It usually falls in late October or early November.
Deepavali or Diwali, , is a festival of lights symbolizing the victory of righteousness over evil and the lifting of spiritual darkness. The word ‘Deepavali’ literally means ‘rows of lamps’. The lamp is not merely the symbol of knowledge of Truth, but also of the one Atma (spirit) that shines in all.
“Today is the day on which Naraka, the demon was killed. What does this event signify? It signifies killing the demon in man. ‘Nara’ means man and ‘Asura’ means demon. This demon is present in every human being. It is not necessary to acquire great weapons to kill this demon. Man is called ‘Nara’ because there is Atma (spirit) in him. That Atma is the embodiment of love. It is possible to kill the demons only through love. Therefore, realize the Atma Tathva and develop love. This is true Bhakti (devotion)”.
– Divine Discourse: November 4, 2002
“The flame of a lamp has two significant qualities. One is to banish darkness; the other is a continuous upward movement. Even if a lamp is kept in a pit, the flame is directed upwards. The ancients have taught that the upward movement of the flame denotes the path to wisdom and the path to divinity. However, the external light can dispel only the external darkness, but not the darkness of ignorance in man.
Asato mA Sadgamaya |
Tamaso mA Jyotirgamaya |
MRRityormA AmRRitaM Gamaya ||
Om Shanthi Shanthi Shanthihi
Lead us from the Unreal to the Real
Lead us from Darkness to Light
Lead us from Death to Immortality
Om Peace, Peace, Peace
Deepavali ushers in the light of prosperity
From the very name of today’s festival–Deepavali–it can be seen that the Divine effulgence is manifest in it. Deepavali means “the array of lights.” “Thamasomaa jyotirgamaya” (Lead me from darkness to light) is an Upanishadic prayer: This means that where there is darkness light is needed. What is this darkness? Sorrow is one form of darkness. Peacelessness is another. Loss is another. Disappointment is one form of darkness. Misery is yet another. Lack of enthusiasm is another. All these are different forms of darkness. To get rid of the darkness of sorrow, you have to light the lamp of happiness. To dispel the darkness of disease, you have to install the light of health. To get over the darkness of losses and failures, you have to usher in the light of prosperity.