“আজ নিখিলের আনন্দধারায় ধুইয়ে দাও,
মনের কোণের সব দীনতা মলিনতা ধুইয়ে দাও।
আমার পরান-বীণায় ঘুমিয়ে আছে অমৃত গান–
তার নাইকো বাণী, নাইকো ছন্দ, নাইকো তান।
তারে আনন্দের এই জাগরণী ছুঁইয়ে দাও…”(song by Rabindranath Tagore)
“In the streams of world’s bliss, you wash away
Timidness-filthiness from all corners of heart, you wash away
In my stringed soul sleeps few eternal melodies
They have no lexemies, no parodies, no harmonies
With the renaissance of joyous band you touch them, I pray”(Translation by Deepankar Choudhury)
The city of Ayodha was under darkness for fourteen prolonged years without any lamp lighting the walls of the houses and streets. Now, making his mark, the scion is returning. This happy piece of news made the people all set to adorn the whole land with series of lamps. Extreme gladness has blown their minds. The men and women are saluting and welcoming the Lord and his match made in heaven, Mother Sita!
(Return of Rama)
Diwali or Deepavali is a glorious festival with great importance for we Indians. It is also referred to as Dipannwita, Deepalika, Sukhratri, Sukhsuptika and Yaksharatri. As per the Ramayana, on this day, during Treta Age, Lord Rama, after slaying Ravaana, returned home after 14 long years. To mark this event and victory, the people of Ayodhya lightened the whole city with lamps with joy and delight. Over the moon, on this day, Goddess Kaali is worshipped as the symbolism of power by Bengalis.
In Puranas and Tantras, various forms of the goddess are mentioned. They are DakshinaKaali, Bhadrakaali, Siddhakaali, Guhyakaali, Samshankaali, Rakshakaali and Mahakaali. At various temples, the idol of Kaali is worshipped in the form Karunamayee, Anandamayee, Bhabataraini, Brahmamayee. Nevertheless, the icon of Daskinakaali is the most popular format of worship. According to the Tantric scripture Brahmayamal, Kaali is the founding deity of the land of Vanga or modern-day Bengal.
During the Hindu month of Ashwin, at the tithi of the new-moon day, Deepaniwita Kaalipuja is celebrated with special grandeur. Apart from this, in the month of Maagh, Ratanti Kaalipuja and during Jaisthya, Falaharini Kaalipuja is also popular. A nine days wonder Deepavali continues for 5 days in reality. It starts from the Dhanteras festival during the day of Krishna Trayodasi in the month of Aswin to Bhaifota on the day of Shukla Dwitiya of the month of Kartik. After 18 days of Navaratri, the Deepavali festival begins. It is celebrated from middle to October to the middle of November as shown in the Gregorian calendar.
(Various forms of Maa Kaali)
The worshippers of Kaali or the practicers of Kaalikula school-of-thought are especially respected in Bengali society. Bamakhyapa, Ramprasad Sen, Kamalakanta Bhattacharya and Ramakrishna Paramhamsa are to name a few.
Though, the Kali puja form of Chamunda Charchika is ancient worship, the current protocol of the festival is comparatively a new trend. Deepavali is considered to be founded by famous tantric Krishnananda Agambish in Bengal. Before that, the worshippers of Kali used to paint or carve the idol in copper and serve the goddess.
(Kali puja parikrama, Santipur, Nadia, West Bengal)
During 1777, the book Shyamasaparyabidhi, as composed by Kashinath, first notes about this worship. As verbally popular, King Krishnachandra Rai of Nadiya was bound to start this Puja in order to scare his subjects. From that day onwards it turned into especially popular in Nadia. From that epicenter, the chain reaction spread across the whole of Bengal. The grandson of Krishnachandra- Ishanchandra along with the patronage of other rich landlords made Kaalipuja all the go.
(Vamana, one of the playable Gods in SMITE)
Nevertheless, there are many other self-contradictory fascinating stories, events and mythological tales linked with this festival of lights. Whenever there is the disgrace of truthfulness or Dharma and the uprising of corruption or Adharma, the God incarnates and come down to earth or comes out of the system to slay the evil. To demolish Asura lord Baali, many moons ago, on the day of Diwali, God Vishnu appeared with his Vamana Avarata. Again, when the Pandavas were back to square one at Hastinapur, on the day of Deepavali, after 12 long years of exile, the people honored them by celebrating lights.
(Laxmi and Samudramanthan)
On this day, Goddess Laxmi, the mistress of wealth and fortune, took birth or came out of Samudra Manthan or the event of the churning of the ocean. She is worshipped on this day by praying with lamps.
(The COININDIA Coin Galleries: Gupta: Chandragupta II)
Further, King Vikramaditya or Chandragupta II killed the Saka invaders and came to be known as “Sakari”- and the victory was celebrated with lights as Deepavali. It is been also believed that Vikramaditya ascended the throne on this day.
(Bandi Chorr Divas)
Alongside, Diwali cast a long shadow on the Sikhs as they remember the convivial as the Golden Temple of Amritsar to be established on this day. Besides, due to the contumacy of the agree to disagreed Sixth Guru, Guru Harogovind Sahib Ji imprisoned under Jahangir’s rule at Gwalior Fort, 52 Hindu kings were released coinciding with the day of Diwali as Bandi Chhor Divas. They celebrate the day by reciting Guru Granth Sahib, easting vegetarian items, decorating homes and Gurudwaras and firing crackers.
(Ashoka and Buddishm)
Joining the club for many Buddhists, the day is noted as Ashoka Vijayadashami when King Ashoka called many to come under Buddhist ideology.
(Rangoli and Diwali)
At various parts of the Indian subcontinent, Diwali is celebrated with Rangoli where the patterns are designed on the ground or floor. It is done with flower petals, colored sand, dry flour, colored rice and so on. Here, designs are passed through generations, with the intention to bring good fortune keeping the tradition and art form alive. For instance, western India is mainly associated with trade and business. On the night before Diwali, the Gujaratis being on cloud nine decorate the front of their house with colorful rangolis. For them, the day marks the New Year.
The cultural cohesion is maintained In Maharashtra, where it is celebrated for 4 days. On the first day, it is celebrated through Aarti of cows and calves signifying the love between mother and baby. The second day is Dhanteras or Dhanatryodashi. Next, the third day is named Narakchaturdashi when people visit temples after the scented oil bath. Their tradition set the bar feasting on delicious sweets like laddoo and karanji and spicy foods like sev and chakli. The feast is called Faral. The last day is the main day of Diwali when Goddess Laksmi with jewelry and money is worshipped to get a bite at the cherry.
(Diwali snacks and sweets)
In South India, Diwali is celebrated in the aipasi month of Tamil also known as Naraka Chaturdasi Tithi. People being balls of fire clean their homes and with kolam designs, similar to rangolis, they decorate their abode. Besides, a unique ritual is seen is South India known as Thalai Deepavali. The newly married couples spend their first Diwali in the parental home of the bride.
(Diwali and South Indian family)
Unlike other parts of South India, at Andhra Pradesh, Harikatha, a musical narration of the tale of Satyabhama killing demon Narakasura is narrated. Prayers are offered to clay idols of the lady. Cast in the same mold, in Karnataka, there are two primary days of Diwali- Ashwija Krishna Chaturdashi and Bali Padyami are celebrated recollecting the events of Krishna killing Narakasura and myths associated with Asura King Bali.
(Narakasura and Krishna)
At Odisha, with their heart in the right place celebrate the day by paying tributes to their forefathers by the chant: “oh our ancestors, seers and gods, you came on the dark night of Mahalaya, and now it is time for you to depart for heaven, so we are showing light, may you attain peace in abode of Jagannatha!”. However, the land of Kashmir has thought another big, bringing a distinct narration connected to Lakshmi with the festival. Nilamata Purana was found to be composed there between 500 AD and 800 AD that for the first time refers to the Goddess at the main cause of Diwali celebrations. Moreover, the organic distribution of the term “Diwali” can be traced to the text where it is mentioned by the name of deepamala and sukhasuptika. By all means, the event was celebrated on the same night as diwali is celebrated now on the lunar calendar. Again the earliest mention of festival, as per many experts are seen in Vatsyayana’s Kama Sutra, considered to be composed sometime between the 300 BC and the 200 AD. Vatsyayana refers to Yaksha Ratri or night of Yakshas, which was rendered by lighting lamps everywhere. Here, notably, gambling was a significant part of the event.
Thus it is seen that though from the true image it is seen as the festival of lights, from the cultural perspective of Indians or Hindus this indicates the flaming of the inner light or enlightening the inner soul behind the scenes. The main topic of Hindu philosophy is Atman that dwells beyond body and mind and is eternal, indestructible and pure. Rousing the inner light gives rise to auspicious intellect and ominous power gets vanquished.
The mind of human beings veiled with red herring facts, bad blood, ignorance, barbarism, jealousy, envy, hatred, ego, greediness comes across ethical deterioration and turns them into yellow-bellied one. This leads to upsetting the apple cart, petty quarrel, battles and even up to wars. Due to this, inauspicious instincts, the lighting piece of the heart remains possessed.
As soon as the barrier breaks down, the Viveka awakes and in the middle of the funnel, truth wins. Human goes nearer to the search of soul and knowledge amplifies to lead the life of its own. This is another name of Aananda or happiness and peace or Shanti- pointing out the reality above the law, that the inner light is the same irrespective of caste, creed and religion. Priorly, lamps of soils, crackers of sticks and traditional sweets were available to celebrate on this day. Now, our development, the quality of food, more eye-dazzling crackers and show-off for money has increased.
Have the level of our thinking and purity of mind enhanced accordingly? Everything happening can be seen under this inductive reasoning, but the search of the soul seems to be facing decoherence in our daily professional routine!
It’s time to plug and play the light, the proper truth within, again. We must not forget, the festival is to make inner selves shine against the darkness of vale of tears.
This has been the message of India, from the time being, across every corner of Greater India to make ourselves dissolved in the waves of ParamBrahma. From the core, it is the muse of godliness everywhere. Its name has the gravity from history and paen of the myths or Purana ahead of our time.
Let’s keep the excited Dipanwita with unlimited Deepalikas all hands on deck, passionate and courageous enough for the well-being to be welcomed at home and society through Deblina- dissolve into the Devi with colors and lights!
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