Diwali is one of the most celebrated festivals in India. The festival has many legends surrounding it.
Deepawali is symbolized by the victory of good over evil. Diwali marks the return of Lord Rama with his wife Sita and brother Laxman after a 14-year exile. In celebration of his return, the people of Ayodhya lit diya to brighten up the air. According to a legend, Ayodhya was lit with earthen lamps and diya since there was no moon that night.
Though Diwali has its roots centered around Lord Ram, in the evening Lord Ganesha and Goddess Lakshmi are worshipped. Wonder why?
An old Hindu myth says that a poor Brahmin was advised to worship Lakshmi to gain wealth by a priest. The Kaliyuga we live in is one in which the Rajo Guna is predominant, which is why we worship Lakshmi as the Goddess of wealth and prosperity.
It celebrates the death of many demons like Narkasur and the arrival of Shiva in Ayodhya after killing Ravana, as well as the victory of Lord Vamana over the arrogant Bali. When good triumphs over evil, Lakshmi is worshipped as she brings prosperity.
An ancient mythological story explains why Lakshmi and Ganesha are worshipped together. The Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Vishnu had a conversation one day. Amid their conversation, Lord Vishnu observed that Goddess Lakshmi praised only herself and credited herself with all worldly blessings and pleasures. Goddess Lakshmi considered herself to be the most revered deity in the universe. When Lord Vishnu heard this, he reduced her ego. For this, he told her that a woman cannot be complete without experiencing motherhood and Lakshmi had not experienced it. When Goddess Lakshmi learned of this, she became disheartened. To find the grace of motherhood, she approached Goddess Parvati for assistance. She asked Parvati if she might adopt either Kartikeya or Ganesha. As Lakshmi did not have a permanent residence, Goddess Parvati was opposed to giving any of her sons to Lakshmi. She was always on the move.
The dilemma Parvati faced was whether Lakshmi would be able to look after her son. She then assured Parvati that Lakshmi would always be present with her in worship and would take care of her adopted son as well. If people didn’t worship both, they wouldn’t be blessed with wealth, prosperity, money, and pleasures. Following Parvati’s instructions, Lakshmi received Ganesha from Parvati. This is also true for Diwali. The Ganesha pooja is mandatory along with the Lakshmi pooja during this festival. As the gods of wealth and prosperity, Lord Ganesha and Maa Lakshmi have traditionally been revered by merchants. Deepawali is a festival when merchants close their accounts for the past year and pray to both deities for greater profits and increased trade in the coming new year. This tradition is now catching up in every community in India irrespective of the work people do – who does not want money?
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Wish you all a happy Diwali.