Karthik Amavasya, Deepavali
The day of Karthik Amavasya, New Moon, is celebrated as the main day of Deepavali and is ascribed to many reasons.
In most parts of India, especially the north and west, the Deepavali festival is celebrated as Lakshmi Pooja. Lakshmi is the divinity for wealth. During this Lakshmi pooja traders start new accounting books for the next accounting year.
Why do the traders in India start new accounting year on Deepawali?
India as a land is a monsoon rain fed Country. The Southwest monsoon rain sets in in the first week of June. This South West monsoon rain lashes throughout India for the next four months. India being an agrarian Society, that is Agriculture being its main occasion, it is during these four months of continuous rain that the primary crop of India is sown and reaped.
By the time the abundance of this crop is harvested and brought to the market to be traded, it is the time of Deepavali. It is the time of plenty. It is the time of fresh arrivals.
Isn’t it but apt that the new financial, new accounts year for the traders start with Lakshmi Pooja? It has been so through the centuries and through the millennia.
In the word Lakshmi you have the root word Lakshya meaning aim, goal. The aim of a society is to be productive, harmonious and noble. It is when there is bounty that all this is possible. This Lakshmi Pooja is not only significant for the traders to start new account but also encourages the people at large to relish their hard work from the bountiful harvest, share their bounty with one and all, which in turn brings out their nobility, their dharma – the aim, the goal, the lakshya of people.
Thus Lakshmi Pooja is just not praying to the divinity of wealth but is in fact a culmination of four months of agrarian effort and is a form of thanks giving to the divinity of prosperity for the plentitude showered and also a time for setting goals to lead a noble and harmonious life.
Coronation of Rama and Rama Rajya
Rama, the legendary hero of India was born in Ayodhya and ruled the kingdom of Kosala about 7,100 years ago.
The historicity of Rama has been traced in our book, Historical Rama from the Bharath Gyan Series. Rama, after his fourteen years vanavas, exile and after defeating Ravana who had kidnapped His wife Sita, Rama returned to His city Ayodhya with Sita and His brother Lakshmana, to begin His rule on this day. Rama ascended the throne in the year 5076 BCE.
This day of His return and the event of coronation as King of Ayodhya, Rama Pattabhishekh, was marked with joy by lighting series of lamps, Deepavali. It has been celebrated since then, every year as Deepavali in North India.
The noble rule of Rama, from then on through the Itihasa, Ramayana and the Puranic legends, have come down to our times, our knowledge, as the period of ideal rule. This ideal rule of Kingship is what is eloquently referred to as “Rama Rajya”. The details of this Rama Rajya, the components of this ideal rule and its relevance in the modern management scenario is discussed in our work “Rama Rajya” which is part of the Bharath Gyan Series.
This ideal rule of Rama was so much cherished through the systems, practices, traditions and stories by generations and generations of people through the ages in this land that the people thought it fit to celebrate the coronation of Rama, His Pattabhishekham as the festival of Deepavali so that successive rulers of this land can try to emulate the good components, the good features of the rule of Rama that can make the land and its people prosperous, progressive and peaceful through the ages.
It is for this reason that to this day, the festival of Deepavali is remembered and celebrated year after year, yearning for a good rule from the rulers of the land.
The rule of India is in turmoil today. The rule of India is sans values.
Apart from bursting crackers, wearing new clothes, eating sweets, distributing gifts and sweets and wishing each other a Happy Deepavali, if we can reaffirm to ourselves the reason for which the festival of Deepavali has being celebrated continuously for the last 7,100 years and create in our times, an atmosphere of a Noble Rule and a value based living, then the festival of Deepavali will truly light up our lives.
Return of the Pandava
It was on this day, about 5100 years ago, that the Pandava returned to Hastinapura, after their 13 year exile. It was a day of joy for the people of Hastinapura which they too expressed by lighting lamps to welcome them. This formed another reason for the celebrations of Deepavali since then.
The historicity of the Pandava and the events in their lives can be found in our work Historical Krishna, from the Bharath Gyan Series.
Start of Vikram Samvat
About 2000 years ago, in 56 BCE, Vikramaditya was crowned king of Ujjain on this day. This day marked the start of the Vikram Samvat, Vikram Era which we follow to this day. It is one of the official calendars for the Government of India. The New Year as per this calendar start with Chaitra Amavasya, i.e. around April in present times.
Starting from the day of Rama’s return to Ayodhya with Sita and His coronation, to the day of Pandava’s return to Hastinapura with Draupadi, to the day Vikramaditya was crowned king, thereby starting the Vikaram Era, have all been celebrated across millennia, as days of joy and hope for good times ahead, by lighting lamps and sharing sweets.
Mahavira, the last Jain Tirthankara, attained PariNirvana, liberation from His mortal life, at Pavapuri, in present day Bihar, on the day of Deepavali. This day is therefore celebrated by the Jains as a day of salvation and enlightenment.