Every Indian eagerly waits for the festival of Deepawali as it is the best of all festivals. Homes are cleaned, new clothes are stitched, sweets and other savoury dishes are prepared for the festival and in the night of Diwali Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped.
Diwali was the day when thousands of years ago Lord Ram returned to Ayodhya having defeated and killed Ravan. The people of Ayodhya celebrated his homecoming by lighting ghee lamps all over the city and by decorating their streets and houses.
It is to remember those moments that every year Diwali is celebrated as a favoured festival. More importance is given to this day than even the birthday of the Lord, Ramnavmi, or Maargshirh Shukla Panchami when Lord Ram and Sita were married.
Even the ancient texts contain reference to this very auspicious day. What is the reason for this day being so important?
It is one of the greatest and most enthusiastically celebrated festivals of all times. Preparations for this start from Navratri itself. But there is a very deep significance behind this festival and if we celebrate it without understanding the same then we would be merely performing a formality.
Diwali is no ordinary festival and one should surely keep the following points in mind while celebrating this festival.
1. The Indian season of Sharad can be divided into three parts - Hemant, Shishir and Vasant. Hemant is a very pleasant season which fills one with joy. It is a time when pleasant thoughts rise in one's mind. One is filled with feelings of love, pleasure and joy. According to the ancient texts a child born or conceived in this season is very intelligent and talented.
2. With Navratri the crop of rice is reaped and trees are laden with flowers in gardens and forests. Grains are harvested in this season, and grains as we well know are the very basis of life.
3. On the day of Dhantrayodashi a special ritual is accomplished which is called Deepdaan. In it lamps are lit for every individual in the family and ancestors and they are floated in a river or pond. It is a day for gaining the blessings and good wises of one's ancestors. One seeks the help of the ancestors for safeguarding one's interests and one's assets.
4. Dhantryodashi is the birthday of Dhanvantri, the great master of Ayurved. If a person is ailing ten pleasures and worship prove useless. Dhanvantri appeared from the ocean at the time of its churning and he had a pot of elixir in his hands.
With this elixir the Gods could gain eternal youth, handsomeness and divinity. One who succeeds in gaining the blessings of Dhanvantri remains ever youthful and disease free.
5. Roop Chaturdashi is a Soundarya Siddhi Diwas i.e. on this day one can perform some Sadhana for gain of beauty and magnetism. Just as flowers and leaves cannot appear on a dry tree similarly a person who is deprived of handsomeness, joy and vigour cannot rise in life.
He remains angry, tense and troubled throughout life. In life beauty and good looks are just as important as good health.
6. It is the duty of every human to take care of one's body and maintain its good looks. Keeping the physique fit and healthy and also improving one's appearance through external means are equally important.
Roop Chaturdashi and Dhanvantri Jayanti are the days when one can pray for both these boons i.e. a healthy and beautiful body.
Over the ages people forgot the significance of these days and businessmen used the occasion to perform worships for the expansion of their business. This is not the real purpose of these two wonderful days.
Very few people give a thought as to how to celebrate the festival of Diwali. on the day of Diwali a new year begins. Early in the morning on this day one should have a bath and perform at least three types of worships.
Firstly one should offer prayers to the Guru. Then one should pay one's respect to one's parents. And lastly one should worship one's family deity.
It is when a person obtains the good wishes of these three that his life can become totally successful. It is one's chief duty to propitiate them and offer one's heart felt regards in their feet.
Diwali is a holiday all over India. Generally all family members get together to perform the worship of Goddess Lakshmi, eat together the choicest dishes and light lamps.
One should try to prepare sweets at home and avoid buying from the market. Only home made and the best sweets should be offered to the gods and the deities.
It is also an important ritual to light candles and ghee lamps in and around the house. This is not a mere tradition. Fire represents energy. And the night of Diwali is moonless.
Lighting lamps in this night signifies dispelling of darkness. It also signifies that no matter how difficult any problem that one faces in life, through the light of the soul one could find way through the darkest of times.
All try to accomplish the worship and Sadhana of Goddess Mahalakshmi in this night in the hope that the Goddess would bless one with property and affluence. But before one tries Sadhana of Lakshmi one should understand how Lakshmi was born.
She did not appear in an ordinary manner, rather she originated from the ocean at the tine of its churning. When she appeared she was chosen by Lord Vishnu as his consort. This tale signifies that Lakshmi or wealth can be had in life only after putting in great efforts.
No doubt good luck is important in life. But success comes only through hard work. Where there is perseverance there is bound to be success.
Perseverance means a strong will power so that the mind could become sharp and concentrated. Lakshmi has been called Karma Prabhaav Prakaashini i.e. were there is hard work its fruit manifests in the form of the divinity and blessings of Lakshmi.
Those who lack determination in their lives and are lazy, unwilling to work, a prey to bad habits have weak minds. And a person with a weak mind cannot rise high in life or become wealthy.
On the day next to Diwali, a special worship known as Govardhan Pooja is accomplished. This worship is performed before sun rise at the entrance to one's home.
In it a special Yantra is prepared with cow dung and a ghee lamp is lit. In India it is believed that all gods are present in the body of a cow. We obtain milk, ghee from the cow which are the very basis of life. That is why this ritual is performed and cow dung is worshipped.
It is on this day that people visit each other's home to wish each other. Everyone tries to include others in his or her happiness. Guests are most welcome on this day and they are treated to sweets and dishes.
The above mentioned points should be kept in mind while celebrating the festival of Diwali. It is a festival when the following vows can be taken.
1. I shall work hard in life. I won't waste any time at all. I shall reflect upon my mistakes and shall learn from them.
If there appears some problem in life I shall not feel troubled but shall try to find a solution to it with a cool mind. I shall try to find out how the problem arose and how it could be overcome.
2. No matter how dark the times I shall keep the light of my mind turned on and with a conscious mind I shall try to find a way out. I would seek recourse of Sadhanas and hard work to overcome all problems of life.
3. I shall take care of my body and never fall prey to bad habits. I shall try to maintain a good health. I shall also try to improve my looks so as to appear appealing to all.
4. I shall include all family members in important decisions. I shall give respect to my spouse and treat my children well. I shall try to keep the family united.
5. I shall surely offer prayers to the Guru, ancestors and family deity before starting some important work or Sadhana. All that I possess is due to the blessings of my Guru, parents and the gods.
6. In the night of this year's Diwali I shall take some pledge. A strong will power improves life. And success in some aim boosts one's confidence and opens up doors to new and higher goals.
7. I will pray to Lakshmi to remain permanently in my home. I shall not be extravagant and not misuse the wealth that I have.
If one celebrates Diwali with these vows in mind then this festival really becomes benefic. This is a sure way of ensuring a year full of joy, beauty, knowledge, intelligence and good health.
Diwali shall come every year but this year can be special if you keep these vows in mind. The best wishes of revered Gurudev and Mataji are with you.