Diwali, or Deepawali (literally translates as rows of diyas – clay lamps) is the Hindu festival representing the uplifting of spiritual darkness in the souls of people. It is a 5 days festival centred around the new moon phase of the auspicious month of Kartik, which is late October/November. Diwali falls 20 days after Dusshera (the last celebratory day of NAvarati) and this year Diwali is the 5th November.
Diwali also marks the beginning of the Hindu New Year and on this day Lord Ganesha, the auspicious elephant-headed Hindu god, is worshiped. Ganesha is the ruler of Mooladhara Chakra (energetic centre at the base of the spine) of the New Year!
Traditionally in India Diwali is considered a good time for shopping, starting new ventures, business deals and house warming. On this day, doorways are lit and decorated with Rangoli or traditional patterns to welcome the Hindu goddess of wealth, Lakshmi.
The true meaning of the Festival of Lights is the triumph of good over evil and of light over darkness. It is a time to reflect and realize that the inner light resides within all of us.
The most popular version of the legend is taken from the epic “Ramayana”, which tells the story of Lord Rama and his consort SIta. Diwali celebrates the return of Lord Rama from exile after defeating evil demon Ravana (ten headed demon).
Rama symbolically represents the self.
SIta – his consort – the Soul.
They are the eternal lovers and are established in their abode, the human heart centre.
When Rama is sent in exile by his stepmother ( the ego “Ahamkara”) SIta decides to follow him. They live in the forest (lower chakras) for a period of time as renunciates.
After defeating the demon Ravana ( that wanted to take SIta away from Rama ) the triumphant couple return to their kingdom and their way back is lit by a “row of Diyas “ hence the name of the festival. So the soul and the self are returned happily to their abode!
Other versions focus on Maha Lakshmi, the goddess of light and prosperity, and the act of welcoming her into your home.
Happy Diwali everybody, might you find your inner diyas!