4 Nov 2021, Amritapuri – Deepavali Celebrations
Excerpts from Amma’s messages
The prayer “tamaso maa jyotir gamaya तमसो मा ज्योतिर्गमय— lead us from darkness to light”—is one of the e
ternal prayers of Sanatana Dharma. This holy day of Deepavali is also a reminder for us to progress from the darkness of evil to the light of goodness, and to awaken the god-principle within us.
This is also the occasion when goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity, is invoked in our homes and within our hearts.
We all know that one of the basic tenets of Sanatana Dharma is that the creator and the creation are not two, but one. The sun does not require a candle to light its way. God needs nothing from us. The fundamental principle of Sanatana Dharma teaches us to see everything in creation as god, and to serve all beings with this attitude. It is said that god works through our hands, our tongue, our eyes, our ears and every action we do. It is god who is shining within every aspect of creation. It is god who is the life in every sentient being.
Hence, how we serve god’s creation determines our true adoration and worship of god. When we show compassion towards the suffering, we are doing our duty to god.
The ancient culture of Sanatana Dharma accepts and respects the entire creation, seeing everything as the embodiments of the one truth. The secrets of life that dawned in the Rishi’s during their meditation exist in order to sustain humans and nature, the sentient and insentient, and to ensure their happiness and peace.
The day of Deepavali is celebrated to commemorate the return of Sri Rama after killing the mighty demon Ravana, when Ayodhya celebrated by lighting lamps all over the kingdom. It has a symbolic meaning as well. We know the story of lord Rama going in search of Sita. Sita repents for her ignorance and poor discernment and remains chanting Rama’s name continuously, rain or shine. Meanwhile, Rama overcomes many obstacles, slays many asuras, and finally kills the 10-headed Ravana. The 10 heads of Ravana symbolise the 10 indriyas—the 5 sense organs of knowledge and 5 organs of action. Rama is one who has transcended his ego by gaining mastery over his 10 indriyas. Thus, he became the victorious king, both internally and externally, and returned to Ayodhya. This is his victory, and this victory is what is celebrated during Deepavali. Lighting the lamps symbolises illuminating the realm of consciousness; fire represents consciousness or awareness. Fire also represents the spoken word as well as the principle of consciousness. Perhaps that is why the festival is celebrated by lighting lamps in welcome.
Different states celebrate the festival in different ways. In Tamil Nadu, the killing of Narakasura is celebrated as Deepavali. The celebration is in the destruction of the evil power of the asura. We have to make these into occasions for destroying the ego and awakening the awareness.
Water always flows downwards, even if it is from the top of a mountain. Even when a water spout points upwards, the water still flows to the ground. However, a flame always shoots upwards, even if it is pointed downwards. It also has the capacity to vaporise water, which then becomes clouds and falls from the sky as rain. This rainwater is put to a myriad of uses such as generating electricity and so on. Lord Rama became beneficial to the world in a similar way. Through this, he also succeeded in awakening the desire to preserve dharma in everyone.
A real Tapasvi will have his needs taken care of. Goddess Lakshmi will always be with him. Just as if we catch hold of the queen bee, all the other bees will follow. Just as if we have milk, we will be able to make all milk products from it—such as curd, buttermilk, butter, cheese and so on.
The principle behind invoking Lakshmi on this day is that all the virtues such as discernment, strength, courage and many others will come to us. The main quality of goddess Lakshmi is wealth. This wealth indicated also includes the daivi-sampat (divine qualities). Divine wealth encompasses everything. Wealth should come to us as prosperity. When we become miserly, this wealth ceases to be prosperity. It is when it is helpful to others that our wealth becomes prosperity. Then it becomes as enchanting as warm sunshine imbued with a heavenly fragrance; this is what happens when we start to have compassion. Like gold exuding a sweet fragrance, our lives also become precious, fragrant and beautiful.
May we all be able to light the inner lamp within ourselves and bring light to others as well. May everyone have the mental strength to achieve this. May the grace of the Paramatma bless my children.