Hinduism as a culture is open to interpretation. There are no fixed rules but broad guidelines that helps one to take decisions. The creators of our scriptures connote the same thoughts in their writings.
They have explained the rationality of Indian culture and value system in simple ways; Anecdotes, yet leaving the interpretation open ended. To preserve it for eternity they have created storytelling as part of our culture.
Even our greatest scriptures, RAMAYANA and MAHABHARATA, in a way, narrate story of their time. A scrupulously read makes us realise that every incident mentioned, is a life lesson with its hitherto applicability. The prevalent folklore for Deepawali is about lord Rama, the conqueror of Lanka, who had returned to his hometown after 14 years of ‘Vanvaas’. To celebrate his victory, people lit Ayodhya with lamps and created electrifying atmosphere to welcome their king. If one would think deep then only they would realise the stark contradiction in Rama’s modest, altruistic and simple living style, as depicted in the scripture, with the ubiquitous narrative of him being part of the magnificent exhibit, done by others, for him.
Every incident in Ramayana preaches diverse life lessons to humans as an individual and about their duty towards society. One of the lessons from Deepawali anecdote is mentioned.
Life lesson as an individual
Light and dark are only two shades that encapsulate life. Darkness had surrounded lord Rama, as well, but he accepted it calmly. He had accepted to leave his comfortable life, and deception in relationship. He accepted when the most sacred relation – his mother had asked for his ‘Vanvaas’, he had accepted that his father chose to keep his vow over his son, he had accepted that despite him, being invincible, ingenious and god himself, had been tricked, and his support in tough days – his wife, Sita Mata – was kidnapped.
But he didn’t let the darkness pull him down. Being a god himself he could have taken help from other gods or nearby province, (as future king of Ayodhya) but he walked alone on that path to find the ray of light. He created his own army, conquered Lanka, took Sita Mata back and became a king, who was accepted by one and all.
As we all know that words travel faster than any person, and even before lord Rama could reach Ayodhya, the message that he wanted to give to people had already reached. They had understood that
Darkness is inevitable
To Accept the dark days calmly
Self-dependence is the only way in darkness
One has to keep walking to cross the dark times.
Symbolically, people showed the same to Lord Rama by lighting lamps on their own to fight darkness.
Life lesson as society
Rama could have asked Hanuman Ji to rescue Sita mata, but he wanted to ensure that what had happened to him should not happen to others, and society at large should be saved. He brought everyone, irrespective of cast and creed – (‘Vanarsena’ and ‘Manushya’) together, and eventually killed Ravana.
Hence, as learning, all the people in Ayodhya came together to light the darkness in the society. They had lit the lamps outside their homes, not merely their nests, to ensure that cumulative light quashes darkness from all sides, thus conveying lord Rama that they, his people, have learnt the way to be together in tough times, irrespective of cast and creed. They have learnt that as a society they should identify the dark spots which exist and to lit the lamps to nullify that darkness.
On this occasion of Deepawali – I wish, we all get enlightened towards the dark spots that exist in us and in our society and illuminate it with the light of awareness. Happy Diwali to everyone.