Today, we celebrate Diwali! Across the globe, Hindus, Jains, and Sikhs honor this special occasion as a time of new beginnings. Diwali celebrates good conquering evil, light dispelling darkness, and a time of prosperity. During Diwali, we honor three aspects of the divine.
The Ramayana tells the story of Lord Ram being cast out of his home into the forest. His love, Sita is kidnapped. Hanuman seeks to free Sita in Lanka. A battle ensues between Lord Ram and the demon King Ravana.
Diwali that marks the occasion where, after winning the battle, Ram, his brother Lakshman, and Sita returned home to Ayodhya, with people lighting diyas (earthen pot candles) to guide them on their way home in the dark and celebrate their return.
Diwali marks the anniversary of the reappearance of Lakshmi. It was when gods and demons turned the ocean to reach Amrita, the nectar of immortality, that Lakshmi appeared. She is called upon for abundance.
Lakshmi adopted Ganesh from Parvati since she was childless. Her love of Ganesh was so great that Lakshmi said that all of her prosperity is also Ganesh's. She said that unless Ganesh is also recognized, one would not obtain the abundance she has to offer. Ganesh, being the foundation of which we build our life upon with his steadiness and ease, also helps us balance prosperity.
While there are many elaborate practices for celebrating Diwali, how can you celebrate Diwali in small ways?
1) Clean your home. (Clean home=clean mind.)
2) Light candles.
3) Make and eat sweets. (Yes, this is literally permission to do this today!)
4) Honor your family and friends and offer presents (sweets!).
5) Chant mantras to Lakshmi.