Diwali or Deepavali, the festival of lights is one of the most significant of Hindu festivals that falls on 13th lunar day of the dark fortnight in the month of Ashwin (between the mid October and mid-November), and also traditionally celebrated 18 days after the Dussehra festival. It is celebrated by Hindus, Jains, and Sikhs and Newar Buddhists by lighting earthen lamps, decorating houses, bursting firecrackers and inviting near and dear ones to their households for partaking in a sumptuous feast. But spiritually, the festival symbolises the victory of inner light (Rama) over spiritual darkness (Ravana), knowledge over ignorance, good over evil, hope over despair.
Diwali is also celebrated as the day Lord Krishna defeated the demon Narakasura.
On this auspicious day, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba was escorted into the Sri Sathya Sai Premamrutham Auditorium amidst melodious Bhajans.
Once Bhagawan was seated on the dais, there was a short elaboration on Bhagawan’s visits to Visakapatnam, Jayapura, Mandya, Gadag and Gulbarga during the first week of November.
This was followed by a talk by Sri B N Narasimha Murthy, who said it was heartening to see many students come back early from holidays to have Bhagawan’s Darshan on His visit to various campuses. Indeed, it was a spiritual connection. He said, “Deepavali stands for projecting the inner light outside. That is possible only if the spiritual light is experienced within. The Upanishads declare that the knot of ignorance is cut and all doubts vanish. True Deepavali is when we offer ourselves completely to Bhagawan and become His true instruments. That is possible when we give up our individual cravings and desires.”
Thereafter, Bhagawan gave a beautiful Deepavali Discourse. He began by saying that the darkness has been equaled with ignorance, sorrow and misery and light with happiness, peace and fearlessness. In darkness people develop an illusory fear by associating a rope with a snake. But when light fills the place, the truth is established that there is no snake, just a rope.
When light comes, darkness is dispelled.
When Ignorance is dispelled, truth is established.
When fear is dispelled, fearlessness is established.
When sorrows are dispelled, happiness is established.
He revealed that when Lord Rama entered Ayodhya at dusk, Bharata was with him in the same chariot. Bharata gave up the comforts of the palace, contemplated on Rama and administered the kingdom. The citizens of Ayodhya had gathered in large numbers to greet Rama. But Rama and Bharata looked so alike that people were confused as to whom they had to garland and worship. Even Shatrugna was confused. Bharata had to point out Lord Rama to the adoring people. Bhagawan said there was great significance associated with Deepavali.
How did Deepavali come about?
Lord Rama is not the physical body, but Atma Rama. By the light of the lamps, one could see his beautiful physical form in Ayodhya. But, to see the Atma-Rama what kind of lamps should we light? Narayana is in the form of light, the Atma within. To see Him within, we need to light the lamp of divinity within. In the lamp of our body (made up of the five elements), we need to pour the oil (of Chitta-Shuddi or pure feelings), immerse the wick of cotton (the bundle of desires-the mind) and strike a match to the light the flame (Karma-as an offering to God). Then the flame of Jnana burns bright and all darkness is dispelled when you take the lamp around. Karma, Bhakti and Jnana must come together to view the glory of the Lord. Therefore, when the lamp is lit within, one can see Rama. Then we have Rama, there is always peace, comfort and happiness within. One evolves from death to deathlessness, from existence to eternity.
Who is Rama? He is the one who conquered the ten-headed Ravana (comprising of the five Karma Indriyas and five Jnana Indriyas). Rama had conquered the Indriyas so he is called Jitendriya.
What happened in 14 years when Rama wasn’t in Ayodhya?
The citizens purified themselves by remembrance of Rama. In ten years, they conquered their Indriyas and in the next four years they conquered their Manas, Buddhi, Chitta and Ahamkara. So, they were ready to see Him in the light of Jnana. Thus, they could see Rama inside and outside. They celebrated by not only lighting the lamps, but also undertaking austerities to purify themselves. Because of this, no houses were locked in Ayodhya, there was no pettiness anywhere and hence peace and prosperity reigned in His kingdom. Today, everyone wants Rama Rajya. Without conquering one’s lower instincts and focusing our thoughts on the Lord there is no Ram Rajya. Thus, Deepavali is not just a festival to be celebrated in a external way. There is a inner significance. The time, place and circumstances when it was first observed in those ancient times must be understood and the inner significance must be appreciated.”
Swami then proceeded to the grounds of the Hrudaya Mandiram Auditorium for the fireworks display. He lit a flower pot Himself, headed to the small enclosure set up near the Administration office block and witnessed the magnificent display of fire crackers.
After spending some time, He distributed sparklers and crackers to devotees and then departed to His residence Sri Sathya Sai Anandam, and retired for the day.