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Diwali is celebrated on the day of Amavasya, but the festival is symbolized by inner happiness, lighting or Purnima.
In mythology, the moon symbolizes cool positive thoughts. Purnima is marked by positive thoughts, whereas amavasya is predominantly marked by negatives thoughts. Since, there is darkness all around, amavasya is usually considered inauspicious. However, Diwali is the only day in a year where one experiences positive thoughts on the day of Amavasya. Hence, it is believed that the festival of Diwali denotes inner Purnima and outer Amavasya.
Diwali is the only Amavasya where one does not do Shraadh pooja. Unlike other amavasyas, when no new projects are started nor any new purchases done, on Diwali Amavasya (falling in Chaturmas), it is considered auspicious to start any new project. Even deaths on this Amavasya are considered auspicious (unlike on other Amavasya days).
Diwali celebrations also coincide with the end of Chaturmas, the four months of negative state of mind.
The purification process in Chaturmas starts with the first Navratra falling on Amavasya. During these nine days, one undergoes mind, body and soul detoxification by not thinking negative thoughts, doing positive things and acquiring soul-based knowledge.
The mind and body detoxification during Navratras ends with the killing of Tamas (Kumbhakarna), Rajas (Meghnath) and ego (Ravan) and the victory of consciousness (Rama) over the evil.
These benefits do not lead to inner Moksha or happiness until 20 days, the day of Diwali. To continue getting the benefits of Navratras, one needs to fast with a positive state of mind every fourth day till Diwali.
On Sharad Purnima, the fast involves thinking positive with a cool mind to get health benefits. Four days later, Karva chauth again is observed as a fast and worship of the Moon with positive thoughts and longevity benefits. Four days later on Ahoi Ashtami, one worships the moon and the stars with positive thoughts and acquires fertility benefits.
On the day of Dhanteras, one acquires a win over the fear of death (Yama). On this day, the fast involves deeper meditation (Samudra manthan) to get all the benefits of Samadhi.
At the end of the meditation in the state of Samadhi, one gets in touch with the consciousness or the God, the insight gets illuminated and a person experiences bliss, a state of ecstasy of inner happiness and that is what is called experiencing inner Purnima on the day of outer Amavasya and the festival is celebrated as Diwali.
This entire one month of purification of thoughts helps to combat the depression phase that often sets in with the onset of winter.
Let us all worship this Diwali in a positive mental state.
I wish you all a healthy and safe Diwali...
Dr KK Aggarwal
Padma Shri Awardee
President Confederation of Medical Associations in Asia and Oceania (CMAAO)
Group Editor-in-Chief IJCP Publications
President Heart Care Foundation of India
Past National President IMA