[Guruji’s talk on Diwali] For an oil lamp to burn, the wick has to be in the oil yet out of the oil. If the wick is drowned in oil, it cannot bring light. Life is like the wick of the lamp, you have to be in the world yet remain untouched by it. If you are drowned in the materialism of the world, you cannot bring joy and knowledge in your life. By being in the world, yet not drowning in the worldly aspect of it, we can be the light of joy and knowledge.
Diwali is the celebration of the light of wisdom thus born. It celebrates the victory of good over evil, light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance. Lights are lit on this day not just to decorate homes, but also to communicate this profound truth about life. Light the lamp of wisdom and love in every heart and bring a radiant smile on every face.
Every human being has some good qualities. And every lamp that you light is symbolic of this. Some people have forbearance, some have love, strength, generosity; others have the ability to unite people. The latent values in you are like a lamp. Don’t be satisfied with lighting just one lamp; light a thousand, for, you need to light many lights to dispel the darkness of ignorance. By lighting the lamp of wisdom in you and acquiring knowledge, you awaken all the facets of your being. When they are lit and awakened, it is Diwali.
Another profound symbolism is in the 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, aversions, hatred, it is bound to reach a bursting point. Bursting crackers is a psychological exercise created by the ancient people to release bottled-up emotions. When you see an explosion outside, you feel similar sensations within you as well. Along with the explosion, there is so much light. So when you let go these emotions, then serenity dawns.
Unless and until the pent-up emotions in you clear, you cannot experience the newness in you. Diwali means to be in the present, so drop the regrets of the past and the worries of the future and live in the moment.
There is another symbolism in the gift exchange and the distribution of sweets. Sweets and gifts exchange symbolise the dispelling of the bitterness of the past and renewal of friendship for the times to come.
Any celebration is incomplete without the spirit of seva (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. Celebration also means dissolving all differences and basking in the glory of the atman. Everyone in society has to become wise. Happiness and wisdom have to spread and that can happen when all come together and celebrate in knowledge.
Diwali is a celebration to forget the bickering and negativities that have happened through the year. It 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. Often in celebrations, you tend to lose focus or awareness. To maintain awareness in the midst of celebrations, the ancient rishis brought sacredness and puja (rituals) to every celebration. For the same reason, Diwali is also the time for Pujas. The spiritual aspects of Diwali add depth to the celebrations. Any celebration has to be spiritual, since a celebration without spirituality has no depth.
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 (intention) 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.