Diwali: The story of Lord Rama and Sita

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Diwali is perhaps one of the most well-known Hindu religious holidays in Guyana. It is a fact, however, that many Guyanese and even some around the world, especially in the western hemisphere, know very little about its history and the legends surrounding its celebration.

 

The most popular aspect in his hemisphere is perhaps that of Lady Sita’s rescue from the demon king by her husband Lord Rama and his cohorts who followed after their triumphant return from exile.

 

However, this is in actuality, just one of the many stories that suggest the beginning of Diwali, but depending on what we are taught, there are in fact quite a few more that could explain the reasons for celebrating the season.

 

These stories are moored to the text of Hindu religious scriptures, mostly the Puranas. It must be noted that even though these stories differ from place to place, they all stick to one concept, the triumph of good over evil.

 

Diwali is the festival of lights, thus lighting the lamp on the night of the third day has its significance. It signifies the ignition of knowledge within us.

 

This puts us in a position to try to understand and look back on the purpose of each of the five days of the festivities and apply those to our daily lives.

 

Historically, the festival of Diwali has always been a five-day celebration. A name is given to each of the days, with either significance or some special activity designated for that day. The first day is known as Dhanvantari Triodasi or Dhanwantari Triodasi popularly known as Dhan Theras.

 

The second day of Diwali is called Narak Chaturdasi. It is the fourteenth lunar day (thithi) of the dark fortnight of the month of Kartik and the eve of Diwali.

 

On this day it is believed that Lord Krishna destroyed the demon Narakasur and rid the world of fear. Diwali is actually on the third day. This is the day when the worship for Maha Lakshmi is done (Lakshmi Pooja).

 

On the fourth day of Diwali, Goverdhan Pooja is performed while the fifth and final day of the Diwali is called Bhai Dooj. It is a day dedicated to siblings with special emphasis placed on sisters.

 

Now why exactly is Diwali celebrated in the first place? The answer varies, as was mentioned, in different locations but here is one of the most popular explanations.

 

The Story of Rama and Sita

Lord Rama was one of the avatars of Lord Vishnu. He was the representation of patience, faith, and temperance. Before he became the great warrior King that he was, however, he was the son of King Dasratha, the ruler of the kingdom of Ayodhya.

 

Dasratha, however, was taken into a charm with his wife. However, she forced him to send into exile, Lord Rama, along with his wife Sita and younger brother Lakshman from the kingdom.

 

Her maliciousness against Lord Rama arose after she discovered that he would one day become king; she wanted her sons to be the rulers of Ayodhya so she plotted to have them done away with.

 

Faced with many challenges in the wilderness, Lord Rama had to overcome each of them. His biggest came after the demon king of Lanka, Ravana kidnapped Sita and refused to return her.

 

Although Ravana was a great pundit and highly learned, evil still filled his mind. Rama and Lakshman, joined by Lord Hanuman and his army of monkeys fought valiantly and were able to overcome Ravana and take back Sita.

 

Lord Rama then returned to his Kingdom after spending 14 years of exile. After his victory of good over evil and his return to Ayodhya, the people welcomed them by lighting rows of clay lamps (diyas). That is why to this day we have been lighting diyas on the night of Diwali, to celebrate Lord Rama’s victory over Ravana.

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