“Those men who will again see Rama along with Sita, accompanied by the mighty-armed Lakshmana, returning home will be successful.” (Valmiki Ramayana, Ayodhya Kand, 72.38)
सिद्धार्थास्ते नरा राममागतं सह सीतया।
लक्ष्मणं च महाबाहुं द्रक्ष्यन्ति पुनरागतम्।।
siddhārthāste narā rāmamāgataṃ saha sītayā।
lakṣmaṇaṃ ca mahābāhuṃ drakṣyanti punarāgatam।।
The festival of lights. The triumph of good over evil. The reminder that things eventually work out in the end. A Hindu festival to shine the light of positivity. These are different ways to describe the occasion known as Diwali, as it is practiced in the modern day. But taking the original event and a teaching from one of the central characters, the festival can also be seen as a way to succeed in life.
From the Ramayana poem of Maharishi Valmiki, we have details and accounts of the life of the ideal man. This was none other than Vishnu Himself, descending to earth in a supposedly human form. The standard that a great man sets, others follow, and so Shri Rama showed the world the extents to which a person can align with dharma.
यद्यदाचरति श्रेष्ठस्तत्तदेवेतरो जनः ।
स यत्प्रमाणं कुरुते लोकस्तदनुवर्तते ॥
yad yad ācarati śreṣṭhas
tat tad evetaro janaḥ
sa yat pramāṇaṁ kurute
lokas tad anuvartate
“Whatever action is performed by a great man, common men follow in his footsteps. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 3.21)
Imagine losing the big match, after having a commanding lead. Imagine preparing for a big event, when it suddenly gets cancelled. Imagine expecting to see everyone’s smiling faces, full of delight, only to find heartache, sadness, and sorrow.
So the events unfolded in the kingdom of Ayodhya, after Maharaja Dasharatha had decided to pass the kingdom down to his eldest son. This son was long awaited. Dasharatha had to perform a special yajna in order for his three queens to become pregnant. They honored the remnants of the yajna and soon thereafter gave birth to four sons: Rama, Bharata, Lakshmana, and Shatrughna.
Being Vishnu Himself, Rama was full of auspicious characteristics and marks. He was the joy of the town. The brothers loved Him equally. Though only Kausalya was the birth-mother, the other queens felt as if Rama were their own.
Until, of course, destiny took a different turn. The youngest queen, Kaikeyi, decided to put her husband in a bind. She cashed in on promises made to her at a previous time. She would get anything of her choosing; that was Dasharatha’s vow.
Kaikeyi decided that Bharata, her son, should be made king instead of Rama. Kausalya’s son should also be turned into an exile, left to wander the wilderness and only return after fourteen years.
Rama accepted the decision. He left without hesitation. He took His wife, Sita Devi, with Him. Lakshmana insisted on following Rama, as well. Thus the three left Ayodhya, whose heart went with them.
Bharata was out of town when the events transpired. After receiving an urgent message to return home, he arrived just after Dasharatha left his body. Bharata could not understand what had happened. He asked his mother what Dasharatha’s final words were.
It is within that conversation that the secret to success in life is revealed. Relayed by Kaikeyi of all people, the dying words from Dasharatha were that those people who would see Sita, Rama, and Lakshmana return again to Ayodhya would be truly successful.
The Sanskrit word is siddhartha. This can also refer to someone who is fortunate. It is perfection in interest. Reaching the height of what is to be achieved. Being truly blessed, in a manner which cannot easily be replicated.
The occasion of Diwali celebrates the moment that Sita, Rama, and Lakshmana indeed returned to Ayodhya. Flying on the aerial car known as pushpaka, the residents of the town welcomed them in a grand way. The tradition has continued since that time.
Since God is absolute, there is no difference between Him and His name. There is no difference between Him and His land. This means that through celebrating Diwali, a person can welcome that Lord of the universe back to His home, accompanied by His devoted wife and His always-protective younger brother.
The person who celebrates such an occasion with that transcendental image in mind is truly fortunate, as validated by that spotless king of Ayodhya, who departed this world in the most glorious way, conscious of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Successful person is he,
When that image to see.
Of Sita and Rama returning,
With Lakshmana kingdom earning.
Diwali with that purpose in mind,
For perfection of living to find.
Celebrating with lights today,
In that image forever to stay.