Light of Spiritual Wisdom
(Excerpt From Divine Discourse)
Deepavali is a festival of lights. It is the victory of good over evil and knowledge over ignorance. In the Northern parts of India, the festival of Deepawali is celebrated to commemorate the return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya, after defeating Ravana. In the southern parts of India, Deepavali is celebrated as the day Lord Krishna defeated the demon Narakasura.
The life-story of Narakasura reveals the magnitude of his wickedness. His entire realm was plunged in darkness. No lights burnt in the homes or in streets. No woman could be seen anywhere in the open. He imprisoned thousands of princesses and tortured innumerable women. Unable to bear these indignities, the women appealed to Krishna for succour. As Narakasura had inflicted sufferings on women, he had to be punished by a woman. For this reason, Krishna took his consort Satyabhama with Him and directed her to destroy him in a battle.
The following day is Amavasya (New Moon Day). On this day, Krishna freed from prison 16,000 Gopikas from the clutches of Narakasura. This was the day of liberation for the Gopikas. It is a moonless day when the night is utterly dark. The Gopikas prayed that as on that day, they had got the light of freedom, it should be duly marked by illuminations. Hence lamps are lit on this day.
The lamp points to another significant fact. Wherever it may be placed, the flame goes upwards and never moves down. Likewise, the flame of Jnana (Spiritual Wisdom) leads one to a sublime level through the path of Righteousness.
Four elements are required to light a lamp. If you want to light a lamp, you need four things. First a container, second oil, third a wick and fourth a match box. If any one of these is lacking, you cannot light the lamp. This lamp can, however, remove only the outside darkness. How is the darkness in the heart to be removed?
It can be removed only by Jnana Jyoti (the Light of Wisdom) and by nothing else. How is this Light of Wisdom, this spiritual light, to be lit? This also needs four elements. Vairagya (detachment) is the container. Bhakti (devotion) is the oil. Ekagrata (one-pointed concentration) is the wick. Jnana (Knowledge of the Supreme Truth) is the match stick. Without all the four, the Light of Spiritual Wisdom cannot be got.
Of the four, the primary requisite is the spirit of Vairagya (renunciation). Without this detachment, all knowledge of scriptures is of no avail. What is this detachment? It is the absence of attachment to the body. The ego-feeling, which makes one think of the "I" all the time, should be given up. The sense of Mamakara (possessiveness) and the ego-feeling are the causes of raga (attachment). How is this disease of attachment to be eradicated? By the process of self-enquiry.
When you realise the impermanence of the body and all the sensory experiences, you acquire the sense of Vairagya (detachment). It only means you should discharge your duties, treating the body as a God-given instrument for this purpose. “Paropakaaraartham Idam Shareeram” (This body is for the purpose of helping others). It should not be used solely for selfish ends. Deepavali has to be observed as a day for getting rid of all the bad qualities in us, symbolised by the 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 the demonic qualities remain in man, he will be immersed in darkness. Bad qualities and thoughts have to be got rid of altogether.
Swami had said “I desire that our festivals and the holy days should be observed in the right spirit, with an understanding of their inner significance. The destruction of the
Narakasura symbolises the destruction of evil and the restoration of what is good.“.
This is Deepavali in the true sense!
Source: Divine Discourse in the Prasanthi Mandir, November 9, 1988.
THE LIGHT OF DIVINE MESSAGE ON DEEPAVALI
The festival of Naraka Chaturdasi (otherwise known as Deepavali) teaches man to remember how character decides destiny, designs achievements and demarcates one as either divine or demonic.
Naraka, after whom this day is named, was a nara, human being. But since he grew into a demon, he earned the meaningful title, "Narakaasura." Through his asura (demonic) qualities, he proceeded towards Naraka or Hell. He was a king, who shaped his subjects through his counsel and commands into images of himself in wickedness. The people in his kingdom were intoxicated with vice and violence.
The Lord decided to eliminate Narakaasura and redeem the people from the total ruin that faced them and guide them into the holy sattvic (pious) path of humility and goodness. Here, you must pay attention to a strange strategy that the Lord employed. The Lord invaded Narakaasura's kingdom, not once but again and again! Of course, He could have accomplished the asura's destruction during the very first campaign. But He did not do so. He forced him to explode into furious anger again and again, and each attack by the Lord made him repeatedly weaker. His resistance became feebler and feebler.
Anger drastically reduces one's stamina. So, the Lord made Narakaasura flare up in anger, time and again, and even when he was rendered faint and flickering, the Lord decided that he did not deserve death at His Hands. He took His consort, Sathyabhaama, with Him and directed her to kill the ruffian. She could do it easily, for three-quarters of his might had been subtracted by the Lord's strategy.
This day (the festival of Deepavali) is set apart to commemorate the destruction of such a demonic person. The significance of this celebration is that on this day the Lord
killed the darkness of Ajnaana (ignorance) and the lack of awareness of the Aathma (spirit) disappeared from the people.
Where the light of Aathmic awareness shines, evil thoughts, wicked speech and vicious deeds flee in fear. Therefore, one should cultivate the wisdom which can cognise one's Reality.
CHINNA KATHA - Colouring Activity
CD – DIYA OR CANDLE HOLDER
(BEST OUT OF WASTE ACTIVITY)
This Deepavali, make your own Diya or candle holder using waste CDs. This best out of waste craft will lighten up your homes with Divine bliss!VALUES INCULCATED:
- Making art out of waste.
MATERIALS REQUIRED :
- Waste CDs
- Foam sheet
- Scented or aroma candles or earthen Diyas
- Trace the circles on the foamy sheet and cut it, as shown in the picture.
- Get ready with 4 pairs of foam cut-outs.
- Apply glue on the CD and stick the foamy cut-outs.
- Do the same on the otherside of the CD.
- Place the Diya or scented candles in the centre.
- A simple and beautiful candle or Diya holder is ready.
BANGLE DIYA HOLDER
Swami has said that it is very important to understand the inner significance of all festivals. During festivals, people have sacred bath early in the morning and wear new clothes, keep their houses and surroundings clean. The Vedas declare “Antar Bahischa Tat Sarvam Vyapya Narayana Stithaha” which means God is present within and around us. It is thus essential to be pure both internally as well as externally. While water helps to keep our body clean, it is Love that keeps our heart clean. Understanding the inner significance of festivals thus makes the celebration more meaningful.
As we all know, Deepavali is the festival of lights, symbolizing the victory of righteousness over evil. When Narakasura, the legendary Asura was killed, people were overjoyed and celebrated this occasion by lighting lamps. The word “Deepavali” means “rows of lamps”.
This Deepavali let us make a lamp holder using the old bangles. This best out of waste craft will certainly add to the joy of Deepavali celebrations!VALUES INCULCATED:
- Making art out of waste / old stuff
- Keeping the surroundings clean
- Old bangles
- An old tea coaster
- Diyas or candles
- Pick out old bangles from your collection. Choose bangles that will easily reflect light and those with intricate designs on them.
- Glue around 6 to 8 bangles together, one above the other to create a small tower. Any more bangles will cover the flame of the Diya completely.
- Glue the entire tower on a tea coaster. Place a Diya in it and do not worry about the wind diffusing the flame. Tea coaster will absorb the heat produced from the Diya.
- A Beautiful bangle lamp holder is ready.
(Balvikas Class Activity for Deepavali)
The guru gives a topic ‘DEEPAVALI’ to the students by writing it in the centre of the board, and speaking it aloud.
Ask the students to say words related to topic. Eg. light, Krishna, thoran, new clothes, oil bath, Narakashura, Sathyabama, Rama, Sita, Lakshmana, Ravana, Lakshmi Pooja, etc., Write the words on the board and in their notebooks (please, do not put numbers, or try to organise the words). There is no limit to what and how many words come up!!!
Note: Related words come from the students not from the guru. If the guru doesn’t find connection between the topic and a word given by a child, ask him/her “why” he/she feels that word is related instead of saying “no”.
As we all know Deepavali is the festival of lights. The word Deepavali is derived from words 'Deepam' and 'Avali'. ‘Deepam‘ means earthen diyas or lamps while ‘Avali‘ means in a row or a series .
It is believed that Lord Rama returned home after 14 years of exile and the people of Ayodhya lit earthen diyas in rows outside their homes to pave way for the Lord as it was a no-moon night. This Deepavali, let us light up every nook and corner of our house with painted earthen diyas and enlighten ourselves too by burning our desires, falsehood and attachments.
- Lighting diyas signifies purity, goodness and spreads positive energy
- Presentation skills
MATERIALS REQUIRED :
- Earthen Diya
- Glitters, beads, etc.,
- Acrylic paints
- Craft glue
- Paint Brushes
- Paint the diya with vibrant acrylic paints and allow it to dry, as shown above.
- Then start decorating with small beads, small coloured stones, glitters, etc.,
- This can be done in different ways, based on our creativity. Few samples are shown in the below pictures.
CD - WALL HANGING
(BEST OUT OF WASTE ACTIVITY)
Most of us have lot of waste CDs lying at our home. We can use it to create a wonderful and colourful crafts. Here, let us see how to make beautiful wall hanging with the waste CDs.
- To make use of the things effectively.
- Waste CDs.
- Acrylic paints (any colour)
- Kundan stones, beads, sequins, golden lace, etc.,
- Any small show piece, images of God or any small decorative items.
- Craft glue.
- Take the old CD, colour the centre part with acrylic paint.
- Start decorating the CD with kundan stones, beads and sequins. Sample decoration shown in the above picture.
- Stick the small show piece in the centre.
- Cut the small piece of golden lace and make a U shape and stick it behind the CD, as shown above.
- Beautiful and vibrant wall hanging is ready to decorate our walls.
- Let us try out this amazing activity and decorate our home for this Deepavali.
- Few more patterns are given below.
cd deepam stand
Best Out of Waste Activity for Deepavali
Deepavali is celebrated with great fervour by all and it is a festival that fills homes with love, fun, and gaiety.
Lighting lamps is an integral part of the festivity. Now-a-days, markets are flooded with beautiful diyas. Diyas made of clay can be painted and used as decor at home as a festival craft activity. Diya holders too can be made at home with waste materials.
We are happy to present a video that shows how to make diya holders using old CDs and a long cylindrical can. This activity is apt for Group II students.
This Deepavali, let us light the lamps of wisdom and move towards truth, into the world of everlasting bliss! Let us protect the environment around us - celebrate by recycling waste and pray by offering our handworks.
Deepavali Craft Activity for Group I students
During Festivals, it is a practice to hang Thoranams or Door Hangings outside the doors of our homes. A Thoranam is a decorative garland that is usually hung at the entrance door to our homes or in the doorway of a Pooja room. The traditional practice is to make Thoranams with Mango or Neem leaves. These leaves keep the insects away and are also believed to ward off negative energies. Flowers like marigold is also used to make Thoranams as they last long.
As a festival craft activity, Thoranams can be made with beads, papers, and other craft materials. Here is a video that shows how to make a vibrant wall hanging with various colour papers. This activity is apt for Group I students. It can also be done as a group activity and will surely add to the festive spirit!
This Deepavali, let’s add to the festival celebrations with these creative paper Wall Hangings!
AARATHI PLATE DECORATION
An Aarathi is usually performed after all the puja rituals are completed. It is performed by lighting an oil lamp or camphor and circling it around the deity. Aarti is an expression of single pointed devotion to God.
This Deepavali let us make a decorative Aarathi plate with kundans and sequences and keep a beautiful Diya at the centre.VALUES INCULCATED:
- Presentation Skills
- Earthen diya
- Any steel plate, earthen plate, or brass plate
- Beads, sequences, kundan stones, etc.,
- Craft glue
- Acrylic paints and brush
- Paint diya and plate using the acrylic paint.
- Leave it to dry.
- Start decorating the plate with beads and sequences. Sample decoration shown in the picture.
- Place the painted diya in the centre of the plate.
- Deepavali aarathi plate (thali) is ready.
- Different patterns can be done in this way, few samples are given below.
It is a tradition in many parts of India to create rangoli designs to mark Deepavali, the festival of lights. Deepavali teaches the lesson of light and love. “Tamaso Maa Jyotir Gamaya” - From darkness, lead me, O Lord into light. Lead me from the blindness of ignorance into the vision of Truth, because the Truth will reflect therein.
On this occasion of Deepavali, let us decorate our house with a radiant Deepam rangoli.VALUES INCULCATED :
- Art Skills
- Making effort to keep the environment clean.
MATERIALS REQUIRED :
- Colour rangoli powder
- White Rangoli powder
- Beads to decorate the rangoli.
- Draw the outline, of the deepam with chalk.
- Colour the rangoli with vibrant colour rangoli powder.
- Decorate with golden beads, stones, etc., - Rangoli by Janani Raghavan
(BEST OUT OF WASTE ACTIVITY)
Participation in Family work is very important for children. They should render whatever little service they can, say by the way of helping mother in the domestic chores, maintaining the cleanliness of the house, etc., This Deepavali let us decorate the shrine with old table top calendars while the mothers are busy preparing sweets for Deepavali.VALUES INCULCATED :
- Making art out of waste
- Participation in Family Work
MATERIALS REQUIRED :
- Old Table top calendars (Preferably with Gods Pictures)
- Beads and kundan stones
- Fresh/artificial flowers
- Fresh/artificial leaves
1. Cut the pictures of your choice from the calendar
2. Organise the pictures
3. Decorate with Beads and Kundan stones
4. Out line with flowers and leaves