(soundtrack – traditional Shiv Ganga bhajan, from a very old collection, a film by rajat nayyar)
In Shaivite tradition, Kartik Purnima, the Lord’s Diwali, is celebrated as the victory of the Lord over Tripurasura (the demon of triad cities). The festival is aptly also termed Tripuri Purnima. If we skip over the silly myth, it is fairly simple to understand that the triad cities are nothing but anava, karma and maya, the triad impurities. Since the Lord lies beyond the triad impurities, He is considered the Victor over the triad. During the height and light of this festival, one is to have a full realization of the Lord, who exists deep within ourselves as the Atman, who has conquered the triad impurities, and who is ever liberated.
In Vaishnavite tradition, Kartik Purnima, the Lord’s Diwali, is celebrated as the reemergence of the Lord from the allegorical chaturmasa (four-month) slumber. Per tradition, the Deities of Vishnu are considered to be in slumber from Shayani Ekadashi in Ashadh until Prabodhini Ekadashi in Kartik, four lunar days before Kartik Purnima. When Vishnu has awaken from His slumber, His icons once again exit the temple solitude and grace the world on Kartik Purnima. Again, if we skip over the myths, it is fairly simple to understand the slumber represents deep meditation, and emergence from the slumber represents realization. During the height and light of this festival, one is to realize the Lord, who exists deep within ourselves as the Atman, who has been realized through meditation, resulting in liberation.
Now, one may wonder why Kartik Purnima, the second festival of lights of Hinduism, is called the Lord’s Diwali. This is simply for us to realize that the major Diwali festival which occurs 15 lunar days prior during the new moon is Devi Diwali, the Goddess’ Diwali. Only by passing through the Goddess’ Diwali, can one reach the Lord’s Diwali. During the main Diwali, Mahalakshmi is worshipped; during the Deva Diwali, Mahavishnu is worshipped. During the main Diwali, Mahakali is worshipped, during Deva Diwali Maheshvara is worshipped. The main Diwali is dedicated to Shakti, the Deva Diwali to Shiva. The main Diwali is dedicated to realization, the Deva Diwali to liberation. During the main Diwali, the Tirthankara Mahavira reach realization; during the Deva Diwali, Mahavira attained liberation. The main Diwali is dedicated to freeing oneself from fetters (Bandi Chhod), the Dev Diwali is dedicated to becoming a liberated being (Guru Nanak Dev Jayanti). It is only by realizing Shakti (main Diwali), can one become liberated into Shiva (Deva Diwali); the holy lamps during both festivals are but a capture of the resplendence of realization and liberation into Paramashiva, the Divine Ultimate.
Read the full story on http://shivadarshana.blogspot.in/2011/11/kartik-and-lords-diwali.html