The child who lifts his or her fists in the cradle, apparently has not brought any of the legacies to this world, but as one grows up, one’s glorious or inglorious existence of the past depending on the deeds is revealed. A human being, a defenseless creature, is born without any knowledge of the supreme, but with age the realization comes to the mind that there is someone behind this mundane world who controls all forms of life and in whose hand human is nothing but a puppet, one who plays one’s role on the stage of the world in accordance with the wishes of the Supreme.
Nothing satisfies a person except their own search in the absolute stillness of their being where the soul and mind dive into the region beyond the limits of their fate and fortune.
According to Pauranic scriptures, on the night of the new moon, when Dipawali is celebrated, the Goddess of Prosperity, Maa Lakshmi, descends on earth and visits everyone’s home to find the ones worthy of having the priviledge to provide Her with shelter. How does Lakshmi decide which is the right place for Her to stay? According to the Pauranic scriptures, the Goddess says: “I live in the house of those who are good in moral appearance, who have good character and are wise in their actions, those who are always ready to fulfill their duties, those who never misuse their energy on anger, those who have faith in God, are grateful and have control over their senses, those who follow the path of righteousness carefully and serve the elders and gurus with devotion, those who have full control over themselves in all kinds of circumstances and are confident, those who have the forgiveness in their hearts and have the passion to help others.”
According to the scriptures, the Goddess says: “I love those women who care for their family’s unity and who have character and discipline.”
If one tries to understand logically the reason behind the celebration of Dipawali, one is confronted with many questions. For one, why is Dipawali celebrated in Kartika Amabasya, or why is the Goddess of Prosperity worshipped on dark and deathly nights, or why people paint and colour their homes to brighten them up just to celebrate this day. The following is my understanding of the reasons for Dipawali’s rituals.
Kartika is the month when the sun which represents the soul, is considered debilitated in the sign of Libra and thus becomes powerless. The moon represents our mind. Particularly on the new moon day, the human mind becomes powerless because it is under the shadow of the soul. Before the beginning of amabasya, a feeling of restlessness grips people which grows by leaps and bounds culminating in a deep discomfiture and uneasiness on the new moon day when darkness envelops the earth. People clean and paint their homes, place lights in every single room, to remove the darkness and to get rid of their fidgety feelings and their depression. We buy new clothes, prepare sweets and invite friends- all with the sole purpose of getting back their peace of mind which seems to have deserted them.
Since there is darkness within us as well as around us, Dipawali is also the time when people are at their unpredictable best. Without rhyme or reason, they will be just as likely to laugh as they will to cry. It is all due to our crossing paths with the new moon.
The deep faith of Hindus can be seen in their surrender to God during this time of great mental unrest, when they realize that there is no other consolation. Finally, on the night of amabasya, the devotee meditates upon the seed of peace. He sees water flowing across his mind, and the clear reflection of a white lotus on the water’s face. The lotus signifies the purest flower that can be offered to God for His seat (asan.) Let us look at the character of the lotus: Promiscuous black bees travel from flower to flower. They gather pollen and leave behind the seeds of procreation. Yet when they arrive at the lotus, she denies them her pollen. Reminding them that her chastity should be preserved so that she may be offered to the Gods. Should the bee turn out to be an unbeliever, it will find itself trapped within the lotus until it finally perishes. As the meditation continues, a female in the form of a mother appears on the lotus with a smile on her face. She is surrounded by a golden aura. She is Maha Lakshmi.
We can assume that the female form signifies a safe and warm shelter. Whereas the male form might suggest a atern father. This is just the case when young children are upset. They need a female form to feel safe again.
In the meditation, the smiling Lakshmi gives courage to Her restless children. She shows them the path to tranquility, away from the restlessness of amabasya. She shows them her four hands. The first hand (lower right) has all five fingers joined together and there is the sacred swastik on the palm. The swastik symbolizes nobleness of character. The enjoined five fingers signify that all five senses are under control. In the upper right hand, Maa Lakshmi is holding a red lotus. The flower again represents character, and the colour represents materialism and warmth of sentiment. The interpretation can be that we are reminded that even in material aspects we must maintain the character of a lotus. Only then can the five senses come under control.
The lower left hand of Maa Lakshmi is releasing the eternal river of wealth. This signifies that we must release the material world from our minds. This can only happen when the heart is pure.
In Her last hand, Lakshmi holds a pitcher that symbolizes true wealth and prosperity, not the material sort that most believers mistakenly expect from the Great Mother on this auspicious day. Hindus erroniously believe that we perform Lakshmi puja to receive material wealth. Many of the nights of Dipawali are spent gambling, in the opes of inspiring Maa Lakshmi’s generosity. This must be far from the truth, She must surely be leery of and tire from those of us who simply crave Her presence for the sake of material gains.
The wealth and prosperity that we associate with the Goddess Lakshmi is supposed to be the evolution of the soul, mind, character, and therefore behaviour. On Kartika Amabasya, Lakshmi forearms Her devotees with the advise to leave the path of worldly comforts and pleasures and to move towards the paths of purity, generosity, and compassion.
Happy Dipawali to all of you!