HOMECOMING is an emotional thing.

Have you wondered why Hindus celebrate Diwali?

Lord Rama, who is considered an avatar (reincarnation) of Lord Vishnu ­— the protector of the universe, came back to his kingdom of Ayoddhya after 14 years of exile.

It was a new moon night and all the subjects celebrated his homecoming by lighting lamps on his path.

Hence the word Deepawali ­— row of lamps ­— Diwali in short.

It signifies the victory of good over evil, light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance.

How is it celebrated? It is an auspicious occasion and Hindus celebrate by praying to Goddess Laxmi, the goddess of wealth on this day, that she stays in our homes.

In effect, praying that she and her husband, Lord Vishnu, stay with us, forever!

It is a common practice to offer gifts to all your family, friends and colleagues/employees at Diwali.

Many Bengali Hindus also pray to Ma Kali ­— the mother goddess and consort of Lord Shiva ­— the recycler of life, at the same time.

The significance of which can be explained by a Sanskrit prayer, from the brihadaranyaka Upanishad: “asato ma sud gamaya, tamaso ma jyotir gamaya, mrityor ma amritam gamaya); O Lord, lead us from ignorance to truth, from darkness to light, from death to the infinite soul.

This year, Kali Puja was on November 6 and Diwali was on the seventh.

Kaushik Chakraborty

Altrincham Interfaith Group