Diwali Blessings from Pujya Swamiji
It is that sacred time of Diwali, the Festival of Light! On this day as we light beautiful lamps in our homes, we must not only marvel at the glory and splendor, but we must also take the significance of the light into our lives. We must warmly welcome the Divine into our hearts and into our lives, as the people of Ayodhya welcomed back Bhagawan Rama
The Divine Light Within
As we light the oil lamps in our homes and temples we must also remember to kindle the lamp within. Within each of us shines the Divine Light. The Divine Presence is not only everywhere outside of us, it is also within us. The sun is always shining outside, but if your curtains are closed or your windows are covered with two inches of mud, it will be dark in your home. The solution is not to go out searching for light, but only to open the curtains or clean the windows. In the same way, we do not have to go out in search of God, in search of that Divine Light. It is already there. The inner divine light is always there, always shining, always available. It is the very core of our being and the very nature of our true Self. However, the “windows” of our consciousness have become packed inches-deep with our expectations, our grudges, our judgments, our illusions and our jealousies. Hence, that light cannot shine.
The significance and symbolism of the Diwali lamp is that we must allow the Light of the Divine to burn away all that which is holding us back, all that which is covering our windows, so that our hearts are filled with nothing but light and love.
The Light of Service and Selflessness
Just as the divine light burns within our own being, the divine light burns in everyone. One of the most beautiful tenets of Indian culture says that God dwells within all –He dwells within me and He dwells within you. In this way, everyone and everything – whether it be another human being, an animal or Mother Nature – is connected to that same Divine Source. When one is able to see this Divine Light in all, God is seen everywhere, and wherever one sees God, one must try to serve Him. The same light which we light in our lamp in the temple or during Diwali is the same light which shines within all, and thus to light the true lamp of Diwali is to see and serve that light in all.
The message of the light of service can be seen in the lamp itself. The diya always burns for others, with no selfish motivation and no expectation. The sole purpose of an oil lamp’s existence is to bring light to others. They burn FOR others, with every minute, every moment of their lives and every ounce of their existence.
These lamps are meant as symbols as to how we must live our lives.
Let Us Burn FOR others, not FROM others.
Another message to be taken from the lamp is that it burns for others, with no selfish motivation and no expectation. The sole purpose of an oil lamp’s existence is to bring light to others. They burn FOR others, with every minute, every moment of their lives and every ounce of their existence. We also burn. But we typically burn FROM others rather than FOR others. We burn with anger, jealousy, and frustration. The heat is on, but rather than bringing healing, it brings hurt, to ourselves and to others. The flames of our internal fire engulf us, suffocate us and burn the very core of our beings. We must learn to burn FOR others rather than FROM others. Look at Bhagawan Rama. How easy it would have been for Kaikeyi’s insistence upon his exile to ignite the flames of anger and resentment within him. How easy for him to burn with jealousy for Bharat who was undeservedly being given the title of King. How easy to become indignant, to sulk and complain. However, He did none of that. Rather, Kaikeyi’s pronouncement and his father’s compulsion to acquiesce, caused the lamp of compassion, love and service to burn even brighter within Him. He was overjoyed at the opportunity to offer these years of his life to Kaikeyi and to help his father fulfill the Kshetriya’s vow. Bhagwan Rama’s life was truly a divine lamp, burning for others and bringing light wherever He went.
At this beautiful time of time of Diwali when we will line our homes, our offices and our streets with rows and rows of brightly burning diyas, let us ask ourselves whether our lives are filled with light. Let us ask ourselves if we are truly burning for others, seeing that same Divine light which exists within ourselves in others and in our Earth, serving God by serving others. We must ask ourselves how we bring light and life to others.
On this holy day of Diwali, I pray that you will take this opportunity to examine your own lives and take a pledge to fill your lives – every word, every thought and every action — with light, thereby bringing light and life to others.