Deepavali means, a row of lights. Its origins are a mystery, steeped in the myths and legends of ancient India. It was said to be originally a harvest festival. It was meant either to celebrate the harvest or to commemorate the ancestors who departed to the ancestral world. Vedic people believed that upon death souls who were not destined for liberation ascended to the ancestral world which was located in the moon by the path of ancestors, pitrmarg. Since the path was not as bright as the sunlit path of the immortals, people might have held lights, lamps and torches towards the sky on that day in the hope that it would help them ascend to the ancestral world.
References to the festival are found in the Padma and Skanda Puranas. According to Puranas, lamps that were lit on that day symbolized aspects of the Sun. Diwali is associated with several ancient legends, such as the ascent of Nachiketa to the heaven, the victory of Rama over Ravana and his return to Ayodhaya to ascend the throne, the return of the Pandavas from exile, and the victory of Lord Krishna over the demon Narakasura. In Kerala people believe that on this occasion the demon king Bali who was granted salvation by Shri Vishnu, visits the earth to see people celebrating the festival. Currently Maa MahaLakshmi who symbolizes all the positive forces of life and the divine aspect of wealth and abundance is revered as its principal deity and main object or veneration.
In a world ridden with the forces of ignorance, sorrow and conflict, we can feel its strong connection with the highest of our aspirations and deepest yearnings. It is a ritual set in motion characterizing our natural inclination for things that are bright and beautiful, as expressed beautifully in the Vedic hymn, "tamasoma jyotirgamaya" ~ From darkness unto Light. Symbolically, it represents our divine nature and reminds us of our primary responsibility to pursue the path of light and attain liberation. The occasion offers innumerable opportunities to focus our minds upon god and practice devotional service through karma yoga with detachment amidst distracting festivities and worldly activities. #festivaloflights#artist@ramesstudios