Difference between revisions of "Dipāvali"

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Dipāvali literally means ‘row of lighted lamps’.  
 
Dipāvali literally means ‘row of lighted lamps’.  
  
In some works Dipāvali has been referred as ‘Kaumudi Utsava,’ a festival in which people find delight on this earth among themselves. It is believed to be a well-known festival from the time of the Bhavisyottara Purāna which is said to be composed before CE 1000.
+
In some works Dipāvali has been referred as ‘Kaumudi [[Utsava]],’ a festival in which people find delight on this earth among themselves. It is believed to be a well-known festival from the time of the Bhavisyottara Purāna which is said to be composed before CE 1000.
  
Being a festival of lights, decorative illuminations and fireworks, Dipāvali is the most popular of all the festivals. It signifies not only the expression of one’s joy but also the destruction of evils personified by demons like Narakāsura.  
+
Being a festival of lights, decorative illuminations and fireworks, Dipāvali is the most popular of all the [[festivals]]. It signifies not only the expression of one’s joy but also the destruction of evils personified by demons like [[Narakāsura]].  
  
During Dīpāvalī festival, the sky is rent asunder by the terrific sounds and lights of bursting crackers. It is celebrated widely throughout the country and also abroad to some extent.
+
During [[Dīpāvalī]] festival, the sky is rent asunder by the terrific sounds and lights of bursting crackers. It is celebrated widely throughout the country and also abroad to some extent.
  
 
Dipāvali originally is a festival of three days but with the addition of dvitīyā, it is spread over four days. It normally falls during the last part of October and the first part of November. Dipāvali days are:
 
Dipāvali originally is a festival of three days but with the addition of dvitīyā, it is spread over four days. It normally falls during the last part of October and the first part of November. Dipāvali days are:
 
# Narakacaturdaśi
 
# Narakacaturdaśi
 
# Amāvāsyā
 
# Amāvāsyā
# Balipratipadā
+
# [[Balipratipadā]]
 
# Bhrātṛdvitīyā
 
# Bhrātṛdvitīyā
 
Each day has a different significance and different stories describing what that day commemorates.
 
Each day has a different significance and different stories describing what that day commemorates.
  
 
==Narakacaturdaśi==
 
==Narakacaturdaśi==
The first day falls on Āśvayuja kṛṣṇa caturdaśī which is also called as ‘Narakacaturdaśi. Initially, the celebration of this day was aimed at escaping from naraka or hell by propitiating Yama, the god of death and hell. But later, it was associated with Kṛṣṇa’s killing of the demon Narakāsura, the king of Prāgjyotiṣapura (modern Assam). It is celebrated as follows:
+
The first day falls on Āśvayuja kṛṣṇa caturdaśī which is also called as ‘Narakacaturdaśi. Initially, the celebration of this day was aimed at escaping from naraka or hell by propitiating [[Yama]], the god of death and hell. But later, it was associated with Kṛṣṇa’s killing of the demon [[Narakāsura]], the king of Prāgjyotiṣapura (modern Assam). It is celebrated as follows:
* On this day one is advised to take an oil-bath at dawn, pray for the destruction of one’s sins, offer tarpaṇa<ref>Tarpaṇa is the satiation with handful of water mixed with sesame.</ref> to Yama and light a lamp to Naraka  
+
* On this day one is advised to take an oil-bath at dawn, pray for the destruction of one’s sins, offer [[tarpaṇa]]<ref>[[Tarpaṇa]] is the satiation with handful of water mixed with sesame.</ref> to [[Yama]] and light a lamp to Naraka  
* After a sumptuous feast with fourteen kinds of vegetables, since the festival starts from the 14th day, rows of lamps should be lighted in the evening illuminating all the parts of one’s house
+
* After a sumptuous feast with fourteen kinds of vegetables, since the festival starts from the 14th day, rows of lamps should be lighted in the evening illuminating all the parts of one’s [[house]]
* Temples and public places too should be illuminated in the same way
+
* [[Temples]] and public places too should be illuminated in the same way
 
* Some religious texts suggest that the day should be spent in fasting and food can be taken only at night
 
* Some religious texts suggest that the day should be spent in fasting and food can be taken only at night
  
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The rituals observed on this day includes:
 
The rituals observed on this day includes:
 
* Oil-bath
 
* Oil-bath
* Worship of Lakṣmī, the goddess of wealth and prosperity
+
* [[Worship]] of Lakṣmī, the goddess of wealth and prosperity
 
* Offerings to the pitṛs or departed manes
 
* Offerings to the pitṛs or departed manes
* Feeding of brāhmaṇas  
+
* Feeding of [[brāhmaṇas]]
 
* Fasting whole day
 
* Fasting whole day
  
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The celebrations on this day includes:
 
The celebrations on this day includes:
 
* Lighting of lamps and public place illumination should continue as on the previous day
 
* Lighting of lamps and public place illumination should continue as on the previous day
* Since this is a day specially dedicated to Lakṣmī and as there is every chance of Alakṣmī<ref>Alakṣmī is recounted as the inauspicious goddess, the opposite of Lakṣmī.</ref> peeping in to ruin one’s prosperity, women of the town or village are asked to create a terrible noise by beating drums and winnowing baskets around midnight
+
* Since this is a day specially dedicated to Lakṣmī and as there is every chance of Alakṣmī<ref>Alakṣmī is recounted as the inauspicious goddess, the opposite of Lakṣmī.</ref> peeping in to ruin one’s prosperity, [[women]] of the town or village are asked to create a terrible noise by beating drums and winnowing baskets around midnight
  
  
 
'''Celebration in Bengal'''
 
'''Celebration in Bengal'''
  
Here the goddess Kālī is worshiped on this day in clay image, instead of Lakṣmi, throughout the night. Hence it is also referred as Kālīpujā day or festival.
+
Here the goddess Kālī is worshiped on this day in clay image, instead of Lakṣmi, throughout the night. Hence it is also referred as Kālī[[pujā]] day or festival.
  
  
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* Worshiping their account books
 
* Worshiping their account books
 
* Opening the new account books
 
* Opening the new account books
* Inviting friends, customers and other traders and give them tāmbula (betel leaf with betel nuts) and sweets
+
* Inviting friends, customers and other traders and give them [[tāmbula]] (betel leaf with betel nuts) and sweets
  
 
==Balipratipadā==
 
==Balipratipadā==
  
Third day, Kārttīka śukla pratipad, is also known as ‘Balipratipadā’ or ‘Bali-pāḍyami. It is one of the three days which are considered as the most auspicious days in the religious almanacs. The first two are Cāndramāna Yugādi and Vijayadaśamī. Though there is unanimity in assigning great auspiciousness to the first two days, there are differences in the opinions regarding the third one. Some give that privilege to Balipratipadā while others give it to Aksayyatrtīyā. People celebrate this day :
+
Third day, Kārttīka śukla pratipad, is also known as ‘[[Balipratipadā]]’ or ‘[[Bali]]-pāḍyami. It is one of the three days which are considered as the most auspicious days in the religious almanacs. The first two are Cāndramāna Yugādi and Vijayadaśamī. Though there is unanimity in assigning great auspiciousness to the first two days, there are differences in the opinions regarding the third one. Some give that privilege to Balipratipadā while others give it to Aksayyatrtīyā. People celebrate this day :
  
  
'''By Worshiping Bali'''
+
'''By Worshiping [[Bali]]'''
  
Worship of Bali<ref>Bali is the powerful king of the asuras who was vanquished and pushed into the pātāla or the nether world by Viṣṇu as the incarnation Vāmana.</ref> at night, especially by the king, is the most important rite of this day. One should also be awake the whole night and spend that time in seeing religious dramas. Gifts distributed on this day bring inexhaustible fruits.  
+
[[Worship]] of Bali<ref>Bali is the powerful king of the [[asuras]] who was vanquished and pushed into the [[pātāla]] or the nether world by [[Viṣṇu]] as the incarnation [[Vāmana]].</ref> at night, especially by the king, is the most important rite of this day. One should also be awake the whole night and spend that time in seeing religious dramas. Gifts distributed on this day bring inexhaustible fruits.  
  
  
 
'''By Gambling'''
 
'''By Gambling'''
  
Balipratipadā is also called ‘Dyuta- pratipadā’. ‘Dyuta’ means gambling. There is a queer direction in the Brahmapurāna to gamble on this day. It is believed that on this day Pārvatī defeated Śaṅkara in a game of dice.<ref>After Pārvatī's victory she was very happy and god Śaṅkara was very sad. This scene has been shown in the Ellora cave number 21.</ref> It is a belief that those who win in the game of gambling on this day will be happy throughout the year.  
+
Balipratipadā is also called ‘Dyuta- pratipadā’. ‘Dyuta’ means gambling. There is a queer direction in the Brahmapurāna to gamble on this day. It is believed that on this day Pārvatī defeated [[Śaṅkara]] in a game of dice.<ref>After Pārvatī's victory she was very happy and god [[Śaṅkara]] was very sad. This scene has been shown in the [[Ellora]] cave number 21.</ref> It is a belief that those who win in the game of gambling on this day will be happy throughout the year.  
  
  
'''By Govardhana Pujā'''
+
'''By [[Govardhana]] [[Pujā]]'''
  
 
This day people also celebrate by:
 
This day people also celebrate by:
 
* Worshiping cows - On this day cows are decorated and worshiped. They are fed properly. Cows are not milked this day
 
* Worshiping cows - On this day cows are decorated and worshiped. They are fed properly. Cows are not milked this day
 
* Worshiping bulls - On this day bulls are decorated and worshiped. They are fed properly. Bulls are not made to work on this day  
 
* Worshiping bulls - On this day bulls are decorated and worshiped. They are fed properly. Bulls are not made to work on this day  
* Worshiping the Govardhana hill - The ‘hill’ is either prepared of cow-dung or of anna (cooked rice) and other cooked food.  Worship of hill of anna is called as ‘Annakuta’. An image or a picture of Bālagopāla (boy Kṛṣṇa) is kept with it and worship is offered with 16 upacāras. The mantras used refer to the protection that Bālakṛṣṇa gave to the people by lifting up the Govardhana hill and sheltering them beneath it
+
* Worshiping the [[Govardhana]] hill - The ‘hill’ is either prepared of cow-dung or of [[anna]] (cooked rice) and other cooked food.  Worship of hill of [[anna]] is called as ‘[[Annakuta]]’. An image or a picture of [[Bālagopāla]] (boy Kṛṣṇa) is kept with it and worship is offered with 16 [[upacāras]]. The mantras used refer to the protection that Bālakṛṣṇa gave to the people by lifting up the Govardhana hill and sheltering them beneath it
* Tying of Mārgapālī - Mārgapālī means the ‘protector of the road’. It is a rope of kuśa grass which is tied to a pole on one side and a tree on the other, in the afternoon. All people including the king and the brāhmaṇas bow down before it and pass under it. It is perhaps the ‘goddess of the road,’ whose grace is needed to keep the town safe and also for the safety during journeys. This is then followed by a tug of war between the men of the royal families and the common folk. If the common folk win, it is believed to be good omen for the king and the country. This is a symbolic way of expressing the simple truth that the ruler can be successful and the country well-ruled only when the people have a say in the affairs of the State
+
* Tying of Mārgapālī - Mārgapālī means the ‘protector of the road’. It is a rope of [[kuśa]] grass which is tied to a pole on one side and a tree on the other, in the afternoon. All people including the king and the [[brāhmaṇas]] bow down before it and pass under it. It is perhaps the ‘goddess of the road,’ whose grace is needed to keep the town safe and also for the safety during journeys. This is then followed by a tug of war between the men of the royal families and the common folk. If the common folk win, it is believed to be good omen for the king and the country. This is a symbolic way of expressing the simple truth that the ruler can be successful and the country well-ruled only when the people have a say in the affairs of the State
  
 
==Bhrātṛdvitīyā==
 
==Bhrātṛdvitīyā==
According to an ancient legend, Yama, the god of death and hell, and the river goddess Yamunā were brother and sister. On this day of Kārttīka śukla dvitīyā, goddess Yamunā invited her brother Yama to her house for dinner and honored him. Hence, this day has become a day of reunion of brothers and sisters. Commonly people celebrate it as 'Bhaiduj'. They celebrate it as:
+
According to an ancient legend, Yama, the god of death and hell, and the river goddess [[Yamunā]] were brother and sister. On this day of Kārttīka śukla dvitīyā, goddess [[Yamunā]] invited her brother Yama to her [[house]] for dinner and honored him. Hence, this day has become a day of reunion of brothers and sisters. Commonly people celebrate it as 'Bhaiduj'. They celebrate it as:
 
* Sisters invite brothers to their houses and feed them sumptuously. Brothers give presents to their sisters. Since sisters are separated from their brothers after their marriage, they may not meet for a long time. This festival provides an opportunity for a get-together
 
* Sisters invite brothers to their houses and feed them sumptuously. Brothers give presents to their sisters. Since sisters are separated from their brothers after their marriage, they may not meet for a long time. This festival provides an opportunity for a get-together
 
* Sometimes, sisters worship god Yama and pray to him for the longevity of their brothers
 
* Sometimes, sisters worship god Yama and pray to him for the longevity of their brothers
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==References==
 
==References==
 
{{reflist}}
 
{{reflist}}
* The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore
+
* The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram [[Krishna]] Math, Bangalore
  
 
[[Category:Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism]]
 
[[Category:Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism]]

Latest revision as of 08:57, 16 December 2016

By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Dipavali, DipAvali, Dipaavali


Dipāvali literally means ‘row of lighted lamps’.

In some works Dipāvali has been referred as ‘Kaumudi Utsava,’ a festival in which people find delight on this earth among themselves. It is believed to be a well-known festival from the time of the Bhavisyottara Purāna which is said to be composed before CE 1000.

Being a festival of lights, decorative illuminations and fireworks, Dipāvali is the most popular of all the festivals. It signifies not only the expression of one’s joy but also the destruction of evils personified by demons like Narakāsura.

During Dīpāvalī festival, the sky is rent asunder by the terrific sounds and lights of bursting crackers. It is celebrated widely throughout the country and also abroad to some extent.

Dipāvali originally is a festival of three days but with the addition of dvitīyā, it is spread over four days. It normally falls during the last part of October and the first part of November. Dipāvali days are:

  1. Narakacaturdaśi
  2. Amāvāsyā
  3. Balipratipadā
  4. Bhrātṛdvitīyā

Each day has a different significance and different stories describing what that day commemorates.

Narakacaturdaśi

The first day falls on Āśvayuja kṛṣṇa caturdaśī which is also called as ‘Narakacaturdaśi. Initially, the celebration of this day was aimed at escaping from naraka or hell by propitiating Yama, the god of death and hell. But later, it was associated with Kṛṣṇa’s killing of the demon Narakāsura, the king of Prāgjyotiṣapura (modern Assam). It is celebrated as follows:

  • On this day one is advised to take an oil-bath at dawn, pray for the destruction of one’s sins, offer tarpaṇa[1] to Yama and light a lamp to Naraka
  • After a sumptuous feast with fourteen kinds of vegetables, since the festival starts from the 14th day, rows of lamps should be lighted in the evening illuminating all the parts of one’s house
  • Temples and public places too should be illuminated in the same way
  • Some religious texts suggest that the day should be spent in fasting and food can be taken only at night

Amāvāsyā

This day is said to be the darkest day of the year and is celebrated variously in different parts of the country.

Rituals

The rituals observed on this day includes:

  • Oil-bath
  • Worship of Lakṣmī, the goddess of wealth and prosperity
  • Offerings to the pitṛs or departed manes
  • Feeding of brāhmaṇas
  • Fasting whole day


General Celebration

The celebrations on this day includes:

  • Lighting of lamps and public place illumination should continue as on the previous day
  • Since this is a day specially dedicated to Lakṣmī and as there is every chance of Alakṣmī[2] peeping in to ruin one’s prosperity, women of the town or village are asked to create a terrible noise by beating drums and winnowing baskets around midnight


Celebration in Bengal

Here the goddess Kālī is worshiped on this day in clay image, instead of Lakṣmi, throughout the night. Hence it is also referred as Kālīpujā day or festival.


Celebration As Traders' Day

In other parts of the country, it is called as traders’ day. They celebrate this day by:

  • Worshiping Lakṣmi
  • Worshiping their account books
  • Opening the new account books
  • Inviting friends, customers and other traders and give them tāmbula (betel leaf with betel nuts) and sweets

Balipratipadā

Third day, Kārttīka śukla pratipad, is also known as ‘Balipratipadā’ or ‘Bali-pāḍyami. It is one of the three days which are considered as the most auspicious days in the religious almanacs. The first two are Cāndramāna Yugādi and Vijayadaśamī. Though there is unanimity in assigning great auspiciousness to the first two days, there are differences in the opinions regarding the third one. Some give that privilege to Balipratipadā while others give it to Aksayyatrtīyā. People celebrate this day :


By Worshiping Bali

Worship of Bali[3] at night, especially by the king, is the most important rite of this day. One should also be awake the whole night and spend that time in seeing religious dramas. Gifts distributed on this day bring inexhaustible fruits.


By Gambling

Balipratipadā is also called ‘Dyuta- pratipadā’. ‘Dyuta’ means gambling. There is a queer direction in the Brahmapurāna to gamble on this day. It is believed that on this day Pārvatī defeated Śaṅkara in a game of dice.[4] It is a belief that those who win in the game of gambling on this day will be happy throughout the year.


By Govardhana Pujā

This day people also celebrate by:

  • Worshiping cows - On this day cows are decorated and worshiped. They are fed properly. Cows are not milked this day
  • Worshiping bulls - On this day bulls are decorated and worshiped. They are fed properly. Bulls are not made to work on this day
  • Worshiping the Govardhana hill - The ‘hill’ is either prepared of cow-dung or of anna (cooked rice) and other cooked food. Worship of hill of anna is called as ‘Annakuta’. An image or a picture of Bālagopāla (boy Kṛṣṇa) is kept with it and worship is offered with 16 upacāras. The mantras used refer to the protection that Bālakṛṣṇa gave to the people by lifting up the Govardhana hill and sheltering them beneath it
  • Tying of Mārgapālī - Mārgapālī means the ‘protector of the road’. It is a rope of kuśa grass which is tied to a pole on one side and a tree on the other, in the afternoon. All people including the king and the brāhmaṇas bow down before it and pass under it. It is perhaps the ‘goddess of the road,’ whose grace is needed to keep the town safe and also for the safety during journeys. This is then followed by a tug of war between the men of the royal families and the common folk. If the common folk win, it is believed to be good omen for the king and the country. This is a symbolic way of expressing the simple truth that the ruler can be successful and the country well-ruled only when the people have a say in the affairs of the State

Bhrātṛdvitīyā

According to an ancient legend, Yama, the god of death and hell, and the river goddess Yamunā were brother and sister. On this day of Kārttīka śukla dvitīyā, goddess Yamunā invited her brother Yama to her house for dinner and honored him. Hence, this day has become a day of reunion of brothers and sisters. Commonly people celebrate it as 'Bhaiduj'. They celebrate it as:

  • Sisters invite brothers to their houses and feed them sumptuously. Brothers give presents to their sisters. Since sisters are separated from their brothers after their marriage, they may not meet for a long time. This festival provides an opportunity for a get-together
  • Sometimes, sisters worship god Yama and pray to him for the longevity of their brothers
  • People living on the banks of the Yamunā river, bathe in it on this day
  • In some places there is a melā (fair) on the banks of the river


References

  1. Tarpaṇa is the satiation with handful of water mixed with sesame.
  2. Alakṣmī is recounted as the inauspicious goddess, the opposite of Lakṣmī.
  3. Bali is the powerful king of the asuras who was vanquished and pushed into the pātāla or the nether world by Viṣṇu as the incarnation Vāmana.
  4. After Pārvatī's victory she was very happy and god Śaṅkara was very sad. This scene has been shown in the Ellora cave number 21.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore

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