Diwali is a very important festival for Hindus. It marks the last day of the Hindu calendar. Dhan Teras, Kali Chaudas, Diwali, New Year and Bhai Bij are the five important days, which are celebrated as the festival of Diwali.
Though Diwali is a social festival, it also has a religious significance. On the day of Kali Chaudas, i.e., the day preceding Diwali, Sri Krishna attained victory over a giant called Narakaasura by killing him and thus relieving the people from his tyranny. To celebrate this victory, Hindus light Deepaks and in this way Diwali is celebrated. When Rama attained victory over Ravan and returned to Ayodhaya with Sita, the people of Ayodhaya became very happy and were delighted to welcome Rama and Sita. They cleaned their houses, made colourful designs on the floors called 'Rangolis' in front of their houses, and decorated the whole city of Ayodhaya. Strings of lighted deepaks were strung everywhere. In this manner, the return of Rama and Sita to Ayodhaya is also celebrated in Diwali.
On this same day, the Jains celebrated the attainment of Nirvana by Lord Mahavir. It is easy to defeat an outside enemy, but it is very difficult to defeat the inner enemy lying in us. Greed, anger, envy, animosity are some of the enemies within us. Anyone who is able to attain victory over these inner enemies is called Mahavir'. For Jains, this day is of great significance.
Swami Dayanand, the founder of the Arya Samaj, brought knowledge to people who used to believe in superstitions and had blind faith. The Arya Samaj celebrates Diwali as the Nirvana day of Swami Dayanand.
Swami Ramtirth left this physical world on this day.
In this manner many different religious leaders are associated with this day and thus all Hindus celebrate Diwali.
On Diwali day, the business people worship the Goddess of wealth and prosperity. It is not right to disregard or abuse wealth. Wealth is worshipped, as it is counted a blessing of God. By putting wealth to good use, one can help the welfare and well being of the whole of this world. Anyone misusing wealth will bring loss and damage to others as well as to himself. Thus wealth is considered as a type of energy and its good use will bring an end to the effects of evil forces.
In this manner, Diwali is the most important for Hindus. It is the occasion of cleanliness and light. Houses are decorated with lights and Rangolis. Crackers resound and light up the sky. Everyone is adorned with new and bright clothes. Sweets are exchanged. However, these are outer celebrations. If with these outer celebrations, we light our inner beings, if we clean our hearts, make them pure and full of love for others, if we become humble and consider the welfare of all, then the celebration of Diwali will become beneficial to us as well as the community.
We pray that this year's Diwali will light our hearts and send out loving rays for all.