Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Happy Diwali the Festival Of Lights

ततस्तुः लोकः प्रतिवर्षमादरत् प्रसिद्धदीपलिकयात्र भारते |
समुद्यतः पूजयितुं जिनेश्वरं जिनेन्द्र-निर्वाण विभूति-भक्तिभाक् |२० |
tatastuh lokah prativarsham-aadarat
prasiddha-deepalikaya-aatra bharate
samudyatah poojayitum jineshvaram
jinendra-nirvana vibhuti-bhaktibhak

Translation: The gods illuminated Pavanagari by lamps to mark the occasion. Since that time, the people of Bharat celebrate the famous festival of "Dipalika" to worship the Jinendra (i.e. Lord Mahavira) on the occasion of his nirvana.

Happy Diwali, the Festival of Light!

Toronto is such a multicultural city and during my last stroll around Little India, I got a few tiaras. I absolutely love crowns and tiaras...These are beautiful, full of life, colourful beads and sequins! Right before the end of October there is a great festival, DIWALI. And this year is today!

, or Deepavali, (also called Tihar and Swanti in Nepal) (Markiscarali) is a major Indian and Nepalese festival, and a significant festival in Hinduism, Sikhism and Jainism. Many legends are associated with Diwali.

Today it is celebrated by Hindus, Jains and Sikhs across the globe as the "Festival of Light" where the lights or lamps signify victory of good over the evil within every human being. The festival is also celebrated by Buddhists of Nepal, particularly the Newar Buddhists.
According to one theory Diwali may have originated as a harvest festival, marking the last harvest of the year before winter. In an agrarian society this results in businessmen closing accounts, and beginning a new accounting year.

The deity of wealth in Hinduism, goddess Lakshmi is therefore thanked on this day and everyone prays for a good year ahead. This is the common factor in Diwali celebrations all over the Indian subcontinent.

The Sanskrit bin array of lights that stands for victory of brightness over darkness. As the knowledge of Sanskrit diminished, the name was popularly modified to Diwali, especially in northern India. The word "Divali/Diwali" is a corruption of the Sanskrit word (also transliterated as "Dipavali"). "Deepavali", Deep/dip means "light of the dharma", and avali means "a continuous line". The more literal translation is "rows of clay lamps". Diwali is the Hindu way of celebrating the new year.

The festival marks the victory of good over evil, and uplifting of spiritual darkness. Symbolically it marks the homecoming of goodwill and faith after an absence, as suggested by the story of Ramayana.
On the day of Diwali, many wear new clothes and share sweets and snacks. Some North Indian business communities start their financial year on Diwali and new account books are opened on this day.

While Deepavali is popularly known as the "festival of lights", the most significant spiritual meaning is "the awareness of the inner light".

Central to Hindu philosophy is the assertion that there is something beyond the physical body and mind which is pure, infinite, and eternal, called the Atman. Just as we celebrate the birth of our physical being, Deepavali is the celebration of this Inner Light, in particular the knowing of which outshines all darkness (removes all obstacles and dispels all ignorance), awakening the individual to one's true nature, not as the body, but as the unchanging, infinite, immanent and transcendent reality. With the realization of the Atman comes universal compassion, love, and the (awareness of the oneness of all things (higher knowledge). This brings Ananda (Inner Joy or Peace).

celebrates this through festive fireworks, lights, flowers, sharing of sweets, and worship. While the story behind Deepavali varies from region to region, the essence is the same - to rejoice in the Inner Light (Atman) or the underlying reality of all things (Brahman).

*Find more information about Diwali right here.
* Indian Classical Music to listen right here.

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