How does a SAINT celebrate Diwali (Deepawali) ?
The word ‘Sanatan’ itself means ‘the one which has no beginning, no end’. A concept that is echoed in Sanatan Dharma, whose leading torchbearers have always been the ‘Saints’ also known as ‘Sants’. They represent Sanatan vedic knowledge of self-actualization, harmonized with the principle of ‘omnipresence of almighty supreme entity’ i.e. they are the ones who have realized the presence of their own ‘Self’ in every living and non-living object. Lord Shri Krishna beautifully articulates the same in the battlefield of Mahabharata, amongst all his friends and adversaries. Our saints as ‘Masters or Acharyas’, according to the doctrines of Sanatani scriptures and Vedas have devised, practiced, and shared the significance of our seasonal festivals and insightful ways to celebrate these, in the best possible way. One needs to note that in Sanatan dharma only, there are more than 40 major festivals, which are well documented in our scriptures, apart from other smaller, localized festivals which find their mention from time to time.
How did Lord Rama celebrate Diwali?
Diwali perhaps the most famous one, is no exception too to the tradition of festivals across the globe. Diwali is the heartiest welcome and homecoming of our righteous King of Bharatvarsh (the older undivided southeast Asian group of countries under India) ‘Lord Rama’. He practiced the concept of ideal societal governance i.e. ‘Ramrajya’ successfully only after attaining spiritual self-realization under the guidance of his Guru Maharshi Vashishth. Hence it’s proven time and again that the ideal rulers and their administration have been successful and beneficial to everyone only under the guidance of highly enlightened souls, who are always engrossed with the traits of reposing in self-governance, altruism, benevolence, etc. This homecoming tradition continues to be celebrated as Diwali even today.
How Diwali is celebrated today?
In Mahabharata, one day lord Krishna asked the Pandavas to report the strange thing they came across in the jungle. Pandavas, who were bewildered by this request, found a well full of water surrounded by several empty wells. It is that they reported to Shri Krishna who identified it as a symptom of Kaliyuga. Does this instance ring any bell in your mind? It is this huge disparity between the upper and lower classes, rich and poor, that these filled and empty wells signify in today’s world. Just like the water-filled well, today rich who constitute a miniscule percentage of the population have the highest concentrated wealth and resources. According to the World of Statistics, 74.1% of Indians can’t afford a healthy diet [i].
Diwali, today, has become a site where these disparities are blatantly displayed. On one hand, the rich spend lavishly and extravagantly on crackers, sweets, clothes, jewellery, gifts, etc. along with the wild card parties which run night after night. On the other hand, the poor have to sleep empty-stomach even on the night of Diwali. How does one explain this gap?
This materialistic approach of seeking pleasure irrespective of anything itself has created this void. The real question to ask ourselves is – How does one fill this void and make it more inclusive?
On the one hand, the capitalist revenue-driven market lures to buy expensive products for Diwali. On the other hand, many of the paid and selfish media houses and selected government policies come up with bans, only to sell again an alternative product. The market and media houses dictate their ways of celebrating Diwali. You must have come across various debates on umpteen channels on YouTube, Instagram, and other media platforms which tend to be more divisive, and self-promoting in nature.
So, the question is: What are the other better ways to celebrate Diwali which is more inclusive and with the greater purpose of serving the society? How does one celebrate Diwali, economically, and spiritually which brings innate joy? Who can direct us to such a path?
Saintly solution: Saintly Diwali
This path is derived out of the sages and scriptures. Our ancient glorious past is full of solutions that need to be mediated in present day world. Saints who have attained a sense of self-actualization. They are perhaps the best mediators between present and past, tradition and scriptures, and bring an immense amount of insightful knowledge.
In the given context, one can cite some of the bold initiatives conducted by HDH Sant Shri Asaramji Bapu and his humble disciples in the form of Diwali giveaways. Pujya Bapuji along with his more than 400 ashram trusts and crores of disciples, has been successfully organizing such giveaways for the last 40 years in the backward and neglected regions of the country. They aim to elevate the morale of the ‘Daridranarayanas – the deprived ones’ by providing the basic necessities like blankets, sweets, footwear, groceries, dry fruits, clothes, and some monetary help to them for difficult times. The volunteers of the regional ashrams of Bapuji nominate a backward area, inform them about the ‘giveaways’ two to three days prior to the event, and provide tokens to the family with the help of the local village head/volunteer. On the day of the giveaway, a volunteer devotee from the ashram gives them spiritual discourse from the Bhagavad Gita, Shrimad Bhagavad, and scriptures along with a melodious collective chanting of various mantras in order to redirect them to the spiritual awakening/orientation. Due to this divine practice, these impoverished people keep waiting for such events from Sant Shri Asharamji Ashrams. They’ve continuously been asking when ‘Shira vale baba’, ‘kambal’ [blanket] vale baba’ will come amongst them to distribute a variety of things to them for Diwali. By this initiative, Pujya Bapuji inculcates the virtue of ‘Audarya’ i.e. the joy of giving and sharing, equality, brotherhood, etc. amongst his disciples and the society. It also interconnects the privileged and deprived classes, by getting them joined to the mainstream of the nation.
These giveaways are organized not only on Diwali but throughout the year on various occasions by the devotees of Asaramji Bapu. In today’s world of cut-throat competition for achieving power and money at any cost, people generally can’t think of sharing/giving. Then how and why these devotees are so generous? It’s because Bapuji has not only taught them values of generosity, unselfishness, and inclusiveness but also helped them to dissolve their selfishness, uproot the ego & demolish greed through spiritual practices of Japa, Meditation, Satsang etc.
Diwali was also celebrated by the saint by organizing a 7-day Spiritual Camp “Diwali Anusthan Shivir” in Ahmedabad Ashram which attracted thousands of spiritual enthusiasts. Devotees who could not come to Ahmedabad visited their local ashrams.
These people performed chanting, and meditation & listened to the discourse of Advaita Vedant.
This was the workshop established by Bapuji to inculcate virtues in his devotees for the service of mankind.
On one hand, the governing administration has failed to celebrate a pollution-free Diwali but Bapuji gained a huge success in this.
What a striking Irony!
Such an initiative which has been successfully practiced for more than 50+ years, is the best solution to create a sort of balance amongst the society, pacifying/nullifying all the differences and disturbances, in the nation, nature, economy, and overall wellbeing of the subjects/ citizens of every nation. It’s also a set ideal in front of the governments and the citizens showing how to create balance and harmony. Hence, it’s shocking that such a noble act has been neglected by the governments, mainstream media houses, statesmen, think tanks, and the so-called well-wishers of the nation.
Aren’t the saints, and institutes like that of Sant Shri Asaramji Bapu an asset to every nation and the world?
Isn’t the society and nation as a whole at a loss by framing such a benevolent Mahatma under a fake case and keeping him behind bars away from the common masses, attempting to just whitewash all his altruistic services, by creating a void using fake propaganda against him worldwide?
Post your opinion.