Diwali or Deepavali, as many people like to say, means lighting the rows (avali) of clay lamps (deepa/diya). But to me, Diwali can not be defined in such simple words. When I hear the word Diwali, a plethora of emotions emerge, varying from the happiest to the ugliest, depending on what incident of the festival I’m remembering.
Diwali is the festival of lights, where we try to light every corner of our houses or places that hold importance in our hearts. It is supposed to symbolise that even the darkest of the nights or even days of darkness, it’s bound to be over as light will find its way through. With this festival, we hope for prosperity to enter our lives and fill us with happiness. We take this festival as the win of good over evil. And we worship that we can be strong enough so that our inner goodness will always overpower the evil within and around us.
Different parts of our country have different mythologies following the festival, with the basic commonality of the victory of good over evil. One of the most famous stories is that of Lord Rama.
Lord Rama was exiled out of his kingdom for 14 years,his wife Sita and younger brother Lakshman also went along with him. During the course, he faced several difficulties surviving in the wilderness, but one that shook all his beliefs was when Goddess Sita was abducted by the demon Ravana and taken to his homeland, Lanka (present day Srilanka).
Lord Rama went to great lengths, which included forming allies and fighting a huge war to get back his wife and kill Ravana, who had been a source of pain and hurt to a lot of people around him, and then he finally returned to his kingdom, Ayodhya, along with his wife Sita and brother Lakshman.
The day he returned to Ayodhya, it was like a streak of hope for all the residents of the place, and they showed their gratitude and happiness by lighting diyas in their houses.
That is how Diwali came into existence.
But what happens after that? Is the war between good and evil over once Diwali is over?
Is it just supposed to be a one-day fight where we consciously do all the right things ?
What about the rest of the days in the year? What about all the wrongs we have done the entire year? How do we make them right ? Or do we just live in the world of ignorance, wishing , crying, and praying that things will go right on their own?
If we look at the same story I was narrating earlier, you’ll realise that people always want an easier way out. They want to do the right thing for just a day and then hope all the wrong things they have done will automatically be treated as right.
The same residents who had lit up diyas on the day of the arrival of Lord Rama and Goddess Sita , accused and talked a load of foolish things about Sita being impure and not worthy of the position of Queen because she stayed in a man’s house who was not her husband during the time she was kidnapped, which drove Sita to leave the kingdom and go to a place where she could find peace and live without her characteristics being questioned due to the fact that she was kidnapped.
This happened just a few weeks after Diwali. What lessons should we take from this incident? Or should we just turn a blind eye to it because it was a woman’s character in question and not a man’s? Or should we just let it go because the protagonist here is Lord Rama? I think doing any of them will make us evil humans, and isn’t Diwali about burning the evil within ?
When Lord Rama was being appraised by his subjects, the same subject was questioning the sanctity of his wife, the wife for whom he had made a bridge on the ocean.
How can we be so good to one and so heinously evil to the other ?
We need to make a conscious effort on our part each and every day to not let evil win, because what kind of human does that make us ? IGNORANT.
Celebrating Diwali every year should be a way to celebrate all the times we have controlled our urges for evilness and let goodness take the lead throughout the year. Every time we have reached out to help others in their time of need rather than just passing by without giving attention. All the efforts we have made to be happy and let others be happy by not sniding an unnecessary comment.
I think that would be our win over the evil that we have faced throughout the year because Lord Rama had already lived, fought, and won his evil, so celebrating the cause and not inculcating the same belief is just hypocritical on our part.
I would like to urge all of you to not be ignorant and make a conscious effort to not be unnecessarily evil to others.
Love and Light