Deepawali, the festival of lights is celebrated on a moonless dark night in the month of October or November every year in the whole world and especially in the Indian subcontinent by the Hindus, Sikhs, and people from all other religions who contribute to the celebrations in one way or the other. The festival has become more of a good business proposition than purely a spiritual activity. It is related to the return of Lord Ram, Sita Ji, and Laxman back to their home in Ayodhya from an exile of fourteen years during which period Lord Ram passed through different phases of life and established a proper code of conduct for all of us by creating self-examples and discipline of life(BURNING THE EVIL: DUSSEHRA). He himself underwent various difficulties and faced the challenges of life with maturity and with utmost wisdom thus setting examples for us as to how to face various problems and aspects of life in a balanced manner.
We learn a lot from the examples set by Lord Rama about our obligations to the society, family members including father, mother, stepmother, brothers, wife, friends, teachers(Guru), friends, supporters, disciples, true followers, opponents, and the learned persons.
His priority towards Mata Shabri who was a very poor lady from a lower caste, over the most learned and famous Rishis including the great Matang Rishi who were proud of their knowledge and wisdom, is a true example of the love of a Master towards his disciple. Out of this love, he ignored the feast arranged by the Rishis and chose to eat the wild berries collected by Mata Shabri from the forest and each one of which she had tasted to check the sweetness.
After winning the war against Ravana who was hurt and was about to die in the battlefield; Lord Rama directed his brother Laxman who was an angry young man to go to Ravana and approach him respectfully for a piece of advice based on his knowledge and wisdom because Ravana was highly intellectual and a learned person.
By this act, Lord Ram taught us that we should not be biased even against our foes and appreciate their good qualities.
He made Laxman shun his anger, pride of winning the war and hatred if any towards the defeated enemy. He taught everyone to eliminate only the evil and appreciate the virtues even that of an enemy.
During those fourteen years of exile, he faced all the good and bad events of his life with courage, faith, complete humbleness and with a balanced and positive approach. After successful completion of his exile, he returned to Ayodhya where he was greeted with lights, dances, fireworks and that day of victory and Homecoming is still celebrated in the form of Deepawali.
No one likes to remain in the darkness. Everyone wants to be in the light. One philosopher describes darkness as the absence of light. There is never an absence of light in this world. Sun gives us light during the day and the moon appears before the sun disappears and so the stars. The light is always there as The God never blinks. The problem is with our own attitude. We turn our back to the light and focus only on the darkness so remain deprived of its shine.
How desperately we long for the light but search it outwardly whereas God has kept the same within all of us. Being extroverts we can’t get in touch with this divine lamp to which some call Akhand jyot, some call it Noor-e-Haq or Sham-e-Allahi or by various other names. This lamp is within everyone. All we need is to be introverts and focus our attention within ourselves instead of allowing it to scatter it outside. The longing for this light is not only the domain of any particular religion. Every religion has appreciated this and has always been in search of this Divine light. Our various festivals and traditions are connected with the appearance of the sources of light such as fire, stars, the moon, and the sun. This is actually the light within which Lord Ram was greeted on his homecoming. This is the same light which Hazrat Moosa encountered at Koh-e Toor. This is the same light which we symbolize on the Shab-e- Raat or on a Christmas tree during the Christmas celebrations. All we need is to have a true Guru, a perfect Master, a Kamil Murshid and learn from Him the technique of becoming an introvert and focus our attention inwards and follow a simple and chaste lifestyle in order to achieve salvation.
We the humans too have been exiled like Lord Ram for a fixed time period i:e our lifespan, for having disobeyed God by eating the forbidden fruit. This period of exile is granted to us as a chance to purify our soul, pay for the mistakes and liberate ourselves from the shackles of wishes, anger, greed, attachment to worldly objects, and the ego/ pride. If we succeed, we will find our way back home and would be greeted with the lights which will remove all darkness from our life and liberate us from the unending cycle of birth and death thus leading us to attain Moksha, Mukti, or Najaat.
May this Diwali show us the way to the light within; the light that liberates; the light that removes all the darkness from our lives, thoughts, and the behaviors.
Wishing a very Happy Diwali to all the Readers….