Deepawali and Naraka-Chaturdasi are one and the same.

This is celebrated as a national festival throughout India, but in different ways in different parts of the country. In North India, it is considered a day of lights and the houses are colourfully illumined on the occasion.

In the South, however, people take an oil bath before dawn and put on new clothes. It brings happiness and joy to people who undergo sufferings in their daily lives. In the early hours of the dawn of the day preceding the new moon day, i.e. Chaturdasi, when the sun is in the Tula Rasi (Libra) of Zodiac, water anywhere in the world is Ganga and oil becomes saturated with auspicious presence of Sri Mahalakshmi.

Everyone from the simplest gypsy to the proudest magnate, from the innocent child to the serene saint should take a bath with oil and water and be happy, illuminating every nook and corner with strings of light, literally deepa-aavali. This is the boon prayed for by a mother when her son, who was a real naraka, to the world at large, was being killed by Sri Krishna. "Let the happiness of every creature in the world be the compensatian for the grief caused to me by the death of my son", was the prayer of that bereaved mother.

Deepavali outweighs every festival because of its having emanated from two hearts in which hapiness of the world at large outweighed the lightest pitch of personal calamity. Nothing can be nobler than this last wish of the dying demon, and more so, the prayer of a bereaved mother.

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