Significance of Deepavali by Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba

On this Deepavali day, resolve to light the lamp of Namasmarana 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 splendor of the Name will drive away darkness from outside you as well as from inside you. You will spread joy and peace among all who come near you.  

- From Swami's Deepavalli Discourse on 24th October'1965 

" If you light a candle, the light is always directed upwards. Water always flows downward, but the light points upward. So the light which travels upwards always represents the spiritual path, which we call The Brahma Margam. This upward direction is the Divine path. Man always has to proceed upwards, which means nara, the human, has to become Narayana, God. For the human to become God, he should always travel in the upward direction -- that is what is meant by the light that always travels upward. That is the message of Deepavali.

- From Swami's Deepavalli Discourse in 1984


" What does Deepavalli 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 Astras and Sastras to kill this demon. Man is called 'Nara' because there is Atma in him. That Atma is the embodiment of love. It is possible to kill the demons only through love. Therefore, realise the Atma Tathva and develop love. This is true Bhakti.


We are celebrating such a sacred event of killing the demon Narakasura as a festival by preparing so many delicious dishes and feasting on them. But, we are not making any effort to understand the inner meaning of this sacred event. In order to understand the sanctity of this great event, we must join Satsanga (good company). You should not lead a life of selfishness. That is the life of a Vyashti (individual) . That is a wasteful life. It is only in Samashti (community) life, can you realise divinity.. You must lead a happy life by identifying yourself with Samashti (society). In fact, Samashti is the embodiment of divinity. Give happiness and take happiness. Happiness is not a one-way traffic, it is a two-way process of give and take. Speak good words. Develop Samyak Drishti (sacred vision). Lead a life of purity. Make your life sanctified.

- From Swami's Divine Discourse on November 4, 2002


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.


Looking at the Deepavali festival from the scientific point of view, it should be noted that at one time in the distant past, our ancestors lived in the Arctic region (the polar region). In this region, darkness prevailed for six months. The sun appears on Mesha Sankranthi day (the sun entering the Aries sign of the Zodiac). The sun sets in this region on Tula Sankranthi day (when the sun enters Libra). In the movement between these two signs, there is an interval of six months. After the sun sets in Libra, the dark half-year starts.

From Swami's Divine Discourse on November 5, 1991


What is this darkness and what is the light? Here Sorrow, lack of peace outside and within ourselves, Dissapointment, Misery all lead to Darkness for different people. Deepavalli means to come out of this Darkness, This is " Tamaso Maa Jyothir Gamaya.. Tamas is darkness and jyothi is light. "Take us from darkness to Light."

Then what is that Light? Happiness is Light. Be happy always. Happiness can also mean Bliss, Health, Prosperity and Peace. Pray to God to take you from the darkness to the Light of peace. That is the inner significance of the second aspect of Deepavali.

Next right where is this Light? This Light is within us. We are not aware of this Light. Light is important in every religion. Each and Every religion believes in light, lamps, and candles. We find the Christmas season full of lights. We find fire very important in Zoroastrianism, In Hinduism .Lighting candles is very important in every religion. It is to remind you and me that the light you see outside is within you. Light is not forced or transplanted into you. Light is not imported from anywhere. That Light is within you.


Deepavali means that the Light is within you.

What sort of Light? The light that we find outside, as in the light of candles, is extinguishable. The moment the oil is gone this external light goes out. The moment the wax melts, the light of the candle goes out. The external light is extinguishable, but the Light within is eternal. The Light within is immortal. The Light within is one of continuity to eternity.

You are the Light. The Light is you. We should understand that you are the Light. Because of this Light, we are able to move about in this world. Because of this Light, we are able to attract everybody.. Because of this Light, we are full of activity. Because of this Light, we are successful. Because of this Light, we live in awareness. We have spiritual knowledge and spiritual experience because of this inner Light. So my friends, Deepavali is an occasion of being aware of the Light within, which is inextinguishable.

This is the Significance of Deepavali.

- Swami

Naraka chaturdasi:

Naraka Chaturdasi is associated with the Deepavali celebrations. Naraka Chaturdasi day celebrates the victory of Lord Krishna over Narakasura.


It must be noted here that Diwali in South India is celebrated a day before the celebrations in North India .


Celebrations of Deepavalli in North India is based on the return of Lord Ram from exile to Ayodhya. But in South India it is based on Lord Krishna defeating demon Naraka with the help of Satyabhama.


The Demon Naraka, the son of Bhumi Devi and Vishnu, with the help of a boon from Brahma became very powerful. The boon was that he could only be killed by his mother Bhumi Devi. With such immense power Naraka lost his self control and his ego took over him. He started harassing people and demi-gods. He also forcibly took away the earrings of Aditi, the mother of devas.


Finally, the task of annihilating Naraka fell on Lord Krishna . As always, a clever Lord Krishna asked his wife Satyabhama, an incarnation of Bhumi Devi, to accompany him to the battle against Naraka and be his charioteer.

The battle between Naraka and Krishna shook the entire world. During the battle, an arrow hits Krishna and he acts being unconscious. Satyabhama could not tolerate this and she took the bow and arrow of Krishna and kills Demon Naraka.


It is said that before dying Naraka realised his mistakes and requested for a festival in his name from his parents which will remind people what will happen when they are overtook by inflated egos.


Naraka Chaturdasi thus indicates that good and evil rises from the same root. It also suggests that personal relationships do not matter when it comes to the good of the society. Victory of good over evil always prevails.


Deepavali is worship of Goddess of Wealth, Lakshmi, and is the beginning of a New Year especially for business community. They settle their accounts and open new books.


Every nationality in India has its own reasons for this Deepavali celebration! But, the underlying theme is the victory of good over evil and spiritual enlightenment


" It was on Deepavali day that Sri Rama's coronation took place after his victorious return to Ayodhya from Lanka vanquishing Ravana and his Rakshasa brood. For a long period Ayodhya had been plunged in darkness when Rama was in exile in the forest. In the absence of the effulgent Rama, Ayodhya was a city of darkness.. The forests were filled with light.


The return of Rama was hailed by the people of Ayodhya as the return of divine effulgence and hence they celebrated the event by the lighting of lamps everywhere.


Nor is that all.This is the day on which the Lord in His Vamana incarnation sent the Emperor Bali to the Nether World after He got the promise of three feet of ground (measured by the Lord's foot) from Bali. Vamana (as the incarnation of Vishnu) used the gift of three feet of land to put down the Ahamkara (egoism) of Bali.


Deepavali is a festival which is designed to celebrate the suppression of the Ego by the Higher Self. Man is plunged in the darkness of ignorance and has lost the power of discrimination between the permanent and the 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. Deepavali is also the day on which Emperor Vikramaditya ascended the throne.


If the darkness of ignorance is to be dispelled, man needs a container, oil, wick and a matchbox corresponding to what an external lamp needs. For man, the heart is the container. The mind is the wick. Love is the oil and vairagya (sacrifice) is the matchbox. When you have these four, Atma-jyothi (the Divine flame of the Spirit) shines effulgently. When the light of the Spirit is aflame, the Light of Knowledge appears and dispels the darkness of ignorance.


The inner significance of Deepavali is to lead man from darkness to light. Man is perpetually plunged in darkness. Every time he is enveloped in darkness, he should light a lamp that is ever shining within him. Carry that lamp wherever you go. It will light your path wherever you may be.


- From Swami's Divine Discourse on November 5, 1991

When we inquire into the significance of the Deepavali festival which we are celebrating today, we find that traditionally it is a joyous festival to celebrate the destruction of the demon Narakasura by Sri Krishna. It is only when we first understand the meaning of the Krishna Principle will we be able to understand the significance of the Naraka principle.  

Krishna is the embodiment of the Five Elements: ether, air, fire, water and earth. He is also the embodiment of five life breaths--Prana, Apana, Samana, Udana and Vyana. "Kleem.Krishnaaya- Govindaaya- Gopijanavallabha aya Swaah." This mantra contains the essence of the Bhagavatha.  

The five names represent the Five Pranas (vital airs). Kleem refers to the earth. Krishnaaya refers to water. Govindaaya refers to Agni (the Fire-God). Gopijanavallabhaaya refers to Vayu (Air). Swaah refers to ether.  

- From Swami's Deepavalli Discourse in 1989

Courtesy: Compiled from the various mails sent by KM - 28.10.2008

 Home Page