Etymologically speaking, ‘Diwali’ comes from a combination of two Sanskrit words – dīpameaning ‘lamp, light, that which illuminates’ and āvali which translates as ‘a row, continuous line, series.’ So Diwali is a ‘string of lights’.
Every year, Diwali brings with it revelry and joy all over India. But there are also some profound life lessons hidden in the rituals associated with this festival. For ‘light’ is a symbol of wisdom and knowledge, that which conquers the darkness of ignorance. And Diwali is a festival that celebrates the triumph of good over evil through the metaphor of illumination.
So what are the lessons we can learn from the festival of lights?
Let’s find out.
Be your own light
The act of lighting a lamp is such a profound thing. It is a reminder of our own inner power. It is about connecting to the spiritual being within us all. This is what will help us stay focused on what is really important and to take note of all the details that enrich our lives.
Feel free to shine
In Diwali’s essence one also finds the joy of sharing. This festival reminds us that relationships are the fruit of effort. From spending time with those closest to you, to giving gifts to every one you know – Diwali tells us that when we share our riches, our talents, our time, we make our own lives more meaningful.
Cherish what you have
Diwali is a time to clean up ones home and wear the best clothes you own. In all this is imbued the message that we must take care of all that is important to us. It is about making the time and putting in that little extra effort to bring beauty into our lives.
Be open to the evermore
One of the mythologies around Diwali is that this is the day Goddess Laxmi comes home bearing gifts of wealth and health. This is why people leave their doors open. This practice is significant of the idea that one should not be afraid of the unknown. Instead we should open our hearts to new possibilities, that is the only way you can receive life’s goodness.
Be playful, let go
Across north India people indulge in a friendly game of ‘Teen-Patti’ around Diwali. Games have always been a part of Indian life. But they are not to be mistaken with superfluous gambling. These games are a reminder that we should not get too attached to our belongings. Wisdom lies in embracing that life is unpredictable, much like a card game. It is best to surround yourself with people you can enjoy playing with, and make the most of whatever curveballs life throws at you.
Make new beginnings
This festival signifies fresh starts. It marks the new year of the Hindu calendar and is also an occasion to buy new things. People buy vehicles, phones, laptops, gold and silver on Diwali, as a reminder that it is always a good thing toembrace the new. It is also about enjoying the results of your efforts.