Warm D\u012bp\u0101vali greetings from us here at Vedic Cosmos! The most widely celebrated of Indian festivals, D\u012bp\u0101vali has deep cultural and spiritual undertones to it. The name D\u012bp\u0101vali itself means an array of lamps (d\u012bp\u0101n\u0101m \u0101vali\u1e25,) and signifies cheer, wisdom and the triumph of good over evil. D\u012bp\u0101vali is associated with Lord R\u0101ma\u2019s return to Ayodhy\u0101 after having decimated the r\u0101k\u1e63asa-army in La\u1e45k\u0101, in the northern states of India. In the southern states of India, especially Tamil Nadu, D\u012bp\u0101vali is called Naraka-caturda\u015b\u012b, and is associated with the K\u1e5b\u1e63\u1e47\u0101vat\u0101ra. Narak\u0101sura was the son of Bh\u016bmidev\u012b, Mother earth. He was the personification of malice. He imprisoned sixteen-thousand princes and princesses, holding them captive in his dungeon for no apparent reason. He laid siege upon the celestial city of Amar\u0101vat\u012b. He looted Indra of his royal insignia, the parasol, and subjected him to the ignominy of looting his mother\u2019s priced earrings. Indra appealed to Lord K\u1e5b\u1e63\u1e47a, and the Lord arrived at Narak\u0101sura\u2019s city, Pr\u0101gjyoti\u1e63apura, amount the redoubtable Garu\u1e0da, with His queen Satyabh\u0101m\u0101 by His side. The city was fortified by five moats that the Lord devastated in a jiffy. Past the moats was stationed Mura, a formidable rak\u1e63asa, who charged K\u1e5b\u1e63\u1e47a like the feisty sun of cataclysmic proportions. After decimating him, Bhagav\u0101n vanquished the seven sons of Mura, who stood between Him and the hapless princesses who prayed ardently to be rescued. Finally, Narak\u0101sura jumped in the fray and battled K\u1e5b\u1e63\u1e47a. He charged Garu\u1e0da ferociously, and smashed his mace into Garu\u1e0da\u2019s plumes. The avian chariot of K\u1e5b\u1e63\u1e47a stood unfazed, as if assaulted with a wreath of tender blooms. The assault, however, invited the wrath of the Lord. He could stand it no longer, for His dear devotee had been put in harm\u2019s way. He released his Sudar\u015bana-cakra. The brilliant disc, almost imperceptible owing to the its speed, beheaded the r\u0101k\u1e63asa and felled him. Bh\u016bmidev\u012b pleaded with the Lord that her son be redeemed. The compassionate Lord promised her that her son would find redemption in bringing joy to the world by his death, as he had brought misery to it while alive. He promised her that the day her son gave up his body would be celebrated with great pomp and joy. Thus was born, Narakacaturda\u015b\u012b or D\u012bp\u0101vali. The word caturda\u015b\u012b means the fourteenth day of a fortnight. D\u012bp\u0101vali is celebrated on the fourteenth day of the dark fortnight, and hence the moniker.