It is the glorious and auspicious time of Diwali, our annual Festival of Light. At this time, though, this year in the midst of such a calamity, when we have to maintain distance from all, including our loved ones, what does Diwali mean and how can we celebrate?First of all, this time of the pandemic has given us the opportunity to remember that love and connection doesn’t have to rely on physical proximity or physical affection. Love is an energy that doesn’t dissipate over the meters or miles, and certainly doesn’t decrease over six feet! While we wear masks over our faces to protect ourselves and others, as symbols of our caring and compassion for this human body and for those around us, we must remember that the mask is only over our nose and mouth, not over our heart. We have a beautiful opportunity to increase the power of love in our heart since we cannot use our arms to hug or our mouths to show our love by smiles.
Additionally, on Diwali, we begin a new checkbook; we put last year’s accounts to rest. But, what about our own balance sheets? When was the last time we assessed our minuses and pluses, our strengths and our weaknesses, our good deeds and selfish deeds? How many years’ worth of grudges and bitterness and pain have we left unchecked? A good businessman always checks his balance sheet: how much he spent, how much he earned. A good teacher always checks the progress of her students: how many are passing, how many are failing. And they assess themselves accordingly: “Am I a good businessman?” “Am I a good teacher?” In the same way we must assess the balance sheets of our lives.
Look at the last year. Where do we stand? How many people did we hurt? How many did we heal? How many times did we lose our temper? How many times did we give more than we received? Then, just as we give our past checkbooks and the first check of our new one to God, let us give all our minus and plus points to Him. He is the one responsible for all our good deeds. And our bad ones are due only to ignorance. So, let us turn everything over to Him, putting our strengths, our weaknesses, our wins and our losses at His holy feet. And then, let us start afresh, with a new book, unadulterated by old grudges and bitterness.
– HH Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji