Friday, October 16, 2009

Happy Diwali

Deepawali greetings to you...

I wish you not just smiles and happiness but laughter and pure joy,
not just an abundance of blessings but heavens true treasures.
May you walk with Love and Light always...

DEEPAVALI

DIWALI OR DEEPAVALI IS THE MOST POPULAR AND SIGNIFICANT CELEBRATION FOR ALL HINDUS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD. OFTEN DESCRIBED AS THE FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS BECAUSE OF THE LIGHTING OF OIL LAMPS ON THE MAIN NIGHT OF DIWALI, THIS CELEBRATION IS ASSOCIATED WITH FINE COLOURFUL CLOTHES, DELICIOUS CUISINE, CLOURFUL FIREWORKS AND GAIETY IN GENERAL. ALTHOUGH IN FIJI , IT IS OBSERVED ONLY ON ONE DAY(WHICH IS GENERALLY THE LAST DAY), IT IS CELEBRATED OVER THREE DAYS IN INDIA . THIS IS BECAUSE IT IS A COMBINATION OF THREE SEPARATE OBSERVANCES.

THE FIRST DAY IS CALLED THE DANTERAS. IT IS THE BIRTH ANNIVERSARY OF DHANWANTARI, THE GREAT TEACHER OF AYURVEDA (MEDICAL SCIENCE). ONE NORMALLY PRAYS ON THIS DAY FOR FREEDOM FROM DISEASE. A LAMP IS NORMALLY LIT FOR YAMRAJ(THE GOD OF DEATH), IN ORDER TO BE FREE FROM A PREMATURE DEATH.


THE NEXT DAY IS CALLED NARAK CHATURDASHI. THIS DAY IS CELEBRATED WITH GREAT FESTIVITY BY SOUTH INDIANS. IT WAS ON THIS DAY THAT SHRI KRISHNA DESTROYED THE DEMON NARAKASURA, WHO TERRORIZED THE INHABITANTS AND SEIZED CELESTIAL MAIDENS AND HELD THEM CAPTIVE. WHEN LORS KRISHNA SLEWED THE DEMON, THE CITY THAT HAD BEEN PLUNGED IN DARKNESS AND FEAR WAS BOW RELEASED. OIL BATHS WERE TAKEN TO ABSOLVE THEMSELVES FROM THE DARKNESS THAT HELD THEM. THEREFORE NOWADAYS, AT DAWN EVERY MEMBER OF THE HOUSEHOLD TAKES AN OIL BATH . THREE KINDS OF OIL ARE COMBINED AND APPLIED TO THE HEAD WITH A TUFT OF GRASS(ARUVAM PUL). EYES ARE CLEANSED WITH CASTOR OIL AND THE WHOLE BODY MESSAGED WITH SESAME OIL.

IN THE NORTH, THE VERY SAME RELEASE FROM DARKNESS AND MISERY WAS FELT IN CELEBRATIONS ASSOCIATED WITH THE RETURN OF RAMA, SITA AND LAKSHMANA AFTER 14 YEARS IN EXILE AT THE END OF WHICH LORD RAMA DEFEATED IN BATTLE RAVANA, THE KING OF LANKA. RAVANA HAD ABDUCTED SITA AND KEPT HER IN CAPTIVITY IN HIS PALACE IN LANKA. LORD RAMA HAD TO SECURE THE HELP OF HANUMAN AND HIS VANARA FORCES IN ORDE TO CROSS OVER TO LANKA AND WAGE WAR WITH THE MIGHTY RAVANA, WHO GAINED A BOON FROM SIVA THAT NONE OF THE GODS WOULD BE ABLE TO DEFEAT HIM IN BATTLE OR KILL HIM. LORD VISHNU HAD TO TAKE THE AVATHAR AS AN ORDINARY MAN IN ORDER TO DO THIS.


HE THIRD DAY IS OBSERVED AS MAHALUXMI POOJA. THIS IS THE NIGHT WHEN THE NEW MOON RULES. THE VERY EVENING AT SUNSET, GODDESS MHALUXMI IS WORSHIPPED AND ROWS OF LAMPS ARE LAID OUT TO MARK THE GLORY OF THE FESTIVITIES. GODDESS MAHLUXMI IS THE CONSORT OR DIVINE ENERGY OF LORD VISHNU,( THE SUSTAINER OF THE UNIVERSE) AND IS WORSHIPPED FOR PROSPERITY AND HAPPINESS.

IT IS IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER THAT DIWALI IS ESSENTIALLY A RELIGIOUS OBSERVANCE WHICH HIGHTLIGHTS THE VICTORY OF LIGHT OVER DARKNESS, KNOWLEDGE OVER IGNORANCE AND GOOD OVER EVIL. IN THESE DAYS OF GLOBAL UNREST WHERE SUSPICION, DOUBT AND FEAR LURKS IN EVERY HEART, THE NEED FOR THE MESSAGE OF DIWALI BECOMES MORE RELEVANT FOR ALL PEOPLE. WE MUST ENDEAVOR TO ERADICATE NEGATIVE THOUGHTS FROM OUR MINDS AND REPLACE THEM WITH POSITIVE THOUGHTS OF LOVE, UNDERSTANDING AND HARMONY. DEEPAVALI IS ALSO A TIME FOR REFLECTION. LIFE DOES NOT ADVOCATE ONLY THE ACHIEVEMENT OF SUPERHUMAN DEEDS. IT IS THE SPREAD OF DHARMA AND THE ESTABLISHMENT OF JUSTICE THAT KINDLES THE HUMAN SPIRIT. THE CROWNING OF RAMA’S GLORY AT DEEPAVALI MUST GIVE RISE TO UNSELFISH DEEDS AND CLEANSE ALL EVIL DESIRES. MANKIND IS WAITING FOR THE PROMISED AYODHA-FREE FOM HUNGER AND WANT-WHEN PEACE AND PLENTY WILL REIGN SUPREME.-WHEN ALL PEOPLE WILL BE HEALTHY AND CONTENT-WHERE THERE WILL BE NO FEAR AND ANXIETY-WHERE MAN’S EARTHLY CARRIER WILL BE GUIDED BY SPIRITUAL LOVE. DEEPAVALI UNITES ALL MANKIND IN THE LOVE OF LIGHT WHICH ALONE DISPELS DARK IGNORANCE.

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE CLAY LAMP

THE WORD DIWALI IS THE SHORTENED TERM OF DEEPAVALI, WHICH IN TURN IS A COMBINATION OF TWO WORDS , NAMELY “DEEPA” MEANING LAMP AND “VALI” MEANING ROWS. THUS THE WORD DEEPAVALI MEANS ‘ ROWS OF LAMPS’.

THE LAMP THAT HINDUS LIGHT ON DIWALI DAY IS SYMBOLIC OF THE HUMAN BODY. EACH PART THAT CONSTITUTES THE LAMP REPRESENTS THE HUMAN BODY AND THE LIGHT THAT EMENATES FROM THE LAMP REPRESENTS THE LIGHTING UP OF THE INNER BEING OF A PERSON.

THE CLAY LAMP FOR EXAMPLE REPRESENTS THE PHYSICAL BODY. THE OIL USED IN THE LAMP SIGNIFY THE VARIOUS SENSE ORGANS. THE WICK DENOTES THE INTELLECT WHILE PHYSICAL LIGHT SEEN BY US ALL REPRESENTS THE SPIRITUAL LIGHT OR ENLIGHTMENT THAT ALL OF US ASPIRE TO ACHIEVE.
JUST AS THE OIL CONTAINED IN THE CLAY LAMP, NOURISHES THE WICK WHICH SHINES FORTH WITH ITS RADIANT FLAME, SIMILARLY THE SENSE OF HEARING, SEEING AND OTHER ORGANS CONTAINED IN THE HUAMN BODY NOURISH THE INTELLECT. THROUGH THE KNOWLEDGE ACQUIRED BY THE INTERACTION OF THE SENSES THE INTELLECT BECOMES SPIRITUALLY LUMINOUS AND RADIANT.THUS THE PURE OIL, NEW WICK AND THE LAMP SIGNIFY CLEAN AND PURE THOUGHTS WHICH GIVE AO A GREATER BRIGHTNESS AND LUSTRE.

LIGHT SIGNIFYS HAPPINESS, HEALTH, PROSPERITY, PEACE AND GOODNESS. IT ALSO DISPELS DARKNESS WHICH STANDS FOR SUFFERING THROUGH SADNESS, DISEASE,POVERTY, VIOLENCE, EVIL, GLOOM AND DESPAIR. JUST AS THE SUN DESTROYS THE DARKNESS OF NIGHT SO DOES THE LAMP DESTROY THE DARKNESS AROUND IT. THEREFORE THE PHYSICAL LAMP KINDLES THE INNER LIGHT WHICH INSPIRES US TO SHINE FORTH DESTROYING THE DARKNES OF GLOOM AND DESPAIR AS IT SPREADS THE LIGHT OF HAPPINESS AND JOY.



OM ASATO MA SAD GAMAYA
TAMASO MA JYOTIR GAMAYA
MRITYOR MA AMRITAM GAMAYA

LEAD US FROM UNTRUTH TO TRUTH
FROM DARKNESS TO LIGHT
FROM DEATH TO IMMORTALITY

Happy deepawali and may the blessings of goddess Lakshmi shower upon you and your family...

Friday, October 2, 2009

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