Thursday, Apr 18 2024  



Deepavali, also known as the 'festival of lights' is celebrated by Indians around the world. This festival is celebrated on the 15th day of the dark phase of the lunar cycle in the Indian month of Kartik, which usually falls in October or November.

Lighting of lamps with one source of flame represents the spread of light from the Source. The light with which other lamps are lit is a symbol of the Divine. It is to teach this Truth to men that this festival is observed.

The festival is celebrated to remind people the meaning behind the light. Darkness represents ignorance while light represents knowledge. In another context, light represent goodness while darkness represents badness. Thus, the lighting of lamps signifies the triumph of goodness over badness.

Story relating to the festival:
There is an interesting legend behind this festival. The story goes that Narakasura, a demon, ruled the kingdom of Pradyoshapuram. Under his rule, the villagers suffered a lot of hardship as the demon tortured the people and kidnapped the women to be imprisoned in his palace. Seeing his wickedness, Lord Krishna set out to destroy the demon. The day Narakasura died was celebrated as Deepavali, the triumph of good over evil!

This story of Narakasura has a deep inner meaning to it. Narakasura worked freely with his emotions and passions and that desire brought him to his end. Therefore, we must learn to face the six enemies of man, namely, lust, anger, attachment, pride, hatred, greed - and be a man, Nara, not Narakasura, who holds on to these six foes and tries to pacify them by yielding to their demands.

Swami's message on Deepavali:
The lamp is not merely the symbol of the knowledge of truth. It is also the symbol of the one, the Aathma that shines in and through all the multiplicity. Just as with one lamp, a thousand lamps can be lit and the one is as bright as ever in spite of the thousands deriving light from it, so too, the Aathma (soul), illumines the Jeeva (individual self) and shines in and through them, without undergoing any diminution in its splendor.
- Discourse of Sri Sathya Sai Baba, Prashanthi Nilayam, 25 Oct 1973

What is the inner significance of the slaying of Narakasura? 'Narah' means the immortal Atmic principle. When the qualities of an asura (demon) enter nara (man), he becomes Narakasura. In such a person, you find only bad qualities and evil feelings. He does not join the company of the noble. He does not make efforts to reach God. He makes friendship with only wicked people. Such a mentality is the consequence of evil deeds over a number of births.
- Discourse of Sri Sathya Sai Baba, 4 Nov 2002

Therefore, hundreds of tiny lamps are lit this evening and kept in rows before and within every home in India; but, few are the lamps that are lit in the cavity of the heart to destroy the darkness that lies thick within.
- Discourse of Sri Sathya Sai Baba, Prashanthi Nilayam, 25 Oct 1973

How is the Festival celebrated in India:
Homes are cleaned and old things are discarded usually a month before the festival. Everyone wears new clothes on this day and people visit temples to pray. Friends and relatives visit each others homes and exchange gifts. Homes are decorated with numerous lights making the houses look bright and beautiful. A whole line of sparklers and fireworks are lit along the roads and homes in all of India during this auspicious day making it a really unforgettable sight.

How is the Festival celebrated in Singapore:
In Singapore, the roads of Serangoon Road, also known as "Little India", are decorated with huge banners wishing all Indians a "Happy Deepavali". This day, being a public holiday, would have many shops closed for the day. People visit temples in the morning and visit relatives and friends during the day. In every home there is bound to be a tempting spread of sweets. Some of the popular sweets are halwa, burfi and laddu. Towards the evening, houses are lit with oil lamps or even lighted bulbs.

Jai Sai Ram

Bro Vinod Selvam
SSEHV Group 3


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