celebrate Eco-friendly Diwali
Diwali is the festival of lights, joy and enthusiasm .We have a lot of mythological stories with regards to Diwali celebrations. Goddess Lakshmi incarnated on the no-moon night of the Kartik month during the churning of Kshirsagar (the ocean of milk). Lord Vishnu escaped goddess Lakshmi from King Bali in Vaaman incarnation. On this day, Lord Krishna released 16, 000 women ensnared by king Kansa and the festival is celebrated for 2 days by the name “Vijay Parva”. According to the epic Mahabharata, Pandavas accomplished their 12 years’ exile imposed on them due to their defeat by Kauravas in the latter’s conspiracy game of chausar. When they returned from exile, Diwali was celebrated. Lord Rama, along with Sitaji and Lakshman, returned to Ayodhya after defeating Ravana. Great king Vikramaditya’s coronation took place on this day, which is a historical event. Even Arya Samaj got established on this very day by Swami Dayananda Saraswati.
>Mahaveer Tirthankar attained salvation on this day. Guru Amardasji, the third of the ten Gurus of Sikkhism, institutionalized Diwali as on one of the most important day for Sikhs and celebrated it as “Red – Letter Day”; therefore devotees reached out to seek blessings of their Guru. In 1577, Harimandir Sahib (informally referred to as the “Golden Temple”) was founded in Amritsar on this day. In the year 1619, around this day, Guru Hargobind Singh ji was liberated from Gwalior fort along with 52 kings who were confined by the Mughal Emperor – Jahangir; hence it is celebrated by Sikhs as Bandi Chorh Diwas too. In 1999, Pope John Paul 2, applying tilak on his forehead, gave a specific speech on this day and even the church was decorated with the lamps of Diwali. Lord Ganeshaji is considered to be the trailblazer in worship and therefore, is worshipped along with goddess Lakshmi on this day by lighting lamps’ series.
After all the mythological discussion, it is important to discuss the scientific aspects of the festival. Lamps are lit in abundance for the reason that increased level of harmful bacteria may cause diseases. By lighting the earthen lamps with sesame oil, mustard oil or cow ghee, many bacteria are killed and thus the festival protects us from ailments. Even beautiful and fragrant candles do not serve the purpose in this regard, as many harmful gases are emitted therefrom. Researchers at South Carolina State University found that paraffin-based candles emit toxic chemicals like toluene and benzene. Frequently lighting many candles in an unventilated space may cause problems like asthma, allergy-like symptoms, or irritate the respiratory tract. It is interesting fact that smoking is prohibited at public places, but not the fire-crackers. Many of the workers involved in making firecrackers are below the age of 14 (note that child labor is prohibited by the law!); thus we should discourage those innocents from ruining their lives on this Diwali.
The Honorable Supreme Court of India, in a writ petition (civil) of 1998, had passed following directions:-
- The manufacture, sale/use of firecrackers generating high noise at 4 meter distance from the point of bursting shall be prohibited.
- The use of the crackers shall not be permitted except between 6 pm -10pm.
- Fire crackers shall not be used at any time in silence zones i.e. not less than 100 meters around hospitals, education institutions, courts, religious places (any other area declared as such by the competent Authority. (Pressure Horn, hooters/siren, industrial noise, loud speaker, band or any other noise whatsoever also falls in the ambit).
On the other hand, decoration by electric lighting makes the festival appear beautiful; but by lighting the earthen-lamps, directly or indirectly, we provide employment to the public of the nation, especially, to many of those who live on footpaths. By purchasing Chinese lights, we not only let our currency go in the foreign countries, but also contribute to making many of our own country people unemployed. The gases secreted by Chinese lamps are also harmful. To know more about the hazards associated with Chinese crackers, refer link:
Coming to the point that goddess Lakshmi is pleased by the cleanliness; and hence the houses, shops, workshops and workplaces are cleaned in traditional Indian households as a customary. This in turn indirectly leads to a natural practice of maintaining the hygiene, thus maintaining good heath by thoroughly cleaning the household every year on this occasion.
Then the sweetmeats are eaten and exchanged amongst near and dear ones. This gives the lesson to imbibe sweetness in the life even in the hardships & stress of day to day life and spend enjoyable quality time with family & friends.
But these days, the sweets made commercially by the confectioners may contain improper material. Condensed milk may contain starch, urea, vegetable oil, detergent and synthetic milk. If someone is so cautious about searching whether there is any adulteration in it or not, the experiments to test the same are as below:-
- Synthetic milk:-Dilute the condensed milk, if it is still granular and if heated, it changes into brown color, then it is adulterated condensed milk.
- Urea:-add water into the condensed milk by adding Soybean powder, if litmus paper gets blue, it confirms urea’s presence.
- Vegetable oil:-if after adding water and hydrochloric acid in the condensed milk, the solution is changed into red color, then that affirms the presence of vegetable oil.
- Detergent:-Add water into condensed milk, if foam is created, that affirms the presence of detergent in it.
Please also note that the sweets bought are made under hygienic environment. Further, silver coating on the sweets is prepared by one lakh sixteen thousands cows’ slaughter every year. Awareness must be created at large scale in this regard so that public may not consume unhealthy and improper sweets during such festivals.
Without worshipping the lord, the celebration of Diwali festival cannot be accomplished. It gives us message to collectively remember god for the achievements we got in life and energy to get out of odd circumstances by meditation (though it is a ritual to relate it to goddess Laxmi to attain wealth) so that anyhow even those, who do not believe in any god and are atheists, are tended towards worship and meditation and by pronouncing various mantras, their vital and positive energy is elevated. Click Here for more detail
Gambling, alcoholism and using excessive fire crackers pollute the purpose of the festival. Instead, more and more havans and yajanas should be practiced so that pollution by fire works may not hamper our health conditions in the meantime. Even scientists should think about some alternatives of fireworks that may create holy & healthy fragrance and not pollute the environment; also, not be so noisy to disturb the infants, old age people, pregnant ladies and heart & asthma patients etc. Natural firecrackers could be a nice substitute. The prevalent form of crackers contains harmful elements like lead and tungsten, sulfur, carbon and may also contain gun powder, which are extremely harmful for health conditions and may aggravate asthma, cancer, hypertension, heart diseases, renal, pulmonary and nervous system and may also cause allergy to skin and eyes.
Noise level at fire crackers unit as per Environment Protection Act, 1986
Maximum noise level:-125 db (A) or 145 db(C) pk at 4 meter distance from point of bursting.
|Pollutant||Pollutant concentration||Maximum permissible limit as per NAAQS|
|Suspended Particulate Matter(SPM)||940||200|
|Respirable Particulate Matter(PM-10)||384||100|
|Respirable Particulate Matter(PM-2.5)||158||60|
|Sulfur- di-oxide (SO2)||37||80|
|Nitrogen di oxide (NO2)||41||80|
Animals may get scared during the festival due to noise. Animal lovers must avoid such use of fire –works and should also motivate others in this regard.(Refer link)
Please try not to terrorize animals and birds, because struck with fear, they may run into the traffic and may get injured, civic authorities to be informed in that case and thus made sure that crackers be burst at specified places, away from the animals.
This festival is celebrated to forget our previous bad times and give a new start to the life. Sant Shri Asharam Bapuji says that on this occasion, you should distribute some clothes, sweets, lamps etc. for poor and needy people and help them by distribution of good literature, which will make them stronger and bring them closer to the Almighty by serving the humanity. As is the experience of the disciples that Guruji gave darshan to those who, with true heart remembered Him at the occasion of Diwali. Let the lamp of our heart be lit with the light of enlightenment our revered Guru has realized!