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The Significance Of Dipavali

Acharya Prof. K.B. Subbarayudu, Ph.D

Dipavali festival is one of the most important and popular festivals in India because everyone from small children to the elderly participate in this festival.  In North India Dipavali festival is known as Divali. Dipavali is the literal and correct name, however.  

This festival is called Divali because it is the most expensive festival.  Parents buy new cloths for everyone in the family. They apply new paint or white wash for house. They invite relatives or they go to relative’s houses and they buy or prepare many sweets at home. They buy many varieties of  fire works to celebrate Divali. So much money is spent for divali festival and they become “divala”, which means “loss of bank balance.”  That is why the Dipavali festival is called Divali. 

Dipavali means the decoration of lights.  Previously DiPas clay plates were used and oil and cotton was used to and light it. Now people light candles.  

Why do people celebrate this Divali festival? There are many stories in our history. One of them is that Sri Ram came back with Sita and Lakshman to Ayodhya from Sri Lanka after 14 years. The welcome celebration of Ram is called Divali. They decorated their homes and streets of Ayodhya with lights. 

Another story is that Sri Krishna and his wife Satyabhama (reincarnation of Vishnu and Lakshm) killed Narakasur demon and released 16,000 young girls from Narakasur’s custody. Thousands of village parents received their children back and they wanted celebrate a festival with joy and light because their dark days had gone after the killing of the Narakasura demon. The girls are symbolic of Laksmi. This is why if girl is born at home, people of  India say that, Laskhmi came in to their home. Lakshmi helped Sri Krishna to kill the Narakasura demon and girls are symbolic of Lakshmi, so they invite Lakshmi to their home. Lakshmi travels only night time, because her chariot is an owl that can see only in the dark night. The owl is symbolic of ignorance and poverty. No one wants ignorance and poverty in their life, that is why people decorate their homes indoor and out door, because they want keep away the Owl and invite Lakshmi to enter in the house.

People believe that Lakshmi will come to their homes and because of that people don’t mind spending money for this Divali festival. Lakshmi, (wealth) dose not stay one place or ones’ hand for long time .That is her nature. Money needs always flow in the market; other wise the economy does not stabilize. If people use money at the right time and for right purpose, they will have always money in their hands. That is the real worship of Lakshmi . If you give money to people in need or for a good purpose, you will always become a giver.  Always being a giver means richer that your wealth increases, you will not be a beggar at all.   

Grihe grihe atan Bhikshuh shikshatyeva nayachate.

Adatva madrisho mabhoot datva tvam tvadrisho bhava. 

This sloka states that beggars bring messages as they go to door to door. In other words by going door to door, the beggar actually teaches us, not begs.  They are teaching us not to become a beggars like them.  They become beggars because they did not give to people who were in need.   In essence the beggar is teaching us to be a giver always as a result of your giving. We should under stand this message and respect and offer help to beggars. 

During Depavali we remember Lakshmi and invite her into our homes. Lakshmi comes to fill to our house.  By giving money to poor and needy , we are helping those less fortunate then us, which pleases Lakshmi and in which case she  will always fill our treasury at home and in our  shops. Therefore, wherever we go Lakshmi will be there waiting for us. This is the secret of Dipavali and Lakshmi pooja. 

Aum Tat Sat Aum. 

(Acharya Professor Subbarayudu K.B., Ph.D, well known in the Boston area, is a leading scholar in Vedanta and Sanskrit Literature.

Acharya Prof. K.B. Subbarayudu, Ph.D
Center for Vedic Sciences
1 Trapalo Road, Belmont, MA 02478.
Phone: 617-232-0456
Cell:617-999-5612 )

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