The significance of Deepawali – The Festival of Lights
Deepawali is a 5 day celebration of festival of lights that starts with Dhan Teras, followed by Narak Chaturdashi, Deepawali (i.e. Lakshmi Poojan) , Govardhan Pooja (also called Annakoot or Nootan Varsh) and Bhai Dooj.
The festival conveys an important message that transcends religions – the necessity of doing good and bringing light to the world; and signifies the victory of light of knowledge over the darkness of ignorance. Deepawali is celebrated primarily by doing the following things :-
Maintaining cleanliness :
Externally: It gives the message of cleaning houses, work-places etc thereby keeping hygiene. To encourage cleanliness, the government has to make policies; but by performing such rituals, everybody keeps one’s house and offices clean naturally.
Internally: The actual message of cleaning is to keep one’s mind free from attractions, distractions, fear, worries and vices of gambling, drinking, smoking etc. The festival is not meant merely for enjoyment by burning fire crackers; but for spiritual upliftment too by chanting God’s holy name and by doing self-less services, thus ending personal grief and sorrows.<
Bringing new things :
Externally: Generally people buy new clothes, new utensils etc which brings them “superficial” happiness.
Internally: The real motive behind bringing new things during Deepawali is to have some restraint over oneself and basically, control over one’s expenses throughout the year. Additionally, to maintain some self imposed rules like observing fast or chanting mantra, singing God’s glory, observing silence for few hours or on a particular day of the week may be a good choice in the context.
Eating and distributing sweetmeats :
Externally: Any festival is celebrated by consuming sweets, but now-a-days packaged sweets with artificial colors and sweeteners may cause negative impact on the health. Therefore, consuming and distributing home-made recipes or pure & light sweetmeats (that do not cause extra load on our digestive and other systems of body), is pragmatic.
Internally: Spiritual saints bless with the sweets of ‘Advaita’or ‘Vasudeva sarvamiti’, meaning – seeking equality amongst all and keeping in mind that the Omnipresent is there in all.
Lighting the lamps :
Externally : Earthen lamps (Deepaks) are lit on this holy occasion. It is suggested that these earthen lamps be soaked in water first and then sesame-oil or pure ghee is used to light the lamps. Lighting candles is not appropriate on this occasion, as candles create smog that is harmful for health and cause environmental pollution. Excessive burning of fire-crackers also causes environmental pollution; yet, for those who can’t resist this temptation, as a remedy to the negative impacts of burning fire crackers, it’s suggested that if one’s skin is burnt, one needs to use raw potato on the burnt area, which in turn would help in sooner recovery.
Internally: – ‘App Deepo Bhava’, i.e. be a light unto yourself, meaning – Enlighten one’s own way by using the intellect. This gives the message of living in the divine light, mustering one’s courage and being a “Saakshi”, i.e. witness to all the circumstances, yet keeping one’s calm and composure.
Significance of Deepawali – the series of festivals :
1) Dhan Teras
The 13th dark day of Kartik month is incarnation day of Dhanvantari (the Lord of healthiness).
The relevance of this day is to stay fit and happy by observing proper lifestyle and the principals of Lord Dhanvanatri. Whoever lights the lamps on this auspicious day, escapes oneself from the fear of untimely death according to ‘Padma Purana’. Whoever will worship Lakshmiji (the Goddess of wealth) and Tulsi (Holy Basil plant) on Dhan Teras will become happy, possessed with plenty of wealth, food and good health.
2) Narak Chaturdashi
On this very day, one who takes bath before sunrise after having massage with sesame oil becomes virtuous. Admixture of powders of barley, sesame and goose-berry or admixture of 7 cereals’ powder is also recommended to be applied during bath. Deshi (Indian) cow’s dung can also be applied to become virtuous on this day before having bath.
Lord Krishna assassinated Narakasur on this day that depicts numerous vrittis (tendencies & perceptions of mind) that need to be surrendered unto God so that all such perceptions may reside (assimilate) in the Lord (the Supreme Consciousness).
3) Lakshmi Poojan :
Worship of goddess of wealth – Lakshmi:
Lakshmi (wealth) is of 4 types.
1) Dhana (also called Paap Lakshmi): The wealth used in luxurious & sensual enjoyments which leads to idleness and sinful acts.
2) Vitta : The wealth used for opulence and worldly happiness.
3) Lakshmi : The wealth used to keep the family and relatives happy and well.
4) Mahalakshmi : The wealth used for divine service, propagation of divine knowledge and giving divine peace to others.
Mahalakshmi is worshipped on the occasion of Deepawali, which helps one meet her consort – Lord Narayana. Lakshmi accompanied by Narayana saves one from falling into evil ways so that it could be used for noble purposes.
Mantra for attaining Lakshmi on the day of Deepawali ( Click Here Om Shreem Hreem Kleem Aim Kamal Vasinyai Swaaha)
Goddess Saraswati and Lord Ganesha are also worshipped on this occasion to attain ‘Brahm Vidya’.
4) Nootan Varsh (New year of Hindus) :
The day next to Deepawali is considered as the beginning of New Year according to Hindu religion. Whoever keeps oneself calm and happy on this day is said to remain happy throughout the following year and the one who mourns on this day, is said to remain sad & unhappy throughout the year.
According to Brahm Vaivart Purana, the following things are considered as good omen on Deepawali and Nutan Varsh (New Year):
Lord Sun, deity-statue, cow, fire, Guru, swan, peacock, cow with calves, Pipal tree, lamp(Deepak), gold, silver, diamond, holy basil (Tulsi), ghee, curd, honey, water filled pitcher, camphor, rice, cow-urine, cow-dung, cow-dust, cow-shed etc.
5) Bhai Dooj :
This fifth day of Deepawali festival is celebrated as Bhai Dooj. Sisters apply tilak on their brothers’ foreheads to make them trilochan, i.e. the one with 3 eyes, so that the brother’s 6th or eternal sense could help him in every aspect of life by good and wise decision making power.
Brothers take meal at their sisters’ homes on this day and sisters after applying Tilak to their brother(s), wish that may the brother(s) escape from the loops of death. This elevates one’s state of mind and mutual resolves keep one another safer.
Pujya Bapuji (Sant Shri Asharamji Bapu) had always celebrated Deepawali amongst the poor by serving food, grains, clothing etc. Now, when he is incarcerated in a false rape case, a number of people might suffer after being deprived of this service in His Holy presence, though his disciples are leaving no stone unturned to make up for this loss of social-service and have been constantly into serving humanity.
Bapuji’s message on Deepawali is to be happy and keep others happy, keep patience and faith in the fact that the truth will triumph and be benevolent. He is witness to health or any other conditions for that matter and therefore remains happy regardless of external situations & circumstances.
On being asked by a reporter as to whether He would celebrate Deepawali in prison, He replied that this festival of lights will be celebrated in the hearts of His disciples. See Video
Some people may remove such a holy saint’s pictures from their homes and offices due to false media propaganda so as to avoid any conflicts with people having different opinion on Him, but His photos can never be removed from the hearts of His disciples.
Let’s celebrate this Deepawali keeping in mind that Bapuji is present in our hearts and that He will enlighten us one day.