Festivals are life of nations. While festivals connect the nation with its heritage, they also breathe new life into it and keep the nation alive. Festivals or historical days for a nation or society are a symbol of the progress of that nation. In fact, they present a real picture of the progress of the nation. The Sikh Gurus had also fixed some special days for the national gathering in their time so as to fill the nation with enthusiasm or power. As the dead warriors of our nation continued to create history, the historical days of the nation also increased.
Every country or culture has a tradition of celebrating festivals in some form or the other. Apart from educational and social aspect, these festivals also have a religious aspect. Many festivals are seasonal, many celebrate a person’s birthday, celebrate a victory or mark a special event.
Various events are associated with these festivals. One of these festivals is the festival of Diwali. ‘Diwali’ or ‘Deepavali’ – means the festival of lights. Deep is Sanskrit, Deepak is Hindi, Diwa and Diwali are Punjabi words. Although this festival is seasonal, it is celebrated as a religious festival on a large scale due to its connection with a religious event. These holy words of Bhai Gurdas Ji which are heard from Guru Ghars these days:
‘Diwali Di Naat Deve Baliyani’
The meaning is very deep, but as soon as we hear these words, our heart reaches Sri Harmandir Sahib.
Dal Roti Ghar Di Diwali Amritsar This proverb is very popular among Punjabis regarding the Diwali of Sri Harmandir Sahib, because since centuries Sikhs have been celebrating the festival of Diwali at Harmandir Sahib with great enthusiasm and joy.
According to the historical sources, the sixth Patshah Sahib Sri Guru Hargobind Sahib, the owner of Miri Piri, who was imprisoned in the Gwalior Fort, where the kings of different areas were already imprisoned. It was a fortress from which no one could come out alive. When the kings inside the fort came to know about Guru Sahib Ji’s release, they also appealed to Guru Sahib for their release. Guru Sahib also released them along with him. The history of Bandi Chhod presents a great example of justice and justice which cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Guru Sahib ji was released from the fort of Gwalior and reached Sri Harmandir Sahib. In the happiness of Guru Sahib ji’s release, on Baba Budha ji’s request, all the devotees lit Deepmala, i.e. celebrated Diwali. Today in history, this day is remembered as ‘Bandi Chod Diwas’.
Nowadays this festival has become a special religious, social, cultural and historical festival for Sikhs. For a long time, this day started to be celebrated collectively at Sri Harimandir Sahib and Sri Akal Takht Sahib with much fanfare and Sikhs make Deepmala in Sri Harimandir Sahib on the night of Khushi Khushi Diwali. The entire Harmandir Sahib is lit up in the light of lamps.
Nowadays lakhs of devotees visit Amritsar for darshan. Not only here, a diwan is held continuously for three days inside Gurdwara Manji Sahib Diwan Hall in Sri Harmandir Sahib. In which ragi, dhadi, kavishri groups enthrall the congregation by reciting Gurbani kirtan, verses and poems. On the day of Diwali in the evening itself, the devotees go to the Parikarama of Sri Harmandir Sahib because after the end of the Paath of Rahras Sahib Ji, the sight of fireworks can be seen.
Sangats always enjoy the spirituality of Sri Harmandir Sahib, worship of God and Gurbani. Due to which the hearts of the devotees always have an immense sense of reverence and respect towards Sri Harmandir Sahib. Devotees come especially on the day of Diwali to enlighten themselves with the sights of Sri Harmandir Sahib. After celebrating Diwali at Darbar Sahib, devotees returning home are heard saying this about this joyful journey;
“Dal Roti Home Diwali of Amritsar”
Let us light the lamp of Guru’s knowledge within our lives in this shining festival of light. When the knowledge of the Guru enters the life, the darkness of ignorance is removed from the life.