Phone: 080-5610935; e-mail: email@example.com
Hindu way of life is highly rational and scientific. It imparts to man the meaning and purpose of human existence and the means to achieve it. Man is not a biological entity that has come into this world to live for a certain period of time and then die. He is the spark of the Divine, manifest in human form, endowed with reason that enables him to live a pure and perfect life based on moral and spiritual values to ultimately seek his identity with the Divine. That is why the Vedic Rishis addressed mankind thus:
Shrinvantu sarve amrutasya putraah! – “Listen ye all, Children of Immortality!”
Among the various Hindu festivals, which symbolically represent the ascent of the Individual soul to the divine heights, Deepavali is the most popular and significant. Deepavali falls in the Krishna Paksha or the dark half of the month of Kartik (October-November). The darkness represents the ignorance or maayaa that envelopes the worldly existence of mortals, but the light represents the inner self that glows in purity and splendour due to the flame of saadhana or constant endeavour and sacrifice lit with the wick of devotion or Bhakti and the oil of Jnaana, i.e., knowledge or wisdom. The inner light dispels all darkness and enables the self to see Itself in all its splendour and glory. Then the whole life becomes one of light, wisdom and self-realization. That is Deepaavali – “the row of lights”.
There are many legends and stories pertaining to Deepavali, but all of them allegorically present one and the same truth. Narakasura, the son of Bhoodevi or the Mother Earth, was annihilated by Lord Krishna and that day is celebrated as Deepavali. Bhoodevi represents Prakriti or Mother Nature. All our worldliness arises only in the ephemeral plane. The Divine Self or Krishna annihilates the demon of worldliness, Narakasura, the product of Prakriti or nature. In certain parts of India, the festival is celebrated as the day of victory of Lord Rama over Ravana. Raama is the Self that revels in all beings – “sarve ramante iti raamah”. Ravana with ten heads representing the ten senses always running into the world of objects and sensual pleasures is the embodiment of sensuality. The Self annihilates the dark force of sensuality and brings light into the life of the individual jeeva, represented by Seeta. Some celebrate it as the marriage of Goddess Lakshmi with Lord Vishnu. Lakshmi represents all auspiciousness and material well-being. Lord Vishnu represents spiritual bliss. The harmonious blend of material well-being or abhyudaya with spiritual upliftment or nishreyasa is the goal of life and by lighting the lamp of knowledge or wisdom, both are achieved. In Bengal, the Deepavali is celebrated as the festival of Mother Durga – the one who enables us to cross over the fortresses of ignorance. Some celebrate it as the day of destruction of Lanka, the land of sensuality, by Hanuman who symbolically represents the enlightened mind, which dispels darkness. The Jains celebrate Deepavali to mark the advent of Mahavira Jina, one who conquered the forces of darkness with the light of wisdom. The application of oil on the head and ritualistic bath on the day represents the cooling down of brain to make it bright and washing off of all evil thoughts from the mind.
The Deepavali festival unites various sections of people in the bondage of human brotherhood. The burning of crackers and lighting up of the whole space symbolizes the spread of knowledge in the whole society. The wearing of new clothes symbolizes adopting a new spiritual life after casting off base material existence. Distribution of sweets among people symbolizes spreading of happiness, peace, mutual love and harmony among all. Sister Nivedita and Sarojini Naidu have pointed out that before the days of partition of India, even the Muslims in Bengal joined the Hindus in lighting the lamps and floating them on the sacred river, Mother Ganga, symbolically marking the lighting of the Jiva Ganga or flow of life with lamps of wisdom, unity and brotherhood. Deepavali is a time when charity reaches its heights. Everyone makes others happy with gifts and even the masters make their servants happy and feel the unity of the home by gifting clothes, sweets, etc. to them.
Let Deepavali be ever a Festival of Enlightenment that unites mankind in the bondage of love and brotherhood. This festival is to be celebrated in congregations where the individual dissolves his ego and vanity and merges himself in the eternal bliss through seeking the identity of his individual self, Aatman, with the self of the society, Asmita, and the Cosmic Self, Chiti. Let children of Mother Bharat carry the lamps of wisdom to every nook and corner of the world to enlighten the whole of humanity on the meaning and purpose of life.
Asato maa sad gamaya, tamaso maa jyotir gamaya, mrityor maa amriiam gamaya – “Lead us from untruth to Truth, from darkness to Light and from death to Immortality!” – let this be the constant prayer on all our lips!
We wish you a Happy Deepavali!
Deepavali is the Festival of Lights. Bharat is the Land of Light. Sanatana Dharma is the Light Divine that the Hindu Nation, Bharat, the Punya Bhoomi, Karma Bhoomi and Moksha Bhoomi has gifted to humanity, long before the dawn of civilization in other parts of the world. That alone is the Light that will illumine the path to the human destiny. It is the sacred duty of the children of Mother Bharat in India and abroad to keep the flame up and hand over the torch of immortality to posterity. Let us take a pledge on this auspicious day to fulfil our sacred duty to our forefathers and to the land of the Gods, Deva Bhoomi, and land of Wisdom, Veda Bhoomi, Bharatavarsha. May the Divine Mother, Bhavani Bharati, who is Dashaprharanadhaarinee Durga, Kamala Kamaladalavihaarinee and Vaanee Vidhyaadaayinee provide us in ample measure Shakti—Strength, Aishwarya—Wealth and Vidya—Wisdom to accomplish the eternal task!
—Sadhu Prof. V. Rangarajan, Bharatamata Gurukula Ashram, Srinivasanagar, Krishnarajapuram, Bangalore 560036. (Phone 091-80-5610935 / 5613716. Om Sri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram
The word Deepavali should be a magic word that
should bring to our hearts the eternal Light that never fades,
the eternal Joy that never fails, the eternal Peace that never wanes.