Festivals & Fasts


Diwali The Indian New Year

New Beginnings - Personal, Financial and Spiritual

First published in BAVA newsletter November 1997  click here for info on BAVA

The New Moon, Amavasya tithi in the month of Kartika month when Sun is in Libra is considered very auspicious by Indians and is celebrated every year as a New Year especially by the business people who start their financial year on this day (the date differs every year as the Lunar calendar is used.) Prayers are held for Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth to facilitate the good financial energies. This time of the year people pray for direction and abundance in material matters. Diwali as the festival around the Libra New Moon is called is the celebration of Material happiness. It also represents a point in life where we begin searching for our spiritual selves.

Libra represents balance and harmony. In Sanskrit Libra is called Tula- meaning a scale where the tricky balance of life is reached. The material life is in its supreme exaltation but we are looking to plant seeds for our new spiritual life. This is the stage where individual egos become aware of the loss of their inherent spirituality, having become too involved in the darkness of material pursuits. The start of the journey towards higher wisdom and consciousness is represented by Libra. Libra guides us towards achieving the fine balance between spirituality and materialism.

Shukra(Venus), the ruler of Libra, was the advisor to the Daityas and Rakshasas. Daityas and Rakshasas are spiritual and highly evolved beings who have lost their original pure soul. They are involved in the pleasures of life and propitiating the theory of personal self and egos. In many ways, they reflect the human who in their pursuit for materialism has lost direction. The true goal of each soul is to look for the spiritual quest and break the bondage to human attachments (money, relationships, greed, anger, desires). We are struggling to regain our natural purity. Shukra or Venus as a wise seer has the mission to steer us towards our true path. Venus represents immense wisdom and insight into the ordeals and traumas which face the human ego in its earthly pursuits. Libra is the fulfillment of our material dreams but the start of our spiritual ones. Sun, the representative of our Soul, is debilitated in Libra. The soul is encased in the sheaths of materialism. It represents the nadir of our involvement with earthly life. From here we begin to look for the light to show us the way so that we can begin to break through the sheaths that bind us forever in the cycles of life and death. This is why this New Moon has been given great importance. Diwali represents symbolic lighting of light within our internal darkness to show us the light to direct us towards our true path.

Why Diwali is Celebrated

Diwali is celebrated for the safe return of Lord Rama from his 14 year Exile after killing the demon Ravana. Lamps were lit in the darkness to show him the way. The lamps also represent the celebration of the coming of light after years of darkness while Rama was away.

For a spiritual aspirant, the darkness of materialism lifts and a new light is lit, to guide towards their inner light. This is an important day to focus on your spiritual needs and to work on the higher self through devotion to knowledge and light.

The Diwali festival spans the last days of Ashwini month and the first days of Kartika. This is a major festival all over India and is celebrated by many religions including Sikhs and Jains. The foundation of the Golden Temple, Amritsar was laid on Diwali in 1577.

The whole of India is lit up by lamps and lights. It is a beautiful sight as the lamps light up the darkness of the Amavasya sky. It is a visual interpretation of Jyotish. While the lights are lit show outer light, the study of Jyotish ( Vedic Astrology) lights up our inner world and show the direction to the soul to find their source of eternal light. So aspirants should treat this as a special day - however dark their world - we all are able to bring light to it.

Diwali is the New Year, so let go of the past and concentrate on a new tomorrow- where there are joy and light.

This is a good day to make a donation to the poor and feed the wise.

— Komilla Sutton


by Komila Sutton

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