Although the lockdown imposed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic is being lifted and public life is being restored, a few public restrictions in some places have limited the celebration of Deepawali as usual. Some useful aspects and perspectives on how to celebrate Deepawali in such places are given ahead. (Note : These aspects are only for places where there are restrictions or limitations in celebrating Deepawali as usual. Wherever it is possible to celebrate it as usual following all the rules of the administration, please do so.)
Question : Should we go out on this day to worship a cow ? What to do if this worship is not possible ?
Answer : Since Vasubaras is associated with Deepawali, it is included in the festival. However, in reality, the festival is separate. If it is difficult to go out on this day and worship a cow and if there is an Idol of a cow at home, worship it. If there is no Idol at home, draw a picture of a cow on a wooden plate or paper and worship it.
Question : On Narakchaturdashi, bathe during Brahmamuhurt (An auspicious time at dawn between the fourth ghatika from the night and the second ghatika before sunrise ideal for spiritual practice) when there are stars in the sky. A branch of Aghada (Prickly chaff plant) is rotated 3 times from the head to the toe and again to the head. For this, Aghada plants are used. What to do if Aghada plant is not available ?
Answer : If Aghada plant is not available, pray to God and bathe.
Question : In the days of Deepawali, Yamatarpan, Brahmanbhojan, donation of clothes are done. What to do if this is not possible ?
Answer : It is possible to perform the Yamatarpan ritual at home. In this, 14 names of Yama are recited and water is offered. This ritual of tarpana (Offering of water) is given in Panchangs (Almanacs). The ritual should be performed accordingly. If Brahmanbhojan and donation of clothes is not possible, some money should be donated to a worthy cause or organisations that are conducting the mission to serve Dharma.
Question : What to do if coriander, jaggery, sali lahya (Rice flakes), battase, etc. are not available for Lakshmi Pujan ?
Answer : If the necessary items for Lakshmi Pujan are not available, the worship should be done with a lot of bhav (Spiritual emotion) by using items which are available. If you do not get any items such as battase, Naivedya (Food offered to a Deity as part of ritualistic worship) should be offered to God with home-made ghee & sugar, jaggery or some sweet.
Question : What to do if utane (Fragrant herbal powder, which is applied to the body before a bath) is not available for abhyangsnan ?
Answer : If utane is not available for abhyangasnan (A Holy bath after applying oil, utane to the whole body), apply turmeric mixed with coconut oil instead.
Question : What should be done if priests are not available for the ritual of Tulsi vivaha ?
Answer : If a priest is not available for Tulsi vivaha, you should worship with bhav as much as you can. If this is also not possible, Tulsi should be worshipped by chanting ‘Shri Tulsidevyai Namaha’. The following lines of Ramraksha Stotra should be recited after the worship.
Ramo rajmanihi sada vijayate Ramam Ramesham bhaje |
Ramenabhihata nischarachamu Ramaya tasmai Namaha ||
Ramannasti parayanam parataram Ramasya dasoramyaham | Rame chittalayaha sada bhavatu me bho Ram mamuddhar ||
Then the following lines of the beginning of Saraswati Stotra in the Holy text Bruhadstotraratnakar should be recited.
Ya kundendutu Sharahar dhavala ya shubhravastravruta |
Ya vinavaradandamanditakara ya shwetapadmasana ||
Ya brahmachyuta shankaraprabhrutibhirdevai: sada vandita |
Sa mam patu Saraswati Bhagawati nisheshjadyapaha ||
After reciting this Shloka, Akshata (Unbroken rice grains) should be offered on the Tulsi by uttering ‘Sumuhurt Savadhan’ (Be attentive, the auspicious moment is near).
Detailed information on the spiritual significance of Deepawali, the method of celebrating festivals is provided in Sanatan’s Spiritual text ‘Appropriate methods and science in celebrating Holy festivals’. The Spiritual text is available Online at Sanatanshop.com. Detailed information on Deepawali is also available on the website Sanatan.org. Those interested should visit these websites.
It is a tradition to have fun during Deepawali. Considering the current adverse times, it is not prudent to waste time on having fun. Although the coronavirus crisis is slowly receding, it is not clear at what point the crisis will unfold in the adverse times. Globally, wars are raging in some countries. Conflicts are raging between many countries. There are warlike situations in many places. These developments are leading to World War 3.
To face the severe adverse times, there is a need to possess strength of spiritual practice. Since the present time is a transition period for spiritual practice, the fruit of spiritual practice performed during this period will be obtained many times over.
Therefore, in the days of Deepawali, if you try to give increasingly more time to spiritual practice without wasting time in having fun and frolic, people will obtain benefits at the spiritual level.
– Mr. Chetan Rajhans
(National Spokesperson, Sanatan Sanstha)