Enlighten This Diwali
While the most popular legend for celebration of Diwali is Lord Rama’s glorious and long-awaited return to his Kingdom of Ayodhya after his fourteen years of exile in the forests, there are various other mythological reasons that make the day so reverential and relevant.
World-renowned spiritual and yoga guru Swami Ramdev throws light on the various other mythological events that date back to this day.
“The day harks back to Lord Krishna’s victory over the demon Narakaasura who had kidnapped and terrorized the gopis of Vrindavan. After his defeat, when the devil was being killed by Krishna and Satyabhaama, he begged pitifully for mercy. It was then that Krishna declared that this day of his death would be celebrated with great joy and festivity
Diwali is also celebrated as the day when Lord Vishnu married goddess Lakshmi. Besides, Diwali is associated with the story of the fall of Bali – a demon king who was conquered by Lord Vishnu. In Bengal, the festival is dedicated to the worship of goddess Kali.”
On the whole, Diwali signifies the triumph of good over evil, of righteousness over treachery, of truth over falsehood, and of light over darkness.
According to Hindu philosophy, there is something beyond the physical body and mind that is pure, infinite, and eternal. This is called the atma, the soul or spirit. “This day holds great spiritual and meditative significance. Just as we celebrate the birth of our physical being, Deepavali is the celebration of this Inner Light. This knowledge outshines all darkness, removes all obstacles and dispels all ignorance. This awakens the individual to one’s true nature, not as the body, but as the unchanging, infinite, immanent and transcendent reality,” says mythologist and Law of Karma theorist Naveen Khanna. It is with the realization of the self that one grows aware of universal compassion, love and the awareness of the oneness of all things; higher knowledge, that is to say.
Diwali is also said to be the day to rid oneself of all his evil deeds. “Given the excellent planetary position, all forces of nature work in tandem on Diwali night. All gods and goddesses are in a generous frame that day. During this period, if anyone seeking spiritual knowledge or material gains worships the Almighty with deep devotion, he’s blessed with all that he desires. So much so that anyone who seeks forgiveness for his ill deeds during this period is also freed from his wrong karmas (deeds),” says Naveen, who has done extensive study on the Karma theory. The message behind this festival is to forget and forgive the wrongs done by others and befriend one and all.
“Instilling the feeling of charity and compassion in the hearts of people, this festival is seen as the perfect time to buy new clothes and other gifts for not just family and friends but also servants and employees,” says astrologer Ashok Vasudev.
Swami Chidanandji says that the purpose of Diwali is not to glorify the light of candles or firecrackers. The intent is to glorify the light of God. “It is He who bestows the real light, the everlasting light upon the darkness of this mundane world. A candle burns out. A firework is a momentary visual experience. But, the candle of a still mind and the fireworks of a heart filled with bhakti are divine and eternal; these are what we should be celebrating,” adds Swamiji.
The lighting of diyas and candles signify divine light, shining its way through this mundane world. A home bathed in light is a home in which anger, pain, and ignorance are being dispelled. It is a home where God resides. “People ought to understand that this is no interior decoration or beautification contest. They need to stop spending days and a great deal of money in purchasing the newest diyas and the most beautiful candles. It’s the time to look within,” says Swami Chidanandji.
Naveen Khanna shares some rarely known dos and don’ts for placing your Ganesha idol in your home to bring you prosperity.
– Worship the idol of Ganesha with the trunk on its right side.
– The idol should always be placed in the north or northeast direction.
– It should always appear in the extreme right followed by Lakshmi (on Ganesha’s left) and other idols.
– There should not be many idols of Lord Ganesha at home. Also, the number of idols of Ganesha should be in odd numbers and never in even numbers.
– The icon of Lord Ganesha placed on the main entry of your home should always face inside. However, in temples the icon should always face outwards.
– The size of the idol of Lord Ganesha that you worship should never be more than the size of your palm.
– While sitting in front of Ganesha’s icon, his farsa’s (weapon’s) sharp edge should never point towards you. It will kill your energy aura.
Enlighten Your Inner Self
This is the day to become more aware of one’s true self, the atma. Everyone on this day should, even if for five minutes, sit in a quiet place, close his eyes, take deep breaths, withdraw his attention from the world outside, be more aware of his inner self and fix the mind on this supreme light. “Try to enjoy the eternal bliss of the soul. It may not come naturally or instantly as this requires regular meditation. However, one must make it a point to spend a few moments with himself and his God on Diwali. This connection of the self with the Supreme Being brings in immense inner peace and happiness,” says Ramdev.