Diwali – Its Meaning and Significance in Today’s Times

Blog Post by Auritra Mallick | 14 October 2017

The lights felt hot as I looked at the crowd. Some started cheering as the film music started playing, and on cue we started dancing. We had rehearsed the steps many times, but I was still worried that I would miss something. Everyone was making a lot of noise and celebrating and the dance went almost perfectly. We were all having a good time, and then almost as soon as we started, it felt like it was over.

Looking back to how Diwali was celebrated throughout my youth and adulthood, I realise that this pattern was all too common. Diwali meant buying gifts so we could get gifts in exchange, dressing stylishly to impress others and dancing to trendy music. No one ever talked much about the meaning of Diwali. We may have heard something in passing from our parents, but such points took a backseat when compared to materialism and enjoyment.

The past few years, I have been doing spiritual practice under the guidance of the Maharshi University of Spirituality, and I have had the opportunity to learn that the mainstream view and celebration of Diwali misses the real purpose behind it. While the social aspect of Diwali is given more prominence, there is far more depth to it than that. Let’s look at one of the stories behind Diwali. Deity Shrīkrushna slayed the demon Narakasur during Diwali. Narakasur had a demonic attitude and this slaying signifies the triumph of good over evil. The real meaning of Diwali is to conquer the demonic attitudes within ourselves to light the inner lamp of spiritual progress. I have learned that we all have both Divine virtues and personality defects within us. Qualities such as love for others, humility and acceptance bring out the Divinity within us while defects such as anger, greed and selfishness bind us to The Great Illusion (Māyā) and blind us from the same Divinity.

A key part of spiritual practice performed under the guidance of the Maharshi University of Spirituality is the Personality Defect Removal Process, which is a systematic process designed to reduce our defects so we can develop Divine qualities. I have personally experienced a great change in myself by making efforts in Personality Defect Removal. I am more calm than before, I see situations more positively and I am understanding others better. Others too have experienced such changes in themselves and I have seen seekers of God completely change for the better over the course of several years. I am continuously amazed to observe how the evolved seekers and Saints of the Maharshi University of Spirituality interact and behave. There is a poise that they maintain even in the most trying situations. They are always genuinely thinking of others and you can feel their humility. These changes have occurred in them in a large part due to making sincere efforts in Personality Defect Removal.

All of this made me realise that these seekers and Saints are truly living the meaning of Diwali. Just as Deity Shrikrushna slayed the demon Narakasur, a seeker overcomes the defects and ego within them through Personality Defect Removal so the Divinity inside them can manifest. This Diwali, let us pay homage to its real meaning. Let the eternal flame of the soul illuminate our consciousness by performing spiritual practice.

I remember thinking that those friends I danced with in the Diwali dance competition would be my friends for life, but with time we grew apart. Though I have not seen them in years, I was wondering what they would say if I asked them about the meaning of Diwali. Whenever I spoke about Diwali with them or my other friends, the focus was always on enjoyment. It is unfortunate that most are unaware of the true meaning of Diwali and I would like to tell them about the meaning of Diwali as I see it now.

I also wish that parents would tell their children the real meaning of Diwali and put it before buying gifts and celebrating in a materialistic sense. I am experiencing that a reduction in defects and ego is the best gift anyone can receive and it is also a gift to others. This would be a far better gift for one’s children than anything else.