Diwali ! A day to rejoice! A day to be happy with exchanging sweets, delicious food and wearing new dresses! Bright lights everywhere and the sound of firecrackers, which drives people crazy sometimes. All their money has been burned out into ashes while bursting firecrackers.
But why should we celebrate this auspicious day? It is a long story. Let us find out how & why?
Once upon a time there lived a giant called Naragashur. Narag means hell and Ashur means giant. So he was a giant of hell. He did many harms to the civilians as well as to the sages. All people cried to the Lord for relief. The Lord incarnated and one fine evening, the Lord killed the giant. People came out of their houses with joy holding torches in their hands. So it became a tradition and it has been followed by the generations and that is why every year they celebrate this festival which is called Diwali.
The question is, if people wanted to celebrate a day because of the death of a giant, then the whole lifetime will not be enough for a person to celebrate because there are so many similar stories in the Puranas like Hiranya, Ravan, Kamsa, Bagava, Idumba, Andakashur, Jalandashur, Hiranyatcha, Tirunavartha and so on, who were killed by god's incarnations. So, the festival Diwali has nothing to do with the death of Naragashur. Kandapurana part VII ?Upadeshkanda says about an auspicious day, which is called Diwali.
This word is a combination of two words. Deep, which means light and Awali, means line. Lights in a line. During the month of Oct-Nov a day before the new moon, people take holy bath early in the morning. They keep a heap of paddy and place a pot and upon that with holy grass which is called dharba (a type of hyssop) and worship the god Shiva with fasting and prayer. Some people fast for 21 days. On the day of new moon they complete their fasting and put on new clothes, eat sweets and food. On this day they should not eat non- - vegetarian food. Those who eat such food will go to hell. This is what the great man Thirumuruga Kirubananda Variayar says. (Variyar Virundhu-page 84-87)
But what people experience today? There are lights around them, but inwardly they are immersed in darkness. They think that the giant (Satan) was killed but they do not understand that the giant still live in them and keep them under bondage like debts, sorrow, sickness, hatred, poverty etc.
The puranic stories were written to make people understand that God has to come in flesh to release the people from the bondage of this giant who is called Satan. But who is this Satan? Who is the incarnation of god who manifested in flesh? The Giant is sexual immorality, impurity, debauchery, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambitions, dissension, factions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, evil thoughts, theft, murder, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, slander, arrogance, folly, homosexual, smoking, chewing panparak, drugs, watching blue films, reading filthy stories, bribery, and so on. Such kind of giant still lives in the minds of people and spoils everyone?s life and also the lives of his kin and kids and the society. The giant is also called the darkness of the world. He has blinded the minds of people so that they cannot see the light of the good news of the real God who came in flesh who is the image of God.
Great saints like Thirumoolar, Agastiyar, Thayumanavar and other Siddhars (nameless saints who knew god and the truth) anticipated God as light who will remove the darkness from the mind of people. The 19th century Hindu saint Vallalar otherwise called Jyothi Ramalinga Adigalar who started worshipping god Murugan, then Nataraja but later declared that God is light and he proclaimed that truth throughout Tamilnadu. The dominating Brahmin religious leaders ignored this Saint. Many of his poems about this light focus towards Jesus Christ. Darkness cannot be removed by bullets, money, austerity, rituals, temple attendance, celebrations, holy baths or self righteousness, only light can remove darkness. Ordinary powerful lights cannot remove the darkness that is in the minds of the people.
If God is light then who is this god?
The Bible has the answer. Jesus said: "I am the light of this world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life" (John 8:12) If this is true then why people do not accept this light who is Jesus the Christ? The Bible has the answer again. It says, Light has come into this world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God. When Jesus said: "I am the light of this world" he also said that his followers are lights of this world. He said: "let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise God the Father in heaven". Jesus is the light and his followers make a line after him. Lights in a line!
The real Deep-Awali = Diwali! It is good that the Indian saints celebrate this festival during October. Jesus lived thirty-three and a half years. He was nailed to the cross in the month of April. He was only thirty-three and a half years old. His birthday fall after six months, that is in October. The month God came to this world as light. Saul, a tribe of Benjamin of Israel who was against Christian believers killed many of them met Jesus on his way to Damascus. God appeared to him in the form of light. He became a follower of Jesus Christ and preached the glorious Gospel to many thousands. He writes in one of his letters that "For god who said, let light shine out of darkness made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the Glory of god in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all surpassing powers is from God and not from us" (2 Cor 4:6,7)
The light of God, which is the knowledge, should shine in the minds of people. The human body is the temple of God. It has body, spirit and soul. We have no authority to make it unclean or impure. One of the great Tamil poets said that in the garden of god man was made out of clay and the soul was in him. Not knowing this because of darkness of sin he enjoyed the luxuries of this world and broke it into pieces. This is a true fact.
This is the message we heard from God and declare to you.
God is light, In Him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with God and yet walk in darkness, we die and do not live by truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus Christ purifies us from all sins (darkness). The real meaning of Deepavali or Diwali is that God the light has come into this world to remove sin the giant of darkness. Let us come out of darkness to light. Jesus is the light of the world.