Buddhism facts

Festival of Lights: The remarkable facts you need to know!

RS Gill
Since childhood, our family celebrates the Diwali Festival with great fanfare
and we have always waited impatiently for this gala day without knowing too much about its
importance. However, many characteristics are attributed to the “Festival of Lights” which are
supposed to know it and, in fact, qualify it as our cultural and national festival of sharing
Happiness.
Rituals and various versions of Hindu festivals have often been the butt of mockery
for some motivated historians, atheists and of course, other religious. But those
are precisely the supporting forces of Hinduism and have acted as strong defenses
against other religions and false ideologies. Hindu rituals are rooted in reality and science
although some of them may be impractical in today’s environment or may have
eroded over time due to a lack of understanding or perseverance.
The history and festivities associated with us are many, but it is not necessary to consider them
contradictory or mutually exclusive. Depending on the region, local legend and even
the calendars mean different things to the respective peoples of India. But all versions are
historical truths. Also the message and the methods are common.
Many regard it as the day when Lord Rama and Sita returned to Ayodhya from exile.
On this dark night of Amaavasya, the people of this holy city lit oil lamps to guide
the divine couple, a tradition followed until today. A Yuga later, it was the Lord’s turn
Krishna will create an auspicious occasion when he destroys the dreaded demon king
Narakasura and freed the princesses and people from his evil clutches. To the south it
means the day when King Mahabali rises with the light of knowledge on dry land
from the lower world to where he had been pushed by Vamana’s fabled “third step”.
In most parts of northern and western India, the ruling deity of Diwali is the Goddess
Lakshmi, the giver of wealth, although these days she also brings income tax
detectives in tow! In Orissa and Bengal, Kali rules the day. While in the north, Diwali is a
five-day festival, in much of southern India, Amavaasya day is celebrated.
Diwali is the end of a financial year and the start of a new one for many north
Indian communities. For the Jains, it is the day when their patron saint Lord
Mahaveera has attained Moksha.
It is important for Sikhs too because it was on this day that the foundations were laid for
their most revered shrine, the Golden Temple of Amritsar. Association of Muslims, Guru
Arjan Dev Ji asked a Muslim seer Mia Mir from Lahore to lay her foundation stone. This
was also the day, a few centuries later, when their revered sixth guru was released along
along with 52 other Hindu kings from prison where he was unjustly held by Mughal
Emperor Jehangir for refusing to convert.
Although Muslims do not celebrate Diwali as a religious holiday, they observe and
share it as a cultural festival with their Hindu friends and neighbors and their children
show happiness and enthusiasm in Diwali with Hindu friends. Muslims in India and
elsewhere can also experience personal growth during Diwali by reflecting on one’s spirituality
importance. In Islamic philosophy, ‘An-Nur’ meaning ‘The Light’ is the central symbol of
Diwali; and Muslims can therefore open new channels of interfaith understanding by seeing
the importance of light in Islam.
A similar enthusiasm is observed among the children and young people of Christian
community in schools, colleges, hostels, corporate offices and neighborhoods of
many parts of India. You can have your own reason to rejoice. cracker bursting,
sharing sweets and festooning houses gives us more joy. No offense if you guys
celebrate Diwali as it is one of the happiest events in India beyond religion.

People following the Buddhist religion around the world celebrate Diwali as a
auspicious day. It’s because it’s the day Emperor Ashoka gave up
everything and adopted the path of peace after going through much bloodshed and
death. He decides to convert to Buddhism. Newar Buddhists in Nepal even celebrate
Diwali with the worship of Goddess Lakshmi.
Incidentally, Diwali is also considered a good day for gambling, of all things, for this
was the day when Parvati played dice with Siva. That’s probably why we have the
Muhurrat trades on the stock exchange, the most official gambling den of the present
daytime!
Indeed, if the traditions and their logic are not transmitted to the younger generations, we
can remain ignorant of many other things about this very Indian festival. Already
fast online and offline shopping, free social media browsing, large satellite TVs
and more advanced cell phones, gadgets and household items are coming to
dominate the festival over religious rituals.
Last but not the least, a prevailing caution to celebrate this great holiday breaks out
a minimum of crackers in the interest of our already fragile environment, less annoyance for the old
and sick; and of course to Nearby Animals and for many other good things. Today
Diwali is “brought to you”, in part or in whole, by commercial sponsors who have replaced the
original precursors, namely Rama, Krishna, Lakshmi, etc. So, in the same vein, should I
sign saying that Diwali is the “super star or a blockbuster” of all festivals?
Whatever the reason, that’s fine as long as the result is hope, joy and prosperity!
Happy Diwali!