In His last birth prior to attaining Nirvana, Parmatma was born as a prince to King Siddhartha and Queen Trishla. It was in this birth that he accepted the vows of renunciation and went into deepmeditation for twelve and a half years to become the Keval Jnāni or the Omniscient. He then illuminated the Truth that had dawned upon Him to the entire Universe.
Diwali marks the day when Parmatma Mahavira attained Moksha. Starting from Kali Chaudas, Bhagwan Mahavira drenched thousands of souls in His aura of Divinity as He gave His last discourse for a continuous period of 48 hours. This discourse is summed up as the revered Shree Uttarādhyān Sutra Aagam (Holy Book). Hence, Diwali is the last day of His life in Human Form and also in the cycle of life and death.
The auspicious land of Pavapuri was indeed blessed to witness this event. Thousands of souls eagerly purified their ears with the sermons of Parmatma. Mahavira awakened their Inner Chetna (inner conscious) and inspired them to accentuate their Journey towards Nirvana, thus transforming their lives to progress spiritually. Mahavira’s heart ebbed with compassion for every Soul. His last Deshna (sermon) was like a final call to every soul entwined in this circle of birth and death, “Hey Atman, Awake and Arise. I have come to free you from the shackles of life and death. I am here to hold your hand and take you towards your ultimate destiny – Nirvana”.
Sadhus, Sadhvis (renunciates), Shravaks and Shravikas (seekers), from emperors and Kings to the common people, every soul was eager to quench their thirst of knowledge and listen to the incessant divine discourse. They were deeply captivated in grasping the divine perceptions which flowed out His mouth continuously. Parmatma was nearing to complete the 36th Adhyan (segment) of Shree Uttarādhyān Sutra at midnight of Amavasya day (new moon).
He was in the process of illuminating every soul with the radiance of His divine knowledge. Even as they were drenched in the ocean of compassion and wisdom, their hearts were sinking with grief at the very thought that will we now be deprived of Parmatma’s Grace and Infinite Knowledge? The mere thought separation caused pangs of anxiety within their hearts. They wondered, the flame which ignited our lamp of Knowledge, will it now be extinguished forever? Will we never be fortunate enough to immerse ourselves in His eyes which overflow with Love and compassion? How will we survive, who will take care of our spiritual journey, when our Guiding Ray of Light ceases to glow? Every individual present at the Samavasharan (the Divine Assembly) was grief struck and unable to gather their thoughts, “What will be my life after Parmatma’s Death? When He was my life and my ultimate destiny, where will I go after His soul departs from this Human Form?”
However, within these storms of grief which surrounded every heart, was a venerated joy and an inexpressible happiness – the joy that Parmatma was about to attain Nirvana, the state of Infinite Bliss. They failed to realize that 48 hours had passed by.
The celestial beings enlightened the atmosphere with millions of Diyas, to ensure that even on a new moon night; darkness would not encompass the environment. Their hearts rejoiced in devotion and cried in grief, with event of Parmatma’s Nirvana.
Parmatma, on the other hand, was in an internal process of separating his Soul from the Body. Just as ice is formed from water, so also, He was silencing his soul that was in harmony with vibrations. The most awaited moment, when He would liberate himself from the infinite cycle of life and death, was coming closer with every passing second. And then, Parmatma’s eyes slowing began to droop down and His soul began to travel to the hollow parts of his body. Thousands of Sadhus, Sadhavis & Seekers, including the King of Pavapuri, Shri Hastipal Raja, witnessed this moment of qualm. They began to weep in misery as Bhagwan was departing from them; forever. Their hearts sunk with the thought of separation. Their eyes shed tears of grief and their soul mourned in agony. The Enlightened One, who had illuminated the entire Universe with the Light of Knowledge, had now departed. Darkness now engulfed the entire Universe at this grief struck moment when Mahavira’s soul finally left his body to attain Moksha.
King Hastipal lit a lamp to bring light in this time of darkness. To commemorate this auspicious occasion, every year, Diwali is rejoiced as the Day of Parmatma Mahavira’s liberation.
Thus ended the life of prince Siddhartha… Mahavira…as He went on to become Bhagwan Mahavira for years and years to come!
Diwali is thus a festival of illumination, an illumination of the Self. The true essence of Diwali lies in the efforts of dispelling the darkness of ignorance which embalms our soul and lighting the lamps of knowledge. Oil lamps continue to radiate their light only till they are filled with oil. The moment the oil is burnt completely, the flame extinguishes. However, the light of wisdom within us, the illumination of knowledge within us, is eternal. And that is what we need to strive for.
Bhagwan Mahavira is an inspiration for us to accentuate in our journey of shunning the darkness of ignorance within. He believed that the Knowledge and Universal Truth that radiated within Him are present in each and every one. Take this opportunity to ignite a tiny flame of wisdom within; it will soon grow into a lamp of Enlightenment. Because a Journey once commenced, is bound to reach its destination.
Kali Chaudas, the day prior to Diwali, is a day to ward off all effects of Evil. However, which evils seem to have an effect on us? No negative element of the Universe can be as harmful to the self as the vices and ignorance which reside within. The vices of anger, greed, jealousy, illusion, hatred, deceit, etc. are our biggest enemies. It is these vices which we need to fight and conquer. No enemy outside can defeat you if you have overpowered the enemies within. Hence, Kali Chaudas is a day of deep Sadhana, a day to take small but significant efforts to eradicate our Inner vices.
Diwali, which follows Kali Chaudas, is a day to rejoice in gratitude and experience deep reverence towards the One who lit the lamps of knowledge within us. It is this reverence which accelerates our inner journey and aids us in seeking the infinite wisdom which resides within.
New Year, which follows Diwali, is also a day which holds great significance. It is on this day that Parmatma Mahavir’s revered disciple Shri Guru Gautama Swami attained Omniscient Knowledge and became Keval Jnāni. His humility, His unmatched Devotion, incomparable surrender became the prime reasons for His Enlightenment. Let us all pray that one day may we become like Him and attain oneness with Parmatma!