It’s interesting that nearly every spiritual tradition sees God as Divine Light in one way or another. Diwali is one celebration of that Light, which is really in each one of us, and not just ‘out there’ somewhere. Swami Kriyanandaji wrote a ceremony celebrating that Light, called A Festival of Light. While he wasn’t directly addressing Diwali, he was recognizing that same Divine Light that we celebrate every year during Diwali season.
How can we use Diwali as a catalyst to bring that Light into our lives every day, not just once a year?
First of all, realize that you are made of that Light. Paramhansa Yogananda, while in the midst of a divine ecstasy, remarked to those present, “I see all of you as Light. You have no idea how beautiful even your physical bodies are, behind their outward appearances!” He would say the very same about each and every one of us!
The purpose of most spiritual practices is to help us grow more and more into that understanding of who and what we are. Try to see meditation and prayer especially as a tool for transcending the little self, and becoming one with that Light. A line from Swamiji’s Festival of Light gives a great spiritual truth, along with two spiritual tools:
“Lord, we offer up the little light that is in us
Into Thy blazing light of Infinity.
Grant us the grace to know Thee.
And make us ever-increasingly
Pure channels of Thy love to all.”
These tools are based on one of the greatest of divine truths: the practice of giving.
The first tool is the practice of devotional self-offering. Every day, when you meditate or pray, don’t just look upwards towards the divine, or at the spiritual eye. Offer or give your entire being to the divine. You can even feel that as you inhale, you are offering your little self up the spine to the point between the eyebrows, as a devotional offering to God—as Light, as the Guru, or in whatever way you worship.
Just as sweets offered to the altar are sanctified and become holy prashad, so our little selves become sanctified every time we offer ourselves at the altar of spirit, in prayer and meditation.
The second tool, also based on giving, is that we must learn to be channels for the Divine Light. Those who share with others the Light that they receive, find that Light growing stronger. Those who keep it to themselves find it diminishing.
Send Healing Prayers
Try to end every meditation by sharing what you have received, even if all you feel is a little bit of light and inspiration. At most Ananda group meditations, we conclude with healing prayers for the world or for individuals. You can do this in your own personal daily practice.
Paramhansa Yoganandaji gave a beautiful technique for giving to people in this way:
Visualize someone you know who is in need of physical, mental, or spiritual healing. Offer this prayer, “Divine Mother, Thou art omnipresent. Thou art in all Thy children. Thou art in (the name of the person). Manifest Thy healing presence in his (her) body, mind and soul.” Rub the palms of your hands together briskly, then hold up your hands and chant AUM three times, sending healing energy and Light to that person.
Interestingly, early in my spiritual practices I discovered that even when I felt no inspiration during my meditation, praying for others would awaken divine inspiration.
Use this Diwali season as a way to re-awaken your daily spiritual life. You will find that as you consciously tune in to Divine Light as a spiritual practice, every single day, that Light will grow stronger and stronger within you.