Welcome to Nikhil Sinha’s Diwali website!
This site is dedicated to Nikhil Sinha’s celebration of Diwali. Diwali means the “Festival of Lights.” Almost 900 million people celebrate this holiday, yet not much is known about it in the United States. Though it arose from Hinduism, it has become nationalized as a holiday in India and is celebrated by everyone, regardless of faith. The festival falls in between the months of October and November. It is a five day celebration symbolized prominently by the “dipa lamp,” which is an earthen lamp. This lamp of knowledge is used to reflect on the purpose of the five days and hopefully reach an understanding of one self. Being a Hindu holiday, it stresses order and structure as a means to harmony. Sinha celebrates this holiday annually and is a central part of his identity and his heritage.
History of Diwali
Each of the five days represents a different story. The first day of Diwali is called Dhanvantari Triodasi or Dhan Theras. This is the day Lord Dhanvantari emerged from the ocean for mankind, marking it as a day for celebration. The second day is called Narak Chaturdasi. Lord Krishna kills the demon Narakasur, freeing the world from the fear it instilled in the world. The third day is what most people perceive as Diwali. This is the day for celebration and also the lighting of the dipa lamps. On this day, temples are full as people line up to worship Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity. The fourth day of Diwali honors the first Govardhan Pooja performed by the people of Vraja. This increases the awareness and devotion to Lord Krishna. The fifth day is called Bhratri Dooj. On this day the brother-sister relationship is honored. The brother visits the sister’s home to cleanse their sins. Sinha knows that most people don’t have time these days to celebrate each aspect of the holiday, which is why most people have consolidated this five day holiday into one day, emphasizing the celebration.
The origins of Diwali
There are four stories that explain the creation of Diwali. Each is valid in its own right since it is a belief. It is interesting to note that the conception of Diwali changes from region to region. Even with these differences, the commonality of the celebration is equivalent. There is no hierarchy to the stories.
- The first and most prominent story is about a demon named Narakasura. He brought fear to people as he pillaged and instilled fear into the world. Gods pleaded with Vishnu to offer protection, who came to down as Krishna. Krishna killed Narakasura, who asked to be killed by Krishna. This story affirms that even something good can come from something evil.
- Diwali may also have been conceived as a harvest tradition. At the end of the cropping season, farmers have been known to celebrate their fruits and labor. This is geographically spread throughout India, as grain and rice are harvested by October. From a logical perspective, this might make the most sense in terms of how Diwali got started.
- Another story involves the goddess of wealth and prosperity, Lakshmi. On the day of Diwali, Lakshmi emerged from Ksheer Sagar (ocean of milk), bringing her wealth for mankind. People perform Pooja and worship her on Diwali. Nikhil Sinha has grew up with this story.
- In addition to Hindu celebrations, Sikhs also celebrate Diwali. Guru Hargobind Ji, a guru, who was freed from captivity in the city of Gwalior is celebrated in the day of Diwali. On his way back home, the towns people lit a path to the Golden Temple. This emphasizes his dedication to Sikhism and his loyalty after captivity.