Light Up Your Life
The word ‘Diwali’ is a contraction of the word ‘Deepavali’, which translated means a ‘row of lamps’. For Hindu’s on all five continents, Diwali is one of the most famous festivals of the year and celebrated with great pomp and splendour.
The house is cleaned thoroughly from top to bottom prior to the festival.
On the day of Diwali several ‘dipaks’, which are small clay lamps, are filled with oil and a cotton wick is placed within the oil. These are lit to signify the triumph of good over evil. The lamps are kept on during the night as well in order to invoke Laxmi, the Goddess of Wealth.
In Hindu mythology, this is the time of celebration when both light and life were restored to the dark and lifeless kingdom. Diwali marks the return of King Rama to the throne after being in exile for some 14 years. As King Rama arrives home, we see how the solemn kingdom is brought back to life as the whole kingdom lights up in happiness! This a time for ushering in a new dawn, a new age of truth and righteousness.
The people welcomed the great King as he brought light, joy and cheer to the kingdom once again. Rows of ‘dipaks’ lined the streets in celebration of the return of the long lost King. The use of light is symbolic, showing that darkness is always followed by light. Actually the story is referring to the enlightenment of the soul, after having lived in ‘exile’ – a place of darkness, where the soul was cut off from its own truth, light is ultimately restored.
The lighting of the lamp during Diwali, usually a clay vessel and a white cotton wick, symbolises igniting the spiritual light of the soul while seated in the body of clay. The light is fuelled by the oil of knowledge through the wick of the intellect. The intensity of the light generated depends on the extent to which we absorb the oil of knowledge and expand our understanding.
In reality there is no darkness, only the absence of the Light of Truth. This is why in life importance is given to gathering knowledge and wisdom through education, scriptures, science and silence. Yet, the authentic power of the soul lies in the implementation of these truths – just as the soul’s beauty lies in seeing the radiance of the light as the wick is burning.
It is important to keep our inner light lit. When there is a sincere awakening we remember that we are the light, and we want to keep the inner light of the soul lit. That is because we are all Children of the Light, and so we are all connected by the light.
Firecrackers burst their light onto the streets because it is believed that they drive away the evil spirits. On the actual day of Diwali everyone wears new clothes and greets family and friends, sharing specially prepared Diwali snacks, both sweet and salty items. Most devout businessmen also insist on beginning new account ledgers on this auspicious day, believing it will bring Laxmi (wealth) to them throughout the year.
We also have to become like King Rama, we have to reclaim our sovereignty and return back to the subtle throne of our inner kingdom. Once our lights are switched on we will see a new era dawning!
During this Diwali, let us light the inner lamp of the soul:
1) May the first lamp burn away all the bitterness from within our hearts and leave us filled with love for every soul.
2) May the second lamp melt away all unwanted desires and leave us feeling content and happy.
3) May the third lamp destroy all insecurities and leave us feeling secure in our good karma.
4) May the fourth lamp destroy all ill health from within us and leave us with the ultimate strength and wellbeing.
5) May the fifth lamp connect us forever in union with God the Almighty and provide us with the eternal source of all peace, purity and prosperity.
The festivals punctuate our lives and serve to remind us of those things which are deeply spiritual and meaningful. It is a sad truth that we often forget this and can sometimes be overtaken by the ordinary in life. The festivals re-awaken meaning and purpose in our lives and teach us to appreciate love, friendship, and abundance. They remind us that we are all inter-connected… and that we need to become selfless, considerate and noble.
It’s Time… to get switched on and turn on the inner lights of the soul. Each one of us can be a powerful light in the darkness when we learn how to keep our lamp fully lit. That is the real enlightenment.
© ‘It’s Time…’ by Aruna Ladva, BK Publications London, UK