Jyoti Yoga

Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

Today is Deepavali or Diwali, known as the festival of lights. This Deepavali day has an ancient tradition from the time of Sri Rama, when he returned to Ayodhya after overcoming the demon king Ravana. To welcome him the entire city of Ayodhya was lit up with deepaks. Today, in many places of the state, in many places of the country, Diwali is going to remove the feeling of darkness and night with its luminosity with its light.

For many people this is a festival. I was thinking what it could mean for people who are associated with yoga. The thought came to me that this Diwali is a reminder for us to practise Jyoti Yoga. What is Jyoti Yoga? Jyoti means the little light, the little flame of the deepak, the little flame of the candle, that is the jyoti. This jyoti burns in the absence of all other light, just a small point of luminosity, just a small point of light, a source of both, heat and light. The entire creation is dependent on heat and light. If you remove heat and light from the universe, all that remains is darkness and cold. This little deepak represents the power which can remove darkness. Thousands of years of darkness in a cave can be removed in one instant of lighting a candle.

A candle represents the positive, the good, the benevolent and the auspiciousness in life. The more we try to become good, the more luminous we become. This was the teaching of Swami Sivanandaji as well – be good and do good. These are not only words, but the extract of all religions and philosophies that have existed in this world. They all advocate the same in their own manner with their own philosophy and belief systems – to be good and to do good while living in this world. It is here that most people find difficulty and obstacles in life.

Jyoti Yoga is a continuous effort by the spiritual aspirant to keep the small flame, the small jyoti lit in the gloom and darkness. That jyoti does not represent hope, no. It represents the goodness, the luminous in you. As long as the goodness is luminous within you, the effulgence of sattwa will make everything right in life, in the family, in society, in the nation and the world. There is the song of Diwali:

When the day is dark is dreary
And the way is hard to find
Don’t let your heart be weary
Just keep this thought in mind.
It is better to light one little candle
Then to stumble in the dark.
Better by far to light one little candle
All you need is a tiny spark...
If everyone lights one little candle,
What a bright world this would be.

This little candle is our own positivity, our strength and our own effulgent qualities in life. Darkness increases with tamas and light comes with sattwa. Maybe we can understand Diwali to be a reminder that each one of us in our life needs to follow Jyoti Yoga which is connecting and expressing the positive and the good, as many times as possible, continuously if possible and for all times if possible; then our Diwali will be complete.

Diwali, 4 November 2021, Ganga Darshan, Munger