Mystic Mantra: Diwali - From darkness to light

Columnist  | Sadguru Rameshji

Opinion, Op Ed

Considering wealth alone as the object that bestows peace, happiness and health is a misnomer.

Representational image

One of the most famous prayers by spiritually inclined Hindus is: Asato Maa Sadgamaya, Tamaso Maa Jyotir Gamaya, Mrityor Maa Amritam Gamaya. Which means: “Oh supreme divine mother please take me from unreal to the real, take me from the darkness of ignorance to the light of knowledge and take me from mortality to immortality.” Diwali night is considered to be the darkest night of the year and lighting of lamps and bursting of crackers on this night signifies removal of darkness by light. The light from lamps signifies that however much the intensity of darkness is, it can still be removed by just a small lamp. A 1,000-year old darkness in a cave does not require 1,000 years of efforts to remove it but lighting of a small matchstick is enough to remove that 1,000-year old darkness.

Diwali is traditionally celebrated by Hindus to basically attract wealth by worshipping Goddess Laxmi assuming that she will grant wealth if she is pleased with the glitter and pomp show during Diwali celebrations. What can be bigger ignorance than this that God and Goddesses can be pleased by lighting of lamps, bursting of fire crackers and distribution of sweets? God, Goddesses and celestial beings could be pleased by surrender, devotion and following right path (dharma) in life. The motive of their existence is not to fulfil our desires, passions and greed but to guide us through the right path in life and give us salvation from not only birth and death cycle but from pains, sorrows and miseries of the world attracted out of ignorant living.

Considering wealth alone as the object that bestows peace, happiness and health is a misnomer. The fact is that wealth has always been the creator of rift in relationship, misery and pains in life as well as the main cause for hatred, jealousy, enmity, violence, dacoity, theft, murder and wars. Lord Mahavir’s one of the five pillars for Jainism has been “Aparigraha” meaning non-accumulation. He advocated non-accumulation of anything beyond ones need, be it wealth, clothes or food items. Diwali and Laxmi Puja is not meant merely to pray for attracting wealth nor it is merely a celebration of Laxmi’s wedding to Vishnu or Ram’s return to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile. Its significance is much more beyond these things.

It is for bigger, better and more brighter aspect of life. Darkness signifies ignorance and light signifies knowledge. Diwali, the festival of lights, is basically to be celebrated to renew our life goal to evolve spiritually and overcome the darkness of ignorance by the light of knowledge. Bursting of crackers and lighting the sky signifies our commitment to the world, to the celestial and the supreme divine being that we will fight out the darkness surrounding us. We will light the lamp of inner knowledge. Our prayer to Goddess Laxmi on Diwali night is to bless us with true knowledge.