Happy Diwali and Namashkar (Greetings to you)!
Today is Diwali!
The Festival of Light! Inspired by Hindu God’s Sita and Rama!
The saga – The Ramayana – also features Hanuman (the Monkey God) and Bhagwan (God) Laxman – who is Lord Ram’s younger brother.
On this special day lamps are lit all over the World and Diwali is celebrated by Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, and Jains. The significance to the reason of why lamps and fireworks are lit is explained towards the end of this tribute/article.
I begin by introducing the wonderful and wonderous Gods in the Ramayana and a demon called Ravana
(The epic of Sita and Rama is called the Ramayana):
Rama (who is an Avatar in human form) is The 7th Incarnation of Bhagwan Vishnu – (below):
He is born to King Dasharath and Shree Ram has three brothers Laxman, Bharat and Shatrugna, who are all younger to him. Shree Ram after finishing his studies with Vishwamitra his Guru (Teacher), sets out to eliminate demons from the World with his brother Laxman. After anhillating many demons, he meets his wife to be Sita; Shree Ram is set the task of stringing Lord Shiva’s bow and not only succeeds in doing so he also manages to snap the bow in half, the completion of this task sees Shree Ram and Sita’s marriage take place in extraordinary extravagance (Shree Ram being a Prince at the time and Sita a Princess). The Newly weds return to Shree Ram’s Father’s kingdom of Ayodhya to a great welcoming and an array of Hailing Shree Ram and Shree Sita ki Jai! The first hailings of many to come! Shree Ram’s love and life story is further narrated/conveyed when drastic events occur:
- Shree Ram is halted from being crowned and is exiled to the forest for 14years by his Step-Brother’s Mother and the King Dasharath is distraught by the exilation however allows it to happen, Shree Sita and Shree Laxman go with Shree Ram to the forest.
- Later Sita is abducted from the Forest by Demon Ravana.
- Shree Ram is grieving and Hanuman Bhagwan comes to his aid and they go to rescue Sita from India to Sri Lanka where she is being held.
*Sita* is the wife of Shree Rama, they later have two twin boys called Love and Kush.
*(above far right of animated photo)
Sita is the daughter of the earth goddess, she goes to the forest after being sent with Ram to spend 14years in the forest called Dandaka where they have been exiled. She is Ram’s beloved sweetheart and awaits Ram to rescue her from Ravana’s tyranny.
Demon King of Sri Lanka Ravana (above) is a powerful demon who has ten heads and a boon that he cannot be killed by God’s, he abducts Sita from the Forest and is soon at war with Rama, Laxman and Hanuman and the monkey army after this act.
Laxman (above) is Ram’s younger brother who is by Ram’s side through everything in the Ramayana, he assists Ram in his efforts to rescue Sita and is a secondary Avatar of Ram too; Laxman is also known as Shesha who is Vishnu Bhagwan’s hooded snake who provides Bhagwan Vishnu with protection also known as Balrama who is Krishna Bhagwans older brother (both of whom are central figures within the Mahabharata another Hindu epic which takes place in India.)
Hanuman (above) is the strength of Ram and vice-versa they see each other through everything and Hanuman helps immensely in Ram’s efforts to rescue Sita, first he delivers Shree Ram’s ring to Sita and re-assures her, he saves Laxman’s life who is injured in one of many battles in the war to save Sita. Hanumanji is known for saying “Jai Shree Ram”.
Diwali is an annual festival and it is celebrated in homes and temples by the lighting of lamps (diwas’) and my favourite fireworks! Indian sweets (Mitai) are exchanged at Diwali to everyone and this has long been a tradition, families get together and celebrate the successful rescue of Sita by Ram (Rama kills Ravan) and their return to the Kingdom of Ayodhya after 14years of exile. Features of Diwali are singing, chanting, mehndi, colourful creations of patterns called Rangoli too! Many people visit temples as part of this annual festival. Festivities of all sorts take place such as Dances and Plays (Nataks)! Gifts are exchanged too! Blessings are given, food is abundant whether it be sweets or savouries!
“The exact day of the festival is decided by the position of the moon. According to the Hindu calendar, Amavasya or ‘no moon day’ is considered as the perfect day to celebrate Diwali.” – chakranews.com
Fireworks, lighting lamps and candles symbolise many things such as bringing light into our lives and the return of Sita and Ram (who were welcomed home and led back home from the forest by diwas and lights of all sorts) it also symbolises the power of light over evil or darkness.
It is a joyous time in rememberance of Sita and Ram and everyone wishes each other well by saying Shubh Deepawali (Happy Diwali) and Saal Mubarak (New Year) the New Year is shortly after Diwali and even David Cameron the UK Prime-Minister said this year: “let me wish all a very happy and prosperous Diwali and Saal Mubarak.”
The Indian Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh has expressed the hope that the festival of lights this year will mark the beginning of a new phase of optimism for each one of his countrymen. He also wished peace and prosperity for the people.
That concludes my Diwali tribute/article!
Interesting information/ links /photos
- Deepavali or Diwali means “a row of lights”
- Another take on Diwali as well as being a celebration of the return of Sita and Ram and the slaying of Ravan is: “All the simple rituals (explained throughout article) of Diwali have a significance and a story to tell. The illumination of homes with lights and the skies with firecrackers is an expression of obeisance to the heavens for the attainment of health, wealth, knowledge, peace and prosperity. According to one belief, the sound of fire-crackers are an indication of the joy of the people living on earth, making the gods aware of their plentiful state.” (hinduism.about.com)
- Diwali is also celebrated outside of India mainly in Guyana, Fiji, Malaysia, Nepal, Mauritius, Myanmar, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Trinidad & Tobago, Britain, Indonesia, Japan, Thailand, Africa, Australia and the US among the Hindus across the world. (hinduism.about.com)
- WATCH RAMAYANA THE EPIC:
- Link to DIWALI FESTIVAL : IN PICTURES (opens in New Window)www.aljazeera.com/indepth/inpictures/2012/11/20121113124710731275.html
HAPPY NEW YEAR!