Diwali and Sal Mubárak
On 4 Nov this year, Hindus celebrate Diwali, the 'Festival of Lights'.
When evil had once again become too strong on earth, God, so the story goes, took on a human body and became Ráma, son of the king of Ayódhya. He grew up in every respect like a human being of his class and as a model of honourable behaviour.
In order to be true to a promise unwisely made by his father, he, his wife Síta and his brother went into exile for fourteen years. At the end of this time, he fought and won a battle with the valiant demon king Rávana. Then he and Síta returned in triumph to his capital Ayódhya, his loyal subjects rejoiced, adorned the city and filled it with lights. That's why Hindu families light up their houses on this day.
Diwali is celebrated at home rather than in temple. For this day Hindus thoroughly clean their houses, paint rangóli patterns in front of them and in their court yards. They put díyas (ghee lamps made of clay) on their window sills and at their doors. We want God in his various manifestations, especially Ráma, Síta and Lákshmi, to enter our houses, and keep burglars and bad people out. People also let off fireworks.
On Diwali night prayers to Lákshmi, goddess of wealth and health, are said (Lákshmi púja), and business people have their accounts books for the next year blessed.
The deeper meaning of this festival is that Ayódhya is our heart. We should purify it so that God can enter and live there. We should worship God in our hearts. An old Sanskrit proverb says:
A thousand Rámas born in Ayódhya will