Extract of a talk by Sant Kirpal Singh at Sawan Ashram in Delhi, India – date unknown
In India, Divali Day (the Indian festival of lights) is celebrated by lighting candles. The people usually gamble, and if you ask them why, they will tell you that by gambling on that day our births and deaths will cease. There is a kind of gambling that finishes up the incarnations, but what kind of gambling it is, very few really know. The true gambling lies in sacrificing all other things – body and its environments – for the purpose of enkindling the Light within. Being ignorant of the true gambling, they started outer gambling instead; and the people blindly follow them, without going into the truth of it. He who will see the Light within withdraws his attention from the outgoing faculties and outer objects. Even in the field of spiritual matters, everyone is singing the name of God on top notes – no one stops to think exactly what those names stand for. Every religion contains the same basic teachings in the various languages: that is, in Naam, Word, etc., lies salvation, and not in any other teaching. But unfortunately, people follow the outer practice of repetition of names of God and lighting candles, considering it to be the beginning and the end.
The greatest aspiration of human life is to realize God: the God which expressed Himself into Creation, the Maker of Khand and Brahmand (astral and causal planes), the Sustainer of all things. In the language of the Saints, that God expressed is called Naam, through which they say the soul can gain salvation, irrespective of religion. The Ultimate or Absolute Lord is Nameless, but that which came into expression is called Naam, or Shabd, or Word – the God-into-Expression Power, which is not separate from His creation. "World is the room of Truth, and Truth resides therein."
I was born in a Sikh family, and as a small boy I would read the holy Granth Sahib. I would read one hymn only, and write it down as a day's lesson. All day I would think on the words, and try to discover their meaning. No doubt the reservoir of the heart must be emptied, but reading only with the tongue, while the mind is still wrapped in the world, has no value. However, I would say that reading the holy words is good, though not doing anything; but to read, think, understand, and finally have contact with the God mentioned therein will bring salvation. Neither following customs nor the performance of rituals brings salvation – the Lord can only be realized by coming in contact with that for which these customs and rituals stand.
Divali's day is celebrated in sweet remembrance of important past events: Mahavira Swami got Nirvana on this day, and Swami Dayanand got illumination on this day. Lord Rama returned to his kingdom after fourteen years of banishment, and his people lit millions of lamps in celebration. Divali was the day that Guru Har Gobind returned to Amritsar after fourteen years of imprisonment in Gwalior. Swami Ram Tirath was born on Divali day and renounced the world on Divali day. This is all very auspicious, so brother should meet brother, and all differences in the heart should be ironed out. The true meaning behind the Festival of Lights should be practiced, and that is to enkindle the light, the true Light of the Lord, within. On this day the people clean the house, throw out all the worn-out unwanted things, whitewash the walls, and light the lamps and candles; but this is outer Divali. Truly speaking, Divali will be fruitful if the inner Light is lighted. When the Light is lit inside, that is an indication of the manifestation of God. This is achieved only when all the dirt and filth in the heart is washed away.
On the day of Divali you will find that the atmosphere in the home changes for the better, due to the increased devotion, the extra cleanliness, the added fragrance of incense and burning of lamps and candles – all done with devoted attitude of mind. There is some radiation in this, but the real remedy for cutting out all evil propensities from the mind is to enkindle the Light within you.
Lighting the lamp and ringing the bell as an empty religious custom, though performed up to one million years, will remain an empty religious custom. All religious rites remain in this category, though good actions may be earned which will bear the fruit of reward, if they are performed with sincerity of thought. But there is no salvation in this. Kabir Sahib says, "In the palace of silence, light the lamp." The body itself is the true temple of the Lord, in which the Light of God is shimmering, and in that Light the Sound is vibrating. Masters speak of this in various terms: Intrinsic Hearing (Buddha), Truth clothed in Light(Pythagoras), the Unstruck Fire (Zoroaster), the Music of the Spheres, etc. So even if one could remember every known scripture by heart and could fill the memory with the words, but yet without lighting the Light inside and hearing the Sound, all this knowledge is bearing no real fruit.
So on this Divali Day I would like to impress upon you particularly to give up thinking ill of others. "While you do not make the enemy your friend, you will have no peace within." Your sleep state will be full of restless dreams. If anyone thinks or speaks of you aggressively, do not follow his example, otherwise his very thoughts will react upon you. If a wave of water hits a hard surface, it will bounce back, but if it strikes something resilient, it will be absorbed, like the action of a sponge, and there will be no violent reaction. "One curse is given, but on its return becomes many." If it is not returned, then? It was one, and remained one. Again we remember Farid Sahib saying, "The whole world is sounding, and you are also dancing with it." It is better, with a cool head, to try and read between the lines to discover why the person is acting so antagonistically, and then take action accordingly. You will save yourself from degradation this way. To think or speak of a person badly, to tell lies or cheat, to be hypocritical, indulging in backbiting and other ill–becoming traits – these are all degrading to the soul. Keep your hearts pure, and as God is in everyone, try to see only the best in all. Whatever duties have been given to you by God, perform them with love, and if others are shirking their duties, appeal to them with love, and pray for their better understanding. Then, leave them to the Lord.
Light and Sound are the direct way back to Absolute God. They are like two electric lifts which will take us to that place from whence they emanate.
The same Light of God is in all creatures – animals, birds, fish, etc. so one should love God and love also all creation, for He is in all. This constitutes a true way of celebrating Divali. You may do it today, or tomorrow, or next year, in ten years' time, or later on in life, or you can take millions of births to do it, but this very work will have to be done sooner or later.
So truly celebrating Divali does not lie in getting parshad or any outer action, but rather in taking the Truth of Divali into yourself and practicing it. You will see that your life will change in a matter of months. If up to now you have not done this, and are not going to do it, you will remain in darkness. If you have done something and have received a little Light, but do not devote your full attention and do not practice it, daily in all expressions of life, you will not increase whatever you have.
Keep the Guru's words always before you – they should become part and parcel of your life. You may ask why Hazur said I should do this spiritual work; it was His wish, that is all. The people are receiving the benefit, what better evidence is wanted? Property and other things can be given through official papers and man–made laws, but not Spirituality. Fire is lighted from fire, and Light comes from Light. Those who are getting the Light are receiving with Hazur's blessing – I have not earned it. What did he see in me? It might be that I was very open – I never hide anything from him. I used to see that He was seeing all my actions – that is really the truth of it. So, to have a clean heart is most necessary, for he who is one thing inside and tries to show he is something different will remain far from this true wealth. If he has a small part of it, it will stop further progress.
So let each of our days be a Divali day; light the inner lamp. If you have any bad thoughts for anyone, stop them, and if anyone has wittingly or unwittingly harmed you, forgive and forget. There is no other cure. If you cannot forgive the misdemeanors of others, your progress will stop, for forgiveness and justice are different. Forget justice, and develop the virtue of forgiveness. Keep your heart clear; do not think badly of anyone, even if they have deliberately harmed you. And do not dance to the world's tune. Protect yourself from lies and hypocrisy. Everyone has God within them, so have love for all men. Do selfless service, and regular meditation. As is also usual on Divali day, the houses and shops are cleaned and decorated. Man should also clean himself inside, decorate himself within with the inner Light, and sit in the Lord's sweet remembrance. Then only can Divali be truly beautiful.