“Let Us Understand More About Mother Kali & Deepavali”
Diwali is an important festival for Indians. The name of festive days as well as the rituals of Diwali varies significantly among Hindus, based on the region of India, with others too. Diwali, as a festival, dates back to ancient times in India, which is, after the summer harvest in the Hindu calendar month of Karthikeya. The festival is mentioned in Padma Purana, the Skanda Purana, and other Sanskrit Hindu scriptures; the divas (lamps) are mentioned in Skanda Purana to symbolically represent parts of sun, the cosmic giver of light and energy to all life, who seasonally transitions through the Hindu calendar month of Kartik. Diwali is derived from the Sanskrit fusion word Dipavali, formed from dipa (light) and awali (rows). Dipavali thus meant a “row” or “series of lights’ ‘. Its celebration includes millions of lights shining on the roof of the houses, inside and outside of the doors and windows, around temples and other buildings in the communities and countries where it is observed. Some believe it to be the celebration of the marriage of Lakshmi with Lord Vishnu.
Whereas in Bengal the festival is dedicated to the worship of Mother Kali, is the dark goddess of strength, with the awakening of Divine consciousness within and throwing away all the evils within. When the evil is gone from the consciousness of a human being you become strong. Symbolically indicating the victory of ‘Good over Evil’. The name ‘Kali’ depicts – Kala + I = Kala means time and ‘I’, as per Ishoponishad means, ‘beyond’. When you worship Mother Goddess Kali, you engulf yourself; fill your heart with infinite consciousness of Mother and Lord Shiva. Mother Kali is standing on top of Lord Shiva, representing ‘the infinite. She is the Goddess of ‘Maya’. She is the ‘Prakriti’ and Lord is the ‘Purusha’. Like as it happens in a wedding ceremony, the ‘mother’ of the house is organizing and coordinating the humdrums of the marriage ceremony. One could see that once in a while she would come and talk to inform, ‘a specific event’ or ask a question to know what to do next? All these activities are controlled and monitored by ‘The Mother’. The head of the house, the Lord, ‘The Purusha’, does only, once in a while nods His head to give assent to reports of the Mother – ‘The Prakriti’. The entire activities of the Universe is under the control of the Divine Mother – ‘The Prakriti’. It is the Mother who is taking care of all of us. The infinite Purusha is Shiva, is Param Brahma. The Mother Kali is beyond time (Kala + I), beyond ego. This is ‘Maya’ and is not real. The word ‘Maya’ comes from the Sanskrit word ‘Mayi’. ‘Mayi’ means, ‘Measure’. Anything that you can measure, in this universe, is not real, is ‘Maya’. We can measure money – a thousand-rupee note, thousand-dollar note, our body, our property, and our bank accounts. These are measurable – and thus, not permanent. Anything that you can measure, is not permanent, is ‘Maya’ is ‘Anitya’ (impermanence).
Mother Kali is the reminder, to all of us, of this impermanence; for which we all are striving to attain health and wealth. On the other, when you go beyond time, you attain the Supreme consciousness and the awareness of ‘Kali ~ (Isha Upanishad). You become timeless, become infinite and become Paramahansa, like Sri Ramakrishna. The body of Paramahansa Ramakrishna is no more present on this earth. But he has become timeless, immortal and millions of followers and monks are striving to understand the simple path and practices laid down by him. These are the principles of living life, spread by the monks of Ramakrishna & Swami Vivekananda movement ~ Ramakrishna Mission, as the leader, spreading these words, became immortal too ~ just by spreading the realised truths.
In Jainism, Deepawali has an added significance to the momentous event of Lord Mahavir attaining the eternal bliss of nirvana. Diwali also commemorates the return of Lord Rama along with Sita and Lakshman from his fourteen year long exile and vanquishing the demon-king Ravana. In celebration of the return of their king, the people of Ayodhya, our heart – the Anahuta chakra-the Capital of Rama, illuminated the kingdom with earthen diyas
The FIRST day is called DHANTERAS or DHANTRAYODASHI, which falls on the thirteenth day of the month of Ashwin (this time in 2014, it is on 21st Oct). The word “Dhan” means wealth. As such this day of the -day Diwali festival has an immense importance for the rich mercantile community of Western India. Houses and Business premises are renovated and decorated. Entrances are made colourful with lovely traditional motifs of Rangoli designs to welcome the Goddess of wealth and prosperity. To indicate her long-awaited arrival, small footprints are drawn with rice flour and vermilion powder all over the houses. Lamps are kept burning all through the nights. Having this faith that this day to be auspicious, women purchase some gold or silver or at least one or two new utensils. “Lakshmi-Puja” is performed in the evenings when tiny diyas of clay are lighted to drive away the shadows of evil spirits.
The SECOND day is called NARKA-CHATURDASHI or CHOTI DIWALI, which falls on the fourteenth day of the month of Ashwin. The story goes that the demon king Narakasur ruler of Pragjyotishpur (a province to the South of Nepal) after defeating Lord Indra; had snatched away the magnificent earrings of Aditi, the Mother Goddess and imprisoned sixteen thousand daughters of the gods and saints in his harem. On the day previous to NARKA-CHATURDASHI, Lord Krishna killed the demon and liberated the imprisoned damsels and recovered those precious earrings of Aditi. As a symbol of that victory Lord Krishna smeared his forehead with the demon king’s blood. Krishna returned home in the very early morning of the Narakachaturdashi day. The womenfolk massaged scented oil to his body and gave him a good bath to wash away the filth from his body. Since then, the custom of taking bath before sunrise on this day has become a traditional practice, especially in Maharashtra.
The THIRD day of the festival of Diwali is the most important day of LAKSHMI-PUJA, which is entirely devoted to the propitiation of Goddess Lakshmi. This day is also known by the name of “CHOPADA-PUJA”. On this very day sun enters his second course and passes Libra, which is represented, by the balance or scale. Hence, this design of Libra is believed to have suggested the balancing of account books and their closing. Even though this day falls on an amavasya day, it is regarded as the most auspicious. Amavasya also tells the story of Lord Vishnu, who in his dwarf incarnation vanquished the tyrant Bali, and banished him to hell. Bali was allowed to return to earth once a year, to light millions of lamps to dispel the darkness and ignorance and spread the radiance of love and wisdom.
The FOURTH day is PADWA or VARSHAPRATIPADA, which marks the coronation of King Vikramaditya and Vikaram-Samvat, was started from this Padwa day. Govardhan-Puja is also performed in the North on this day. As per Vishnu-Puran the people of Gokul used to celebrate a festival in honour of Lord Indra and worshipped him after the end of every monsoon season but one particular year the young Krishna stopped them from offering prayers to Lord Indra who in terrific anger sent a deluge to submerge Gokul. But Krishna saved his Gokul by lifting the entire Govardhan Mountain and holding it over the people as an umbrella. Govardhan is a small hillock in Braj, near Mathura and on this day of Diwali people of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar build cow dung, hillocks, decorate them with flowers and then worship them.
The FIFTH and final day of Diwali Festival is known by the name of “BHAYYA-DUJ” in the Hindi-speaking belt “BHAV-BIJ” in the Marathi-speaking communities and in Nepal by the name of “BHAI-TIKA”. As the legend goes Yamraj, the God of Death visited his sister Yami on this particular day. She put the auspicious tilak on his forehead, garlanded him and led him with special dishes and both of them together ate the sweets, talked, and enjoyed themselves to their heart’s content, while parting Yamraj gave her a special gift as a token of his love and in return Yami also gave him a lovely gift which she had made with her own hands. That day Yamraj announced that anyone who receives tilak from his sister would never be thrown out from success in life. That is why this day of Bhayyaduj is also known by the name of “YAMA-DWITIYA” Since then this day is being observed as a symbol of love between sisters and brothers. It became also imperative for the brother to go to his sister’s house to celebrate Bhayya-Duj.
Diwali on the whole has always been the festival with more social than religious connotations. It is a personal, people-oriented festival when enmities are forgotten; families and friends meet, enjoy, and establish a word of closeness. Diwali marks the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, and good over evil, hope over despair.
In the Vedanta, and Samkhya Yoga, schools of Hindu philosophy, a central belief is that there is something beyond the physical body and mind, which is pure, infinite, and eternal, called the Atman. The celebration of Diwali as the “victory of good over evil” refers to the light of higher knowledge dispelling all ignorance, the ignorance that masks one’s true nature, not as the body, but as the unchanging, infinite, immanent and transcendent reality. With this awakening comes compassion and the awareness of the oneness of all things, and knowledge overcomes ignorance. Diwali is the celebration of this Inner Light over spiritual darkness knowledge over ignorance, right over wrong, good over evil. May ‘The Divine Mother of The Universe’ bless you & your family.