Celebrating the Festival of Light - By Dr Frawley

Courtesy of Pt Vamdeva

Celebrating the spiritual festival of Lights
“Tamaso Maa Jyotir gamaya....lead us from darkness to the Light!
May we hold the highest Dharma in our hearts and lives!
May this Deepavali guide us in drawing the deepest jnana holding the Light of our ancient Seers in our hearts. May we aspire to draw the Divine Light of wisdom and compassion into our lives.

In Sanskrit ‘Deepavali’ means 'a row of earthen lit lamps heralding auspiciousness'. Diyas or earthen oil lamps are the sacred tradition of India’s Diwali celebrations. Light signifies purity, jnana and auspiciousness. Lighting diyas guides us through the darkness to seek the eternal truth.

The auspicious week of Diwali celebrations are-
Dhanteras, Choti Diwali/Naraka Chaturdashi, Deepavali/Diwali , Govardhan Puja and Bhai Duja.

Choti Deepavali is celebrated on the auspicious dark night of Kartik Amavasya where Maa Kali is worshipped. It is also known as Narakchaturdashi.
Lakshmipuja is celebrated on the Amavasya or New Moon.

Deepavali celebrates the return of Lord Rama (of the Ramayana) to his native city of Ayodhya after completing fourteen years of exile in the forest with his wife Sri Sita and brother Lakshman. The common folk of the kingdom of Ayodhya honor him with lighting diyas.


Deepavali Celebrations
Deepavali is marked as a traditional New Year by many communities in India. The auspicious event on Diwali in most households is the riti of Lakshmi-Ganesha Puja – homage to Lakshmi and Ganesha. Diwali puja draws in the divine grace and abundance of Goddess Lakshmi.

Goddess Lakshmi is seated on a lotus, with four hands signifying her power to grant us the four purusharthas (aims of human life) – dharma (righteousness), artha (wealth), kama (bodily pleasures), moksha (beatitude). As the Consort of Shri Vishnu, the deity of preservation, Goddess Lakshmi’s grace manifests as abundance, auspiciousness, nurturing, well-being, power, stability and divinity. She grants her devotee every siddhi in the field of arts, learning and sadhana.

The home is cleaned and decorated with flowers, rangoli and diyas. Special sweets are taken as prasada


Deepavali Sankalpa
Sankalpa is the deeper manifestation of a sacred vow, intention and desire. Our sankalpa should connect us to the universal dharma of peaceful sacredness and abundance for all. May we aspire to draw the Light into our lives reflecting the enlightenment of the Soul and eliminating the darkness which shadows our vision and experience in life. One can make a personal sankalpa or sacred wish for the family’s well-being.

Ritualistic worship of Sri Lakshmi
All offerings and prayer with deep shraddha (faith) and reverence paves the way for the Devi’s benevolence and divine grace.
Lakshmi Puja is a sacred time of consecrating and worshipping five deities:
Sri Ganesha is worshiped at the beginning of every auspicious beginning as Vighneshvara
Goddess Lakshmi is worshiped in her three forms – Sri Mahalakshmi (the goddess of wealth and money), Sri Mahasaraswati (the goddess of jnana or learning), and Mahakali The powerful Shakti who steers us from darkness to Light!
Kubera (the treasurer of the gods) is also worshiped.

Five diyas or ghee lamps are lit honoring the Gods and Goddesses.

Ghatasthapana For the puja we place a Kalash, the clay or metal pot filled with water and decorated with a coconut and Mango or betel nut leaves. Tie the moli or red thread around its mouth. Place a coin, betel nut, rice grains in the kalash.
Sri Lakshmi pujan begins with honoring Sri Ganesha after the achaman and pranayama. In the puja one sanctifies the asana followed by offering water (arghya), Snana (ritualistic bath), vastra, sandalwood paste, flowers, Durva grass, turmeric, vermilion, incense, diya or oil lamp, Holy sacrament are offered.

Sri Lakshmi is placed on a plate of rice in the center of an 8 petalled lotus with consecrated rice grains (akshata). The Lotus can be made with kumkum or turmeric powder. An offering of Naivedya is made to the Devi Lakshmi with milk, cloves, cardamom, coriander seeds, betel leaves, betel nut, battase (traditional sugar sweets), khilay (puffed rice) is made to the Mother Goddess. Flowers, incense and Arati are offered to the Devata.
Coriander seeds and puffed rice are offered in this ritual of worship, the reason for this being that coriander seeds symbolize wealth and well-being and rice represents prosperity. Offer the Goddess something auspicious like money or a silver coin.
Arati consecrates the auspiciousness of Deepavali celebrations.

It is the shraddha or deep faith which holds sacred with simple rituals and prayers for universal and personal well-being. Our prayers must invoke the Divine Grace of the Mother Goddess into our lives.
Living with awareness in the Light of Dharma!
Mantra Shakti
Om srim hrim klim glaum gam ganapataye svaha
Vakratunda mahakaya surya koti samaprabha
Nirvighnam kur me deva sarvakaryeshu sarvada
Om namah bhagyalakshmi cha vidmahe
Ashtalakshmi cha dheemahi
Tanno lakshmi pracodayat
Ya devi sarva bhutesu, matra rupena sansthita
Ya devi sarva bhutesu, shakti rupena sansthita
Ya devi sarva bhutesu, laksmi rupena sansthita
Ya devi sarva bhutesu, shanti rupena sansitha
Namastasyai, namastasyai, namastasyai, namo namaha!

Sarva mangala maangalye shive sarvaartha saadhike
Sharanye trayambake Gauri
Narayani namosthute

Om srim hrim klim hrim srim mahalakshmayai namah


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