Diwali 2023

[Diwali]“Mind, why are you not worshiping Shri Rama, whose bow is like time, with weapons of arrows representing the different units of time, such as paramanu, lava, nimesha, barasa, yuga, and kalpa?” (Dohavali, 130)

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लव निमेष परमानु जुग बरस कलप सर चंड।
भजसि न मम तेहि राम कहँ कालु जासु कोदंड।

lava nimeṣa paramānu juga barasa kalapa sara caṃḍa।
bhajasi na mama tehi rāma kaha~ kālu jāsu kodaṃḍa।

Diwali is an occasion for celebration. The festivities are in honor of an achievement. It was a victory to be remembered for countless lifetimes. It was the moment that gave visual evidence to the claim that the Supreme Lord is ajita, or unconquerable.

The concept of victory implies doubt as it pertains to the outcome. If there is an early round match within a professional sporting event, it might be that the favorite is playing against someone much lower in the rankings.

Hardly anyone pays attention, and they conclude, with great certainty, that the favorite will win. When the outcome meets the expectation, there is not much to discuss. Maybe someone can dig into the score, review the statistics, to see if the margin of victory portends any good or bad omens for future rounds.

At the same time, under an objective analysis the outcome is indeed in doubt. There is always some chance that the underdog will prevail. No matter what the comparison looks like on paper, at the end of the day they play the game to determine the winner and the loser.

If the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Bhagavan, is ajita, does that not invalidate the concept of a victory? Why is there a Diwali celebration if the outcome was never in doubt? Why should we celebrate a victory tied to the avatara of Shri Rama when there is no potential for a defeat?

There is the saying that example is superior to precept. Show a person the principles in action as opposed to trying to explain it to them. It is better if the doctor knows how to successfully complete a surgical operation as opposed to only correctly answering questions on an examination. I would rather the attorney know how to apply the law than merely be capable of writing an analytical essay, after the trial is over.

Shri Rama and His travels through this world are a visual example of the principle in motion. How can we understand the concept of ajita when we are defeated at every moment? Even the most successful people we know succumb to time in its gruesome form of death. In this way, every person submits to the will of a higher power. I may staunchly dismiss the concept of a Divine Being, but I will meet God eventually. There is no escaping the destined meeting.

[Sita-Rama]The external appearance indicates that Rama’s victory is in doubt. He had proved Himself already on many occasions, such as winning the contest of the bow. He was the only prince in the world capable of lifting the bow of Lord Shiva, and this feat earned Rama the hand in marriage of Sita Devi, the daughter of King Janaka.

But the victory tied to the Diwali celebration looked out of reach. The king of ogres, Ravana, was safe on his island of Lanka. He took Sita there by force, and in secret. If you want to fight against someone with ten heads and twenty arms, you first have to locate them. Then you have to hope they are willing to fight, in a fair way, in the absence of outside interference.

The meeting eventually took place. Rama against Ravana. It was the suras pulling for Rama and the Rakshasas hoping to keep Ravana in his heightened sense of superiority. It was reality in Rama against illusion in Ravana. It was the Absolute Truth, Brahman, against maya. In that contest, maya loses every time.

Rama prevailed, reunited with Sita, and finally returned home to Ayodhya. The initial celebration is what gets replayed every year, with new people entering the scene but holding the same level of affection for the Divine couple.

As ajita, Shri Rama is always victorious. He is always in the position of glory, but due to the influence of maya we tend to forget. We get beaten down by our own temporary defeats, which are also in illusion. We think that no one can help, that there is no hope in this world, that we will struggle for lifetime after lifetime.

[Diwali]Then there are occasions such as Diwali to lift us back up. There is indeed light in this world. There is a perpetually shining sun, and He happens to be the sun of the solar dynasty. His arrows are like different units of time, acting as a weapon to vanquish all gains. But for those devoted to Him, Rama’s arrows are like renewing opportunities to celebrate in boundless joy, in remembering the son of Dasharatha and all that He sacrifices for the sake of others.

In Closing:

For all others sake,
Sacrifices to make.

Like of kingdom stripped,
To next son skipped.

When Ravana deception choosing,
Rama even Sita losing.

But Diwali when everything returned,
After most joyous victory earned.

Categories: diwali, holiday

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