Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Story about diwali

In India, there are lots of tale for diwali. Each and every region there own story. Some of them, I share with you.

¤ The Mythological Story

The mythological story of Sagar Manthan or ‘churning the ocean’
may help us understand why Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth, is
worshipped during Diwali. Legend has it that once all the devtas, or
demigods were under a curse that made them weak in body and mind. They
were advised by Brahma (Creator in the Hindu Holy Trinity of
Creator-Preserver-Destroyer) to drink amrit, or the elixir of life.
But amrit could only be obtained by the churning of the ocean, which,
needless to add, was no mean feat. Now the question arose as to
how to go about churning the gargantuan ocean. Lord Vishnu (the Hindu
Preserver of the Universe) came up with a solution saying that Mount
Meru could act as the churning stick, while Vasuki (the mythical
serpent) could be used as the coil around Meru. Pleased with the
suggestion, the devtas went to the asuras, or demons and sought their
help in accomplishing the formidable task. The devtas’ promise to
share the amrit with the asuras tricked the latter into consenting to
tug Vasuki from one end.

Thus ensued a phenomenal churning that, however, threatened to
destroy the three worlds (Heaven, Earth and Hell). The gods simply
could not let that happen, so Vishnu appeared in the guise of a giant
tortoise or Kurma (Vishnu's second incarnation) and stabilised the
churning by acting as a base under Mount Meru. It is said that
eventually, spectacular treasures emerged from the great ocean
including Laksmi the Goddess of Prosperity and Wealth, Sura the
Goddess of Wine, Chandra, or the moon, Apsaras, the celestial nymphs,
Kaustabha, the precious gem of Vishnu, Uchchaishravas, the divine
horse, Parijata, the wishing coral tree, Kamdhenu, the wish-fulfilling
Divine Cow, Airavata, the four-tusked white elephant, Panchajanya, or
the conch, Sharanga, the invincible bow, and Dhanvantri, Nimi and
Bharadwaj - the physicians and surgeons.

¤ Chhoti Diwali

The day before Diwali is celebrated as Chhoti Diwali (small Diwali).
This is the day when Hanuman reached Ayodhya to deliver the
long-awaited message of Lord Rama’s return. On Chhoti Diwali,
people socialise and exchange sweets and gifts. There is a puja in the
evening, and the puja sthan (most Indian homes have a special room or
corner with a little temple in which they pray) is decorated with
empty earthen lamps and newly purchased idols that are to be
worshipped in it. In Bengal, people celebrate the Kali puja on this
day. Kali is the Goddess of War and is highly revered by the Bengalis.
In South India, an oil massage followed by a bath before dawn on this
day is equated to taking a dip in the holy River Ganga. and a dip in
the Ganga (the holy river of India supposed to absolve one of all
sins) on this day is also considered to be an act of piety.

¤ Diwali myths: the end of Rama's exile

Over time, various mythological explanations were given for the celebration of Diwali. The most popular myth among these is the one linked to the ancient prince Rama, his wife Sita and brother Lakshmana, returning to their kingdom, Ayodhya, after a 14-year exile, and the defeat of the king of Lanka, Ravana. To celebrate this event, people at Ayodhya are believed to have lit up their houses with lamps.

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