Diwali, the festival of lights, celebrates the victory of good over evil, light over darkness, and knowledge over ignorance. Lamps are lit on this day not just to decorate homes, but also to communicate a profound truth about life -- when the darkness within is dispelled through the light of wisdom; the good in us wins over the evil.
Diwali, in essence, is celebrated to kindle the light of wisdom in every heart, the light of life in every home, and bring a smile on every face. Diwali is the shortened form of Deepavali, which literally means rows of lamps. Life has many facets and stages to it. It is important that we throw light on all of them, for if one aspect of our life is in darkness, we cannot express life in its totality. The rows of lamps lit on Diwali remind us that every aspect of life needs our attention.
Lighting Good Qualities
Every lamp that we light is symbolic of a good quality. There are good qualities in every human being. Some have forbearance, some have love, strength, generosity; others have the ability to unite people. When all these qualities are lit, awakened, that is Diwali. Don't be satisfied with lighting one lamp; light a thousand! If you have the value of service in you, don't be satisfied only with that. Light the lamp of wisdom in yourself and acquire knowledge. Awaken all the facets of your being.
Another profound symbolism of Diwali is in lighting firecrackers. In life, you often become like a firecracker, waiting to explode with your pent-up emotions, frustration and anger. When you keep suppressing your emotions, cravings and aversions are bound to reach a point where they explode. Bursting crackers is a psychological exercise from ancient times to release bottled-up emotions. When you see an explosion outside, you feel similar sensations within as well. Along with the explosion, there is a lot of light as well. When you let go of these suppressed emotions, the light of knowledge dawns.
Being in the Present
Diwali means to be in the present -- dropping the regrets of the past, the worries of the future, and living in the moment. The sweets and exchange of gifts symbolize forgetting the bickering and negativities of the past, and renewal of friendship for the times to come. A true celebration means dissolving all differences. Happiness and wisdom have to spread in society, and that can happen when all come together and celebrate. Even if one member of the family is shrouded in darkness, you cannot be happy. You need to kindle wisdom in every member of your family. Extend it to every member of society, every person on the planet.
Spirit of Service
Any celebration is incomplete without the spirit of service. Whatever we have received from the Divine we should share it with others, for it is in giving that we receive. That is true celebration.
Diwali is a time when you throw light on the wisdom you have gained and welcome a new beginning. When true wisdom dawns, it gives rise to celebration. Celebration is the nature of the spirit and every excuse to celebrate is good. For the one who is not in knowledge, Diwali comes only once a year, but for the wise, Diwali is every moment and every day.
For the one who is not in knowledge, Diwali comes only once a year, but for the wise, Diwali is every moment and every day. This Diwali, celebrate with knowledge and take a sankalpa (vow) to serve humanity. Light the lamp of love in your heart; the lamp of abundance in your home; the lamp of compassion to serve others; the lamp of Knowledge to dispel the darkness of ignorance and the lamp of gratitude for the abundance that the Divine has bestowed on us.
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