Deepawali is the festival of lights.
It is said that lighting a lamp at the time of Aarti helps contain one’s foes. One can see many ‘deeps’ lit on the night of Diwali. Numerous ‘deeps’ of different sizes and shapes are lighted in houses. One can find both earthen and metallic deeps with different fuels like mustard-oil, sesame-oil, ghee and even wax. Lamps are many, those lighting the lamps are many, the flames are many as well but the fire in all the flames is one and the same. Thus the festival of lights, Deepawali brings home to us the message that our physical forms may be many, our minds and thoughts may be diverse but the eternal witness to all of them is One and only One, the Light of all lights, the Supreme Consciousness. If you become established in that One, only then will you celebrate the Diwali of the highest order, the Supreme Diwali.
There are many varieties of firecrackers but gunpowder is common to all. The one Supreme Power is active behind all actions of the beings. To establish the mind in that One God is Yoga, whereas to consider the diverse forms to be real and chase the mirage of sense-enjoyments is sheer wretchedness. Someone has put it nicely, ‘Those hankering after sense enjoyments repent in the end. But not all are aware of this, as such.’
The citizens of Ayodhya were unhappy, troubled and terribly worried until the dawn of Ramarajya, the rule of Lord Rama. When Lord Rama was in exile, Ayodhya wore a desolate look. Similarly devoid of the nectarine Bliss of the True Self, our body, the city with nine doors, is desolate and miserable, no matter how hard we may try to bring cheer to this physical existence.
It was on this day of Diwali that Lord Rama was to arrive in Ayodhya, and as such all the houses and streets were cleaned and decorated. Sweets were distributed and lamps were lit in celebration of Lord Rama’s homecoming.
These are but external lamps and outward cleanliness. However it is the benign expectation of the Lord, the Holy Scriptures and our glorious culture that we, at the same time, should cleanse our hearts as well and purge it of the venom of animosity. They want us to eliminate all thoughts of fear, tension, worry and sorrow. Only then will Lord Rama, in the form of the Atman, manifest in the Ayodhya of this body, thereby bringing the supreme sense of fulfilment to us.
Rama, in the human form as son of King Dasharatha, had taken incarnation in the city of Ayodhya, but the all-pervading Rama is willing to manifest in the Ayodhya of your body. Just make preparations for this grand event. Remove all negative, complaining tendencies and eliminate all thoughts that lead to grief and sorrow. The solution against misery is to stop thinking about it. The way out of distress is to consider the past as a mere dream and realize the Self, the Supreme Soul, the Light of all lights as your very own.
(Lord Shiva tells His consort Parvati who is also known as Uma) ‘O Uma! Let me tell you my own experience: only the Lord’s name is eternal; everything else is but a passing dream.’
One grieves over the past, is scared of the future and enamoured with the present; and consequently falls in the dark pit of depravity. Before Lord Rama manifests Himself in this Ayodhya of your body, Bharata, the mind, has to gain complete control over it. Ramarajya is not attained so easily. Bharata used to wear the clothes of a recluse, live in a hut, sleep on the ground and rule over Ayodhya with self-restraint awaiting Lord Rama’s arrival. ‘This kingdom is not mine. It belongs to Sri Ramaji; I am just a servant of Lord Rama,’ Bharata would think.
Similarly, your mind, Bharata, should not take this body to be ‘I’ or ‘mine’. It has been bestowed upon you by the Lord Who has supreme ownership over it. You are a mere caretaker to it. Bharata managed Ayodhya for 14 years. You may have charge over this body for 40, 50 or, at the most 100 years, but finally you have to yield this body to the Lord. If you don’t do so willingly, the messengers of Yama will force you to do it. Therefore keep praying, ‘Let the actions of my body, the thoughts of my mind and the decisions of my intellect all be oriented towards the fulfilment of the Lord’s Divine Purpose.’
As soon as the mind, Bharata, removes the garbage of sorrow, grief and anxiety from the mind, the Rama of Divine Love manifests in the heart.
Bharata ruled over Ayodhya with great self-restraint and disciplined the subjects before the advent of Lord Rama. Your mind should likewise pursue the spiritual path with tremendous restraint and discipline before the reins of your self are taken over by the Supreme Consciousness.
If you eat whatever you like, if you have no control over your speech, if you go wherever your mind takes you, then it is simply impossible to have the Lord take over the kingdom of your heart. For that, you have to live a life of complete self-restraint like Bharata and take care of your body like a trustee with no sense of identification with it. Neither be frightened nor scare others. Do not grieve nor cause grief to others. Do not get worried nor be a cause of worry to others. Live a carefree and a fearless life without a trace of sorrow. Who can lead a carefree life’ He whose actions are singularly oriented towards the love of the Lord, the supreme abode of carefreeness. Who can be fearless’ He, who knows himself not as the body, but as the Almighty, the Supreme fearless Being. Who is free from sorrow’ He who understands that he belongs to the Lord, the eradicator of sorrow, and considers the Lord to be his very own. You too can live a life free from worry, fear and sorrow by establishing the rule of Bharata’