The Story of Diwali
Ever wondered what is the story of Diwali? Where did it originate from? How did this day come into existence? Read on to find more.
One of the biggest Indian festival is coming this November 2018. The word Deepawali, Deepavali, or Diwali means it is the festival of lights: deep means “light” and avali “a row” to become “a row of lights.” This festival illuminates the country with it’s brilliance, colors, light, and overall look. Gives you a sense of happiness.
The season brings families, friends together and they all celebrate this magnificent festival of lights with food, new clothes, and lights! It is a celebration of good conquering evil, light conquering dark.
Read to find out how it all began?
The Just King – Dashrat
Thousands of years ago in the city of Ayodya these was were a wise king named “Dasaratha” three queens and four prices. Ram was the eldest son of all. The second wife of King Dasaratha was Kaikeyi who once saved his life in a battle while serving as a charioteer to the king and nursed him back to life. Impressed by her services, the king granted her two wishes which she chose to use later.
When Ram (son of Kausalya (first wife of Dasaratha), who was chosen to ascend the throne, Kaikeyi provoked by Manthra, she was the maid-servant who accompanied Kaikeyi from her parents home, decided to avail her boons. With one, she asked the throne of Ayodhya for her son Bharata and with the second one, she asked for the banishment of Ram for 14 years so that he could be no threat to her son.
Dasaratha was taken aback but had to fulfill his promise as he was a true king. Ram accepted the exile happily respecting his parent’s wishes. His loyal younger brother, Lakshman, and wife, Sita went along with Ram to live in a forest
Attraction can be fatal:
A few years into their exile a demon named Surpanakha (Ravana’s sister – She was the most important character in the story without her there would be no Ramayana) got attracted to Ram (This is a different story altogether – As to why a sister of a king would fall for some sage in a jungle). She approached Ram with a wedding proposal. Refusing her offer by saying that he was already married he directed her towards his brother Laxman saying that you may approach him with the proposal as he was unmarried and a prince like me.
But unfortunately, Laxman also refused. Enraged! when she showed her true form and tried to attack Laxman. In his defense he cut off her nose and ears.
The King Demon enters!
She went wailing to her brother and complained about what happened. Few descriptions say that Ravana was very intelligent and his ten heads signified that he was an enlightened being who possessed ten different knowledge. On hearing this he was very angry and wanted to take revenge from Ram, But somewhere he also knew that Ram was much stronger to him as he knew Ram was a form of deity Vishnu. But his pride was bigger than his ego. When Surpanakha saw that the demon king was not interested in harming Ram she started describing Sita (Ram’s wife).
She started speaking about her beauty. Enchanted by her beauty Ravana decides to kidnap her. Hoping to win her heart by defeating her husband Ram (He knew that Ram will fight for his wife as he loved her immensely)
Ravana commanded his servant Maricha to disguise himself as a golden deer. Rama and Lakshman fell for the trap and Ravana managed to sheer them away from Sita. He took a form of a sage and asked Sita to give him food. Sita ignoring her brother in law’s warning crossed the protective shield (Lakshman drew three powerful lines famously known as “Lakshman Rekha” only to realize her mistake.
He takes her in his “Pushpak Viman” – A mythical flying chariot made of flower to Lanka now known as Sri-Lanka.
On returning back, Ram and Laxman knew that something really bad has happened here. Soon they realized that Sita was abducted but did not know who did it! “Jatayu” (an old vulture) and loyal to Ram tried to stop the demon from kidnapping Sita, but due to his age, he was no match to the mighty king of Lanka. Badly injured in the fight he informed Ram about the kidnapping and also showed him the direction in which Ravana went.
Meet the Protector – The Mighty Hanuman!
Ram began his journey towards Lanka. Ram met an army of bears and monkeys. They were at war with Ravana and decided to join forces with Ram to defeat the king. It was only here that Ram met Hanuman for the first time.
Legends say that Hanuman is one of the forms of Lord Shiva and Ram is a form of Lord Vishnu. These two Gods are known to help each other in their various forms. Hanuman was oblivious to his powers because when small mighty Hanuman accidentally swallowed the sun thinking it was a golden toy. It was decided then by all Gods that Human’s powers would be hidden till the day he reaches a certain age and meets Ram.
Sita was kept in the beautiful garden of “Ashok Vatika” in Lanka. She was surrounded by an army of demons and had servants to her command who could get anything for her instantly. Ravana left no stone unturned to win Sita’s heart. Sita was the least these materialistic things. She wanted to be with Ram. She wanted to talk to Ram so that she can tell him about her whereabouts but did not know how to do so.
Mighty Hanuman was no ordinary monkey. On realizing his powers, he could change his size to enormous heights, fly over landscapes, could pick mountains, and could leap across the oceans in a single. He became the strongest member of Ram’s army and was the only one who crosses the sea to reach Lanka.
On reaching Lanka he met Sita. At first, Sita though Hanuman was probably one the demons in disguise and did not believe that he was a messenger of Ram. It was only when Hanuman gave her the ring given by Ram, Hanuman assured her that Ram is on his way with his mighty army to save her.
The big question before Ram’s army was how to cross this huge ocean to reach Lanka? Hanuman on his return had the answer to this question. While traveling to Lanka Hanuman killed a sea demon named “Sursa” and freeing the ocean from the demon. The ocean gave a boon to Hanuman saying stones thrown in the sea with Ram written in them will float and will not drown. This will allow the huge army of Ram to cross the sea.
The army did the same and was able to cross the sea and defeat all demons but one “The Mighty Ravana”. Ravana was immensely powerful he was given choice by Ram to leave the battle and return Sita to him and he will forgive his sins but Ravana’s pride was bigger than his huge form. He started attacking Ram with all his might.
There was a time when Ravana seemed undefeatable it was only when Ravana’s brother Vibhishan (who was loyal to Ram) told him the secret of his death. He said the only way to kill Ravana is by attacking his Navel. Ram followed the same and defeated Ravana.
The day of celebration! – Diwali
After defeating Ravana and completing his 14 years of exile Ram returns to Ayodhya. The entire city rejoices on the return of their favorite prince. The city is decorated with Flowers and Lamps. Everyone is happy and this is why every year during Diwali we do the same. This festival signifies goodness and lights in pitch darkness. No wonder Diwali is considered as one the biggest festival in India celebrated Nationwide!