. He is therefore in a good mood to enjoy the functions of the festival. The children have got long holidays and they are gay because of the firing of crackers that they do freely in this festival. In good old days stitching of new cloths for the ensuing year was being done on the eve of this festival and buying gold and preparing new ornaments for this festival was being done. As now the purchase of clothes does not require any particular occasion and as we are purchas¬ing clothes throughout the year and as the price of gold has soared so high that gold is hardly purchased unless it is absolutely necessary, both the above practices are mostly abandoned.
    We  wish   all  our   readers  and  all Sai   devotees  a  happy Diwali and a prosperous new year.
    सबका मालिक एक - Sabka Malik Ek

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