What is Deepavali?
Deepavali - the festival of lights represents the symbolic victory of good over evil, light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance! ‘Deepa Pratipada Utsava’ which is simply known as Deepavali marks the beginning of celebrating the light as festival. Deepa means lamp, Pratipada means initiation and Utsava means festival. It is not a one-day festival. Various religions have various historical stories as backgrounds to celebrate Deepavali.
Power of inner-consciousness
Many consider Deepavali as a Hindu festival but according to Vedic culture and tradition, this day is celebrated beyond all religions. Everybody who is into Vedic tradition celebrates this festival. Even Jains and Buddhists have their own spiritual histories to support their celebration. Upanishads play a major role in Vedic culture. According to it, this day marks the death of the ruthless demon Narakasura killed by Lord Krishna.
The demon repents for all his destructive actions and requests the day to be celebrated as a day of victory of light over darkness. Henceforth people started lighting lamps to celebrate the festival. But Deepavali is created to celebrate health and prosperity for the future. It is to say with conviction, without any fear or doubts that we are going to live happily with our family. “The external world is nothing but the exact reflection of our inner world”.
Therefore, when we realize the light within, which is the reason for the entire cosmic creation, it will immediately negate the presence of all the fear. This is the significant meaning of Narakasura’s death. When the demon was killed by his own mother Bhoomadevi, both mother and son had a beautiful realisation. He bowed his head and felt sorry for having lived a life of ignorance, hatred and darkness. He had been creating fear in everybody and controlling them. Among his last words, he said that he experienced light. When there is fear, experiencing love is not a possibility. Love is the only thing that makes us long to live. He was happy for the love that he was experiencing now of his death. He was not afraid of losing his powers but was afraid of losing his love after death. As he happily embraced death, the world henceforth started celebrating this day as the absence of fear and presence of love and happiness forever. Deepavali is also celebrated in the honour of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth.
Unknown fact about Deepavali
One unknown fact about Deepavali is the historical reference which attributes this festival to the legend of Yama and Nachiketa on Amavasya. Their conversation forms the subject matter of one of the Upanishads called Katha Upanishad.
The Nachiketa story of right versus wrong, true wealth versus transient wealth, knowledge versus ignorance is recorded in Katha Upanishad which was composed in the first millennium BC. Sanskrit texts like Skanda Purana also reinforce the same historical narrative. Deepavali is thus celebrated by lighting diyas (lamps) to represent their legendary conversation which happened on a new moon day.
All this happened because of Nachiketa’s meditation on the new moon day where he experiences the cosmic light within, which is the power of all powers. It is not just a light; it’s a light which can ignite another light. The entire world must experience this cosmic light within, which will reflect externally as their peace, health and happiness and above all financial abundance. That is why, on this day, we dedicate all our vision for the future to goddess Lakshmi and financial goals to lord Kubera. It is considered auspicious to perform Lakshmi Kubera pooja on Deepavali.
Rising above negativity
On this day, it is believed that we gain the power to realise the difference between knowledge and ignorance. Knowledge will guide us to move further and live a life free of ignorance. This will clear all the possibility of fear and doubts from one’s life and live a life full of vision and goals. People across the globe experience the light within (finding oneness with the light) with which all the negativity will be vanished.
All the negative energy and your association with all the bad elements will be totally taken away. Therefore Deepavali is a symbolic representation of victory of good over evil, light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance to live a life of peace, success and happiness from here and forever. As a proof of living with good health and prosperity, people decorate their homes and wear good clothes.
They share sweets and delicacies with their loved ones. Along with all these, we have clarity about financial goals and future vision. Deepavali is one such day where you need to work towards celebrating the success which you are yet to achieve in which you mentally prepare yourself for success in the future. This is to give ourselves a conviction that going further we will live a life of peace and happiness and above all with good health and financial abundance.
Wishing you all a life full of peace, success and abundance.
—Atmayogi Shri Aasaanji
Aham Brahmasmi !
Atmayogi Shri Aasaanji is a non-religious, contemporary spiritual master and the founder of the Atmayoga Foundation (Institute for Inner-Science and Self-Transformation) www.atmayoga.in