Dhanteras, Diwali Festival and its spiritual and astrological meanings
By Krishna Wiuker

Version en espanol

This upcoming Amavasya or new moon in sidereal Libra, this October 30th 2016, is a very special day, a very auspicious and meaningful Hindu holyday and festival called Diwali or Dipavali, the festival of light.

Diwali or Dipavali literally means a row of lights, and it has being associated with important events like the marriage of Lakshmi with Vishnu, with Krishna killing the demon Narakasura and with Lord Rama returning victorious after killing demon Ravana to his natal city, Ayodhya.

All those allegories have something in common and a powerful message: Even at the moments of greatest darkness, the light always triumphs and removes all ignorance and suffering
Astrologically, the day of Diwali is the darkest day of the year.
Why? Because the Sun is in its constellation of debilitation (sidereal libra) and the moon is in total darkness (just before the new moon), so it doesn’t reflect any light from the Sun towards the earth.

The darkness and weakness of the sun and the moon at this time tends to have a darkening effect on the mind and emotions.
But Diwali is a reminder that the light of the Atman, the innermost Self, The Divine within, is beyond the mind, beyond the body, beyond the emotions and beyond the effect of the Sun or the moon and it always prevails, even at the time of maximum external darkness.

Puranic literature talks about a time of great universal darkness when a demon called Narakasura, in his thirst for power, managed to conquer and submit the whole world, even the heavens, where the Devas (beings of light) became powerless and oppressed by him.
Not satisfied with his lordship over the whole world, he assaulted and kidnaped all woman and forced them to be part of his harem.
He even assaulted Adidti, the mother of the Devas, to posses her extremely precious earrings. That humiliated everyone.
But at that time of greatest darkness, Sri Krishna, the incarnation of the Paramatman, slayed the demon, bringing back the light and dharma to the universe and the power to the Devas.
Narakasura is also representing the internal demon who assaults our mind, filling if with negative thoughts, the ignorant or lower mind, the one attached to power and materialism. This darker side of the mind is to be re-conquered by the meditation and realization of the Atman and the Divine light within, the real Master of the mind.

The story of Rama depicts the same situation, when powerful Demon Ravana kidnaped Rama’s wife Sita and took her to his abode. Sita also represents Lakshmi, the supreme light, the goddess, universal mother, all the good qualities of the mind, in whose absence there can only be darkness.
After a painful time in exile from home, finally Rama kills the demon and rescues Sita, returning home to Ayodhya with her.
So again this story tells about the defeat of darkness, the recovering of the light and the return to our own dwelling, the innermost cave of our heart, or Atman.

The marriage of Vishnu and Lakshmi also represents the union of the Jivatman or individual Soul with the Paramatman or divine Soul. The two merging in a marital embrace represents the purest and highest devotional love which destroys all forms of pain and darkness

The festival of Diwali actually starts today on the 13th moon day (tryodasi) of the dark fortnight which is the celebration of the birth of Dhanwantari, a manifestation of Vishnu which is the master of Ayurveda and all healing sciences. He came up from the churning of the cosmic ocean, with the pot of Nectar or “Amrit” in his hands.
It is considered as a very auspicious day and highly celebrated in the indian tradition.
Also Lakshmi, the divine female principle, the divine mother in her pure benign form, who bestows prosperity and all good qualities is worshiped and celebrated on this day.

Following is a writing by Swami Sivananda about the deepest meaning of Diwali, excerpt from his book “Hindu fasts and festivals”

“O Ram! The light of lights, the self-luminous inner light of the Self is ever shining steadily in the chamber of your heart. Sit quietly. Close your eyes. Withdraw the senses. Fix the mind on this supreme light and enjoy the real Dipavali, by attaining illumination of the soul.

He who Himself sees all but whom no one beholds, who illumines the intellect, the sun, the moon and the stars and the whole universe but whom they cannot illumine, He indeed is Brahman, He is the inner Self. Celebrate the real Dipavali by living in Brahman, and enjoy the eternal bliss of the soul.
The sun does not shine there, nor do the moon and the stars, nor do lightning shine and much less fire. All the lights of the world cannot be compared even to a ray of the inner light of the Self. Merge yourself in this light of lights and enjoy the supreme Dipavali.

Many Dipavali festivals have come and gone. Yet the hearts of the vast majority are as dark as the night of the new moon. The house is lit with lamps, but the heart is full of the darkness of ignorance. O man! wake up from the slumber of ignorance. Realize the constant and eternal light of the Soul which neither rises nor sets, through meditation and deep enquiry.

May you all attain full inner illumination! May the supreme light of lights enlighten your understanding! May you all attain the inexhaustible spiritual wealth of the Self! May you all prosper gloriously on the material as well as spiritual planes!”
Swami Sivananda



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