vmurthy at informix.com vmurthy at informix.com
Thu Oct 5 19:04:05 UTC 1995

I  felt the response by Mr.Partha was out of context. The original poster
requested for stories and how diwali is celebrated.  If some one asks, "how
christmas is celebrated", you say - people decorate christmas tree,
and have good time with friends and family members. That is not the place to
talk of poverty and the fact that poor christians do not get to celebrate!
Poverty prevents people in all religions to celebrate the festivities.

> From: pb019 at csc.albany.edu (Partha Banerjee)
> ---
> Just a small anecdote. Mr. Seshadri is the present chief of
> the Hindu fundamentalist organization -- RSS or the Rashtriya Swayamsevak
> Sangh.

Again, whether RSS is a fundamentalist or progressive is a debatable issue among
scholars and I don't know whether indology list is the right place to discuss 
that. But, definitely that topic has nothing to do with 'Diwali'.

> In Ramayana, the "non-Arya" "demon" king Ravana, who to
> me signifies nothing but human steadfastness and bravery, is killed by the
> "Arya"-therefore-"divine" Lord Rama where the latter resorts to any
> possible deceptive and deplorable tactics to conquer the land of Lanka (or
> Srilanka as we know it now).
  Here, the author lacks sufficient knowledge of Ramayan story. 
1. Ravana was a Brahmin by birth and Ram was not a Brahmin! In fact, the
   author of Ramayan, sage Valmiki is not a Brahmin by birth. Also, if Ravan is
   "not-Arya", so is the case with his brother Vibhishana. But, Rama gave
   the kingdom to Vibhishana at the end of the war.
2. Ravana was a great devotee of Shiva and Ram also worships Shiva on his way to   Lanka. So, there is no question of 'difference in culture and gods' being 
   the reason for the fight.

3. Was Ram trying to expand his kingdom ? NO.
	* If he was that power hungry, he would not have left the kingdom, even
	  after his brother requested him to do so.
	* After the war, he gave back the kingdom of Lanka to the brother of 
	Ravan - Vibhishana and never went to Lanka again.
	* He did not rule the kingdom of Kishkindha in South, but gave it to
	* He did not defeat any other king on his way from Ayodhya to Lanka.
	he did not even think of war with Ravan, until Sita was abducted.
	Now, the marxist historians of JNU (javaharlal nehru Univ) are ready
	with their version of story that Sita went with Ravana on her own!

> The celebration of Dussera, a parallel festival (the tenth day of the
> ceremony to worship Goddess Durga) is in fact a relic of Lord Rama's
> invocation of the Goddess which is also known as "Akal Bodhan" (i.e., an
> untimely invocation) as traditionally in ancient India, the worship of
> Durga would take place much later in the year. Rama, according to Hindu
> scriptures, did this untimely supplication to earn the blessings of the
> Goddess to conquer Ravana.

 I would like to hear some references to supplement the fact that it was 
"untimely". Throughout India, Durga Pooja is done during Nav Ratri. On the
10th day of Vijay Dashami, Ram killed Ravana. During nav ratri (9 nights before)
people worship goddess Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati. It's symbolism is
that only when power (Durga), wealth (lakshmi) and right knowledge (Saraswati)
exists together, victory is gauranteed.

I would expect a more scholarly and logical discussion supplemented by 


> From THRASHER at MAIL.LOC.GOV 05 1995 Oct EST 15:08:15
Date: 05 Oct 1995 15:08:15 EST
Subject: DIVALI

          The Hindu religous journal (mostly in Hindi and Sanskrit) Kalyana 
          from Gorakhpur traditionally devotes each issues (book-size) to a 
          single theme.  I would not  be surprised if  there  is  a special 
          issue on Divali. 
          Allen Thrasher                                                    

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