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  • Writer's pictureMeenakshi Sharan

Diwali and its significance: Decolonise your mind and don’t be apologetic about it

Don’t let the fabricated narrative around Diwali kill the divinity, charm and grandeur that our ancestors have passed down to us generation after generation

Magnitude of the revolution of the Earth around the Sun brings about different seasons, six Ritus as per the Hindu calendar.

With the arrival of Hemant Ritu, the pleasant pre-winter season when the leaves turn gold to shed to let new leaves take their place, with the nip in the air, the pink weather brings the scent of festivity to the air.

Beginning from Sharad Poornima till the Kartik Poornima, the entire month is festive, the most awaited one that brings the festival of lights, Diwali. Kartik is considered the month of Shri Vishnu because the astronomical conditions are conducive for good health, wealth, prosperity. Kartik is the month of victory, Shiva putra Kartikey’s victory over the demon Tarakasur, Shri Ram’s victory over Ravan, Shri Krishna’s victory over Varah putra Bhaumasur, Devi Lakshmi’s over darkness.

But the pseudo-Left-liberal gang’s rant will make us believe that it’s a festival of pollution; schools start brainwashing children by calling it cultural and not religious; advertisement agencies run vicious campaigns aimed at invading the sacred, pseudo-secular governments start attacking firework industry. As an article in 2021 mischievously said, “Diwali’s history is a contested one, torn between myth and appropriation.”

Time to decolonise your mind

No Hindu festival, ritual or tradition is baseless; there’s ancient wisdom behind them. It’s the Hindu civilisation that gave the world the concept of interdependence and co-existence, of reverence to all beings being made up of the same five elements. It was the Vedic Hindus who brought civilisation to Europe, the global presence of Shri Ram, Hindu mandirs across the world, the similarity in many traditions and rituals speak volumes about influences of Sanatan Sabhyata on various cultures of the world.

On Kartik Poornima, using the north-eastern monsoon winds that blow from mid-November, the ancient Hindu mariners sailed to Sri Lanka, down the Straits of Malacca towards Palembang to Sumatra, Bali, Yavadwip, Borneo and Vietnam, the Malays, Indonesians, Bornean, Viet, Burmese, Sri Lankans, Cambodians, also Thai and Laotian, worship and light lamps on Kartik Poornima till date.

Hindu festivals, traditions and rituals are based on historical events in different periods of time/yugas and have attached benefits on human mind and body because of their occurrences on particular Ritus/seasons and astronomical conditions.

Festivals of Kartik month

Karwa Chauth: It falls on Chaturthi/fourth day of Kartik, the day the slain head of Ganesh had landed on the moon and Shiva brought Him back to life, the moon on this day is seen as Shiva and his son Ganesh.

Moon symbolises the subconscious and conscious mind, Hindu women for stability in married life, observe a fast, worship the Moon God hence and break their fast only after offering Him Argya/ water from an earthen pot known as Karwa.

Ahoi Ashtami: To ward off the darkness caused due to the Sun’s transit, the Vedic rishis started the tradition of Akaash Deep daan — lighting up the mandirs, river banks, neighbourhood with oil lamps starting from Ahoi Ashtami/8th day of Kartik.

कृष्णपक्षे विशेषेण पुत्र पंचदिनानि च।

पुण्यानि तेषु यो दत्ते दीपं सोऽक्षयमाप्नुयात्।

Lighting lamps from Krishna Paksh Rama Ekadashi till Deepawali on Amavasya is very auspicious and brings positivity and peace.

Govatsa Dwadashi, Dhanwantari Triyodashi, Narak Chaturdashi and Deepawali are celebrated on the 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th of this month because in the Krita/ Sata Yug from Samudra Manthan had incarnated on Dwadashi of Kartik, the Divine Cow Kamadhenu, on the Trayodashi Bhagwan Dhanwantri, Maa Kali on Chaturdashi and Mata Lakshmi on Amavasya of Kartik.

Govatsa Dwadashi/Nandini Vrat: 21 October 2022, 5.23 pm till 6.30 pm on 22 October

Hindus pay gratitude to the Holy Cow for their contribution in the sustenance of human life.

Dhan Trayodashi: 22 October, 2022, 6.30 pm till 6.03 pm on 23 October.

Shri Vishnu Bhagwan incarnated as the Devta of Ayurveda carrying an Amrit Kalash on this day.

Dev guru Brihaspati asked the Devtas to worship Kuber ji, the Devta of all treasures and Mata Lakshmi on this day for prosperity, hence along with Bhagwan Dhanwantri, Mata Lakshmi and Kuber are worshipped on Dhanteras.

A deepak is lit in reverence to Yama, the devta of death worshipping whom one is protected from untimely death.

Narak Chaturdashi: 23 October 2022, 6.04 pm till 5.28 pm on 24 October

On the 14th day of the Krishna Paksha of Kartik month, Shri Krishna slayed Varhas’s son Bhaumasur/Narkasur. His holy bath after smearing Narkasu’s blood on his forehead a mark of victory, is called Abhyanga Snan. Hindus follow the tradition of ritualistic herbal scrubs and oil-bath early in the morning on Narak Chaturdashi.

People of Dwarka lit lamps to welcome the victorious Krishna who returned with 1,600 Arya women captured by Bhaumasur, who before dying had wished this day be celebrated as Narak Chaturdashi.

This day is celebrated as Kali Chaudas also since Maa Kali had incarnated on the same tithi, the Krishna Paksh Chaturdashi of Kartik month. On this tithi itself, Bhagwan Vishnu had promised to visit Raja Bali every year.

Hanuman was also born on the same tithi hence in Ayodhya at Hanumangarhi, His jayanti is celebrated on this day. Some consider Hanuman Jayanti to be on Chaitra Poornima.

Why Hindus light deepak

Being nearest to the Aakash Tatva, the energy provider Agni is invoked in a deepak to become one with the celestial dimension/ Cosmic energy and to energise one’s magnetic field.

When Maa Lakshmi incarnated in Sata Yuga, Devtas lit deepak’s in Her honour. In Treta Yug, on the victorious return of Shri Ram, the people of Ayodhya lit Deepaks. In Dwapar Yuga, deepaks were lit for Shri Krishna’s victory over Bhaumasur.

Deepawali/Lakshmi Pooja: 24 October 2022, 5.28 pm till 4.18 pm on 25 October

On this tithi, Hindus worship Devi Lakshmi, Lakshmi with Ganesh ji and Kuber ji’s pooja is called Dev pooja, Devi Saraswati’s worship on this day is called Sharda Pooja.

This day is also celebrated as Kedar Gowri Vrat because on this tithi, Shiva became Ardhanarishwara, one with Devi Parvati.

New account books are also worshipped as Chopad Pooja.

For three days, from Dhanteras to Amavasya, raja Bali had lit lamps for Yama and worshipped Lakshmi to be rid of the fear from death and poverty.

Wealth as per Hindu Dharma is the six virtues, Saam meaning a calm mind, Daam is awareness of one’s thoughts and deeds, Uparati is not being affected by external objects and circumstances, Titiksha means remaining neutral- no likes or dislikes, Shraddha is devotion, and Samadhan is focus on your goal.

Devi Lakshmi bestows such wealth, good luck, success and grace, hence Lakshmi pooja is a major ritual of the Deepawali festival.

Govardhan Puja: 26 October 2022, 6.33 am to 8.48 am

On the Shukla Paksha Pratipada of Kartik, Krishna saved the Brijwasis from the flooding rain by securing them under the Govardhan Parvat for seven days, and enlightened them about the importance of cow, livestock and environment. Worshipping cows and nature, cooking 56 Bhog/ Annakut for Shri Krishna continues as a tradition for Hindus.

This day is also observed as Bali Pratipada Pooja. Raja Bali visits Bhulok/ Earth for three days and blesses his devotees on this day.

Bhai Dooj: 26 October 2022, 2.43 pm till 3.30 pm on 27 October

Surya putra Yama Dev visited his sister Yamuna/ Yami on the Shukla Paksha Dwitiya of Kartik month, called Bhratri Dwitiya, Yama Dvitiya or Bhai Dooj. Pleased with Yami’s love and devotion, Yama professed that the brothers who visit their sisters on this day to check on her wellbeing will be protected from all evil and be blessed with a long life. Traditionally the siblings take a holy bath in river Yamuna on this day.

Subhadra had also welcomed and worshipped her brother Shri Krishna when he visited her on this tithi after returning from his victory over Bhaumasur.

Chitragupta Jayanti

On the same tithi was born the seventeenth Manas putr of Brahma ji, Bhagwan Chitragupta who keeps account of all deeds of living beings. He is worshipped by Hindus on the Shukla Paksha Dwitiya of Kartik month.

Chhath Puja

The Rig Vedic people are believed to have lived on solar energy for four days from the 4th day to the 7th day of the Shukla Paksha of Kartik.

Chhat Puja is a tradition that has continued since the time immemorial. Devotee fast all four days and worship the Surya Devta, the prime source of energy that sustains life on Earth, its first ray Usha and Pratyusha, the last rays when it sets.

Prabodhini Ekadashi/ Devotthan Ekadashi: 3 November 2022, 7.30 pm till 6.08 pm on 4 November

The 11th day of Shukla Paksh of the Kartik month is Prabodhini Ekadashi/Devotthan Ekadashi when Vishnu ji wakes up from His Chaturmas sleep in Kshirsagar, the four months when no auspicious tasks take place.

Tulsi Vivah

Tulsi being Vishnu Priya, is wedded to Shaligram on this day to invoke Shri Hari Vishnu and seek His blessings. This marks the marriage season for Hindus.

Dev Deepawali: 7 November 2022, 4.15 pm till 4.31 pm on 8 November

On Kartik Poornima, Brahma incarnated from Brahma Sarovar, Pushkar. It’s also called Tripurari Purnima because on this tithi, Tripurari Shiva Performing Tandav, burnt cities of asur Tarakasur’s three sons Tarakah, Kamalaksh and Vidyutmali and descends to bathe in Ganga.

Diwali illuminates Bharat from earth to the skies. This Diwali lite up every mandir with deepaks even if it lies in ruins because as per Shastra, once Pratishthit the deity never leaves the mandir even if the Pratima or the Mandir structure is damaged. Hindus have had a long history of tapasvis, kings and commoners engaging in repairs of mandirs.

Don’t let the fabricated narrative around Deepawali kill the divinity, charm and grandeur that our ancestors have passed down to us generation after generation. Jai Shri Ram.

The author professionally is a hospitality entrepreneur. She is an avid history buff and perpetually researches episodes where history was faulted to manufacture faux narratives. She is the founder of Ayodhya Foundation Org which aims at promotion and revival of Vedic culture, Bhartiya sangeet and nritya, arts and handicrafts. Her works involve ‘Existence of Saraswati from the Shastras,’ ‘Partition of India and the events since 638 that lead to it,’ ‘History of Islamic and Christian invasions across the world’ etc. She tweets with @meenakshisharan. Views expressed are personal.

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