If we remember the origin of Diwali, then we will understand the true meaning of this most popular of Hindu festivals, the Festival of Lights.
In treta yug, Bhagwan Ram took avatar in the city of Ayodhya. As a youth, He had gone away to the forest for 14 years, but on the occasion of the November New Moon, He was now returning home. The happiness of the residents of Ayodhya knew no bounds as they cleaned every corner of their homes and decorated every building in the entire city with diyas (lights) in anticipation of Lord Ram’s return. They wanted to welcome Him back with all their hearts.
When Shree Ram was entering the city, all the citizens wished to meet Him first. Seeing their desire, He multiplied Himself into as many forms as there were people and met them all simultaneously. Each person felt that Shri Ram had come to them first. This was the scene as Lord Ram returned to Ayodhya, and it is to commemorate this event that we decorate with lights on Diwali. We are meant to feel that we are decorating in anticipation of Lord Ram’s arrival in our home and in our heart.
The use of lights on Diwali carries a deep philosophical meaning. Light (prakash) symbolizes God, goodness, and knowledge – whereas darkness (tam) symbolizes evil, ignorance and maya. The more we bring God into our heart, the more His Divine prakash shines within us, relieving us from the effects of the darkness of maya, revealing spiritual knowledge, and filling our life with true joy.
When Radha and Krishna were on the earth planet, They also celebrated Diwali in a special way. They went to Mansi Ganga (a large holy pond near Govardhan hill) and placed floating diyas on the water from opposite sides of the pond. Then They, along with all the Gopis and Gwalbals, created waves with their hands, causing the diyas to converge in the center, and cover the entire pond.
Happy Diwali to all the readers & devotees!