It’s that time of the year again when tens of millions of people all across the world unite to celebrate the joyous festival of lights, Diwali or Deepavali. The Diwali week starts on November 4 (Sunday) with the main day of Diwali falling on the November 7 (Wednesday) and ends with Bhau Beej on November 9 (Friday). Once again the ambience during the five nights of Diwali will be nothing but magical. The flickering lights of the diyas, the aesthetically appealing lanterns, firecrackers lighting up the night sky, feasting on the delicacies, the transcending pujas and mantras in temples and the get-together of family and friends truly makes it a heavenly festival.
The Return of Shree Rama:
Traditionally Diwali is celebrated to commemorate the return of Lord Shree Rama (the seventh avatar of Lord Vishnu) to His kingdom Ayodhya. To celebrate His arrival, the people of Ayodhya lit deepmalas (rows of diyas) all across the kingdom and showered flowers on Him. During His exile Rama defeated the evil King Ravana and restored righteousness in the world. Hence this festival is also celebrated as a victory of good over evil and light over darkness.
The Rama within Us:
Who is Rama or rather what is Ram? Ram is the intention for our birth. Rama is the Mariyada Purshotam or a man of ideal behavior, the most righteous being. The story of His life teaches us devotion to the cause of Dharma towards our parents and teachers, sacrifice for brothers, love for His wife and respect for His friends. He is the warrior in the human body and the spirit of goodness.
Ayodhya can be thought of as our heart and Rama its ruler. Due to many circumstances we exile the Lord from our heart which then becomes filled with negativity and self-doubt. We fail to realize the intention of our birth and chase our materialistic and illusory desires in this world. And even though we attain wealth, name, fame and success, we remain unfulfilled and disappointed as our heart is devoid of love. It is only after we anoint Rama who signifies our true Dharma or our life purpose in our hearts that we can fulfil the purpose of our life and get connected to the divine power above.
The Real Battle between Ram and Ravana
Ram is the intention for our birth and His wife, Sita is our desire. Only when we are truly aware of the purpose of our life can we set about to achieve it. However, achieving this task is made difficult by the presence of the 10 heads of Ravana in the form of distractions in all 10 directions. Our mind is subjected to many distractions of pleasure and pain concerning our past and future that we forget the reality that is our present. Ravana is the abductor of our desires and keeps it captive till our Rama or the warrior within us fights for it. Just like the ten heads of Ravana our distractions keeps originating unless we put a stop to it. The battle between Ram and Ravana helps us to focus on our Sankalpa. It is only when you follow your Sankalpa which is your Dharma, then Laxmi awakens within to fulfill your Lak shya, meaning aim in life. So immense abundance is achieved and you establish a Ram Rajya or Ideal kingdom when you follow your true passion in life.
Pujas and Purposes:
Pujas are a part of Diwali celebrations. The pujas of Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesha is done with reverence. Lakshmi is goddess of abundance and Her presence is felt on this day. Ganesha is the god who removes all the obstacles from one’s path. On this day people start new businesses, purchase vehicles, buy new accounting books for their firms and buy properties.
People welcome the Goddess after cleaning their homes and offices, making rangolis and lighting lamps. It is believed that She enters house and reside there for a whole year. Lakshmi signifies purity and purification. One should purify one’s body and soul before invoking the deity. And just like leaving the doors open for Lakshmi, one should open their hearts and spread joy and wealth.
The path shown by Ganesha is that of hard work. To achieve stability in life one needs to work hard and feel the presence of the Vighnaharta within.
Celebrate Diwali with a Difference:
Celebrate this Diwali by taking the first step towards reaching your ultimate lakshya. Diwali is the time to look inside and light the diyas of knowledge and humbleness in our hearts and minds and remove fear, doubts and darkness. Lighting of the lamps also signifies the illumination of our Chakras, our guiding force towards Para Brahman. Take a moment to meditate upon the inner light and attain illumination of the soul. Celebrate Diwali not just for its religious festivity but also for a spiritual possibility. On this Diwali let us owe our allegiance to follow the path shown to us by the virtuous Rama.