Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Happy Diwali!

The Goddess Lakshmi is one of the central figures of Hindu mythology associated with the festival of Divali. Legend states that Lakshmi emerged from the ocean of milk after the churning by the devas (gods) and the daanavas (demons). This event is a source of great joy because Lakshmi is considered to be the embodiment of loveliness, grace and prosperity. Another event associating Lakshmi with Divali is highlighted in the The Puranas (a series of Hindu religious text steeped in allegory). According to these texts, Divali represents the day Lord Vishnu (the Preserver) married Goddess Lakshmi (the Goddess of wealth and prosperity). The marriage of Lord Vishnu to Goddess Lakshmi denotes the connection between preservation and wealth.

The Philosophy

Whatever the story, Divali is a very special occasion for Hindus throughout the world. The many ceremonies signify one's journey and the qualities that should be fostered for Self-enlightenment. One is reminded to wake up from the slumber of ignorance and to pursue knowledge. As light dispels darkness, so should knowledge dispel ignorance. Through learning, man is expected to advance to the stage of enlightenment in which he realizes that God is the Light of lights, and that God brings warmth, love and illumination to all beings and therefore there can be no light greater than God.

The aim of Divali celebrations is to get man moving on the spiritual path and ultimately attain illumination by becoming one with God. As they light the lamps in their houses, those celebrating Divali are reminded to light the lamps of wisdom, goodness and God-consciousness in themselves. It is through this, that they can attain the “Light of Lights” - God.

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