Can you explain the celebration of Diwali? What is the special significance of it?
Diwali can be compared to Halloween, the night of the spirits. The lights are lit and displayed so that these spirits may pass on to the next realm and be free from the bondage of the earth. It is also considered to be the day when Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth according to Hindu mythology, visits and it is a day of Lakshmi pooja.
She is the consort of Lord Vishnu who takes birth as various avataras. In the Indian concept of the trinity, first is Brahma the creator. His work is only to manufacture, he creates life. Second is Vishnu, the protector and preserver.
His duty is to maintain the balance of good and evil, right and wrong, justice and injustice, dharma and adharma, and for that he has had to manifest as many avataras. Rama is one of the avataras of Vishnu, and Krishna is another. These are the two most well known ones.
Shiva’s work is to meditate, and when he is not meditating he is destroying. He cannot have a normal, peaceful life. Shiva lives in extremes. He is either at total peace in samadhi, oblivious to everything that is happening around him, or he is so ferocious that he is ready to burn even Kamadeva, the lord of passion.
When Shiva becomes active, he dances his cosmic dance and the world dissolves, falls apart, shatters. He opens his third eye and burns someone to ashes. He could swallow poison and survive. He can hold the purity of the intellect. He can use the raw energy of kundalini, and was often in a mischievous mood.
On Diwali there are lights, fireworks, bombs, everything goes off on that day!
From the book “On the Wings of the Swan, Vol. 4”, pg. 176-177, Sw. Niranjanananda Saraswati