Letting the light shine in your life can literally have positive, transformative effects. And now is the perfect time to look on the brighter side. This week, we celebrate Diwali – the “festival of lights” – a five-day Indian holiday that occurs between mid-October and mid-November each year.
There is enormous astrological significance to the days of Diwali. It begins two days before the New Moon and ends two days after. It’s generally a celebration of the victory of light over darkness and this is exactly what is happening in the sky at that time.
These are the five days when the Moon is first descending into, and then ascending from, the darkness. When the Moon is in this state of obscurity, our mind is most susceptible to negative influences and difficulties.
The word “Diwali” literally means “row of lights” or “row of lamps.” This holiday is celebrated all over the world. In northern India, and in general, Diwali celebrates the triumphant return of Lord Rama after he defeated the demon king, Ravana, and brought his wife back home after the evil king kidnapped her. This battle took place thousands of years ago and was immortalized in the Indian epic tale “The Ramayana.”
Diwali’s deeper meaning is the triumph of good over evil. It’s widely considered the Indian new year. In modern times, Indians all over the world celebrate this day by wearing new clothes, sharing food with friends, and other types of merriment with a focus on warm, glowing light. Many businesses begin their financial new year on Diwali.
Diwali encourages us to make new beginnings. Once we destroy the darkness – or negative aspects – of our pasts, a new light of inspiration is awakened within.
Light is an internal symbol of hope, elimination of evil, and consciousness. There are many references to this day in spiritual traditions as well. This holiday is associated with enlightenment and spiritual growth for that reason.
The great Jain spiritual leader Mahavir supposedly attained his enlightenment on Diwali, extinguishing the final pockets of darkness in his own mind.
In Eastern thinking a key goal in life is to merge with the truthful, God-conscious identity within us. The great spiritual leaders like Lord Rama and Lord Krishna have known the true nature of the Self and identify themselves as that godlike consciousness.
You, too, can have a spiritual awakening fed by the light. Instead of simply chasing material pleasures and the general state of happiness, Diwali encourages us to go within and find our truthful, inner light. There is no need to try to push away the darkness – we only need to find the light and let it radiate. The appearance of light automatically removes darkness. This is the spiritual meaning of Diwali and the epic Indian tales.
Outer struggles of life are necessary to illuminate inner peace – a truth in which we are always established. This is a time of year when we can reestablish ourselves in truth and light. Happy Diwali!