From Sahaja Yoga Encyclopedia
Ravi Varma-Lakshmi.jpg
The Rangoli of Lights.jpg

Here we are here, all of us, to celebrate a four-day festival called as Diwali. Diwali comes from the word 'dipali'. In Sanskrit, the word 'deepa' means 'the light', and 'ali' means the 'line', the 'rows'. Now, there are many things that have happened during these four days, and that's how it is celebrated with such great enthusiasm.

The first thing is the day of the Lakshmi's birth; that is the thirteenth day of the moon: teras they call it. It is the real day when Lakshmi was born out of the sea; that's why She is called as Miriam or Marìam. The word 'Marie' or 'Marine' also comes from the word 'sea'. So, She's born out of the sea, is created out of the sea. And the wealth of the sea, so far, thank God, human beings have not yet exploited, but they may one day start doing that also. (...)

Then there is, after this day when they worship the first day is, they say that, that is the day when Diwali was celebrated when Rama was made the king. He killed Ravana on Dashera, and on this day that Rama was crowned, and that's why they celebrated.

Now, Rama is the person – at that time when He's crowned – He represents the benevolent King, and the benevolence of a king is being crowned, so that's why they celebrate Diwali.

But we have a special significance of Diwali, it's a very special significance, I think, that the light that we see here, you will see, always goes upward.

Fire is the element that always goes upward, it's always against the gravity, and it is against all that pulls you down.

And the light of the Spirit is also like that; it always takes you upward. And the person who is a Realized soul is called as an enlightened person because he has the light. And the light has the capacity to give you a full idea, to see what is what, to relate to each other, to find out the distances, and the differences, and to discriminate. So the light represents discrimination. And when you are enlightened, the Spirit is enlightened, in the sense, Spirit is the light, but which starts expressing itself in the atmosphere, manifesting in the attention of yours. Now, what we have done in Sahaja Yoga is nothing but is Diwali.

First one light was enlightened, then that light enlightened another light, and now we have so many lights. This is the Diwali that I have, I enjoy this Diwali than anything else. (...)

Fourteenth day is a horrible thing, which I do not want to tell you much about because that is the day the Goddess had to fight all the horrible rakshasas. So I don't want to talk about it much because you know all that; that is the fourteenth day.

Then the fifteenth day is the day when the moon is absolutely missing from the thing; it's absolute darkness, where you put these lights to suggest that: 'there are lights; now let Lakshmi come within us.

So there is no spot that should be left which is dark. So everywhere the Lakshmi resides, and give us the glory of Her blessings.'

Then it is the night when you have the dark night, as you call it, amavasya. Then the first night after that is the first moon that the, you say the – What? The waning moon?

Yogi: New Moon.

Shri Mataji: New Moon. The New Moon comes up; the first day is the day when the New Year starts for Shalivahana. As you know, Shalivahanas are My ancestors, or whatever you call it; think Dynasty; that is the day.

That day, they take a shawl, shawl of the Mother, like this, and put this water carrier on top, to suggest the Aquarius time. You see, the Aquarius time has started according to them; they put that on top of that, and put it, like a flag, on top of their houses to suggest now the Aquarius time is there.

With the Mother's shawl they make the flag and on top of the flag is the water carrier, is put upside down to suggest that the Aquarius time has started, that the time of Kundalini has started, and that this awakening has to take place.

That's the first day of the year they start. Then after that, the second day is – so it is five days actually; but why I said four-day celebration because one day is a horrid day in between.

But also there's a celebration because, after killing all these rakshasas, there were Diwali.

Many-a-times you see these things happen, and every time She killed all these rakshasas they celebrated it by putting lights all around.

So after that is the second day, is very important, which is here, is the brother and sister special day, where the sister invites the brother to her house for food. And if he is a small boy she will give him a bath; even if he is a big boy he sits with all his clothes on and she will throw water on him and puts something very fragrant things on his body and gives him a bath nicely and gives him protection. It's a purity of relationship between a sister and a brother.

And then the brother gives her something as a present at that time. He may give anything; it's just symbolic. The love and affection of a brother and sister are expressed at that time; this is very important. And then the sister, you see, actually gives him a bandhan, with actual light, which we call as the aarti they do for the brother. And that's how they try to give a big protection to their brother. So this is the day of the – they call it in Marathi Bhau-bij or Bhaiya-dwij; or that is the Dwitya, the second day of the moon.

Now it has significance because it is very important that our relationship as a brother and a sister must be strengthened, must be purified, must be looked after. (1982-11-14)

The meaning of Diwali itself is that the way the lamps are lit outside, you too should be lit within- enlightened. In this dark world, you see, you are the lights, you are the lamps, and you have to give the light. But if you are not internally enlightened enough then how can you give out the light? Realise this. So first of all, you Sahaja Yogis should get properly enlightened internally and maybe it is for this purpose alone that we have come into this world. (2007-11-10)

The significance of Diwali is spread out in about five days, and they are all together somehow, these five days are all put together. So they have different aspects, but in every aspect there's one common point is that the Goddess plays the main role. Now the first day is the worship of the housewife where you have to buy some sort of a utensil for the kitchen or for the use of the wife or could be a present for the wife but is said that woman must be respected, but they should be respectable. If they are not respectable how can they be respected? (...)

On a Diwali day (...) I'll try to tell you about the Lakshmi, the symbol of Lakshmi. Shri Lakshmi is the symbol of the completeness of womanhood, she brings wealth, prosperity, auspiciousness, she brings in understanding, generosity, peace and joy, she is the giver of all the blessings. The symbol of Lakshmi is that she stands on the lotus which is pink in color. Pink color is the warmth of her Motherhood. In India, even a small girl is called as Mother. So in the various aspects of Lakshmi, the symbol is that first, she is a very warm person, also in one hand she has the lotus which is also pink in color, that also suggestive of her warmth. (1992-10-25)

Diwali word comes from two words: 'dipa' and 'awali'. Dipa means, you know, lights, and awali means rows, rows, and rows of lights. It seems it's a very, very ancient idea and all over in the world, you see, whenever they have to celebrate something, then they put lights. And lights because light gives joy, gives happiness. So to overcome the darkness of ignorance also we have to enlighten ourselves. And that is why is important that everybody should get Self-realization to feel the light within themselves. And you must have noticed that after realization the eyes also sparkle. There's light in the eyes of every Sahaja yogi.

Today is the day when we worship the Lakshmi, Lakshmi principle, which is in our Nabhi. Lakshmi principle that is understood, I've told you many a time, described Lakshmi to you that She stands on a lotus and She has two lotuses in Her hands. That means She's so benevolent, so kind that She doesn't pressurize anyone. But normally you don't find that. Anybody who has money, he'll just try to pressurize or try to push down. Even in Sahaja Yoga, I've seen people like that. If they are little better off, they try to push people, organize them, to control them as if they think this is a power they have got out of the money that they have.

But She Herself stands on a lotus – that means on the beauty. The beauty of Her being is shown that She doesn't trouble anyone, She can stand on a flower. So the first thing, those who have to worship Lakshmi have to remember one thing that they are not to pressurize anyone, to push anyone, to control anyone or destroy. But She with Her feet on the lotuses nourishes the lotus.

In Her two hands, She has got lotuses. Lotus is a sign of beauty and they being pink, is love. So what does it symbolize? That a person who has Lakshmi, who has money, who has wealth should be extremely generous, like a lotus which allows a horrible gnat-like, black, porky, poking type, little beetle also to come into it and to sleep. And She provides in the lotus a beautiful bed of comfort to such a person. He is black, he's got thorns in it, but he's coming to rest, surrendered. And then She covers it with Her petals and makes it comfortable and protected. (1990-10-21)

It's a great day today for the whole world that we are celebrating this Diwali Puja in America. It's very important. Here, where people have been able to earn money, to have lots of money sometimes, and are also people who are ruined completely because of money.

When we talk of Diwali we should understand that – why on a Diwali day we have all these lights? What is the combination of lights and the Lakshmi who was born in the water, who stands in the water? Why is this combination there? She was standing in the water, as we know, a symbol of prosperity; that is built in the human awareness that he can prosper. Animals don't prosper. They all have their maryadas; trees have their maryadas. Only the human being can prosper. But if they have no sense of their own maryadas then there's very ruinous and ruinous for the whole world.

So the lights are there that all the people who have Lakshmi's blessings must enlighten themselves, must have lights, and they should enlighten others also. But actually, as soon as they get the Lakshmi, so-called, they become absolutely blind, and they forget what is behind the blessings of the Lakshmi.

First of all, as we see, how this symbol of Lakshmi represents, I have told you before also, that a person who has Lakshmi should be very generous. [With] one hand she's giving to others. A person who is miserly with Lakshmi is absolutely against the principle of Lakshmi. And such a miserly person never can enjoy the blessings, and gradually he starts becoming poorer and poorer. When you start giving with the left hand, that means you have opened the door for your Lakshmi to come in.

Then comes the grace of Lakshmi on you. And this grace of Lakshmi also has another aspect, that you must give protection. Those who are people with money should protect like this. Protect whom? Protect the people who are in trouble, people who are having lots of cruelty on them, orphaned children who need your help. All these should be looked into, and the protection of the people who are dependent on you. So this has to be done with the right hand. That's the symbol of Lakshmi.

And there are two hands up there, which you have seen, with the pink colored lotus. Pink color lotus suggests that you must have love in your heart. Pink is the symbol of love and compassion.

As I've told you before also, a person who has Lakshmi should have a house where everybody's invited. Like the lotus invites all the insects, even the beetles who have got lots of thorns, and the beetle comes and sleeps the whole night very comfortably, and the lotus closes its petals so that the beetle has no trouble, be comfortable. So these houses must accept guests, any kind they are, and they should be treated very well, just like as if the Gods have come into your house. (2000-10-29)

From Wikipedia

Diwali or Deepavali is the Hindu festival of lights celebrated every year in autumn in the northern hemisphere (spring in the southern hemisphere). One of the major festivals of Hinduism, it spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and hope over despair. Its celebration includes millions of lights shining on housetops, outside doors, and windows, around temples and other buildings in the communities and countries where it is observed. The festival preparations and rituals typically extend over a five-day period, but the main festival night of Diwali coincides with the darkest, new moon night of the Hindu Lunisolar month Kartika in Bikram Sambat calendar. In the Gregorian calendar, Diwali night falls between mid-October and mid-November.

Dhanteras (Day 1) Dhanteras (celebrated in Northern and Western part of India) starts off the five-day festival. Starting days before and through Dhanteras, houses and business premises are cleaned, renovated and decorated. Women and children decorate entrances with Rangoli – creative, colourful floor designs both inside and in the walkways of their homes or offices. Boys and men get busy with external lighting arrangements and completing all renovation work in progress. For some, the day celebrates the churning of cosmic ocean of milk between the forces of good and forces of evil; this day marks the birthday of Lakshmi – the Goddess of Wealth and Prosperity, and the birthday of Dhanvantari – the God of Health and Healing. On the night of Dhanteras, diyas (lamps) are ritually kept burning all through the nights in honor of Lakshmi and Dhanvantari.

Naraka Chaturdasi (Day 2) Narak Chaturdasi is the second day of festivities and is also called Choti Diwali. The Hindu literature narrates that the asura (demon) Narakasura was killed on this day by Krishna, Satyabhama, and Kali.

Lakshmi Puja (Day 3) The third day is the main festive day. People wear new clothes or their best outfits as the evening approaches. Then diyas are lit, pujas are offered to Lakshmi, and to one or more additional deities depending on the region of India; typically Ganesha, Saraswati, and Kubera.[20] Lakshmi symbolizes wealth and prosperity, and her blessings are invoked for a good year ahead.[55]

Lakshmi is believed to roam the earth on Diwali night. On the evening of Diwali, people open their doors and windows to welcome Lakshmi and place diya lights on their windowsills and balcony ledges to invite her in.

Padwa, Balipratipada (Day 4) The day after Diwali is celebrated as Padwa. This day ritually celebrates the love and mutual devotion between the wife and husband. The husbands give thoughtful gifts or elaborate ones to respective spouses. In many regions, newly married daughters with their husbands are invited for special meals. Sometimes brothers go and pick up their sisters from their in-laws home for this important day. The day is also a special day for the married couple, in a manner similar to anniversaries elsewhere in the world.

Diwali also marks the beginning of new year, in some parts of India, where the Hindu Vikram Samvat calendar is popular. Merchants and shopkeepers close out their old year and start a new fiscal year with blessings from Lakshmi and other deities.

Bhai Duj, Bhaiya Dooji (Day 5) The last day of the festival is called Bhai dooj (Brother's second) or Bhai tika in Nepal, where it is the major day of the festival. It celebrates the sister-brother loving relationship, in a spirit similar to Raksha Bandhan but with different rituals. The day ritually emphasizes the love and lifelong bond between siblings. It is a day when women and girls get together, perform a puja with prayers for the well being of their brothers, then return to a ritual of food-sharing, gift-giving, and conversations. In historical times, this was a day in autumn when brothers would travel to meet their sisters, or bring over their sister's family to their village homes to celebrate their sister-brother bond with the bounty of seasonal harvests.