At the outset, I wish the valued readers a very happy Deepawali and a prosperous life during the year ahead. As the legend runs, Lord Shri Ram scored victory over demon king Ravana on 10th lunar day of Ashwin Shuklapaksha, now termed as Vijaya Dashmi, and freed Sita from latter’s captivity. He returned to Ayodhya on Kartika Krishnapaksha Amavasya. People of Ayodha decorated the whole city with earthen lamps to greet Lord Shri Ram and his party. A new phase began in Shri Ram’s life as the king of Ayodhya, leaving the past behind. One may question historical authenticity of the legend, but their educative import can’t be ignored.
Ancient India’s seers had realised that life doesn’t have an easy go, as it is full of challenges. We need to take charge of ourselves and intelligently combat them. As the story line runs, Shri Ram fought Ravana with the help of monkey clan. It is interesting to note here that human mind habitually flirting with innumerable thoughts playing from within, is comparable to a wild monkey randomly hopping from one branch of a tree to the other. Lacking focus, thus, mind fails to come out with its wholesome powers. That calls for reining in the monkey-mind and focus it towards the desired destination to ensure success.
The seers also realised that human beings, applying their innovative mind, can combat all odds coming their way, as they illumine the darkest night of the year by man-made earthen lamps. Remember, on Deepawali day, the solar intensity available in India is at its lowest ebb, as the Sun, the prime illuminator, traversing the Southern hemisphere reaches the Western horizon. Whereas, India is located towards Eastern horizon in the Northern hemisphere. Being Amavasya, the Sun fully engulfs the Moon as well, which is supposed to light up the night sky. This incidentally is marked with the beginning of a new productive cycle of agricultural produce. The mind, however, would be at its creative best only when it is freed of all its habit tendencies and clutters. Following which, full landscape of mind becomes accessible, which would know no limits.
It also dawned upon the seers that in this ever-changing living world, the dynamics of every emerging moment, and thereby its callings, is at variance with the past. The future is yet to emerge, and therefore uncertain. So, seen in practical terms, every moment is a new beginning. The seed that you plant this moment and sincerely nurture it, is what eventually grows into a full-fledged fruit bearing tree. The paradox, however, is that invariably stuck to their past beliefs and perceptions, people resist change, as they are unsure about anything new happening. But at the same time keep speculating on future prospects. In the process, the callings of the present moment, over which future takes off gets compromised, and with obvious consequences. And when we are left behind in the run of time, we prefer shifting the blame on destiny.
In order to be reminded about the essentials of life at regular periodic interval, vital to a healthy living and optimisation of our productive abilities, our learned masters introduced these festivities. Purposely, so as to be well geared up to take on the callings of emerging times in all strength with ease. Much before Deepawali, the believers begin cleaning and sprucing up their houses, workstations, and the adjoining areas. The emphasis is on sanitation to ensure a healthy living environment and a positive work atmosphere. Mark the timing. As winter sets in, due to low solar intensity, the atmosphere becomes susceptible to increased bacterial growth, thus, making us vulnerable to quick infection.
During Deepawali, our primary focus is on Mother Goddess Laxmi, the goddess personified with sampada (wealth), which encompasses physical prowess, productive abilities, as well as worldly wisdom. Having already worked upon physical prowess during the Navratra, this time, we begin the prayer regime with worship of vighna vinashaka (the remover of obstacles) Ganapati. For, He is the god personified with worldly wisdom, which alone could lead us to intelligently negotiate the challenges coming our way and do justice to fresh opportunities available. Having thus geared up our internal resources, we earnestly offer our prayers to Laxmi, seeking thy boon. It is not important whether a Goddess exists in the higher realms who would be selectively granting boons in response to our prayer. It goes without saying that if you are well geared up from within, and heartily put in your whole towards the desired destination, success becomes more probable.