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Vedanta Sandesh

..The Free Monthly Newsletter of Vedanta Mission


Festival of lights

Deepawali is the festival of lights. Out of the various Hindu festivals this is the most common, clean and also the most beautiful. After the rains the houses are cleaned, white-washed, and decorated with lights and what not. There is Laxmi puja, worshipping the goddess of wealth, after which the children enjoy bursting crackers and eating sweets and take blessings from their elder ones. Apart from these various social benefits there is also the affirmation of our faith in Dharma. On this day Lord Rama had reached Ayodhya after fourteen years of vanavasa, and from this day started the golden era of Rama-rajya, which is even today an inspiring role model for governance. It is an occasion which affirms our faith that 'Yato dharmah tato jayah', where there is dharma there is victory. Satyameva Jayate, truth alone wins. All those who were an embodiment of adharma lay shattered or dead, dynamic goodness alone reined thereafter.

Apart from such positive affirmations of Dharma, the festival of light also has some more implied suggestions, between the lines. There is a famous Vedic mantra which says 'Not darkness but to light may you go'. Light has always been synonymous with knowledge & enlightenment, which in turn is unanimously accepted as the means to the ultimate fulfillment, moksha. We respect knowledge, we believe that all problems of mankind are because of ignorance alone. We have always believed that knowledge is the greatest power. The famous Gayatri mantra is our prayer to the benevolent God to bestow us with an intelligent mind. The festival of lights affirms our conviction that just as outside light eliminates all darkness, so also may the right knowledge eliminate all my problems.

Finally, light is not only associated with knowledge but even with God himself. One the best pointers for discovering God within us is that 'God is that light which reveals all thoughts or even their absence within you'. Which is that light with which you see your dreams ? ask the Upanishads. That light always is. It is unaffected by time, age or any thing else. It transcends all, yet it pervades all. Yes, it is Consciousness. Consciousness not as a product of mind, but that because of which even the mind can be whatever it is. It is in the light of consciousness that we are not only aware of the existence of worldly lights (sun etc.), but strangely enough unlike the worldly lights, the darkness too can become an object of our experience, it is not eliminated. Consciousness is not opposed to any thing. That 'light of all lights' is the essence of God. It is Brahman, the imperishable reality of the world. It is the real me. While children enjoy the crackers & sweets outside the wise ones are once again prompted by the festival of lights to turn to the great light within. Blasting off all ignorance, they partake the sweetest of all sweets, the Madhu, the eternal ambrosia of ones own real essence.

Back to Vedanta Sandesh - Oct 98 (NF)

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