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Diwali is a short name for Deepavali

Deepavali is the festival of Lights. The word 'Deepavali' is made up of two simple words. 'Deepa' means light and 'Avali' means a row. Hence 'Deepavali' means a row of lights. The festival is associated with many legends and beliefs. One of them is to commemorate the killing of Narakasura, a notorious demon, by Lord Krishna. Narakasura, because of his previous store of virtue, had been granted a boon at the moment of his death. He asked that his death might ever be, commemorated as a day of feasting. Hence Deepavali is known as 'Naraka Chaturdasi'

The fireworks that are burst during Deepavali symbolize the use of fiery weapons used during the war that Krishna waged against the demon. Amongst the North Indians it is believed that Deepavali is the day on which Sri Ram returned from His 14 years of exile in the forest, after having got rid of various demons who made life hell for the sages and common people. Deepavali symbolizes the victory of good over evil, and it celebrates the triumphant return of Sri Ram to His Kingdom. People rejoice by burning earthen oil lamps to welcome Sri Ram back to His throne.

On Deepavali day, the members of the mercantile community open and worship new account books and ledgers. This is because during Deepavali the Sun enters its second course and passes Libra, which is represented by the 'Balance' or 'Scale'.

During Deepavali, spring cleaning is done as it is believed that the Goddess of Wealth Laxmi would enter a clean and cheerful house. Plenty of long-lost items are found and a lot of dirt is removed from the house.

How much we care to cast away the rubbish that stirs up trouble within us, is a matter to consider. By lighting lamps in our home, let us strive to dispel the spiritual darkness that we seem to be seeped in, and let us make our heart a place in which Sri Ram may reign and bring about peace love and prosperity. A true Ram-Rajya, the All-Around Auspicious Kingdom of Sri Ram. Happy Diwali

The Flame of the Diyas

Diwali falls during a dark period of a year. While most of us pray during this time, negative practices are also prevalent during this time. The best way to dispel negative influences is to light candles, or as is the practice amongst us Hindus, Diyas. Why is the fire worshipped by all the religions in one form or another? Let me share with you what I have learned.

While water finds its level by moving downwards, fire does quite the opposite. Even if you hang a lamp upside down, the flame will rise upwards. Human nature tends to be like water, flowing to lower levels. The flame that we light reminds us to soar upwards.

As one moves forward on the Spiritual path, the darkness of ignorance is replaced by the Light of knowledge. The flame in this case is symbolic of this light which brightens as we journey within.

Tapa in Sindhi means fever. It also stands for fire and penance. Fire destroys the impure. The flame of the fire reminds us of the fact that we should cleanse ourselves of all impurity of our ego and attachments, until only the purity of our soul remains

It is said by Mystics that he who loses his ego will cease to be. The fire rises towards the sky and vanishes.

Not only does the fire vanish as it rises, but after burning the fuel, it becomes silent. Isn't that what we are meant to become after, burning all our desires and attachments to falsehood?

So this Diwali, as you shop for Diyas, ponder upon its flame's spiritual nature. It will not only beautify and brighten your home, but will remind you of the transformations that it is meant to bring within.

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