This section is from the "Advices on Spiritual Living" book, by Sri Swami Chidananda.See also A Call to Liberation.
Blessed Seeker Of Truth,
Om Namo Narayanaya: Loving Namaskaras.
Salutations in the holy name of Gurudev Sivananda and in Divine Life. Let me first of all offer you my best Goodwishes and Greeting for a Bright and HAPPY DIVALI DAY. May Joy, Brightness and Auspiciousness fill your life and may Divine Mother Lakshmi smile upon you as prosperity, plenty and progress in everything you do. Happy DIVALI to you and to all in thy home and thy friends too.
The spirit of Divali is the spirit of gladness and friendliness unto all life. Joy is the essential nature of Man and love and friendliness is to man the natural relationship with his fellow-beings. The significant act during Divali is the lighting of lamps to brighten every nook and corner so that all darkness is put to flight. In your life the Light of virtue, purity and goodness shall verily banish the darkness of impurity and evil. Joy comes where virtue abides. Peace prevails where goodness fills the heart. Suffering and sorrow are the result of selfishness and hatred. Ignorance is the source of evil. Wisdom is the Light to dispel this Darkness of spiritual Ignorance. The Presence of God pervades this universe. O Man: Know this and live in virtue and holiness. For thou art ever in the Presence of the Most High. HE alone is the reality indwelling all names and forms and all beings are verily His moving tabernacles. This is Wisdom. Light up thy life with this wisdom and dispel the darkness of worldliness and materialism from your life.
Live to bring the light of Joy into the lives of one and all. Light up bright little lamps of kind words, kind actions, helpful deeds, loving good thoughts and smile upon one and all by looking upon everyone as your own. No one is a stranger to you in this universe. All are your own. Thus love all and seek to serve and to bring comfort, joy and well-being into the lives of all. By your own life strive to make life a perennial Divali unto others. Within the interior of thy own being do likewise and light the lamps of devotion and prayerfulness. Let not the darkness of desire or of selfishness mar the inner chamber of thy heart-shrine. Bright and clean keep thy heart fit to install the Lord therein and to worship Him with the flowers of Devotion, Truth, Self-control, Forgiveness, Compassion and Penance. Feel happy at the happiness of others; then your life will become filled with the Radiance of a constant Joy which nothing can mar. The selfish individual has a very limited unit of happiness available to him. But who finds joy in making others happy, his happiness is ever expanding and knows no limit. This is a secret of Divali. The more lamps you light the greater the radiance you become bathed in.
Is it not happily significant that the Divali follows soon after the nine-day worship of the Divine Mother? Does this not perhaps give you an insight into a great and sublime Law of Life? He who adores the Divine and propitiates the Universal Mother draws down the Grace of the Supreme and finds his life becoming filled with Light, Joy and Auspiciousness. Life smiles upon him and he now rejoices in the blessed radiance of God's Grace. Navaratri brings Divali in its wake. Therefore, O Man: worship the Divine and reap joy and peace.
This season holds for you a great lesson on the place of wealth in human life. You know very well indeed that all great Teachers of Mankind, all saints, sages and holy men have declared that money is the root of all evil. It is the seed of sorrow and the prolific source of corruption and sin and vice. Kalipurusha is said to have made gold the seat of his residence. Renunciation of money has ever been the indispensable condition of entry into spiritual life. Renunciation of Kanchana' is the first step in the quest of God. Yet in the Divali season we know that heaps of coins, silver and gold are actually worshipped in many parts of India. Lakshmi Puja is widely observed by the business communities everywhere. What does this mean? Is it totally against tradition and accepted beliefs? No, this is not so. There is a deep lesson in this. It serves to teach you the sanctity of wealth. Money and wealth are manifestations of the Divine Mother Maha-Lakshmi and are truly a sacred trust placed at your disposal to be used for the purest purposes and in the noblest way. Money does not constitute evil. Greed for money is evil. Living for money is the worst evil. Sheer selfish utilisation of money is the bane of human life. Money can ennoble or degrade according to man's concept about it and attitude towards it.
With money you can build a hospital or erect a slaughter house. With money you can raise a temple and a house of prayer or start a gambling house or a liquor shop. It can be utilised to help countries and people or to make war and destroy. You can use wealth to ennoble human nature or to debase human lives. It can bring happiness or cause sorrow. This is money. Regard it as a sacred trust to enable you to fulfil your moral obligations and duties and use it selflessly for Paropakara and Lokahita.
Charity is the main function of wealth. Its secondary function is one's own survival and comfort. Charity is a great purifier. It covereth a multitude of sins. Exclude all greed and selfishness in regard to wealth. Know it to be Divine Shakti. Treat it with reverence. Approach it with purity of heart. Utilise it WORSHIPFULLY. This is Lakshmi Puja and its lesson. It is in this light that wealth has been given a place in human life by our ancients. Thus conceived, has it been included as one of the four Purusharthas by our sublime Culture. Acquired honestly and by pure means, handled without greed or attachment and utilised in reverence and worshipfully, your wealth can enhance Dharma, purify your life, free you from bondage and take you towards Moksha. It becomes filthy Lucre when you abandon Dharma for the sake of money and sacrifice virtue at the altar of Kanchana. Remember this and keep up the sanctity of wealth and utilise it worshipfully All auspiciousness will come into your life.
Perhaps, you know that during this month four great Spiritual Anniversaries sanctify our lives. The six-day worship of Lord Kartikeya or Skanda commences on the 5th and concludes on 10th. Then we have on 14th November, the Yajnavalkya Jayanti of tremendous significance in our Culture. The discourse between sage Yajnavalkya and Maityeri is one of our most treasured heritages. Next comes the holy Tulasi Puja, a sacred day for all devout ladies. Tulasi symbolises the ideal feminine virtue in this Land. Women all over India worship the sacred Tulasi praying to be blessed with the precious wealth of modest purity, modesty, chastity and Pativrata Dharma. This is the bedrock of Indian Spirituality. The full-moon this month marks the birth Anniversary of the most worshipful saint GURU NANAK. He came to spread the true religion of Spiritual living in this land of five rivers. He restored the spiritual ideals to our religion which was being weighed under the mass of dry ritual. Religion is to be lived not merely believed in.
A life of truth, selflessness, devotion unto God, love of all beings, Purity of conduct and humility, selflessness and compassion constitute the true religion that the great Guru Nanak proclaimed.
O beloved seeker: What most precious wealth does not our Cultural heritage hold for us? Leaving this priceless treasury of gems why should you imitate the West and run after the worthless fashions and meaningless values. Enrich yourself with that which is your own by inner wealth of Mother India which knows no parallel and is inexhaustible. Come: be a true child of Bharatavarsha: Be a true heir to great illumined men of wisdom who founded our culture. Manifest Divine life. Be a noble Sadhak. May God bless you. I close with regards, and Pranams. Jai Sri Gurudev.
Sivanandashram Letter No. XV