For me, one of the best things about being in India during Diwali – or any Indian festival for that matter – is that it gives me hope, that all is not yet lost, that there is something precious that we have, that we will still endure even though it may look quite hopeless.
Like many of the recent Diwalis, I spent this one at the Ladsariyas in Mumbai. Diwali here is the most auspicious occasion when Lakshmi Devi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity is worshipped. On Tuesday night, I arrived from Kolkata just in time for the “choti puja” at home. Choti or minor puja because it heralds the main puja the next day.
Grandfather and grandmother Ladsariya presided and three generations gathered in the living room to welcome Lakshmi and thank her for all the good things she has blessed us all with. Yesterday, Wednesday, was the main Diwali, and the “badi puja” was held with greater solemnity and joy.
In Marwari households like this one – and in many North Indian households in general – Diwali means the worship of Devi Lakshmi. For Bengalis, in contrast, the main emphasis during Diwali is on the worship of Ma Kali. Kali is the fierce form of Durga, or Shakti. Ma Durga is worshipped during “Durga Puja” (which Bengalis refer to simply as “pujo”) which happens just a few weeks before Diwali.
Diwali celebrates the victory of good over evil, and Kali epitomizes that battle between the forces of creation and the forces of destruction. (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kali for more.) I find it particularly interesting that Diwali is associated both with Kali and with Lakshmi. Both are manifestations of Shakti, the primary power motivating the universe. Working hard to create wealth is the worship of Lakshmi. Fighting evil and defeating it is the worship of Kali.
I believe that Indians by and large have neglected what Diwali means. We have to confront evil and destroy it because otherwise we will not have the opportunity to create wealth. We have to worship Kali and Lakshmi.
Happy Diwali and a happy new year!
5 thoughts on “During Diwali, worship Kali and Lakshmi”
Wish you Atanu and Readers of this blog Happy Diwali and Prosperous New Year.
>>We have to confront evil and destroy it<<
Whole generations of Indians have been brainwashed into avoiding confrontation under a cloak of cowardice and pusillanimity which they then try to justify using mindless euphemisms.
Right. The highest form of Hindu valor now is bursting the loudest fire crackers and choking asthma sufferers to death, not to take the guilty to court, jail and gallows.
Best wishes for Diwali to you too..
Am rediscovering the Mahabharata, this one written by Maggi lidchi grrassi (the great golden sacrifice of the Mahabharata).
The book is wonderful and since it has not been written by a brown sepoy, the author sees no need to denigrate, water down or otherwise spoil the works with his or her deracinated thinking. That is what sells brown man books to Gora sahebs …
Anyway, the book underscores the pursuit of dharma and our proud Kshatriyas traditions. I have come to the conclusion that nehruvian Stalinists, Marxists, missionaries and mullahs are glorifying ahimsa and ramming it down our throats to make sure we remain supine in the face of their onslaughts.
It is this tradition — of taking up arms for dharma — that is frustrating them in their attempts of making a south Korea of india, culturally speaking.
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