Diwali is one of the most exciting festivals of the year for several communities around Australia and the world. The term Diwali originates from the Sanskrit term Deepavali, meaning numerous candles. The candles used for Diwali celebrations represent knowledge and love and are a physical representation of wiping out the darkness of ignorance and hatred. Above all, Diwali is a celebration of joy and hope, and celebrants exchange gifts and sweets to spread the love around!
The Story of Diwali
The Diwali story is one of the original good conquers evil, superhero defeats super-villain stories in the world. A thousand years ago, the evil king Ravana was exploiting the planet and torturing everyone who lived on it. After many misdeeds, Ravana committed his final crime when he kidnapped Sita, the beautiful wife of our hero, Prince Rama. Rama’s subsequent journey through forests and oceans to rescue his wife is an epic adventure tale – one which culminates with the death of Ravana, and the triumphant return of the victorious couple. The yearly celebration of Diwali honours this joyous occasion, and to this day the festival still symbolizes the power of virtue over vice.
For Hare Krishna members, the whole month of Diwali is a time of celebration. In this month, Lord Krishna performed His childhood pastime of breaking the pots of yoghurt and butter that Yashoda, His mother, had prepared. His mother attempted to discipline Him by tying the Lord to a wooden mortar. Instead, Krishna, being the mischievous child he was, crawled with the mortar between two giant Ashoka trees and uprooted them with His divine strength.
Diwali celebrations are marked with colourful decorations, beautiful lights, sparklers, and delicious food. You may notice colourful designs made from rice flour, called rangoli, outside the homes of Indian friends. People visit each other and exchange sweets and gifts. Prayers and lamps are also lit to worship Goddess Laxmi, the goddess of wealth, and invite prosperity to the house.
In remembrance of Lord Krishna uprooting the giant Ashoka trees as a child, Hare Krishna members come together to sing beautiful songs called kirtans and offer lamps to the image of Krishna that is tied with rope. We pray to receive the same love that Mother Yashoda had for the young Lord Krishna. The month of Diwali is special because it is dear to the Lord, and He performed many pastimes during the month. Even a small service for Lord Krishna during this special month, one gets a uniquely huge return on their spiritual investment.
Celebrate Diwali with Hare Krishna Melbourne
Diwali teaches us all that there is both a virtuous and an immoral side in all of us. It is every individual’s responsibility to become aware of these inner selves, and learn make the correct choices going forward in each moment. The path of spirituality, such as Hare Krishna, creates positive change not only for the individual, but also for the greater society and, in many cases, the environment.
We are all in this process of fighting evil within our lives as spiritual warriors – but our weapons in our personal tale of good vs evil are made of love, compassion, and kindness. Diwali allows us to light the lamps of love and devotion to Lord Krishna, and helps us to come out of our inner battles victorious.
If you’d like to celebrate Diwali – whether it’s your first time, or your thirtieth – everyone is welcome to join us in our online Diwali celebrations this year on our YouTube channel. Each night for the month of Diwali we are live-streaming our temple’s celebrations, to share the love and joy of Diwali across Melbourne and beyond. If you’d like to learn more about Diwali, or our other temple celebrations, visit our temple festivals page.