Deepavali or Diwali is one of the biggest festivals in Sanatan Dharma which, comes exactly twenty days after Dussehra. Deepavali means a continuous line of lamps (‘Deep’ means light, and ‘avali’ means a continuous line). Thus, this is the time to celebrate with brightness.
This festival is regarded as a celebration of life and also an occasion to strengthen family and social relationships. This day marks the last day of the Sanatan Dharma Calendar year.
Why Festival of Lights?
It is known as such due to the ways of its observance. The festival is celebrated with activities like holding dazzling fireworks displays, lighting rows of candles and earthen lamps around individual homes.
What happened during Diwali?
In the Era of Tretayug, Lord Ramachandra was sent into exile for 14 years by the orders of His father, Dasharath. Whilst in exile the evil demon king of Lanka, Ravana abducted Devi Sita with deceit. The Lord became victorious by annihilating him on Vijaya Dashmi. The people of Ayodhya longed for His return and when He did, they celebrated the homecoming by brightening their homes with earthen lamps and decorated the entire city in the grandest manner celebrating victory of good over evil in the honour of their king.
6th Vachanamrut of Kariyani – Lord Shree Swaminarayan talks about Envy on this day.
3rd Prakran of Shreemad Satsangi Jeevan – From chapters 8 to 20 – These entire chapters elaborate on the various pastimes performed by the Lord Swaminarayan over the festive days.
Way of worship:
The Chopda Pujan/Sharda Pujan is a ceremony when new account books and ledgers are opened by the mercantile community after a worship with various paraphernalia to Lord Ganesha and Goddess Maha-Lakshmi to earn their blessings.
Devotees not only reconcile their financial books but also their spiritual books. We pray to the Lord for forgiveness for mistakes and request benediction of the wisdom and strength to avoid them in the coming year.
Businessmen close their accounts and present them to Maha-Lakshmi and Ganesh during the Chopda Pujan. Inside their account ledgers they write ‘Subh’ (auspiciousness) and ‘Labh’ (merit) for invoking the two deities.
In the 81st and 82nd Slokh of the Shikshapatri, Lord Shree Swaminarayan instructs His devotees to follow the mode of worship as explained by Shree Vitthalnathji, the son of Shree Vallabhacharya.
The extract below is from the ‘Thakorji ni Seva Ritee’. Click on the image to open the Scripture.