The tale of Diwali is filled with folklore and these folklores are tethered to the anecdotes of the Hindu religious texts, mainly the Puran. Though the primary motive of all myths indicates to the timeless fact of the triumph of the light over the darkness, the method of their portrayal and the personalities vary. During this festive season, apart from enjoying Diwali gifts and goodies, kindling the light of wisdom within ourselves implies to realize and ponder upon the meaningful intentions of each day of the revelries and to carry those principles into regular lives.
The five-day festival
The initial day of the festival is known as Dhanteras or also Dhanvantari Triodasi. The following day is known as Narak Chaturdasi. On this particular day, Lord Krishna slaughtered the beast Narakasur and freed the world from despair. Day three of the festival is the exact Diwali day. On this day, Lord Ganesh and Dryad Laxmi are exalted. Day four of Diwali is the day of Goverdhan Pooja. The concluding day of the festival is known as Bhai Dooj. It is a celebration dedicated to brothers and sisters similar to Raksha Bandhan.
The Hindu Legends Related To The Festival:
- Return of Ram and Sita – Lord Rama was a renowned King who was expatriated by Dashratha, the King of Ayodhya, who was also his father. Ram was exiled along with his consort Sita and younger sibling Laxman, on the demand of Dashratha’s wife. Ram retreated to his empire Ayodhya following a fourteen-year long expatriate. During his expatriation, Ram defeated the evil king of Lanka, Ravan, who also happened to be an excellent Pundit, profoundly learned but yet evil overshadowed his soul. Following the triumph of Good over Evil, Ram turned back to Ayodhya where the citizens celebrated his return by kindling a series of earthen lamps and distributing Diwali sweets online. So, the festival of lights honors Ram’s triumph over Ravan or simply to say triumph of Good over Evil.
- Lord Krishna defeating Narkasur – Krishna who was the eighth embodiment of Lord Vishnu slaughtered the beast Narkasura, who was creating a great menace amidst human beings on earth. Narkasura was considered to be an incubus of grime, wrapped in filth. Narkasur abducted gorgeous young women and compelled them into living with him. Ultimately, their calls for redemption were apprehended by Vishnu, who arrived in the epitome of Krishna. Initially, he had to battle with a beast having five heads who defended the incubus’s house. Narkasura anticipated that his end would bring happiness to others. Krishna yielded his appeal and the imprisoned women were rescued. In Hindu culture, this tale is a symbol that even evil can bring out good things.
- The Govardhan Mountain and Krishna – As per the legend, centuries ago, in the Gokul village, the people exalted Lord Indra. They considered that Indra granted them rainfall, which helped their vegetation flourish. However, Krishna urged the people to revere the Govardhan hill since the hill and the area surrounding it were fruitful. This made Indra upset and furious. In his anger, he sent down thunder and teeming rain on the village. The people shouted out for help from Krishna. By raising the Govardhan mountain with his little finger, Krishna rescued the citizens of Gokul. The donation of delicious meals to Krishna on this day prompts people about the significance of food and to be grateful to God for his generosity.
Significance For Sikhs
From the Sikh aspect, Diwali is lauded to celebrate the liberation of their sixth Guru, Guru Hargobind Sahib from the Gwalior prison of Jahangir, the Mughal emperor. To honor his eternal admiration for the Sikh religion, the people of the town kindle the path to the Golden Temple.
Significance For Jains
Diwali is considered one of the most significant festivals among the Jain community. On this very day, they glorify the attainment of Lord Mahavira’s Moksha or Nirvana who established the religion which is followed by many people. He took birth at Khattiya-kundapura, near Vaishali, as Vardhaman on Chaitra Shukla thirteenth in the Nata family. He achieved Kevala Gyana at the Jambhraka town on Vishakha Shukla 10 on the shores of the Rijukula river.