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Namaste Venerable Seeker,

Heartiest greetings and earnest blessings on the occasion of Dipāvalī (popularly known as Diwali) being celebrated worldwide on this New Moon. The translation of this Sanskrit word implies arrays of lights – consisting of strings of lights linked together to reveal the lighted path.

This is the joyous Festival of Lights, when lamps are lit to invite plenitude while fireworks light the way for departed ancestors. The fourteenth day of this waning lunar fortnight (Naraka-Caturdaśi) is when departed souls are given a sendoff with firecrackers that symbolize starlight.

The fortnight that ended with the previous New Moon is dedicated in the long-standing Sanskrit tradition to the ancestors whose departed souls descend to greet their progeny and families through the upper atmospheric spheres that are layered upon the earth. The families get a chance to correct any deficiency in previously undertaken last rites and redeem themselves through spiritual observances and charities.

This facilitates the ascension of previous generations who bore us unto this earth. The Sanskrit tradition urges us to bring about a closure to the unfinished ceremonies aimed at appeasement of departed souls resting and ascending in peace into the subtle worlds.

Under normal circumstances, the higher quarters of air and space (vāyu-maṇdala and vyoma-maṇdala) above the earth cannot be easily penetrated by the subtle bodies of departed souls who might like to revisit their grieving families or any graves. Vedic sages reveal to us that during this dedicated fortnightly time period, which comes once a year, the higher realms become porous to the subtle bodies.

Thus the departed souls can take a closer peek at their progeny as if descending to the lives on earth! Therefore, this time period has been deemed important for remembrance of the departed elders and rounding up any unfulfilled last rites meant for peaceful ascension.

The day before this New Moon is dedicated to the return of those ancestral souls who descended more than a month ago to bless their kith and kin that they left behind. This New Moon is therefore the opportunity to mitigate the prayerful closure and is thereby an invitation for prosperity through blessings.

The ability of departed souls in their subtle bodies to partially descend through the perforated subtle layers on earth reveals the secrets of a higher dimension of our earth and environment. Similarly even though the lamp lighting and fireworks of Dipāvali are symbolic festivities, they bear subtle relationship with our noble affirmations and our connections with familial lineages.

Seekers, having appeased the forces that control the flow of old wealth, specifically from the familial ancestors, then invite plenitude and celebrate peacemaking. All hankerings for the world outside of the realm of hard-earned dharmic wealth ultimately arise out of attachment and greed, thereby continuously breeding afflictions. Deliverance therefrom is brought about through the light of seeking, which matures into a devotional understanding of how to fulfill needs through a harmonious existence.

Contrarily, the prevailing ethos of commercialized materialism has conditioned us to accept that wealth is created for the sake of wealth – that wealth has its own inherent value no matter how it is achieved. The decadence of governance and the ensuing political corruption, oppressive mandates, and cultural shaming of those who seek a natural way of living are setting up a future of unrest. The politically inept decisions are bound to be blindsided by blowback. The kickbacks from hand-in-glove machinations of the centres of power do not support societal infrastructure and instead exploit the unsuspecting masses.

The effects of covert tinkering by oligarchs, corporate moguls and wealthy cabals are now visibly palpable. This trajectory defines the accelerating decline of an empire whose stalwarts secretly savour their financial returns amidst economic chaos. In contrast, the ethos of Dipavali emphasizes the saving and protecting of lighted paths attained through truthful deeds. It seems there is no meeting point of values between this spiritual ethos and the extremism of a great reset perpetrated through financial engineering that benefits the few and deceives the many.

Fear starts gripping when love stops short of infinity! Humanity is evermore witnessing scaremongering using doomsday predictions. A loathing for humanity itself is creeping in the mindset due to the onslaught of various misanthropic warnings about oncoming human extinction. Dipāvali celebration is meant to affirm the power of the lamp within, the light of consciousness that shines everything else in life toward fulfillment.

The exploitive disruption in its many forms is bringing about moral seizures among those who rely on the supply chain infrastructure of their communities. These provoke the structural fractures that are bringing about social dislocation that is palpable now. Moreover, during these tumultuous times, violence is also being accepted as a form of purification as we see the drumbeats of emerging conflicts worldwide. This Dipāvali festival is thus even more meaningful as it brightens and offsets these psychological black holes in our awareness.

Contemplation of the absolute light within chastises the impure formulations in the mind. Furthermore, it brings about a balance that is bereft of vexation or exultation during the discharging of duties. Circumstances and happenings that cross our path arise due to the urges that initiated this life, as per the force of karma. Yes, during these turbulent times earnestness might not be enough, and you might need to exert. The light of Dipāvali urges us to exert without anxiety and fear, but with faith and love.

Let us take a moment to remind ourselves that the spirit of Dipāvali guides us to share without hoarding, to partake in the just use of resources and to make wealth through honest means following the principles of dharma. This could be considered impractical in the current circumstances, but it is the virtue earned from such adherence that provides solace and saving grace.

दीपावली शुभाशयाः – Happy Dīpāvalī,
Swami Vidyadhishananda

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