Diwali is known as the festival of light; it also known as ‘Dīpāvalī’, which means ‘a row of lights’. It is named for the occasion of Śri Rāma’s return after 14 years of exile, when the citizens lit rows of lamps outside their homes and in the streets to welcome him back.
We are currently exiled, each of us, from our own Self. We are in the forest of ignorance, seeking happiness from the world of experiences. We can return to ourselves by cultivating a mind free from prejudice and clear knowledge free from doubt. Thereafter, there can be no conflict.
In Hinduism, light symbolises knowledge and darkness, ignorance. It is said that knowledge gives humility (vidyā dadāti vinayaṁ); if it does not, it cannot be called knowledge. Knowledge is the nature of that which is True and Real (satyam jñānam anantam brahma). How do we know when we have knowledge? A wise person is one who does not continuously grieve (na anuśocanti paṇḍitāḥ).
Any festival is an opportunity not only to enjoy the company of family and friends, to enjoy special food and celebrations; it is also an opportunity to look inward and recognise the symbolic meaning of the festival in our own life.
At a time when the nights are becoming longer, the days are becoming shorter and darkness seems to overwhelm the light, let us kindle the light of knowledge within ourselves. Let us offer service to the people around us; let us extend the hand of friendship and be compassionate. Let us gain a true understanding of ourselves and the world around us. Let us develop love for all beings.
Wishing you a very happy Dīpāvalī, filled with the light of love and wisdom.
Brahmacharini Shripriya Chaitanya