1. Goddess Lakshmi's Birthday: It is said that on this very Diwali day, the Goddess of wealth, Lakshmi rose up from the ocean. The Hindu scriptures tell us that long long ago both Devas and Asuras were mortal. They had to die sometime or other, like us. But they wanted to live forever. So they churned the ocean to seek Amrita, during which many divine objects came up. Prime among these was Goddess Lakshmi, the daughter of the king of the milky ocean, who arose on the new moon day of the Kartik month. That very night, Lord Vishnu married her. Brilliant lamps were illuminated and placed in rows to mark this holy occasion as Diwali.
2. Vishnu rescued Wealth: According to the Bhagavata Purana, it was on a Kartik day that Lord Vishnu took on the form of a dwarf and defeated King Bali. Bali, or rather King Mahabali, was a powerful demon king who ruled the earth. Once Bali got a boon from Lord Brahma that made him unconquerable. Even gods failed to defeat him in battles. Although a wise and good king otherwise, Mahabali was cruel to the Devas. Finding no way to defeat Bali, the Devas went to Lord Vishnu and insisted him to find a way to stop Bali. He disguised himself as a short Brahmin and approached Bali for some charity. A large-hearted king, Mahabali tried to help the Brahmin. But the whole thing was a trick by Lord Vishnu and ultimately the King had to give up all his kingship and wealth. Diwali celebrates this defeating of Mahabali by Lord Vishnu.
3. Krishna Killed Narakaasur: The Bhagavata Purana also tells us about Narakasura, an evil demon king who somehow got great powers and conquered both the heavens and earth. Narakasura was very cruel and was a terrible ruler. It is believed that Lord Vishnu killed Narakasura on the day before Diwali and rescued many women whom the demon had locked in his palace. The people of heaven and earth were greatly relieved to have got freedom from the hands of the terrible Narakasura. They celebrated the occassion with much grandeur, a tradition that is believed to be alive through the annual observance of Diwali.
4. The Return of the Pandavas: As a rule imposed on the Pandavas had t o serve a term of 13 years in exile. When the period was over, they returned to their birthplace Hastinapura on 'Kartik Amavashya'. To celebrate the joyous occasion of their return to Hastinapura and to welcome back the Pandavas, the common people illuminated their state by lighting bright earthen lamps everywhere. The tradition is believed to have been kept alive through the festival of Diwali.
5. The Victory of Rama: According to Ramayana, Rama, the Price of Ayodhya was ordered by his father to go on exile for 14 years. So Rama went on exile with his devoted wife Sita and faithful brother, Lakshmana. When Ravana, the demon king of Lanka abducted Sita and took her away to his island kingdom of Lanka, Rama fought against and killed Ravana. He rescued Sita and returned to Ayodhya after fourteen years. The people of Ayodhya were very happy to hear of their beloved prince's homecoming and on this occasion, they lit up their houses with earthen lamps, burst crackers and decorated the entire city in the grandest manner.
6. Coronation of Vikaramaditya: Historically it is believed that on a Diwali day in 56 BC King Vikramaditya, the legendary Hindu king of India famed for his wisdom, bravery and large-heartedness, was crowned and declared to be a king. This was marked by a grand celebration by the citizens of Vikramaditya's kingdom celebrated the coronation of their king by lighting up small earthen lamps and that custom still prevails. Many people and even some historians say that this event gave rise to the annual observance of Diwali.
7. Special Day for the Arya Samaj: In 1875, Maharshi Dayananda founded the Arya Samaj, "Society of Nobles", a Hindu reform movement to purify Hinduism of the many evils it became associated with at that era. Every Diwali, this great reformer is remembered by Hindus all over India.
8. Special Day for the Jains: For Jains, Diwali commemorates the enlightenment of Vardhamana Mahavira, which is said to have occurred on Diwali Day in 527 B.C. This is one more reason to engage in Diwali celebrations for pious Jains and other than the purpose of commemoration.
9. Special Day of Sikhs: It was also on a Diwali day in 1619 that their sixth religious leader, Guru Hargobind Ji, who was held by the Mughal Emperor Jahengir in the Gwalior fort, was freed from imprisonment along with 52 Hindu Kings (political prisoners) whom he had arranged to be released as well. And it was also on the same auspicious occasion of Diwali when the foundation stone of the Golden Temple at Amritsar was laid in 1577.
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