The night may be dark,
The path may be difficult,
Light lamps of love and affection
Then it will be Diwali of heart.
Diwali lights the temple of heart; it opens the sky of inner heart. It is Diwali which soaks every living beings with love. This festival has been celebrated for quite a long time. But why do we celebrate it? It is the day of Nirvana Kalyanaka of Lord Mahavir. Gautam Swami, the chief Ganadhar, had done the true worship of Lord Mahavir. He got the Omniscience- the ultimate knowledge after the Nirvana of Lord Mahavir. In the absence of Mahavir Swami, he lamented so much that his soul became free from all the bondages of Karmas. This day is the 'New Year Day' in worldly sense. It can also be called the 'New Year of Your Life'.
The New Year day
This festival is celebrated on the last day of the month of Ashwin.
The first day of the month of Kartik, i.e. the next day after Diwali is known as the New Year Day.
The Ritual of Diwali festival
On the day of the Niravana Kalyanaka of Lord Mahavir, the Jap of 'Shri Mahavir Swami Sarvgnaya Namh' is done at night and at midnight the Jap of 'Shri Mahavir Swami Parangataya Namh' is done. On the early morning of the New Year Day (Kartik Sud-1), the Jap of 20 Navakarvalis (string with beads) is done. The Pad is 'Shri Gautam Swami Sarvgnaya Namh'.
The rituals and meditation should be done with total concentration. So the problems of life are removed. And ultimately, it helps the soul to reach at the Moksha.
Diwäli is the most important festival in India. For Jains, Diwäli marks the anniversary of the attainment of Moksha by Mahävir-swami in 527 BC. The festival falls on the last day of the month of Ashvin, the end of the year in the Indian calendar. But the celebration starts in the early morning of the previous day as Lord Mahävir commenced his last sermon (final discourse known as Uttarädhyayan), which lasted until the night of Diwäli. At midnight, he soul left his body and attained liberation, Moksha. Eighteen kings of northern India were present in his audience at the time of His final sermon. They decided that the light of their master’s knowledge should be kept alive symbolically by lighting of lamps. Hence it is called Deepävali or Diwäli, (Deep means a lamp and avail means series or multiple). But the light of Lord Mahävir’s knowledge cannot be kept alive by just lighting the lamps. That is an external approach. Realistically, we should light up our internal lamps - awaken our inner vision by practicing the path preached by Lord Mahävir. As a traditional Diwäli lamp needs a clay bowl, oil, and cotton wick.
The inner lamp needs the right faith, right knowledge, right conduct and right Tap (austerity). External lamps needs oxygen while internal lamp needs self-effort. The resolution to adopt the practice of good conduct is the way to celebrate the Diwäli. Some fast for two days as Lord Mahävir did. Some people recite “Shri Mahävir Swami Sarvajnäya Namah” on every bead of the rosary (108 beads in one rosary) first followed by 19 rosaries of reciting “Shri Mahävir Swami Päragatäya Namah” on each bead. In brief, Diwäli is for enhancing the spiritual wealth.
From a social aspect it is celebrated in traditional Indian fashion by greeting and offering sweets to family, friends and neighbors. Jain businessmen would close their accounts for the year and perform a simple Pujä for the new account books.