Dev Deepawali is celebrated on Kartik purnima, 15 days post the grand celebration of Diwali. It marks the culmination of the festival of lights.
There are many legends behind this celebration. A popular one says the Gods descend upon the ghats of the river Ganga on this day to celebrate the victory of Lord Shiva over the demon Tripurasura, whose three evil sons — Taarakaaksha, Kamalaaksha and Vidyunmaali — established three different cities. And since then, Lord Shiva is also known as Tripurari. The Ghats are lit up with thousands of lamps to welcome the divine and celebrate the victory of good over evil.
The pivot of Indian culture is about self-realisation and the manifestation of one’s divinity. Hence, every festival, custom or ritual leads to this very fact in one way or the other. A deeper reading of the mythological story suggests that the demon Tripurasura is nothing but the human mind, which is ruled by the three characteristics of nature that are Satoguna, Rajoguna and Tamoguna. These three gunas of nature, if untamed, lead a human mind towards desire, anger, greed or jealousy, which one may relate to the devil cities established by evil princes. Just like the destruction of these cities was possible only by Lord Shiva, the ever-wandering human mind — which is constantly distracted by the three gunas of nature — can only be brought to peace by true knowledge. This is nothing but self-realisation or, in other words, knowledge of the divine. Without the true knowledge, the human mind will be driven by the ego, which will prevent the seeker to move ahead on the path of self-realisation because it will be constantly attracted towards the illusion (maya) called sansar — our worldly desires.
Hence, Dev Deepawali is another reminder to all the seekers of spirituality to be in awareness of the demons within their own minds. The Shiva (knowledge) is very much within our own selves to win over these demons. So, this year, light the lamp of knowledge within to destroy the darkness of ignorance.
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