|Diwali Celebrations 2013|
Last night, at Shree Peetha Nilaya, the abode of Goddess Mahalakshmi we celebrated Diwali, which marks the culmination of three consecutive nights of prayers dedicated to Mahalakshmi.
|Mahalakshmi murti at the main entrance of Shree Peetha Nilaya|
The word ‘Diwali’ is an abbreviation from ‘Deepavali’ which means ‘row of lights’, because the central tradition of this festival in itself is the lighting of oil lamps or candles.
|Lighting clay lamps during Diwali celebrations 2013|
|Rangoli decorations outside of Shree Peetha Nilaya's main entrance during Diwali celebration 2014|
|Rangoli decorations at Shree Peetha Nilaya's main entrance during Diwali celebration 2014|
|Mahalakshmi's footprints in the main entrance of Shree Peetha Nilaya during Diwali celebration 2014|
At Shree Peetha Nilaya, by the end of this third night of prayers, the main festive aspect of Diwali celebrations is revealed with the lighting of candles and lamps: everyone is giving an opportunity to light a candle or a lamp and spread it symbolically by displaying it outside of the centre's main entrance.
|Lighting candles and lamps during Diwali celebrations 2014|
|Puja to Mahalakshmi Kubera during Diwali celebrations 2013|
Lighting of the Inner Light
|Lighting a candle during Diwali celebrations 2014|
“Diwali is the festival of light. The festival of light, why? It is because when Rama killed Ravana and was returning to his kingdom in Ayodhya, the people celebrated by lighting little lamps, showing that light vanquishes the darkness. It is also to remind us of our inner light. Mankind likes to dwell in the darkness of the mind and they like to hang on that. They forget that deeper, inside their heart, there is also the light. Diwali is when people light the light, the inner light, reminding themselves that, yes, the altar light is one thing but the most important is to light the inner light and let it shine. When you start to light from inside, when your heart starts to beam with the light of Love, it attracts more than positivity; it attracts the Lord Himself. When you attract the Lord Himself, you can just surrender. This is what Diwali means – to awaken the inner light and let it shine.” (JL3, p. 336)
Symbolism of the clay lamp
|Sri Swami Vishwananda lighting a clay lamp during Diwali celebrations 2013|
“A clay lamp is very symbolic, actually. With the symbol of a clay lamp we say, ‘God, you are the Light, but we are the batti – the thread.’ This is the connection that we have with the Divine. The clay lamp is our body and symbolises that this body is just dust and dust it shall be. And inside is the light burning, is the Love burning inside of you. So rise, make your intellect be illuminated by the Grace of God, by the Grace of the Divine Mother, so that in this life, you can take the opportunity and realise your Self. Realise where you come from, realise who you are in reality, realise your work, your mission and realise where you are going, what your real duty in life is. Let this light shine through you. Become a messenger of this Love, become a messenger of the Divine – not just limiting yourselves, being what your mind perceives you to be. That’s also why we light this lamp.” (Sri Swami Vishwananda youtube channel)
Dharmic example of Lord Rama
|Ram Navami celebrations 2012|
“You see, to love God is not an easy task, it’s true – but it’s not impossible. On that way there are lots of tests that He puts you to. There are lots of challenges that He puts you through. But actually, these tests and challenges are just to make you stronger if you are surrendered. But if you are not surrendered, you will fall. You will break. This choice is up to you. You have to ask yourself what you really want. It is not wrong to want the world, but you will gain the world. Same thing – whatever you wish deeply inside of you, She will fulfill it. She will happily give you what you want, until at last you ask Her for what you have really come here for. So, this Diwali, pray to Goddess Lakshmi in the form of Parashakti, the Shakti which pervades everything, that She in Her motherly Love, carries you, handles you, and looks after you.” (JL3 p. 366)