Happy Diwali: It’s Time to Switch Our Lights Back On
Diwali is known as the festival of lights. This is the time to ignite a light in every home; to share sweets; to meet family and friends; for dancing and firecrackers; and newness and spring cleaning. Yet it is not just a time to light a lamp and put those lights in the windows at home. There is a deeper spiritual meaning when we consider our body to be the temple, and the soul the living deity within. When we light that diva, we need to also let our light shine brightly out into the world.
What we witness in the drama of the ‘The Ramayana’ is the turmoil and collapse of a kingdom, where the foundations are undermined by ego, jealousy, attachment, doubt and suspicion. This is why we resonate with Rama, the hero, because he has problems in life just like us, and this gives us some comfort.
The story reads like a Hollywood and Bollywood epic drama, of love and loss. The whole drama is an interplay of virtues and the vices embodied in the characters, the heroes and villains. Actually this is also our story, the story of every soul, where we lose and find our own light, eventually we also make the return journey home.
The story begins …
There was a king named Dasharatha who lived in a happy kingdom, in Ayodhya, the Kingdom of Kosala. He was a very kind and benevolent king and everyone loved him. King Dasharatha had three wives and four sons … therein our tale begins. Prince Rama, was known as the beautiful and the lovely. Everyone knew that Prince Rama, the son of the first wife, would be the heir to the throne and rule after the king.
I the soul, I am the ruler of my mind and my body, this is my kingdom. When I the soul sit on my throne, I am a self-sovereign.
Whispered poison enters the mind …
All the wives were happy with the king … that was until the mind of one queen, the second wife, began to twist and turn. The queen’s maid, Manthara, dropped some poison into her ear, and then the queen began to doubt and question the decisions of her husband the king. The poison festered in her mind and she wondered: Why should her own son not be the crown prince? So, desire was born out of ego, attachment and jealousy …
Unlimited desires based on the vices are the path to unhappiness. We know that no spiritual need can ever be satisfied by a physical desire.
Calling in an IOU …
The king owed this second wife, Kaikeyi, a boon, an IOU, which the queen called in requesting that her son, Bharat, be named the successor and Rama be banished to the forest for 14 years. And so, it came to pass. Rama, Sita his wife and his devoted brother Laksman headed into the forest. No one was happy, not even the queen, because now the king was sad. Bharat, in whose name the whole kingdom had been turned upside down had no desire to be named as the successor to the king, and he too was not happy that his father was now depressed and sad.
When we do not use wisdom, and our mind is poisoned by doubt, jealousy and fear, then the vices lead us to make very bad choices in life which we come to regret.
Loss of happiness as darkness descends upon the kingdom …
Slowly, slowly the light was lost in the kingdom, there was darkness and everyone lost their happiness … that was until the return of Prince Rama to the kingdom, to take his rightful place in Ayodhya. But there was not a happy ending. During the absence of Prince Rama, King Dasharatha had become very sad, and falling into a great depression the king died. He died of a broken heart because of his attachment to his son, Rama. The wives were unhappy and in sorrow too and now because of this, all became widows.
Our actions have a consequence and affect the lives of others, even if we cannot see what that effect will be.
Diwali … a time when the lights are lit for Rama’s return …
When Prince Rama did eventually return, everyone in the kingdom came with lighted lamps to welcome him back, and the whole kingdom shone with the brightness of the lights. The people were happy for a while. This is why Diwali is celebrated in memory of Rama’s homecoming, so there was happiness in the moment and this is what people remember.
The true homecoming, the true Diwali is when the soul comes back to a stage of self-realization. Our ‘light’ comes back on when we live from a place of soul awareness. This is how we can create a better world by using the wisdom of the spirit and God to guide our life.
The story does not end there, because even though the people were happy to see the prince all was not well … Rama had returned but still there were some issues, and so there was no true peace of mind.
We often do not realize how much our lives are influenced by the opinions of other people.
Suspicion … what will people say?
Whilst in the forest for so many years, Rama’s wife Sita, had been kidnapped by Ravan, the villain of the story. What happened? Sita saw the golden deer, an illusion created by Maya, and sent Prince Rama on a wild goose chase, or in this case deer chase. Whilst Rama set off to look for the deer, Laksman was given clear instructions to take care of Sita. However, after some time seeing Rama had not returned, Sita insisted that Laksman go to look for him. He was reluctant to leave Sita alone. After her several pleas, and before leaving, Laksman drew a circle around Sita, promising her that as long as Sita remained within the boundary, she would be safe on her own.
Indeed, Sita was safe … that was until one day a beggar came for alms, of course as the tale goes, this was not a beggar but Ravan in disguise. Ravan could not enter the field of protection, so he had to entice Sita to step out of the line of protection, and in so doing Ravan showed his true form and Sita was captured. Ravan had been the one to distract Sita, Rama and thereafter Lakshman with the ‘golden deer’.
Listening to the opinions of others can influence our decisions.
Rama conquered Ravan and reclaimed Sita. Sita Mata (mother) embodied the virtues of purity, courage and loyalty. Sita’s name means ‘a furrow’ because she was found in a furrow in the Earth by King Janak while ploughing as part of the Vedic ritual that he was performing. He accepted this gift from Mother Earth and adopted Sita as his daughter.
Simply because of people’s doubts, suspicion was cast upon the fidelity of Sita, and she had to face and passed the test for purity – walking through fire and coming out alive. After several such trials and tribulations, Sita sought final refuge in the arms of her mother Earth. Hearing her plea for release from an unjust world and from a life that had rarely been happy, the Earth dramatically split open and reclaimed Sita. So, Prince Rama was alone without a wife, and his twin boys, Luv and Kush, had no mother.
Loss of trust … When we step outside of our boundaries, the field of protection of our disciplines, we make ourselves vulnerable, then others can take advantage of us. So we have to take care that our reputation along with our character is not lost.
How does the story of Prince Rama relate to us?
Every soul is the king of their kingdom, their own mind and senses, each one sits on the throne of soul conscious awareness, in a royal state of self-sovereignty. We are divine beings and proud rulers of the self, and then slowly, Maya in the form of illusion enters our world, turning our life upside down, capturing our mind with illusion and the vices, and we become discontent. We forget who we are and then sorrow begins. Everything starts with a thought, just like the maid who put the poisoned thought into the ear of the queen.
The true homecoming is when the soul returns to its essence, when we see the body as the temple of the soul we can once again take up our seat of soul consciousness. By opening the third eye, there is a true awakening of the soul from the darkness of illusion to the light of the day and awareness. When we come to realize who and what we are, and who we belong to, the Supreme Soul, the Supreme Parent, we come back into our power and divinity. This is what happened to Rama, his story is our story of how we lost our way and lost our light of happiness and truth, of how the darkness and the vices obscured our path of truth, and now we are returning to the light.
“There’s no God higher than TRUTH.”
We understand that the battle is between the light and the darkness, the wakeful state and the sleep of illusion. Remember these wise words: ‘Where there is truth, there is victory.’ So too there will be victory for the light over the darkness and that will be the true Diwali.
It’s Time … to turn our own lights back on and live as true self-sovereign beings.
HAPPY DIWALI – STAY LIGHT
© ‘It’s Time…’ by Aruna Ladva, BK Publications London, UK