A Chain of Festivals: Deepavali

Why are the Festivals Celebrated?

All living beings are indivisible parts of the Truth, Consciousness and Bliss Absolute, Supreme Self. As the Supreme Self is Bliss personified, eternal and Consciousness personified all these festivals, celebrations and rituals have been instituted by the Rishis and Munis for the enhancement of our wisdom, happiness and bliss as well as for reminding us of our eternity. The festivals are essentially meant to enable the jiva attain its real being Sat-Chit-Ananda from where it has originated. Dhan-Teras, Narak Chaturdashi, Deepavali, New Year and Bhai Dooj – all these festivals combine together into a
festive bunch called Deepavali. It has fireworks, festival of lights, eating and feeding sweets to one another, wearing new clothes and the custom of buying and giving new things is also included in it.

Dhan-Teras

The 13th lunar day of the dark fortnight of Kartika month is the birth day of the
celestial physician Lord Dhanvantari. This festival inspires us to stay healthy and
cheerful always by following the principles prescribed by Lord Dhanvantari.

The Padma Purana states, “The person who gives lamps on the Dhan-Teras is saved from untimely death.”

What to do on Narak Chaturdashi Day?

Oil massage is prohibited in the month of Kartika; however, taking bath after applying sesame oil on the body on Narak Chaturdashi day is held to be extremely important. One should first empty the bowels and then take bath after properly massaging oil on the body. A post-dawn bath on this day is considered to be a destroyer of religious merits. If possible, one should apply the unguent made from barley, sesame seeds and Amla (embelic Myrobalan) or –the Saptadhanya (mixed powders of seven cereals and pulses) unguent or dung of Indian cow on his body before taking bath.

Narak Chaturdashi Message

Lord Krishna killed the demon Narakasur to save the people from his evil doings. Narakasur is a symbol of all desires and ego. You too surrender the Narakasur present in your mind in the form of desires and ego at the feet of Supreme Self, so that it gets annihilated and the countless modifications of your mind get dissolved in the Supreme Self. “I am He…” “I am the auspiciousness…” “I am Bliss…” “I am Consciousness…” “I am Peace…” “I am All…”

Deepavali

On reading the ancient scriptures we come to know that festival of Deepavali was celebrated even before the advent of Lord Rama. There are 4 most important nights in every year. They are 1. Moha Ratri or Janmashtami 2. Kaal Ratri – Deepavali 3. Daruna Ratri – Holi 4. Ahoratri – Mahashivaratri.

It has been found that on these nights the position of various planets have positive effect. Therefore it is considered more important to do japa, meditation, devotional practices, remembrance of divine, etc. not only for attainment of the wealth and
happiness but also for attainment of the Knowledge of Brahman.

Mantra to attain wealth

Those who want to acquire wealth and prosperity will be benefitted by chanting the following Mantra.

Aum namo bhaagyalakshmyai cha vidmahe | Ashtalakshmyai cha dhimahi |

 Tanno lakshmih prachodayaat ||

How to get permanent blessing of mother Lakshmi

There are three types of wealth. The
lowest of them is Vitta. This type of wealth is in millions, nay billions of rupees. It is the wealth acquired by unfair means by the greedy persons who save it by all means and die without spending it for good cause. The mediocre wealth is called Lakshmi which is earned by righteous persons who remember God, contemplate on Truth and practice Dharma and perform actions ordained by scriptures. It gives happiness in this world and also in the other world. The best type of wealth is called Mahalakshmi. It gives not only sense enjoyments but also helps in meeting God by attaining liberation. Therefore Hindu culture has given more importance to Lakshmi than Vitta. And Mahalakshmi is given more importance than Lakshmi. The objective of the Hindu culture is peace, satisfaction and repose in the inner Self, not only sense enjoyments and physical comforts. If these are not attained one is bound to die frustrated with his life like Ravana, the king of the golden city of Lanka and Hiranyakashipu, the king of the Golden city of Hiranyapur. Those who attained contentment in their Self became victorious in life like the tribal woman Shabari, Saint Kabir, Rahidasji, Tukaramji and King Janaka. The ignorance of his mind is destroyed. He conquers all world, who attains Self-Knowledge and Self-Bliss. He has attained universal
consciousness (Jagajeet Prajna). Hence he has conquered the universe.

You will not have to invoke Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth rather she will reside in your home if you increase your spiritual knowledge and conquer your lower nature. Where there is Lord Narayana His consort Lakshmi who is devoted to her husband will follow. Lord Narayana resides where the devotees of Narayana live. Is it necessary to invoke goddess Lakshmi separately? She automatically comes.

Therefore you should pray to Lakshmi, “Oh! Ma, may I also love Narayana as you love Him”. If you pray in this fashion without desire for external opulence then not only Lakshmi, but Narayana will also be pleased with you, and you will also get delighted.

Spiritual Import of Deepavali

Four things are done on the occasion of Deepavali – Just as house is cleaned; similarly have a clear and firm resolve to attain Self-Bliss and Self-Knowledge in this life only.

The second thing is buying new things. As we buy silver, clothes or utensils on Deepavali, likewise we should take a divine and pious vow of mantra-japa, meditation and scripture-reading that directly helps in Self-Realization.

Third thing is lighting lamps. In addition to physical lamps, light the lamp of spiritual Knowledge. The Pure Consciousness is called Atman when it is confined to the heart but it is also Supreme Self because it is all-pervading. That Supreme Self is not far; He is not away; He is not difficult to attain; He is not other’s; He is the real Self of all beings. Wake up in your real nature, the Consciousness with the help of
spiritual outlook. Don’t spend money for
unnecessary things, don’t be garrulous, don’t sleep more than required; don’t sleep less than required. Yuktaharaviharasya… Be
always moderate in eating and recreation. Light the lamp of Knowledge.

The fourth thing is eating sweets and giving them to others. Be cheerful. Early in the morning, take a deep breath; hold it for 75 seconds and contemplate, ‘I belong to God, the Bliss personified God, and God is mine.’ With these thoughts in mind, puff out negative thoughts of sadness and
disquiet with forceful expiration. Do it ten times. You will always remain sweet and joyous. You will enjoy sweets of meditation on the inner Self-God and the Vedic thought. Those coming in contact with you too will become joyful because they will get the joy of devotional Love.

Deepavali Sandesh

You should light lamps on Deepavali and also look after you neighbours. Do light 2-4 lamps in his house also. Distribute clothes and sweets among their children also. Greet even the lowest of low affectionately, and forget your pride. As a mango tree bows when it fruits with mangoes and an acacia tree becomes laden with thorns when it fruits. One who has Dharma (righteousness) and Sanskaras (good tendencies) in his
life becomes full of virtues like humility, simplicity, tolerance, generosity etc. and one who resorts to  unrighteousness, and evil tendencies, troubles others by egotism and remains laden with the thorns of vices in his life.

How to begin Nutan Varsh (New Year)

Day after Deepavali is celebrated as first day of the Hindu calendar. The person who remains happy on this day remains happy throughout the next year. The one who
remains unhappy, remains unhappy throughout the next year.

“It is considered good and meritorious to have darshan of saints and great men, and to look at auspicious things like Sun god, idols of gods, cow, fire, guru, swan,
peacock, jay, cow with calf, Pipal tree, lighted lamp, gold, basil, clarified butter, curd, honey, water filled pot, camphor,
silver, Kusha grass, cow’s urine and dung and milk, cow dust, cowshed, Durva grass, unbroken rice etc. on Deepavali day and on New Year Day.”     (Chapter 76, Shrikrishna Janma Khanda, Brahma Vaivarta Purana)

One should contemplate sitting on the bed after getting up in the morning on New Year’s day: “Bliss personified Supreme Self is my own Self. He is my friend, my
supreme well-wisher, ‘Aum Aum Ananda Aum… Aum Aum Madhurya Aum’. The New Year begins and one year of my life will elapse when the Deepavali will come. My life span is decreasing. Before my life span expires, let my ignorance expire, O Knowledge-Giver Lord! Let my sorrow perish, let my worries crumble. O
Consciousness personified Lord, one who develops attachment to the world increases his sorrows, worries and ignorance whereas one who loves Thee attains more joy, peace, and happiness. O Lord Your real nature is known only to You. Howsoever I am, I am Yours. Aum Aum Aum…’

Then sit calmly on bed, see your palms and recite:

Karaagre vasate lakshmih karamadhye saraswati | Karamoole tu Govindah Prabhaate karadarshanam ||

Then move your hand on your face. Then see which nostril is flowing. If the left is flowing put the left foot first and if the right nostril is flowing put the right foot first on the floor.

Think on this day, “How much time did I waste in thinking and doing actions which bring me down from the greatness of
human being?” Now I will not give time to such actions and thoughts but give time to such actions and thoughts that elevate the human life. That is Satsang, chanting of
divine name, remaining equal in pains and pleasures, witness attitude, etc. I shall
devote more time to them. I shall live in the light of Self. I shall visualize Omkara, light or the form of God on my Ajna Chakra (the eye of Shiva) for five minutes after getting up in morning every day.”

Bhai Dooj

This is the fifth day of the bunch of
festivals. On this day the sister applies Tilak on her brother’s forehead, with the wish that her brother becomes (Trilochana). He opens the third eye of discrimination.

On this day if brother takes food at his sister’s house and she applies Tilak on his forehead, he shall become Trilochana,
intelligent and he will not be caught in the rope cast by Yama (the god of death). The Bhaidooj elevates us mentally and protects us by mutual good resolves. 

 

October 2014 – Rishi Prasad