Deepotsav is one of the most popular festivals in the Indian calendar. The anniversaries of many auspicious historical events comprise this ancient festival. The festivities comprise of firecrackers, ceremonial bathing, feasting, artis, family get-togethers – and illuminations.

The aesthetically appealing illumination dates back to many millennia when the jubilant citizens of Ayodhya welcomed Lord Rama back to their city after His exile. The Ramayana describes, how when Lord Rama was exiled due to the misdirected intrigues of Kaikayi, Ayodhya became almost like a ghost city. All its citizens were plunged into an ocean of separation and sorrow for fourteen agonizingly long years. When Lord Rama finally returned, their heart’s innermost longing was at last fulfilled. They spontaneously celebrated this joyful reunion of divine love by illuminating their houses.

Apart from being a historical reality, this event also has immense relevance to our lives. Ayodhya is like our heart and Lord Rama is the Lord of our heart, the supreme object of love and devotion for all of us. Due to unfortunate misconceptions, we too have exiled the Lord from our heart. Just as Ayodhya became a ghost town when Lord Rama departed, our heart too has become infested with negative – and often self-destructive – feelings like anxiety, boredom, loneliness, depression, stress, prejudice, envy, anger and hatred. And, just like the citizens of Ayodhya, our lives too have become filled with emptiness and lamentation.