Guru Dev - Shankaracharya Swami Brahmananda Saraswati -
speaks on ‘Diwali’
(from 'Shri Shankaracharya Vachanamrit Bhag - 1')

link to हिन्दी original text
ITRANS text version
translation by Premanand © Paul Mason 2021

Consider Diwali as the Time to Revive the Light in the Heart

'Once Bhagwan is manifest in the heart then you will become happy always. You people should consider Diwali as the time to revive the aatmajyoti (Light of the Transcendent Self) in your heart. It is right to light the lamp outside, this comes from tradition, but once Bhagwan is manifest in your own heart then you will always be happy.

Nowadays people, Diwali is a day for gambling and doing all manner of depraved behaviour, this is not right. Diwali then is not for gambling. This we say is 'Kaalratrii' ('raatrii' = night, so 'Night of Maa Kaal'
when goddess Mother Durga is celebrated for her power to destroy ignorance and to dispel darkness). On this day you should really spend the time doing bhajana to your own ishhTa (preferred deity). 'Light the inner light!', this is the way to celebrate Diwali. Having obtained the inner light then afterwards you will be freed from being troubled day and night by the desires of the everyday world. The aananda (bliss) is really in Paramatma (Supreme Soul, Transcendental Self) and once you have experienced aatmaananda (Bliss of Transcendental Self) then how will you become entangled in vishhayaananda (pleasure of worldly experiences)? You people should not attach your mind to sense objects, apply yourself more towards Bhagwan, attain Bhagwan then this misery of birth and rebirth will be erased.

In the search here and there, for gratification in worldly matters, the human repeatedly suffers. In worldly matters then there is no satisfaction. The vR^itti (whirlpool of thoughts) is not affected, even for a moment, that is your experience of pleasure. In reality, if
happiness exists in worldly things  then the increasing of the vR^itti should not occur, but that is not what happens. If by chance someone obtains a hundred thousand rupees then for a little while he is consumed with happiness. To him it is a great delight but even if that money is always with him, he is not going to [continue to] get that time of happiness. It is natural that he desires happiness, and in the search for happiness he gets involved in worldly matters, meeting with happiness there, again he is going to other worldly pleasures.

In worldly pleasures is the experience of ephemeral happiness, there is a delay, the 
vR^itti (whirlpool of the mind) becomes stilled. In the stilling of the vR^ittiis happiness, but man thinks that by worldly pleasure gratification is obtained. The dog is happy gnawing a bone, from the gnawing he cuts his mouth and blood appears. Therefore he thinks the blood is from the bone, therefore from tasting that he gnaws some more. This is the situation with regard to worldly pleasures then, this is not happiness, but the reason is that for a moment the vR^itti is undisturbed, it becomes euphoria, in that you worldly people think that happiness can be got in worldly things.

However much more the mind becomes stilled, that much more is the experience of more aananda (bliss). Therefore it is a necessity to still the mind. By upaasanaa the activity of the mind becomes distant. Doing upaasanaa, when the mind is completely undisturbed, then it is connected with the experience of continuous happiness of Bhagwan.

Janaka was a GYaani (one who has spiritual knowledge) and it is said he was incorporeal. Once King Janaka was listening to a kathaa (a religious discourse), then this came, in this context, that only if the student has attained a high point in his saadhana (spiritual discipline) can the guru give him the knowledge of enlightenment without delay. If the shishya (disciple) has finished his saadhana, he should not be deprived of GYaan (knowledge). When Janaka heard this then he stopped the kathaa, 'Give more now, cause my GYaan, but this subject of GYaan he could not perform. So he was confined in prison. Janaka came
to other people for the study of GYaan but they could not perform this GYaan, so they were also locked in prison.

In the end AshhTavakra Ji came. His body had eight twists, from these eight twists he was bent. He came to the door and said "I have come to give upadesha (instruction) to Janaka". 

The people said "If you don't go away then you will be confined to jail". AshhTaavakra was summoned, he asked the very same question of him, "Give me the upadesha of GYaan!" AshhTaavakra ji said that, "Firstly make the receptacle, then can come the GYaan". It is written:-

ashishhyaaya na daatavyaM
aputraaya na daatavyaM
samyak pariKshyaaya daatavyaM .

'You should not give upadesha to an ashishhya (a disciple who is unworthy), you should not give upadesha to an aputra (a son who is unworthy). Therefore, firstly make a shishhya (disciple) then you shall make him a recipient of GYaanopadesha (teaching of GYaan).'

Janaka ji asked again "What should I do?"

AshhTaavakra ji answered "Make me a gift of body and wealth!"

Janaka gave all as a gift. When he really had nothing then Janaka ji went into samaadhi, because there was no staying in anywhere, as wherever the mind would go he had already completely given over to the guru, the mind also had been given over to the guru.

AshhTaavakra ji asked, "Who are you?", but Janaka did not reply.

"One's identity is the most precious thing, what answer do you give?"

Then Janaka said, "If you command then I will go to Uttrakhand*!" 

[* Uttrakhand is an area in the foothills of the Himalayas, which encompasses the holy towns of Gangotri, Yamunotri, Uttarkashi, Kedarnath, Badrinath, Jyotir Math (Joshimath), Rudraprayag, Rishikesh and Hardwar.]

AshhTaavakra ji said, "How will you go to Uttarkhand if your body is my keeping?"

In this manner,
AshhTaavakra ji caused Janaka to experience aatmaananda (bliss of Transcendent Self). There was a good deal of dialogue between Janaka and Ashtavakra [which is available in the form of a book known as 'Ashtavakra Gita']. The purport of this is that, when you have the experience of paramaananda (Transcendent Bliss) then afterwards the tuchchhaananda (little happinesses) are not going to create a vR^itti. The value of the human life is this, that in this very life you gain Bhagwan.'