Tag Archives: Deepavali

Deepavali & The Light of Knowledge ~ by Swami Chinmayananda

DEEPA – AVALI  means rows and rows of light. A readiness to make sacrifice and win over the lower nature is to light up the Lamp of Knowledge, Wisdom and Beauty in yourself. So DEEPAVALI is a reminder to the community that there is a greater way of cultured living than the mere animal level. That means you have to conquer your own selfish immediate demand for the sake of the others. This is what DEEPAVALI really stands for. Whenever thus, the lower nature in us is conquered and we maintain the higher values of life and come to live them, there is a glow of beauty in you – that is DEEPAVALI. To tune our minds to divinity and start new, we welcome the new year with an evening of soulful bhajans by our very own families welcoming the Festival of LIGHTS! Let us remind ourselves at least on this great day that we can be victorious over our impulses and come to illumine for the world around, the Lamp of Wisdom from the Land of Spiritual Light

On this sacred day of DEEPAVALI, at the dusk when darkness gathers round, all homes are illumined by lights in tiny mud pots with oil and wick. This indicates a society wherein each member is a ‘lamp’ of peity, goodness, love and mutual understanding – and in such a society alone, real goodwill and enduring prosperity can come to stay – victoriously. This day is a day of prayer and expression of love; a day dedicated to inner purity and noble character. Get out of your homes in the evening and embrace every other individual in society…. because they too are small flames of the same Light Divine. May all your thoughts be trimmed to light up in cheer and joy, and burn steadily dipped in the oil of devotion. Once a year we must check up our thoughts – some must be smoky, some gone off. Refill with oil and re-light with the Light of all Lights. May this day be considered a day of peace and cheer, reassuring man that he is essentially divine. When the veiling vulgarities in us are cleansed, the pure Divine Light can impart a joyous sense of PERFECTION.

In our bosom, the WICK of the mind is maintained by the OIL of vasanas. When the oil of vasanas is over, the distinct FLAME of Existence flutters to become one with the elemental Fire. Remember this significance when you light the little clay saucers, which our bodies are. Keep in mind, the significance of the oil and the wick!

The lamps are different but the Light is the same; it comes from beyond. If you keep looking at the lamp you are lost; for from it rises the appearance of number and plurality. Fix your gaze upon the Light — and you are delivered from the dualism inherent in the finite body.

When a lamp is lit, it throws concentric circles of light of lessening intensity around it. The farther circles have the least light. As we slowly move our eyes nearer to the centre we find more and more light, until at last in the flame is all LIGHT: the FLAME is the source of all the LIGHT. From it the light has come. In it the light exists. And into it the light will finally merge when the flame is extinguished! So too, God or Reality. The external Universe, the Jagat, comes from Him alone — but the Jagat is the farthest removed. It has the least manifestation of His Divinity. The seeker through Sadhana is seeking Him — the FLAME. Slowly he has to move his gaze from the dim distant circles of light to the nearer points (as body, mind or intellect) and then lastly the Soul, the Atman, the Essence.

In the Darkness of Ignorance we attach ourselves to the unreal and the fleeting world; in the Light of Knowledge, we identify ourselves with the Real and the Permanent. Knowledge is a lasting inner wealth with which all can be accomplished. Hence we light the lamp to bow down to knowledge as the greatest of all forms of wealth. The Light, by whose power all luminaries get illumined, by whose Light the whole universe is lighted up, may this Light enlighten us all !!

“The lamp is lit. Hearken, Ye Devotees! It is for you to keep the light as a never-dying flame! Be yourself a SANDEEPANY: one who lights the Lamp of Truth in the hearts of all!”

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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 outside signifies lighting of 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: There are several interpretations:

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,

OR, the MIND represents the vessel or the “lamp”. DEVOTION is the “oil”. FAITH is the “wick”. KNOWLEDGE is the golden “flame”,

OR, the “earthen lamp” represents the PHYSICAL BODY. The “wick” is the MIND. The “oil” is the VASANAS. The “flame” signifies the Light of SPIRITUAL KNOWLEDGE which helps to exhaust the vasanas. When the vasanas are exhausted, the flame merges with the elemental Fire which signifies the merger of the jivatma with Paramatma. 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 is no cross-breeze. Similarly, a mind which is not persecuted by the winds of passion, anger, greed etc., remains single-pointed, steady and balanced.

A LIGHTED LAMP bestows immense benefits upon us. 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 helps in focusing and concentration and also helps in lifting 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 with its positive energy – 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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