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Published on Friday, November 5, 2010 at 1800 Hrs. IST

So many a legend, so many a tale...Diwali is the festival that shines brilliantly with varied hues. As the festival comes yet again it is time for a stroll through the garden recollecting interesting tales of the festivity. A poem from Ms. Jullie Chaudhury...


Tum Sey Paaya Hai, Merey Sai,
Ye Jeevan Ki Jyoti,
Tum Ho Diya, Oh Sai,
Tumhi Ho Baati…

‘Row of lamps’, is what it means literally,
Yet the spiritual meaning relates,
To that which is beyond sight,
‘Tamaso Ma Jyotir Gamaya’,
More  significantly – the lighting of the inner light…
Light dispels darkness,
Darkness of identifying with the body,
And stirring into a transcendental reality…

An awakening of the atma nothing less,
An inner knowing that outshines all darkness,
This gives rise to a feeling of Oneness,
Which fills,
Love, compassion and joy,
Narrow, petty thinking it does destroy…

So many a legend, so many a tale,
Much about this festival,
History does regale,
A day that holds consequence,
Not only for Hindus, but Jains and Sikhs too,
Lending the festivities a universal hue…

To welcome of Sri Rama after 14 years in exile,
Ayodhya was lit up in a great grand style,
This five day festival does begin,
Late in the month of Ashwin,
And ends in early Kartik,
There is much we can find within,
If we but seek…

Cows and calves are worshipped on Vasu Baras,
And the second day is celebrated as Dhanteras,
Dhantrayodashi – Dhan means wealth,
And Trayodashi – 13th day, of the second half,
Of the lunar month, a Jayanti,
Of Lord Dhanvantri,
Who appeared even as the Devas,
Did churn the ocean of milk with the Asuras,
He is worshipped for continuous health and longevity,
All sources of income are worshipped with piety,
A day for buying utensils or gold, indeed very auspicious,
Of great import to traders and men of business,
The treasurer of the Universe, Lord Kubera,
Is said to have received his post on this day,
And so is worshipped and to him all do pray,
For wealth and prosperity through the coming year,
All accounts on this day folks do clear…

Lord Yama too is offered worship,
As legend has us in its grip,
King Hima on the fourth day,
Of his marriage, of a snake bite was destined to die,
But to make him live, his wife her utmost did try,
All her ornaments and coins in a big heap,
At the door she did keep,
And innumerable lamps she lit all over the place,
With stories and songs that did amaze,
She kept the king awake,
All through the night,
Dazzled was he by the brilliant light,
When Lord Yama did arrive in the guise of a snake,
On the heaped ornaments his position he did take,
But mesmerized was he,
By the melodious songs, a devoted wife’s enchanting remedy,
Come morn he quietly slipped away,
To keep her husband alive,
A wife’s determination won that day…

Naraka Chaturthi  or Kali Chaudas,
Is thus,
Celebrated next,
The day Narakasura was slain and all were blessed,
For this task went Lord Krishna and His consort Sathyabhama,
16100 princesses were released after slaying Narakasura,
The Lord consented to their helpless plea,
And with them entered into holy matrimony…
And so this day all do celebrate,
Narakasura having been relegated to his fate,
Chanting aloud the Lord’s name, His glory
Auspicious lights and rangoli,
Keeps away negativity you see…

And then it’s time to worship Goddess Lakshmi,
On this day, during the churning of the Ocean of Milk,
She did emerge, you see,
Mother Laxmi does symbolize wealth and prosperity,
She is worshipped in all her glory,
With immense cheer and gaiety,
As is celebrated the return of Lord Rama,
Along with Mother Sita, Lakshmana,
And Hanumanji too, on this night,
And so countless diyas were lit to guide and bring light,
To the Pushpak Viman in which He did travel,
To reach eager Ayodhya, and His brother Bharat,
In every cell of whose being,
Only Rama did dwell,
With Rama’s return,
All celebrated the triumph of good over evil…

A day to commemorate Bali Pratipada,
Victory of Vamana Avatara,
Over King Bahubali,
When as a young Brahmin the Lord did appear,
Unknown to the king, granting His request,
Would cost him dear,
And so the Brahmin asked the King for three steps of land,
Benevolent was the king, he did not understand,
After the first and second step, the king was astute,
The Lord’s presence before him, he couldn’t refute,
‘Pratipada’ – below the opponent’s foot,
The humbled King realized his folly,
Attempting to conquer the whole Universe was he,
Impressed by the King’s refusal to go back on his word,
Even when faced with adversity,
He blessed the virtuous King Bali,
Enabling him to return to his people once in a year,
Lamps to be lit to dispel ignorance, greed, ego and anger…

It is also time to honour Govardhan Puja,
When to protect the people from the wrath of Indra,
Lord Krishna,
Held aloft the Govardhan hill,
For seven days and nights until,
Indra was humbled accepting the Lord’s presence and power,
Protecting the denizens from torrential rain, storm,
And thunder shower…

And then ‘Bhaiduj’ it’s time to celebrate,
A brother and a sister fate did separate,
After a long gap, the brother Yama,
With many a gift did visit, his sister Yamuna,
On this day, and if all brothers do similarly, you see,
It is believed they are blessed with longevity…

The Jains celebrate it as,
The ‘splendorous light of lamps’ -‘Dipalika’, 
Since Lord Mahavira,
At the dawn of Amavasya,
Attained Nirvana,
On this day - 527 BC,
At a place called Pavapuri,
‘Deepalikaya’, translates to mean -‘Light leaving the body’,
The Jain year starts with Pratipada, following Diwali…

Guru Har Gobindji,
Was released from captivity,
From Gwalior in 1619,
And so this day is also known as ‘Bandi Chorr Divas’,
Oh, what a glorious scene,
The Golden Temple is lit with lamps to celebrate,
This day then and even now till this date…

Well, so many a legend, so many a tale,
Revelation and regale,
Beyond the deafening din of many a fire cracker,
Tainted with child labour,
Their health and economic condition,
And oh, so tremendous a pollution,
Frightening animals and birds immensely,
Subtracts from the festivity,
A festival of lights,
Of giving joy and delight,
Let’s light up lives,
Light a lamp within,
Or remove the dust of desires, with ease it will be seen,
Burning bright within, it always has been,
Covered with layers of greed, ego and arrogance,
Selfishness, fear and ignorance…

But why fear when the Lord is here?
Why fear when the Lord stands near?
Why look away, when He is here to show the way?
From darkness to light,
Making us believe that we are that light,
Of compassion, love, truth, joy and harmony,
Making us face our reality,
A step closer to our destiny,
He beckoned us through lifetimes gone by,
As Rama, as Krishna, as Shirdi Sai,
Now He is here as Sathya Sai,
Blessing us with inner view,
Waiting and waiting to help us through,
Why ignore that, which is our due,
Blessed us, He has with a chant that rings clear and true,
‘Samastha Lokah Sukhino Bhavantu’
So may this Diwali,
Set us free,
Spell a new year, a new life, for you,
For me, the entire humanity,
And for the Universe too,
Samastah Lokaah Sukhino Bhavantu…