Words of Wisdom

Diwali – Celebrating the Victory of Light over Darkness

Be in the world and yet do not drown in the worldly aspect of it

     For an oil lamp to burn, the wick has to be in the oil, yet out of the oil. If the wick is drowned in oil, it cannot bring light. Life is like the wick of the lamp; you have to be in the world yet remaining untouched by it. If you are drowned in the materialism of the world, you cannot bring joy and knowledge in your life. By being in the world, yet not drowning in the worldly aspect of it, we can be the light of joy and knowledge. Lamps are lit on this day not just to decorate homes, but also to communicate this profound truth.

A lamp is symbolic of the good qualities in every human being

     Every human being has some good qualities. Every lamp that you light is symbolic of this. By lighting the lamp of wisdom in you, you light up latent values and by acquiring knowledge; you awaken all the facets of your being. When they are lit and awakened, it is Deepawali. Don’t be satisfied with lighting just one lamp; light a thousand, for you need to light many lights to dispel the darkness of ignorance.

Firecrackers – an explosion of pent-up emotions

     Though our life is governed by the three gunas, we seldom recognize and reflect on them. The first three days of Navratri are attributed to tamo guna (intertia), the next three days to rajo guna (activity) and the last three days to sattva guna (tranquility). Our consciousness sails through the tamo and rajo gunas and blossoms in the sattva guna on the last three days.

Maintaining awareness in the midst of celebrations

     Sweets and gifts symbolize the dispelling of the bitterness and renewal of friendship. Deepawali is a time to throw light on the wisdom you have gained and welcome a new beginning. When true wisdom dawns, it gives rise to a celebration. But don’t let celebration make you lose your focus and awareness. To maintain awareness in the midst of celebrations, the ancients created rituals: puja brings sacredness. For the same reason, Deepawali is also the time for pujas that add depth to the festivities by infusing the spiritual aspect.

     The celebration includes the spirit of seva or service. Share. In giving, we receive. The celebration also means dissolving all differences and basking in the glory of the Atman. Happiness and wisdom have to be spread and that can happen when all come together and celebrate in knowledge. 

     Light the lamp of love in your heart; the lamp of abundance in your home; the lamp of compassion to serve others; the lamp of knowledge to dispel the darkness of ignorance and the lamp of gratitude for the abundance that the Divine has bestowed on us.