Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Very Happy Diwali to all!
Everyone knows that during Diwali we celebrate the home-coming of Sri Ram Sita Laxman after 14 years of exile...Very few people know about Narakasura...
Read On!

When darkness of the night gives way to the new dawn on Naraka Chaturdasi, Deepavali is celebrated in South India.
What is the legend behind the Deepavali celebrations in the south? Narakasura was the son of Bhoodevi or Mother Earth and Lord Vishnu, the Protector, in his incarnation on earth as the wild boar — Varaha avatar.
Perfect lineage, one would think. But misplaced maternal affection was detrimental. Bhoodevi is believed to have asked her divine husband to make her son invincible. The busy father who had to return to the heavens to attend to his duties and an overworked mother bearing the burden of so many people tended to indulge the son more than necessary. The result? Narakasura turned out to be a demon, and along with his friend, Bana the Asura, he created a lot of trouble.
Narakasura wreaked havoc on earth. Soon his father, Vishnu, was invoked to save the people and the story is that Bhoodevi herself — in the form of Satyabhama, Krishna’s consort — had to put an end to Narakasura’s life.
Narakasura, on the one hand, symbolises power. On the other hand, he represents every one of us: a combination of the divine and the mortal. If we misuse the powers given to us, we are killing ourselves: Satyabhama killing Narakasura is symbolic of an environmental impasse, when the earth reaches the limits of endurance.
One can discern a message: Live in harmony with the environment. For when we don’t, then even the earth that harbours life might one day be forced to destroy it.
There is also the strong message that to be powerful is not enough. It has to be supported with values that sustain it. Armed with this realisation a new day, a new year is ushered in.
Festivals are primarily social events that are designed to bring people together. In India, not just stellar movements, even agrarian and seasonal activities lend themselves to festivity. Deepavali came at a time when the rainy season had given way to autumn. The traders had once again to commence their long distance travel with their entourage of scholars, holy men and their other companions from different walks of life. Therefore, a new calendar year was born. There was the need to invest in celebration of life itself and reaffirm one’s values and commitments...

Sudhamahi Reghunathan (Excerpts)

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