GAUTENG SPIRITUAL TASK TEAM: “Striving for excellence through unity and harmony” AUM SAI RAM DIPAVALI

1. Background to Festival (Why is it celebrated) Dipavali is a festival , which is designed to celebrate the suppression of the ego of the higher Self. Man is plunged in the darkness of ignorance and has lost the power of discrimination between the permanent and evanescent. When the darkness of ignorance caused by Ahamkara (the ego – feeling) is dispelled by the light of Divine Knowledge, the effulgence of the Divine is experienced. 2. How should it be celebrated? "Dipavali has to be observed as the day for getting rid of all the bad qualities in us, symbolized by demon Narakasura. The Gopikas who were freed on that day represent the imprisoned good qualities in us. They should be manifested effulgently. This is the inner significance of the festival. As long as demonic qualities remain in man, he will be immersed in darkness. Bad qualities and thoughts have to be got rid of altogether. I desire that our festivals and holy days should be observed in the right spirit, with an understanding of their deeper significance. The destruction of Narakasura symbolizes the destruction of evil and the restoration of what is good." Sai Baba, SS, 1/89, p. 15 "The Narakasura in man can be destroyed by the constant dwelling of the mind on Krishna who slew him, as the Bhagavad relates. The Smarana (God's remembrance) has to be constant. This state of constant remembrance can come only through long practice. It will not be acquired suddenly." Sai Baba, SSS. Vol. V, Dis. Date: 11-11-66, pp. 300 & 301 "On this Dipavali Day, resolve to light the lamp of Namasmarana (repitition of God's name) and place it at your doorstep, the lips. Feed it with the oil of devotion. Have steadiness as the wick. Let the lamp illumine every minute of your life. The splendour of the Name will drive away darkness from outside you as well as inside you." Sai Baba. SSS, Vol. V. Dis dtd: 24-10-65, p. 110 "Dipavali is intended to teach you the lesson of light and love. Move out, clasp, spread, expand, give up limits of mine and thine, his and theirs, caste and creed, in one limitless flow of love. That is the culmination of all spiritual Sadhana (practice). Love is the breath of the Sadhaka (spiritual aspirant). I call upon you to celebrate the Dipaavali, not by feasting and exploding crackers to disturb the peace of the neighborhood, but by silent lighting of lamps and silent service through love.'' Sai Baba. SSS, Vol. V. Discourse on 9-10-70, pp. 346 & 348


Inner significance & symbolism of festival The inneir significance of Dipavali is to lead man from darkness to light. Man is perpetually plunged in darkness. Everytime he is enveloped in darkness, he should light the lamp that is ever shining within him. Carry that lamp where ever you go. It will light your path wherever you may go. May the Divine effulgence within you accompany you all the time by faith in its illumination! “Dipavali” means “The array of lights”. Thamaso maa jyothirgamaya” (“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. Lack of enthusiasm is another. All these are different forms 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. The truth about sorrow and joy will be realised when they are considered as equal from the spiritual point of view. "Dipavali is the day when old clothes are discarded and new ones are worn. Home and its precincts are swept clean, given a new look, and made to appear fresh and fine. Flowers are arranged in lovely designs in each room and in courtyard. Festoons of green leaves add charm to every door. But even while doing all this, attention has to be paid to the discarding of worn -out prejudices and adoption of new habits of love and mutual respect, the freshening of one's attitude towards one's kith and kin, brothers and sisters of all creeds and castes, the hanging of the festoons of friendship and fraternity over the door sill of the heart. This will make the Festival really meaningful and fruitful." Sai Baba, SSS. Vol. VIII, Discourse on 25-10-73. p. 204


How does it affect us in our spiritual transformation? The lights lit on Dipavali day removes only the external darkness, not the darkness within man. Even when the Sun shines brightly, his light cannot dispel the inner darkness. For this purpose, you have to learn a lesson from the external light. For instance, if you want to light a lamp, you need a container. You have to fill it with oil and place a wick in it; you need a match box to light the wick. Only when you have all the four accessories can you light the lamp. It cannot be lit if anyone of them is lacking. Man’s body is the container. Sathya (Truth) is the oil. Dharma(Righteousness) is the wick, Santhi (Peace) is the match-box. Prema (Love) is the act of striking the match and lighting the darkness of ignorance. The festival of Deepavali is to express gratitude at the defeat of Naraka tendencies in man, which drag him down from Divinity. Naraka is the name for hell, and the Asura (demon) whose death at the hands of Krishna is celebrated today is called Narakasura, the personification of all the traits of the character that obstruct the upward impulses of man.

"The light of the Divine is within you. Why do you go seeking for it elsewhere? This is the light of love and bliss. Never forget God, whatever may happen to you." Sai Baba. SS. 8/97, p. 202


What does Swami say about the festival? Significance Of Lighting Lamps With The Same One Candle "On Dipavali day, we light numerous lamps with one candle. The light with which other lamps are lit is a symbol of the Divine. Other lamps are Jivana Jyotis (individual lamps). They derive their light from the One Supreme Light. It is to teach this truth to men that the Festival of Lights (Dipavali) is observed. Thus, every festival has an inner meaning and purpose." Sai Baba, SS, 1/90. p. II "One lamp symbolizes the Supreme Effulgent Lord. The others symbolize the light in individual selves. The truth of the Vedic saying, "The One willed to become the Many", is exemplified by the lighting of many lamps with the flame of one. The Dipavali festival thus bears out the profoundest spiritual truth." Sai Baba. SS, 1/89, pp. 14 &15 "The lamp is not merely the symbol of knowledge to truth. It is also the symbol of the One, the Anna that shines in and through all this multiplicity. Just as with one lamp, a thousand lamps can be lit, and the One is as bright as ever in spite of the thousands deriving light from it. So too, the Anna illumines the Jiva (individual selves) and shines in and through them, without undergoing any diminution in its splendour." Sai Baba, SSS, Vol. VIII, Dis dtd 25-10-1973. p. 205 "As God is the embodiment of effulgence, you have to make your life effulgent to experience God. You have to realise that the light of your life has come from that Supreme Source of all lights (Parama-Jyoti). The individual flame should merge in the Supreme Divine effulgence from which all other lights have emanated. Meditating on the Supreme Effulgence (ParamaJyoti) the individual has to merge his individual effulgence in the Supreme Effulgence." Sai Baba, SS. 8/97. p. 199 "On this day (Dipavali) we light thousands of lamps with a single lamp. We light many candles with the flame of a single candle. But, remember that only a burning candle can light other candles. An unlit candle cannot light other unlit candles. Only one who has earned wisdom can enlighten others who are in ignorance. One who is himself unillumined cannot illumine others, dwelling in the darkness of Maya (delusion). One must light one's own lamp from the Universal Light of Love and there from one can transmit illumination to all who seek and strive. All lamps shine alike, since they are all sparks of that Parama-Jyoti, the Universal Luminosity, that is. God" Sai Baba, SSS. Vol. XI. dis. dtd 26-10-81, p. 182 "Light the lamp of the world with divine love. Divine love lights the lamp of life, which you are not able to perceive. None can regulate divine love. Worldly love is fraught with conditions and expectations in return. Divine love does not expect anything in return." Sai Baba, SS. 4/97. p. 206


References & prescribed readings on the festivals 1. Sathya Sai Speaks – various volumes. 2. Summer Showers 3 Swami’s Discourses


Integrated Nature of festival (how does festival apply to seva, youth, ladies, ehv wing etc) "The lamp points out to this fact. Whenever it may be placed, the flame goes upward only never moves down. Likewise the flame of wisdom (Jnana) leads one to a sublime level through the path of righteousness." Sai Baba. SS, 1/89, p. 15

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