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  • Constance Kosuda
    God bless you suryadevananda * * * * *DEEPAVALIBy H. H. Sri Swami Sivanandaji MaharajDEEPAVALI or Diwali means a row of lights . It falls on the last two days
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 1, 2005
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      God bless you

      suryadevananda
      * * * * *DEEPAVALIBy H. H. Sri Swami Sivanandaji
      MaharajDEEPAVALI or
      Diwali means "a row of lights". It falls on the last
      two days of the dark
      half of Kartik (October-November). For some it is a
      three-day festival.
      It commences with the Dhan-Teras, on the 13th day of
      the dark half of
      Kartik, followed the next day by the Narak Chaudas,
      the 14th day, and by
      Deepavali proper on the 15th day.There are various
      alleged origins
      attributed to this festival. Some hold that they
      celebrate the marriage of
      Lakshmi with Lord Vishnu. In Bengal the festival is
      dedicated to the
      worship of Kali. It also commemorates that blessed day
      on which the
      triumphant Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya after
      defeating Ravana. On this day
      also Sri Krishna killed the demon Narakasura. In South
      India people
      take an oil bath in the morning and wear new clothes.
      They partake of
      sweetmeats. They light fireworks which are regarded as
      the effigies of
      Narakasura who was killed on this day. They greet one
      another, asking,
      "Have you had your Ganges bath?" which actually refers
      to the oil bath that
      morning as it is regarded as purifying as a bath in
      the holy Ganges.
      Everyone forgets and forgives the wrongs done by
      others. There is an air
      of freedom, festivity and friendliness everywhere.
      This festival brings
      about unity. It instils charity in the hearts of
      people. Everyone buys
      new clothes for the family. Employers, too, purchase
      new clothes for
      their employees. Waking up during the Brahmamuhurta
      (at 4a.m.) is a great
      blessing from the standpoint of health, ethical
      discipline, efficiency
      in work and spiritual advancement. It is on Deepavali
      that everyone
      wakes up early in the morning. The sages who
      instituted this custom must
      have cherished the hope that their descendents would
      realise its
      benefits and make it a regular habit in their lives.
      In a happy mood of great
      rejoicing village folk move about freely, mixing with
      one another
      without any reserve, all enmity being forgotten.
      People embrace one another
      with love. Deepavali is a great unifying force. Those
      with keen inner
      spiritual ears will clearly hear the voice of the
      sages, "O Children of
      God! unite, and love all". The vibrations produced by
      the greetings of
      love which fill the atmosphere are powerful enough to
      bring about a
      change of heart in every man and woman in the world.
      Alas! That heart has
      considerably hardened, and only a continuous
      celebration of Deepavali
      in our homes can rekindle in us the urgent need of
      turning away from the
      ruinous path of hatred. On this day Hindu merchants in
      North India open
      their new account books and pray for success and
      prosperity during the
      coming year. The homes are cleaned and decorated by
      day and illuminated
      by night with earthern oil-lamps. The best and finest
      illuminations are
      to be seen in Bombay and Amritsar. The famous Golden
      Temple at Amritsar
      is lit in the evening with thousands of lamps placed
      all over the steps
      of the big tank. Vaishnavites celebrate the Govardhan
      Puja and feed the
      poor on a large scale. O Ram! The light of lights, the
      self-luminous
      inner light of the Self is ever shining steadily in
      the chamber of your
      heart. Sit quietly. Close your eyes. Withdraw the
      senses. Fix the mind
      on this supreme light and enjoy the real Deepavali, by
      attaining
      illumination of the soul.
      He who Himself sees all but whom no one beholds, who
      illumines the
      intellect, the sun, the moon and the stars and the
      whole universe but whom
      they cannot illumine, He indeed is Brahman, He is the
      inner Self.
      Celebrate the real Deepavali by living in Brahman, and
      enjoy the eternal
      bliss of the soul. The sun does not shine there, nor
      do the moon and the
      stars, nor do lightnings shine and much less fire. All
      the lights of the
      world cannot be compared even to a ray of the inner
      light of the Self.
      Merge yourself in this light of lights and enjoy the
      supreme Deepavali.
      Many Deepavali festivals have come and gone. Yet the
      hearts of the vast
      majority are as dark as the night of the new moon. The
      house is lit
      with lamps, but the heart is full of the darkness of
      ignorance. O man!
      wake up from the slumber of ignorance. Realise the
      constant and eternal
      light of the Soul which neither rises nor sets,
      through meditation and
      deep enquiry. May you all attain full inner
      illumination! May the supreme
      light of lights enlighten your understanding! May you
      all attain the
      inexhaustible spiritual wealth of the Self! May you
      all prosper
      gloriously on the material as well as spiritual
      planes! * * * * *THE
      SIGNIFICANCE OF DIPAVALIBy H. H. Sri Swami
      Krishnanandaji MaharajThe Dipavali
      festival is regarded as an occasion particularly
      associated with an ancient
      event of Sri Krishna overcoming the demoniacal force
      known as
      Narakasura, recorded in the Epics and Puranas. After
      the great victory over
      Narakasura in a battle which appears to have lasted
      for long, long days,
      Sri Krishna with his consort Satyabhama returned to
      his abode in Dwaraka.
      The residents of Dwaraka were very anxious about the
      delay caused in
      Sri Krishna's returning, and it is said that they were
      worshipping
      Bhagavati Lakshmi for the prosperity and welfare of
      everyone and the quick
      returning of Bhagavan Sri Krishna and Satyabhama. And,
      after Sri Krishna
      returned, the story goes that he took a bath after
      applying oil over
      his body, to cleanse himself subsequent to the very
      hectic work he had to
      do in the war that ensued earlier. This oil-bath
      connected with Sri
      Krishna's ritual is also one of the reasons for people
      necessarily
      remembering to take an oil-bath on the day known as
      Naraka Chaturdasi, prior
      to the Amavasya when Lakshmi Puja is conducted.
      Everyone in India
      remembers to take an oil-bath on Naraka Chaturdasi in
      memory of, in honour
      of, Bhagavan Sri Krishna's doing that after the demise
      of Narakasura.
      Having taken the bath, they all joined together in
      great delight in the
      grand worship of Maha-Lakshmi for general prosperity
      of everyone in
      Dwaraka. This is the traditional background, as is
      told to us, of the rites
      and the worships connected with Naraka Chaturdasi and
      Dipavali
      Amavasya. There is a third aspect of it which is
      called `Bali Padya', the day
      following Amavasya. It does not look that the Bali
      Padya festival is
      directly connected with Lakshmi Puja or Naraka
      Chaturdasi. But it has
      another background altogether, namely, the blessing
      Narayana, in His
      incarnation as Vamana, bestowed upon the demon-king
      Bali Chakravarti, whom He
      subdued when He took a Cosmic Form in the Yajnasala of
      Bali
      Chakravarti, the details of which we can read in the
      Srimad Bhagavata Mahapurana.
      Bali Chakravarti was himself a great devotee, an ideal
      king and ruler,
      and having submitted himself to being thrown into the
      nether regions by
      the pressure of the foot of Narayana in the Cosmic
      Form, it appears he
      begged of Him to have some occasion to come up to the
      surface of the
      earth and then be recognised as a devotee of Bhagavan
      Narayana Himself.
      This recognition, this hallowed memory of Bali
      Chakravarti, is
      celebrated on the first day of the bright fortnight
      following the Amavasya. Bali
      Puja, Bali Padya are some of the terms used to
      designate this occasion,
      the day next to Amavasya. So, the sum and substance of
      the message
      connected with Dipavali is that it is a three-day
      festival, beginning with
      Naraka Chaturdasi, a day prior to Amavasya; then the
      main Lakshmi
      worship day, which is Amavasya itself; and the third
      day which is Bali Padya
      connected with the honour bestowed upon Bali
      Chakravarti as a devotee
      of Bhagavan Narayana. It is also an occasion for
      spiritual exhilaration,
      a lighting up of all darkness, socially as well as
      personally,
      outwardly and inwardly, for the purpose of allowing an
      entry of the Supreme
      Light of God into the hearts of all people. Dipavali
      means `the line of
      lights'. `Dipa' is light; and `Avali' means line. So,
      Dipavali or the
      festival of the line of lights is the celebration of
      the rise of
      Knowledge. It is also the celebration of the victory
      of the Sattvic or divine
      elements in us over the Rajasic and Tamasic or baser
      elements which are
      the real Asuras, the Rakshasas, Narakasura and others.
      The whole world
      is within us. The whole cosmos can be found in a
      microscopic form in our
      own body. Rama-Ravana-Yuddha and Tarakasura-Vadha, and
      all such Epic
      wars - everything is going on inside us. This Dipavali
      is thus also a
      psychological context, wherein we contemplate in our
      own selves the holy
      occasion of self-mastery, self-subjugation and
      self-abnegation leading
      to the rise of all spiritual virtues which are
      regarded as lustre or
      radiance emanating from Self-Knowledge. Bhagavati
      Mahalakshmi, the Goddess
      of prosperity, does not merely mean the Goddess of
      wealth in a material
      sense. Lakshmi does not mean only gold and silver.
      Lakshmi means
      prosperity in general, positive growth in the right
      direction, a rise into
      the higher stages of evolution. This is the advent of
      Lakshmi. Progress
      and prosperity are Lakshmi. In the Vishnu Purana we
      are told if Narayana
      is like the sun, Lakshmi is like the radiance of the
      sun. They are
      inseparable. Wherever Narayana is, there is Lakshmi.
      Wherever is divinity,
      there is prosperity. So on this day of Dipavali we
      worship the Supreme
      God who is the source of all conceivable virtues,
      goodness and
      prosperity, which is symbolised in illumination,
      lighting and worship in the
      form of Arati and a joyous attitude and feeling in
      every respect. So, in
      short, this is a day of rejoicing over the victory of
      Sattva over the
      lower Gunas, the victory of God Himself over the
      binding fetters of the
      soul. * * * * *


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]







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