Kartika & Deepavali: Festival of Lights

KARTIKA MAASA heralds the onset of winter with shorter days and longer nights. The light and heat from the sun which depends on the inclination of the sun’s rays and the consequent energy that we receive is completely different from that which we receive in summer. Due to the cold climatic conditions, growth is less and stunted in Nature. As in Nature, so in our minds, because Nature is only an extension of our minds. To counter the ‘abundancy of darkness’, we bring in LIGHT, within and without. This is known as DEEPAVALI. When rows of lamps are lit, there is light, warmth and a positive conducive energy field. Similarly, the tamas, inertia and lethargy in our minds is dispelled by bringing in the Light of Knowledge within ourselves by the study of the scriptures. 

When a lamp is lit, the light not only illuminates the lamp but it lightens up the entire surroundings. By keeping the lighted lamps at the threshold, there is illumination inside and outside the house. Lighting the lamp externally signifies lighting the Lamp of Knowledge within ourselves. With the Light of Knowledge within oneself, not only are we benefited, but all those around us are also benefited. The Knowledge helps the inner subtle equipments – the mind and intellect to perform brilliantly and also helps the outer gross physical body to accomplish efficiently.

It is only with the Light of Knowledge, that one can discriminate between the right and wrong, the true and false, the permanent and impermanent, between dharma and adharma. Hence the whole month of Kartika wherein we light lamps daily signifies the “invoking of the Light of Spiritual Knowledge” within ourselves, and subsequently exercising the “faculty of discrimination” (Viveka) in us to walk the path of Dhyana or Meditation.

Significance of Deepa : Each one of us is a WALKING LAMP (Deepa). The “body” made up of matter represents the EARTHEN LAMP. The “mind” which is nothing but a flow of thoughts represents the OIL. The “intellect” is the WICK. The BRIGHT FLAME represents the “Light of Spiritual Knowledge” – the SAT-CHIT-ANANDA, the Lord Himself.

Another alternative interpretation: the MIND is the vessel or the “lamp”. DEVOTION is the “oil” within the lamp. FAITH is the “wick”. KNOWLEDGE of the Scriptures is the “Light”. Hence the importance of LIGHTING THE LAMP.

The flame of the lamp which is brilliant and golden represents the brilliance of the Knowledge acquired by an individual. The flame always points upward. Similarly, our life should always be progressive – one should move forward as well as higher on the path of spirituality. The entire conical flame that we perceive is made up of innumerable minute flame-lets clustered together. The total vibrational frequency of all the flame-lets gives the appearance of ONE WHOLE SINGLE flame. Though there is so much of plurality, multiplicity and diversity in the world of things and beings, one should learn to recognise the ONENESS behind them all. This is possible only with the brilliant Light of Spiritual Knowledge. The flame of the lamp does not flutter but remains absolutely still and steady when there are no cross-breezes. Similarly, a mind which is not persecuted by the winds of passion, anger, greed etc., remains single-pointed, steady and balanced.

A LIGHTED LAMP has immense benefits. The material with which the lamp is made up of, whether mud or metal, the oil which is used, and the material with which the wick is made up of contribute greatly and immensely to our personality. One can feel the presence of something Higher and Diviner by just holding a lighted lamp in our hands in a dark environment – TOUCH THERAPY. The golden flame bestows focusing and concentration and helps lift the mind to higher levels – VISUAL THERAPY. The fragrance of the oil or ghee which is used in the lamp makes the mind calm and serene. It also pervades the entire environment and purifies it – AROMA THERAPY. There is a sense of deep tranquility in the stillness and silence that emanates from the lighted lamp and pervades the entire surroundings – AUDIO THERAPY. Just by being there, the lighted lamp serves one and all – perfect KARMA YOGA – an experience so enriching and fulfilling – RASA THERAPY (RASAVATH).

“Deepa Jyotir Parabrahma, Deepa Jyotir Janaardanah; Deepo Harathu Me Paapam, Deepa Jyotir Namostute”

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