Light Up Your Life – Happy Diwali!
Diwali is popularly known as the festival of lights. For Hindus on all five continents, Diwali is one of the most famous festivals and is celebrated with great pomp and splendor. But it was not until I came to Raja Yoga that I understood the deeper significance of this beautiful and colourful celebration.
The name ‘Diwali’ is a contraction of the word ‘Deepawali’, which translates into ‘row of lamps’. The ‘dipaks’, small clay lamps, are filled with oil, and a cotton wick is submerged in it. The dipaks are lit primarily on the day of Diwali itself, although many begin to light them prior to the festival, as happens with Christmas. People create beautiful designs on their doorsteps with coloured sand known as Rangoli to welcome good omens. They also clean their house thoroughly from top to bottom on the day before Diwali, and it is hoped that the cleanliness and these dipaks, which are kept burning all night, will attract Laxmi, the Goddess of Wealth to the house! Firecrackers are also burst 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. Most devotee businessmen also insist on beginning new account ledgers on this auspicious day, believing it will bring Laxmi (wealth and abundance) to them throughout the year.
According to Hindu mythology, the most important aspect of Diwali is the return to the kingdom of King Rama after having being sent away into exile for 14 years. Diwali signifies the triumph of good over evil. As Rama arrived, the sad and solemn kingdom was brought back to light, joy and to cheer once again. Rows of dipaks welcomed the great King.
If we put all this within a spiritual context, we are in fact those living lights, the dipaks. The clay represents the body and the light, the wick, is the soul. The oil represents the experiences of life itself. Once we apply the oil of knowledge (wisdom) and strike the connection with the Supreme, we are illuminated, enlightened, and begin to share that light with others. When enough of us come together that critical mass will light up the world. All darkness of the world will disappear.
We too have to clean up our inner ‘home’, our mind and habits, and ‘invoke Laxmi’, meaning inner abundance, and the wealth of good qualities. And like King Rama, we also have to reclaim our sovereignty and return back to the subtle throne of our ‘inner kingdom’ – our true self-respect. As we each light up our own souls, the whole world will rejoice. A new era will dawn once again!
It’s Time… for NEWNESS! To clean up our act, and to drive away old evil spirits. To create new accounts, and renew our relationships. To cultivate a new vision and attitude. And most of all, to begin a new life. A time to share sweet words and to rejoice constantly – with or without the firecrackers!
© ‘It’s Time…’ by Aruna Ladva, BK Publications London, UK