“Shrīkrushna liberated the troubled masses from immorality, greed and bad tendencies by slaying the demon Narakasur, who was an icon of demonic attitude. Diwali symbolises this conquest of Divine thoughts over evil tendencies. Today, unfortunately, Diwali is celebrated just as a cultural festival, without an understanding of its spiritual context.
However, if people learn, appreciate and understand this spiritual context then all the ills in society; caused by spiritual ignorance, carnal and bad tendencies would reduce and even the dominance of immoral people over the pious masses will subside.
Therefore, igniting the flame of one’s soul with spiritual passion, by reducing all worldly attachments can be known as true “Diwali.” The increased power of piousness will lend happiness to everyone. This is possible by sacrificing our carnal pleasures without any expectations. The Upanishads have advised to seek pleasure in the reduction of that very pleasure itself !
O God, through this Diwali, please light the bright flame of doing every action without any expectations in our hearts. We have surrendered ourselves unto you completely. Please give us the spiritually pure (Sattvik) intellect (sadbuddhi) and strength to spread these noble thoughts to everyone so that we can become like a single earthen lamp that ignites multiple lamps around it. Through this we would be graced to celebrate ‘Diwali’ in its truest purpose and spirit. I wish everybody a Blissful Diwali !”
– H. H. Pande Maharaj, Sanatan Ashram, Panvel, India.
Diwali celebration the Hindu way
Diwali in recent years is being considered and celebrated as a cultural activity. It is thought of, as the time of the year to buy new clothes, sweets, to illuminate homes with colourful electric lights and hang lanterns. There is a lot of fanfare in the form of parties, dancing to film music or western music and even drinking alcohol. All this is done in the name of a festival which has to be celebrated with sanctity in a spiritually correct way.
Diwali is one of the important Hindu festivals, which comprises of four consecutive days of celebrations. Diwali festival starts with Dhantrayodashi or Dhanteras, followed by Narak-Chaturdashī and Lakshmi-pūjān on 2nd November, and Balipratipada on 3rd November.
2. Significance of Diwali
Every day of Diwali represents the conquest of good over evil. The word Diwali is made of two words; deep (lamp or diyas) and avali (row), which means a line or a row of lamps. During the festival of Diwali lamps are lit in every home and workplace. That is why this festival is also known as the ‘Festival of Lights’.
3. Diwali celebration in a spiritually correct way
a. When we shop for new clothes we can buy clothes like sārī for ladies and kurtā-pyjāmā or dhoti for men, long skirts for girls and kurta-pyjama for boys. Wearing such sāttvik clothes helps to imbibe more positivity.
b. Giving gifts to friends and families is a new trend, which is unnecessary. However if we still wish to gift then we can choose gifts like items used for ritualistic worship, books on Spirituality, etc. When we indulge in such practices there are expectations from each other.
c. Rather than ordering commercially, if possible we can try to make sweets, snacks or food at home, using pure ghee and fresh products. Thus we can ensure purity in the food we consume.
d. If we wish to have a get-together we can organise a pūjā rather than a party.
e. On the three days of Diwali starting Narak Chaturdashi we can wake up at dawn and have a bath with oil massage (abhyangasnā). Such a bath increases our Sattva component by 0.00001% compared to regular bath on other days. By applying ubtan the sensitivity of the body to absorb Chaitanya (Divine Consciousness) increases.
f. Music like bhajans or shlokas can be played rather than playing noisy music which spreads Raja-Tama vibrations and pollutes the atmosphere.
g. Flowers like marigold can be used to make a garland along with mango leaves and hung at the main door.
h. Rangolī with sattvik designs can be drawn outside the door. Drawing rangoli designs like lotus, swāstik, conch, etc help to attract positive vibrations.
i. If we wish to celebrate Diwali as a community we can organise a rangoli competition, bhajan singing, etc. rather than games like lotto, food stalls, jewellery stalls, etc.
j. We can devote time to prayers and chanting during the days of Diwali as it will help us to absorb the Divine Consciousness (Chaitanya) present in the atmosphere.
k. The lady of the house should do aukshan (waving of lit lamps) for the other members of the family.
l. Nowadays many people light wax candles as they are easier to handle. However do you know that wax does not emit positive vibrations ? At twilight we can light oil lamps made of clay rather than acrylic or glass to illuminate our homes. We can avoid artificial lighting like relay of electric bulbs or lanterns in the shape of a Star or Chinese lanterns
m. We can discourage children from lighting fire-crackers as they are a waste of money and the smoke that is emitted pollutes the atmosphere and can be hazardous to health.
We pray that you will be able to celebrate this Diwali in a spiritually correct way and experience joy and derive maximum benefit of the Divine Consciousness (Chaitanya) of this years Diwali celebration.
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