What is the significance of Diwali Festival in Devotional Practice?

Bhakta Sunil, 02 November 2013

Hare Krishna

Please accept my humble obeisances
All Glories to Srila Prabhupada

Please tell , What is the significance of Diwali Festival in Devotional Practice?

I understand that Diwali Festival is celebrated as Lakshmi Puja. But is the festival a Vaisnava Festival?

Also the festival is Lord Rama’s pastimes , of returning to His Kingdom. Thus it is festival of Lights , to celebrate Lord Rama’s return to His Kingdom

Also please clarify about Dhan Teras
I read that Dhan Teras is celebrated to worship Lord Dhanvantari. Please tell about Lord Dhanvantari. And is Dhan Teras also a Vaisnava Festival?

I have these bewilderments regarding this festival. So I request to clarify

Regards,
Sunil

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 04th November 2013

Dear Sriman Sunil Vaswani,

Hare Krishna!

Diwali/Deepavali is in fact primarily a Vaishnava festival, but the way the materialists are celebrating the festival, that is not correct.

There are MANY occasions associated with Diwali, here are some I am aware of (there are many many more, we have a history of billions of years):

1. Damodar Leela
2. Govardhan Leela
3. The slaying of Narakasura by Krishna
4. The return of Lord Ramachandra

In all these celebrations, Krishna consciousness is increased. Celebrating any or all of the above is bona fide, and anything other than this is a waste of time meant to indirectly and directly prolong the suffering in the cycle of birth and death.

But, the modern-day materialists have turned Diwali into a gross abomination.

For example, the following activities are commonly performed during Diwali celebrations, which is a terrible nonsense:

1. The distribution of meat, fish, eggs and other unclean foods during “Diwali get-together/party/celebration”
2. The consumption of alcohol and intoxicants including tea, coffee, cigarettes during such celebrations
3. The indulgence in gambling
4. The indulgence in illicit sex in different forms, including dancing, movies, etc.
5. The large-scale excessive pollution of environment by using gunpowder-based fire-crackers, killing so many insects, birds, reptiles, etc., and causing trouble to the small children, elderly persons, sick persons, etc.
6. The increase in the general forgetfulness of Krishna
7. The flaunting (and thus disrespecting) of Lakshmidevi
8. Celebrating like followers of Ravana, not like the devotees of Rama

Lord Dhanvantari, this is who He is:
dhanvantariś ca bhagavān svayam eva kīrtir

nāmnā nṛṇāḿ puru-rujāḿ ruja āśu hanti

yajñe ca bhāgam amṛtāyur-avāvarundha

āyuṣya-vedam anuśāsty avatīrya loke

The Lord in His incarnation of Dhanvantari very quickly cures the diseases of the ever-diseased living entities simply by his fame personified, and only because of him do the demigods achieve long lives. Thus the Personality of Godhead becomes ever glorified. He also exacted a share from the sacrifices, and it is he only who inaugurated the medical science or the knowledge of medicine in the universe. SB 2.7.21

Purport:

As stated in the beginning of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, everything emanates from the ultimate source of the Personality of Godhead; it is therefore understood in this verse that medical science or knowledge in medicine was also inaugurated by the Personality of Godhead in His incarnation Dhanvantari, and thus the knowledge is recorded in the Vedas. The Vedas are the source of all knowledge, and thus knowledge in medical science is also there for the perfect cure of the diseases of the living entity. The embodied living entity is diseased by the very construction of his body. The body is the symbol of diseases. The disease may differ from one variety to another, but disease must be there just as there is birth and death for everyone. So, by the grace of the Personality of Godhead, not only are diseases of the body and mind cured, but also the soul is relieved of the constant repetition of birth and death. The name of the Lord is also called bhavauṣadhi, or the source of curing the disease of material existence.

Srila Prabhupada said this about Deepavali in a letter to one of his disciples:

“Diwali ceremony can be observed in the temple by illuminating 100’s of candles, in different parts of the temple, and offering special Prasad to the Deity. This ceremony was observed by the inhabitants of Ayodhya, the Kingdom of Lord Ramacandra, while Lord Ramacandra was out of His Kingdom due to His 14 years banishment by the order of His father. His younger step-brother Bharata, took charge of the Kingdom and the day on which Lord Ramacandra took back the charge again from His brother, and seated on the throne, this is observed as Diwali function. This is the original idea of Diwali, and Dipabali. Dipabali means the same thing—Dipa means candles, and bali means numerous. When numerous candles are lighted it is called Dipabali. In India, this Dipabali function is celebrated in a special auspicious occasion. This Dipabali function can be observed on 21st October, and Prasad can be distributed on the 22nd October, during daytime, which is known as Govardhana Puja and Annakuta Ceremony. In India, in all Vaisnava temples, this ceremony is observed and 100’s of people are given Prasad according to the capacity of the temple ”

He also wrote this: “Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura, quoting from the Vaiṣṇava-toṣaṇī of Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī, says that the incident of Kṛṣṇa’s breaking the pot of yogurt and being bound by mother Yaśodā took place on the Dīpāvalī Day, or Dīpa-mālikā. Even today in India, this festival is generally celebrated very gorgeously in the month of Kārtika by fireworks and lights, especially in Bombay.” (purport to SB 10.9.1-2)

“CC Madhya 15.36, Translation and Purport: Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and His devotees participated in all the festivals, including Rāsa-yātrā, Dīpāvalī and Utthāna-dvādaśī.
The Dīpāvalī festival takes place on the dark-moon night in the month of Kārtika (October-November). The Rāsa-yātrā, or rāsa dancing of Kṛṣṇa, takes place on the full-moon night of the same month. Utthāna-dvādaśī takes place the day after Ekādaśī in the waxing fortnight of the moon in the same month. All the devotees of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu participated in all these festivals.”

Our principles remain the same, in every festival, this is what we do:

1. Chant Hare Krishna more and more and more

2. Have large scale Harinam Sankirtan

3. Offer gorgeous clothing and ornaments to Krishna

4. Cook opulent offering for Krishna

5. Serve the spiritual master

6. Serve the devotees

7. Clean the home, temple, and decorate it nicely

8. Always remember Krishna, never forget Krishna

Sincerely,

Mahabhagavat Das

Bhakta Sunil, 05th November 2013

Hare Krishna everyone!

Mahabhagavat Prabhu Please accept my humble obeisances and gratitude for an excellent answer!

All Glories to Srila Prabhupada!

It was special to know about Lord Dhanvantari. This knowledge can make it easy for me to connect my colleagues with Krishna Consciousness

I very much agree with Diwali being celebrated in wrong way by many persons. I guess many persons do not really celebrate in the notion of Diwali being an ocassion to celebrate Lord Rama’s pastimes of returning to His Kingdom.

Reading your answer was like taking an adventurous dive into the nectarean ocean of transcendental knowledge

Regards,
Sunil

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