2019 – 27 October, Sunday. 2020 – 14 November, Saturday. 2021 – 04 November, Thursday.
Diwali is the most widely celebrated festival in India. The word ‘Diwali’ is originated from ‘Deepavali’ which is Sanskrit for ‘rows of lamps or lights’. Several millenia ago, citizens of Ayodhya, a city in north India, lit their homes, markets, and neighbourhoods with rows of lamps and light to welcome Lord Rama.
Diwali festival lasts for five days with the main celebrations happening on the middle, that is, the third day. The details are given below.
- Dhanteras: The Ayurveda Day
- Nark Chaturdashi: Lamp & Ablutions to Keep Death-God Away
- Badi Diwali: Invocations on No-Moon to Lakshmi for Prosperity
- Govardhan: Lifting a Mountain Like a Mole-Hill
- Bhaiya Dooj: Brothers’ Day
Though celebrated across India, it is more popular in north and west India. Due to historical cultural linkages, people in many other east Asian countries also relate to the festival. Indian expatriates living in western countries also celebrate in a big way. In more recent modern times, bilateral cultural and diplomatic relations of India with some western countries have led to joint observances.
This slide-show above contains eleven stamps relating to ten south-east Asian countries, besides India, that have images relevant to Ramayana and Indian cultural traditions.
(Two images below: Diwali 2019 being celebrated at The White House)
(Take me from) Darkness to Light
The third day is the main festival day. It falls on the no Moon night. Homes, streets, markets, and neighbourhoods are lit with oil lamps and a plethora of lights. An underlining theme reflects the yearning all have to see light, moving away from darkness.
The following audio file (mp3, 9.09 minutes, 8.37 mb) is the closing score / credits of the Hollywood movie The Matrix Revolutions, the third part of the Matrix trilogy. (Shooting for the fourth part is supposed to start around Shiva-Ratri February 2020). The closing score is titled ‘Nav-Ras’, Sanskrit for New-Ambrosia or Nine-Tastes (aesthetics senses).
It features the Mantra –
“(Take me from)
False to true,
Dark to light,
Mortality to salvation.”
Sun Salutation in The Matrix
Notice at 3.18 in the above audio, the Mantra that accompanies the Sun Salutations Yoga – “Aum Adityay Namo Namah.”
Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth & Prosperity
Although Diwali is celebrated 20 days after Dussehra when the victorious Lord Rama, Sita, Lakshmana, and Hanuman enters the kingdom, it is Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth and propserity who is chiefly worshipped. Lakshmi is the consort of Vishnu, and Rama is the 8th Avatar of Vishnu.
The night is very potent. All sorts of esoteric Sadhanas and meditations are performed the whole night.
Chanting of Lakshmi Mantra is good. Malas made of the oval shaped lotus-seeds are to be used.
Diwali – Clay products made in Haridwar
Diwali – Clay figures of deities
More about the life of Lord Rama can be read by visiting the link given below. The following slide-show contains images of eleven episodes of the story.
Ramayana: The Story of Rama, Through Postage Stamps and Toons.
Diwali Greetings Card
Following e-card can be freely downloaded and shared.
Another festival known as ‘Rama-Navami’ celebrates birth of Lord Rama. Details are here.
Ayurveda & Fine Arts
More information about the free online course titled ‘Ayurveda & Fine Arts’ is available here.