Once the Indian summer season and monsoon rains give way to cooler evenings, needs arise for extra cleaning and ensuring hygienic conditions in order to live healthy and happy life. As dullness of rainy season is no more and weather is pleasant, thoughts turn to the festival season. Celebration of festival needed to be of such nature that enlightens the mind and at the same time keep the environment healthy and happy. Celebration involves exercise in group that releases endorphins and make individuals happy. The festival that one can celebrate after ensuring cleanliness has been termed as Diwali or Deepavali as the light pin point if there is slightest dirtiness. The word Deepawali originates from Sanskrit words deep (lamp) and vali (row). It literally means “row of lights”.
For the celebration of Diwali, our ancient Rishis decided for the day when the astronomical condition is such that minds of human-beings need maximum boost for the beginning of all good things in life such as health, wealth, starting a new venture for growth and great relationships.
Astronomical condition on the occasion of Diwali: On the days of Diwali festival, the Sun, and the Moon are in conjunction and placed in Libra zodiac sign in Swati constellation. Libra rules business and professional life. So, starting a new venture is considered to be auspicious. The business community Prepare the balance sheet for the business and consider it an auspicious time to start new ventures, as the festival coincides with the Hindu New Year.
On this new moon day, with the sun debilitated and the moon completely dark and very close to debilitation, the inner light (and the personal experience of it, as shown by the moon) is much harder to feel and perceive. Thus, as a way to bring more intention and remembrance to the light within, we celebrate with an external “row of lights”. Swati is a feminine constellation in the sky, so, it was considered good for worshipping Goddess Laxmi, Saraswati and Kali devi. To start with always Lord Ganesha is worshipped. The accepted leader of all ‘Ganas’ is `Ganesha. Lord Ganesha is the personification of Buddhi signifying that in him, the mind and intellect are totally integrated. Lord Ganesh is the god of wisdom and remover of obstacles.
Ganesha is depicted generally in a seated pose, Head of elephant symbolizes the system having great sensors for sensing the matter and great head to understand and decide for the best use of matter and energy. Wisdom is something that comes out of independent thinking and reflection. This can happen only when one has taken in knowledge through the great senses like large ears and Knowledge and long trunk like nose, i.e. the organs that can sense from the distance. Riddhi (wealth and prosperity) and Siddhi (spiritual & powers divine power for success) are the wives of Ganesha. Ganesha had two sons in Riddhi and Siddhi – शुभ (Auspiciousness) and लाभ (Profit)). Ganesha’s daughter is Santoshi Mata (Goddess of Satisfaction).
The festival of lights which is celebrated in the month of Kartik usually lasts five days, starting from Dhanteras, followed by Narak Chaturdashi (Chhoti Diwali), Lakshmi Pujan (Badi Diwali), Govardhan Puja and Bhai Dooj.
DAY ONE (DHAN TERAS): In order to give prime importance to health, the festival of Diwali actually starts with the celebration of the birth of Dhanwantari, a manifestation of Vishnu which is the master of Ayurveda (the knowledge of life), the god of good health, medicine, and all healing sciences. He came up from the churning of the cosmic ocean, with the pot of Nectar or “Amrit” in his hands. He taught Ayurveda to the sages and rishis (seers). He prepared the ‘samhitas’ (the great texts) on Ayurveda in eight divisions (Ashtangas) for the benefit of humanity. According to Ayurveda, the human body (the physical entity) is composed of three fundamental categories called Doshas, Dhatus and Malas. The Doshas are three in number, the Dhatus are seven, and the Malas are three. The three Doshas (Tridoshas) are Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Also, People clean their homes and shop for gold or kitchen utensils to help bring good fortune.
DAY TWO (CHHOTI DIWALI OR NARAK CHATURDASHI): The health could be sustained only if cleanliness is maintained to the extent that even drainage is shining when it is lightened. Also, the day is remembered for Krishna’s victory over Narakasura. On this day, fewer diyas are lit, and fewer fireworks are set off. Many people take a ritual bath before sunrise, rubbing massage oil and ‘uptan’ (a paste of garam flour and fragrant powders) onto their bodies to relieve tension. People clean and decorate their homes with clay lamps specially at the places of drainages to ensure that the perfect cleanliness has been achieved.
DAY THREE (MAIN DIWALI DAY: Materialistic happiness could be arranged only through wealth. Goddess of wealth is Lakshmi. As the sun sets, prayers are paid to Lakshmi and Ganesh. Lakshmi, the divine female principle, the divine mother in her pure benign form, who bestows prosperity and all good qualities is worshiped and celebrated on this day. Then dozens of clay lamps are arranged around the house. On the main day of the festival, families gather together for Lakshmi puja, a prayer to Goddess Lakshmi, followed by mouth-watering feasts and firework festivities. Lakshmi is believed to roam the land at night and visit the cleanest house first. Diyas are placed in all the house’s windows to welcome the goddess. The festival is celebrated by lighting earthen lamps.
DAY FOUR (GOVARDHAN PUJA OR ANNUKOOT): The wealth could be created only when new ventures are started and due care is given to the local resources. This day is considered as the first day of the new business year, when friends and relatives visit with gifts and best wishes for the season. Annakuta (mixed vegetables) is cooked, and Govardhan puja is celebrated signifying the worship of local resources of wealth. Celebrators prepare and offer up a large mountain of vegetarian food to express their gratitude to the gods. The day commemorates when Krishna lifted Govardhan Hill to protect villagers from torrential rains and flooding. The mountain of food represents the hill. After the festival, the food is shared by all.
DAY FIVE (BHAI DOOJ): In order to sustain long-term happiness, maintenance of relationship is important. This is the day signifying the importance of relationship for the wellbeing and growth. Relationship between brother and sister is considered to be the most auspicious. Brothers visit their sisters’ homes on this last day of Diwali to pray for long life and prosperity and sisters welcome them with love and a lavish meal and sweets and putting Tilak on their head.
So, it could be concluded that the festival Diwali is for everybody and celebrated in order to ensure health and long-term happiness for the individuals and society as a whole.