The festival of Diwali is primarily celebrated to mark the return of Lord Ram to his kingdom of Ayodhya after 14 years of exile. Ram Chandra was the eldest son of King Dasaratha of Ayodhya and a favorite of his father. Ram was an incarnation of Lord Vishnu who was born to put an end to the rising atrocities of demons headed by Ravana.
The story of Ram
Ramayana (a book on life history of Lord Ram) lists the following events in the life of Ram which shaped in a way that they gave us an important message along with giving us the joyous festival of Diwali.
Boon to Kaikeyi
Kaikeyi who was the second wife of King Dasaratha once saved his life in a battle while acting as a charioteer to the king and nursed him back to life. Impressed and touched by her services, king granted her two boons which she chose to use later. When Ram who was son of Kausalya (first wife of Dasaratha) was chosen to ascend the throne of Dasaratha, Kaikeyi provoked by Manthra, 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 second one she asked for 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. Ram accepted the exile happily for the sake of his parents. His brother, Lakshman and wife, Sita accompanied Ram to forest.
Kidnapping of Sita by Ravana
Ram, Sita and Lakshman lived peacefully and in complete harmony in Dandak forest along the bank of River Mandakini at Chitrakoot. They met several great sages and relieved many of their followers of the sufferings and hardships till the time Ravana through a cunning ploy kidnapped Sita and took her to Lanka. This was the incident which proved instrumental in ending the demon rule on earth along with the end of Ravana-the demon king.
End of Ravana
Ram who is known till date for his patience was shattered and outraged at the kidnapping of Sita. He avenged to punish Ravana for his misdeed and rescue Sita as soon as possible though he had no idea as to where Ravana had taken Sita. Ram wonders throughout Nilgiri Mountains to locate Sita. He finally meets Sugriva and Hanuman and with their help could finally reach Ravana's Lanka. Ram gives a last opportunity to Ravana to repent but he in his haughtiness does not pay any heed.
As a consequence, an unprecedented battle in history is fought between Ram and Ravana at the end of which Ram defeats and kills Ravana (the day we celebrate as Dussehra). After this Sita had to give Agni Pariksha (Fire Test- She passed through fire and remains unharmed which establishes her chastity, for she remained in Ravana's custody for more than a year). Satisfied, Ram and Sita along with Lakshman, return to Ayodhya in Pushpak Viman.
Diwali- The day Ram, Sita and Lakshman return to Ayodhya
People of Ayodhya welcomed their dear king and queen Ram and Sita with open arms. Ram was always considered to be the rightful owner of throne of Ayodhya by his subjects. Bharata who ruled the kingdom for 14 years at request of Ram and awaiting his return was overjoyed. To mark the occasion people lighted lamps and decorated entire Ayodhya with rows of diyas (earthern clay pots) in the dark night of 'Amavasya'.
Sweets were distributed in every household and a grand feast was held in the honour of Ram. This is the day we still celebrate as Diwali. The day is celebrated to give across the message of ultimate victory of good over evil and light over darkness. The idea behind lighting candles and fireworks on the day of Diwali is to spread the light of positivism in the world despite of darkness of negativity.
Celebrate the festival of Diwali in its true essence. Burst crackers and light candles not to only have fun but also to introspect our inner selves and burn all the negative thoughts along with the smoke of fireworks.
Last Updated on 08/06/2012