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Legend Swamiji's Discourse

Date: Celebrated 20 days after Dasara, on the 13th day of the dark fortnight of the month of Ashwin (October - November)

Legend: Deepawali or Diwali, the most pan-Indian of all Hindu festivals, is a festival of lights symbolizing the victory of righteousness and the lifting of spiritual darkness. The word Deepawali literally means rows of Diyas (clay lamps).

"Deepavali has to be observed as the day for getting rid of all bad qualities in us, symbolized by the demon Narakasura. The 16,000 gopikas, who were freed by Krishna from the prison of Narakasura on that day, represent the imprisoned good qualities in us. They should be manifested effulgently. This is the inner significance of this festival. As long as the demonic qualities remain in man, he will be immersed in darkness. Bad qualities and thoughts have to be got rid of altogether.

This Amavasya day is the day of liberation for the gopikas. It is a moonless day, when the night is utterly dark. The gopikas prayed that as on that day they had got the light of freedom, it should be marked by illuminations, which would make everyone rejoice as on a full moon night. It is for this reason that the day, which is a New Moon day, is illuminated by lamps and fireworks and turned into a Full Moon night.

If you want to light a lamp, you need four things. First: a container, second: oil, third: a wick, fourth: a matchbox. If any one of these is lacking, you cannot light the lamp. This lamp however can only remove the outer darkness. How is the darkness in the heart to be removed? It can only be removed by the Light of Wisdom (Jnana Jyoti) and by nothing else. How is this Light of Wisdom, this spiritual light, to be lit? This also needs four elements. Vairaagya (detachment or renunciation) is the container. Bhakti (Devotion) is the oil. Ekaagrataa (one pointed concentration) is the wick. Knowledge of the Supreme Truth is the matchstick. Without all the four, the Light of Spiritual Wisdom cannot be got."

Discourse: Prashanthi Nilayam, Nov 9, 1988

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