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Report: Deepavali

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Divine Life Society of South Africa hosted a Deepavali Satsang at Sivanandashram, Reservoir Hills on Sunday, 12 November 2023. Ganga Arati commenced at 4pm followed by Satsang. The programme comprised Kirtans, Bhajans and a reading entitled, "The Indestructible Divine Seed" by Sri Swami Sivananda. Excerpts from the reading are captured below, and aptly capture the significance of this auspicious festival.

"Light, light, dazzling light everywhere! May our obeisance be to the Light of Lights, Brahman or God!

"Deepavali is one of the numerous celebrations to which we are heir and which takes us at once back to the thought of our Godhead. This particular festival has a deep significance in several directions.

"I have myself always been a staunch advocate of early rising. Waking up at Brahmamuhurta (about 4am) is a great blessing from the standpoint of health, ethical discipline, efficiency in work and spiritual advancement. It is on Deepavali day that everyone wakes up early in the morning. The sages who instituted this custom must have cherished the hope that their descendants would realise its benefits and make it a regular daily habit".

Referring to Deepavali as an occasion that fosters charity and benevolence, the Master says, "Everyone wears new clothes. Often, for the poor, this is the only new cloth for the year. Masters present new clothes to their servants. Those who can afford, distribute clothes freely to the poor and the needy. Charity, especially in the matter of distribution of clothes, is freely resorted to: the heart expands. Here, again, the Rishis have hidden a divine seed which, given the favourable circumstances, would sprout forth into an all-pervading tree of universal love and charity.

"In a happy mood of great rejoicing, the village folk move about freely and mix with one another without reserve. All enmity is buried deep under the earth. People embrace each other in fond love. Deepavali is a great unifying factor. Those with keen "inner ears" will clearly hear the Ancients' Voice: "Children of God! Unite! Love all". The vibrations produced by the greetings of love which fill the atmosphere are powerful enough to bring about a change of heart in every man and woman in the world. Alas! This heart has considerably hardened and only a continuous celebration of Deepavali can re-awaken humanity to the urgent need of turning away from the path of ruin".

The Master says that Deepavali is just a reminder of Rama Rajya, which is within us. He explains, "In our Rama Rajya (which is brought to our mind's eye by Deepavali) there will be a complete absence of hatred, ill-will or self-aggrandisement. People's hearts will be filled with thoughts of love, charity and selfless service. When these come to stay in the Indian heart, I call that a perpetual celebration of Deepavali! India alone can do it at the present time. For, it is in her soil alone that this seed has been left unscorched".

Sri Swami Sivananda says that on Deepavali day, Sri Lakshmi, the Goddess of all auspicious qualities, is also worshipped. He says, "All the Daivi Sampatti (Divine, virtuous qualities) have their origin in Her alone. She is the source of peace, love and joy. She is the Mother of all, who preserves and protects everyone. On Deepavali day, Goddess Lakshmi is invoked and the devotee prays to Her to bestow all Her choicest blessings in the form of peace and goodwill. He surrenders himself at Her Lotus Feet and seeks Her protection. He gives up the little ego and drinks the nectar of wisdom and love that drips from the Lotuses She holds in Her hands. Lakshmi alone can root out the evil qualities that lurk in man's lower self. O man! Invite Her to occupy the lotus of your heart on this great day so that She can awaken in you the latent powers of love and joy!"

The significance of light is also exemplified by the Master. He explains that the external, physical light is intended to remind us that our essential nature is Light - that the Atman, one's own real Self, is the Light of all lights, and that Light lends luminosity to countless suns, moons and stars in the infinite universe. He further explains that it is ignorance that produces a semblance of darkness.

Let us imbibe and internalise the Master's profound meaning of Deepavali, and translate the external celebrations into internal, self-transformative spiritual awakenings. Sri Swami Sivananda urges: "O man! Awake! Arise! It is Brahmamuhurta now. Sing the Names of the Lord. Worship Goddess Lakshmi, the abode of all virtues. Love all. Be charitable. Turn over a new leaf in the book of your life. Light the lamp of wisdom in your heart and dispel the darkness of ignorance or the perception of name and form! Behold now the Light of Lights – the Atman within yourself"!

Last modified on Sunday, 19 November 2023 08:06
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