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Yesterday, Jaya, Aippasi Hastham( 22.10.2014) all of us had Ganga snanam not by going to the Ganges but by Ganga entering and purifying all waters in Brahmamuhurtham ( 4.00 A.M. is known as Brahma Muhurtham) on Narakachathurdasi. Thanks to Narakasura we enjoy the festival of lights by wearing new clothes, bursting crackers and eating as much sweets and savouries as we can. This is the time of giving and remembering to thank people who help us like the watchman, the milkman, the sweeper, the maidservants among others. After Ganga snanam devotees in their Diwali best thronged temples and visited elders to seek blessings. At Dasavatharan Sannidhi Tirumanjanam was performed to all the ten deities as also to Lakshmi Narasimha’(Moolavar and Utsavar) and Lakshmi Narayana, utsavar as also to Senai Mudaliar. As it was Hastham there was Tirumanjanam done for Mukkur Srimadh Azhaghiasingar at Azhaghiasingar’s Brindavanam. Lot of devotees had the darshana soubhaghyam of the Dasavathara Perumals and also three Srimadh Azhaghiasingars namely 41st, 44th and 45th at their Brindavanams .By the time Satrumurai and prasada distribution (Diwali lehyam, Kesari and Badhusha) was over it was past 11.30 A.M. The following are some of the photos taken during the occasion…
The meanings of Dīpāvali, its symbols and rituals, and the reasons for celebration are innumerable. Dīpāvali celebrates Lord Rama’s glorious and long-awaited return to his kingdom of Ayodhya after fourteen long years of exile in the forests. It also commemorates Lord Krishna’s victory over the demon Narakasura who had kidnapped and terrorized the gopīs of Vrindavan. When the evil Narakā was finally killed by Bhagavān Kṛṣṇa in the presence of Satyabhāmā, he begged pitifully for mercy; thus, upon his entreaties, it was declared that this day of his death would be celebrated with great joy and festivity. It is also celebrated as the day Bhagavān Viṣṇu married Maha Lakṣmī. Dīpāvali is also associated with the story of the fall of Bali – a demon king who was conquered by Lord Viṣṇu. Lord Viṣṇu appeared to the demon king Bali in the form of a dwarf and requested only three steps of land. Bali granted the dwarf’s meager request for only three feet. Suddenly, Lord Vishnu took on His grand size and placed one foot on the Earth, another on the Heavens and His third on the head of Bali. In general, Dīpāvali signifies the triumph of good over evil, of righteousness over treachery, of truth over falsehood, and of light over darkness. Last night at Radha Kund, a multi-step lamp offering was made, many pilgrims offered individual lamps from the banks; a maha arotik was also performed. As the Rādhārāṇī Braja Yatra celebrates in Vṛndāvana may this Diwalli day(where ever you are), more importantly than personal gain, bring new unprecedented victories in the protection and preservation of Braja Dhāma.
[This year, 2014, the festival of Dipavali is on October 23rd (in India). Srila Gurudeva, Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja, always leads the devotees to Manasi Ganga in the evening to offer ghee lamps there in remembrance of this auspicious day. He is still with us leading all the pilgrims there, continually bringing his disicples and followers out of the darkness and into the light of bhakti.] Question: Why do we celebrate Dipavali, and in what mood is it celebrated by Vrajavasis? Srila Gurudeva: Dipavali means a time of happiness. When Lord Rama defeated Ravana and reached Ayodhya, a big Dipavali festival was performed there. Sri Vamanadeva wanted to cheat Bali Maharaja. He did not cheat him; rather he gave his mercy, although it seemed that he was cheating. When Bali Maharaja was offered a benediction from the Lord, he requested, "Always remain in my home." In this way the Lord Himself was cheated. Lord Vamana was very glad, and he agreed to stay there forever. Due to great happiness, Bali Maharaja then asked all his associates to hold a Dipavali festival, and that was the first Dipavali. When Krsna defeated Duryodhana and returned to Dvaraka, a Dipavali was also celebrated there. Lord Krsna Himself, along with Mother Yasoda, Nanda Baba and all other Vrajavasis, came here and celebrated this festival with their own hands. In other words they themselves offered dipa (a lighted ghee wick) and rendered many other services. Divali also means light. If there is no bhajana of Krsna there is darkness, and in Krsna Consciousness there is light. We celebrate this function in order to give up darkness and to bring the light of bhakti, pure devotion. This is the same celebration. Real happiness comes from playing karatalas and mrdangas. If one hears this, and if maya hears, maya will go away at once. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu brought the sankirtana movement to this world to drive out maya. Sri Krsna and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu do this Themselves, and we should try to follow Them.