Diwali means Festival of Lights. Most rituals have a significant purpose behind them. Worshipping and adoring a statue of our revered Deity is supposed to transport us to feeling the essence of that Deity, wherein we move from form to formlessness. Likewise, the external light lit with reverence in a worshipping mood triggers thirst, an authentic search for the inner Light, inner guidance and inner wisdom.
We celebrate rituals like Diwali by finding the time to renew family harmony, allowing new beginnings. What was originally a very simple harvest festival when farmers honoured the generosity of Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity, has now become a multi-million dollar industry around the world. This Diwali, let’s go back to basics and share the real spirit of this joyous festival.
Diwali is the Indian subcontinent’s most significant religious celebration, symbolising Lord Rama and Mother Sita’s return to Ayodhya after fourteen years of exile. On their return, the people decorated the whole city with lights to celebrate the triumph of light over darkness, hope over despair and good over evil.
Let me tell you a story.
There once was a king who had four sons, and he wanted to choose one of them to be his heir — the one who could rule the kingdom with fairness and happiness for his people. It was a tough decision, so he conducted a test. He created four palaces and asked each son to fill one of them with something very precious. But there was a catch: the budget was meagre, equivalent to today’s 1,000 rupees!
Upon hearing this condition, the eldest son cursed his father as he felt entitled to the throne. He asked, “How in the world do you expect me to fill this palace with 1,000 rupees?” Just by asking this question, he ensured that he wasn’t the heir.
The second son said, “Let me scour the markets and find things.” He went and bought all kinds of riff raff but with only 1,000 rupees how much could he buy? All that junk did not fill up the palace.
The third son put up his father’s photographs and clay statues everywhere. It was a novel idea, but he was still not able to fill the palace.
The fourth son, the youngest, was a humble man. He sat in the empty palace quietly with a lot of reverence. With a heart full of love he prayed for guidance, because he wanted to make his father very happy. That was his only goal.
Guidance came from within, and so he went about lighting up the palace with candles and incense. The light filled the entire palace and the fragrance of the incense wafted out the windows to distant neighbourhoods. Everyone was drawn to see what was happening at the palace, and the people of the kingdom gathered to see the beauty of this simple endeavour. The king was so happy with his youngest son’s wisdom. He could see how love and reverence had helped him to find a simple solution to the problem.
To fill the emptiness is very easy, but to fill the emptiness so as to remain pure and light is only possible through love.
Heartfulness is the path that facilitates us to continually empty our hearts of complexities and keep filling them with purity, light and love. There are no dogmas, rigidity or compulsions in Heartfulness. Everything that we do is for the sake of love. In fact Heartfulness Meditation, supported by pranahuti, begins with the initial dharana that Divine Light is already present in the heart. We then perceive the effect of pranahuti immediately during each meditation. We are able to instantly relate to the familiar calm, while deeply going inwards to the ever-present Eternal Source of that true elixir of life we call love.
It is love that creates change within us; change for the better. We want to become better human beings, all the while entertaining a loving atmosphere in our hearts.
This Diwali, give the gift of love. Give the gift of light.
All the best,
Originally published at medium.com