(This year, the Hindu Festival of Light — called Diwali [1] — occurs on the same day as Veteran’s Day in the U.S. Below is a letter about Diwali written by Sai Maa, a prominent teacher of Indian spirituality, to her followers. It struck me as a possible commentary on Hanukah as well, but even more, on the major Jewish holiday; even Shabbat.)

Divine Ones,

These 24 hours [of Diwali] are being infused in devotion and bhakti. We are not to be surprised if such deep devotion, Maha-Bhakti, is experienced and expressed during this period of celebration of light: the light, the lamp of light, the light of Atma [Self], the lamp of the body. If we look at the lips or mouth of a human, we can see it as the doorstep, and here we are to always put a lamp whose light is very bright — meaning always divine speech will be coming out of this place, with Maa Saraswati on the tongue.

This lamp is to be fed by and with devotion, our steadiness can be represented by the wick. The light coming and shining must illuminate every instant of our life. Every moment we are to feel the love coming from our supreme Self. The splendor of this light will definitely dispel the thick veil of darkness as soon as the wick starts shining. What is left is joy, love, peace, and harmony, which are all aspects of truth, the changeless. These qualities are then your companion, meaning God wins, meaning one does not feed ego, evil, or darkness anymore. When God wins or Self wins, one is not feeding anymore lower qualities which lead to pain and suffering.

You are here at this period of Diwali, Deepawali. This celebration is also to express gratitude, for one is seeing the light, one is merging with the divine love because the darkness, the emotion that drags one from divinity, is not being nurtured anymore. Attachments, worldly earthly things that lead one down to pain, are to be transmuted into the light of Supreme Atma. One is to wear new glasses, glasses of love, of light, of awareness, of knowledge, of wisdom, of peace.

Addiction to habits of suffering is embedded in the human mind. Choose now to adopt habits of seeing with divine glasses, glasses of God. This is the inner significance of Diwali — garlands of lights within. The moment we choose new ways of behavior, of thinking, of being one with truth, is when a celebration of light has its meaning. Allowing the light of truth to transmute the darkness of the mind and restore it with love, compassion, and joy. This celebration, when understood with inner significance and with knowledge, leads one from darkness to light. Light. Light wherever there is darkness — don’t we all look for light? So look in the personality and divinize, enlighten all parts of this personality.

Now, let’s see what is darkness and what is light. Darkness will surely contract us. Darkness is doubt, sadness, jealousy, greed, peacelessness, disappointment, inner poverty, inner misery, restlessness of mind, so many different forms of darkness. So, to transform all these qualities, which lead to darkness, one is to light the lamp of light (the lamp of truth) to install, to establish this lamp, to sacrifice the darkness of ego — this is the real sacrifice. Light the lamp of prosperity in your life experience.

Divine Love is golden, permanent, changeless, and free. Allow the lamp of your heart to be lit and experience the profoundest of spiritual paths, of your sadhana. Allow Diwali to burn the darkness, and all hidden divine qualities will surely come to the surface. This is the true significance of a celebration of light, a real inner significance. Whoever chooses attachments to bodily senses will be and is imprisoned, immersed in gross darkness.

Yes, drop all, everything, drop and rest in pure consciousness. When you are all, you are the truth. Allow all chakras to light up, allow their petals to expand toward the 16 kalas. The embodiment of the divine is the 16 kalas who dwell in the crown chakra with its thousand petals. The work with the kundalini Shakti has been so powerful; she is rising, merging with 1600 beings of light in the crown sahasraha [crown chakra]. This is deliverance. This celebrates dissolving the darkness by the higher Self, by the Supreme, if only we allow it to happen.

The permanent is free. The permanent is knowledge. Set the flame to the light of God within, the wisdom, so one is not enveloped by darkness anymore. Let the light shine within as well as outward. Yes, allow the Divine flame of your spirit, your inner divinity, to shine. Devotion leads one to that flame. Devotion clears the heart so that purity and innocence are felt and tears of grace fall, petals of grace unfold.

Yours Ever,
Maa [2]

[To this, I add from TaNaCh:

;נֵר יְהוָה נִשְׁמַת אָדָם;
.חֹפֵשׂ כָּל-חַדְרֵי-בָטֶן

“The spirit of man is the lamp [Light] of God;
Searching [illuminating; revealing] all the inward parts.”] [3]

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[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diwali)

[2] http://www.sai-maa.com/en/blog/entry/diwali-the-festival-of-lights?mc_cid=35335cd50f&mc_eid=3b8a6e2e38

[3] Mishlei/Proverbs 20:27