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Dipalika- How the Jains celebrate Diwali

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Diwali the festival of lights is celebrated with great enthusiasm all over India.  A festival that brings a smile on everyone’s face and lights a lamp in everyone’s heart. Diwali celebrations across India are different and also have different significance. Here is the story of why the festival Dipalika is celebrated.

Mahavira was the twenty fourth Tirthankara(a guru) in Jainism. He was born about 2500 years ago in Bihar. He had contributed a lot to  the society. He encouraged people to be kind and treat each another equally. He also believed that animals and birds were an important part of life on earth. He was against superstitions and asked people to follow non-violence or ahimsa.

One day when he was in a place called Pavapuri, he went into deep meditation and attained Nirvana. In Jainism, Nirvana means that the light leaves the body. Tirthankara Mahavira was 72 years old when the light left his body.  The Jains believe that on that day, there were bright lamps lit from the earth to the skies.

To honour the great Tirthankara Mahavira, Jains celebrate the day as Dipalika. To this day, many devotees visit the temple in Pavapuri to pay their respects to Tirthankara Mahavira.  They chant mantras and prayers and decorate the Jain temple with a lot of lamps. They also distribute sweets and lamps. What is interesting is that the day is also celebrated as a new day or the beginning of a new year. Jains wish each other by saying ‘Nava saal mubarak’.

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