Diwali, the festival of lights, is mainly celebrated in honour of Lord Ram's return to his kingdom in Ayodhya, after staying in exile for 14 years. He is also considered a Lord Vishnu's reincarnation, born to end the rising atrocities. He was King Dasaratha's oldest son and was also his favourite.
The story of Ram
Ramayana (a book on the life history of Lord Ram) lists the following events in the life of Ram. They are shaped in a way that they give us an important message. The events also ultimately lead to the beginning of the celebration of the joyous festival, Diwali.
Boon to Kaikeyi
Kaikeyi, who was the second wife of King Dasaratha, once saved his life in a battle while serving as a charioteer to the king and nursed him back to life. Impressed and touched by her services, the king granted her two boons which she chose to use later. When Ram, who was the son of Kausalya (first wife of Dasaratha), was chosen to ascend the throne of Dasaratha, Kaikeyi provoked by Manthra, the maid-servant who accompanied Kaikeyi from her parents home, decided to avail her boons. With one, she asked the throne of Ayodhya for her son Bharata and with second one she asked for the banishment of Ram for 14 years so that he could be no threat to her son.
Dasaratha was taken aback but had to fulfill his promise. Ram accepted the exile happily for the sake of his parents. His brother, Lakshman, and wife, Sita went along with Ram to live in a forest.
Kidnapping of Sita by Ravana
Ram, Sita, and Lakshman lived peacefully and in complete harmony in Dandak forest along the bank of River Mandakini at Chitrakoot. They met several great sages and relieved many of their followers of the sufferings and hardships till the time Ravana, through a cunning ploy, kidnapped Sita and took her to Lanka. This was the incident which proved instrumental in ending the demon rule on earth, with the killing of Ravana.
End of Ravana
Ram, who is known to date for his patience, was shattered and outraged at the kidnapping of Sita. He decided to punish Ravana for his misdeed and rescue Sita as soon as possible though he had no idea as to where Ravana had taken Sita. Ram wanders throughout Nilgiri Mountains to locate Sita. He finally met Sugriva and Hanuman and with their help, he could finally reach Ravana's Lanka. Ram gave a last opportunity to Ravana to repent but he in his haughtiness did not pay any heed.
As a consequence, an unprecedented battle in history was fought between Ram and Ravana, at the end of which Ram defeated and killed Ravana (the day we celebrate as Dussehra). After this Sita had to give Agni Pariksha (Fire Test - She passed through fire and remained unharmed which established her chastity, for she remained in Ravana's custody for more than a year). Satisfied, Ram and Sita, along with Lakshman, returned to Ayodhya in Pushpak Viman.
Diwali- The day Ram, Sita, and Lakshman returned to Ayodhya
People of Ayodhya welcomed their dear king and queen Ram and Sita with open arms. Ram was always considered to be the rightful owner of the throne of Ayodhya by his subjects. Bharata, who ruled the kingdom for 14 years at the request of Ram and awaited his return, was overjoyed. To mark the occasion, people lighted lamps and decorated entire Ayodhya with rows of 'diyas' (earthen clay pots) on the dark night of 'Amavasya'.
Sweets were distributed in every household and a grand feast was held in the honour of Ram. This is the day, we still celebrate as Diwali. The day is celebrated to spread across the message of the ultimate victory of good over evil and light over darkness. The idea behind lighting candles and fireworks on the day of Diwali is to spread the light of positivity in the world, despite the darkness of negativity.
Celebrate the festival of Diwali in its true essence. Burst crackers and light candles, not to only have fun but also to introspect your inner selves. Let go of all the negative thoughts along with the smoke of fireworks.
Last Updated on: November 05, 2020