Diwali Puja, Novi Ligure, Italy, October 25th, 1998
I am overjoyed really today to see you all here to celebrate the Diwali Puja. We were to be in Portugal but it was not so – so we are here.
Diwali Puja is a very small puja but extremely significant. Firstly in Diwali, the first day they buy something for the family. You can – maybe some cooking utensil could be, an ornament for the wife or something like that. Because that is the day of housewife. And that day is to be celebrated as the housewife’s, I should say, homage to her. As a result you know in India even now housewives are very much respected. Actually they are respected all over. You will be amazed that even in the protocol of the government receptions anywhere the wife is very important. And where she is sitting, what is her position is very important. Even today in the most modern and advanced countries also they have a special respect for the housewife. The housewife may not be educated, she may be a very simple woman, she may not be very modern.
There was an experience for Me: in London we had a program where we all were invited, and the head of the delegation, his wife was missing. So they asked Me, “Where is she?” Because there is a seat for her, she has to sit there.
I said, “I don’t know, I didn’t see her. She must be somewhere here.” So just before starting I went to the washing room and I was surprised she was sitting in the waiting room there. I said, “What are you doing here? They are all waiting for you outside.”
So she said, “They asked me to sit here.”
So I went out and I told them “Now she is sitting there. Why… why don’t you call her to sit in her seat?”
“Is she the wife?”
I said, “Yes, of course, she is the wife.”
“We thought she was some secretary.”
I said, “What made you think?” This lady had, you see, very modern ideas – wearing a very modern slick dress and all that and and everybody thought this lady must be the secretary at the most. So they made her sit in the waiting room. You see – So it is expected of a housewife to be decently dressed, honorably dressed and not to dress up like a secretary or somebody who is just in the office. Because she is regarded as the highest – whether you like it or not. But she had permed her hair and she has been to a very expensive place for all decorations and everything. And poor thing, when she arrived they put her in the waiting room near the bathroom. That’s what it is.
So for a housewife, she is the dignity of the household. Not only that, but she is responsible for the complete culture of that country, complete culture of that country. They represent the culture. Like in India nowadays they have started in the films showing all kinds of funny, funny dresses. But I haven’t seen any housewife wearing that. I haven’t seen anybody. It’s not in reality, it’s only in the film, because the society is so strong and the housewife is supposed to be a decent person. She has to be decent, she has to be very dignified and she has to behave in a dignified manner.
On the contrary I would say, we had a prime minister called Lal Bahadur Shastri. His wife was absolutely uneducated because Shastriji went to jail and she couldn’t take her education – very simple, ordinary woman. And she went to France. That time there was this Mr. de Gaulle, he was the president. And his wife was another very simple woman. So Shastriji told her that “You are not to cry when you are leaving Mrs. de Gaulle, now you’ve become great friends.” God knows she didn’t know French and she didn’t know Hindi, but somehow both of them became great friends, on the level of housewives. And when he warned her not to cry, what happened that they started crying when they had to leave.
So Shastriji said, “I told you not to cry.”
She said, “It is she, this French lady started crying. What can I do? I had to cry with her.”
So you see, it’s a kind of a great collectivity of housewives that has to work out. They have common problems, they have to face their children, they have to look after the household, everything – I mean there are so many common problems with the housewives. And the housewife also knows all little, little things. You see, men at least in India don’t know much because they live in the air, I think. So the women have more sense in this respect, for small, small things they are quite aware.
It’s very interesting sometimes, the men commit mistakes of such a great humor. Because they do not deal with day-to-day life, with all the problems of daily life. On one side the woman, housewife, has to deal with the daily life. On the other side she has to look after her family, her children. Also, poor thing, she is responsible for the society. She has to maintain the society. In a country where women are sensible and are matured, you will be amazed that they become extremely good families, good societies and good children. That’s why I must say, India is a very good country of very good society. This is come out of the housewives, the Gruha Lakshmis of the house, who have done all the work that is important as far as the culture is concerned.
This kind of thing is very much in India and with that, what you find that the people respect, respect the housewives. So respecting the housewife is the most important thing in our Sahaj culture. But that doesn’t mean that the women should try to dominate and trouble and fight with the husbands. But it means a very important position in the society, of a housewife. She is treated as a something a, like a devi only. But she too has to be a devi. If you treat her like a doormat, then children will never respect her. If you don’t pay proper respect to her, the children won’t respect the mother and there will be no impact of the mother on the children. As a result the children get wayward, and in the societies or in the countries where the mother is not respected, you will find the children become extremely dominating, hot-tempered and horribly uncollective.
So it’s very important that on this day we call it Dhanteras – the thirteenth day – you have to buy something for your wife, and you have to give her something as a present. At least you should buy a little pot or something that can be used in the kitchen to show your respect to her. In the families where mother is not respected children become extremely troublesome and the whole, their family also suffers – wherever they are married, whatever happens to them. Men have to realize, it is their mistake that they have never respected their wife as they should have. In the presence of the children if they shout, in the presence of the children if they don’t show any respect, the children can never respect the mother. It is something, a criminal thing to do to women who are in the household doing all the work for you, looking after you, your family, not demanding anything.
Only if you want to understand how they can be troublesome, is see them in the politics. When they go in the politics they put all men upside-down. And one woman can put all of them in their proper senses. Because their field is their house, their family. If they are not respected in the family, they get out of the family and behave in such manner that you can’t imagine. Though she has to bear a lot, she has to suffer a lot, but in the family she must be respected. That’s a very, very important message of Gruha Lakshmi.
Then the second day is the one where this horrible rakshasa called as Narakasura was killed. Always all killing is done with the power of the Shakti. This Narakasura was the fellow who had tortured so many people and had done lots of cunning stuff. He was a very treacherous, cunning man and it was impossible to kill him. But then somehow or other, with the advent of a special power that this Narakasura was killed. That was the another day, fourth day, where Narakasura was killed. They say that when he was killed, the door of hell was closed. So people should take their baths early in the morning. But I am of the opinion that day if the door is open, better not take bath. Be in your beds till this fellow is put fully into narak. You should not bother about him. “Naraka” means hell. And from the hell they extracted him and killed him. The last one is the best, where they have the meeting of Shri Rama and His brother Bharat. Shri Rama went to jail, obeying His father. And for fourteen years He was – not a jail but in a, we could say, He went in the forest as a – it was a kind of a jail only, because He was living in the palaces and He was sent in the forest by His father and his daughter-in-law; also I mean it’s His own wife. And also the brother, they went together into great sufferings. And you know the whole story of Ramayana. The child that lived in the palaces had to go in the forest and live in terrible conditions, when He was to be the king. Was too much.
But Sita went with Him and She supported Him and ultimately it so happened that Ravana came and took away Sita. But Shri Rama fought Ravana, killed him and brought back His wife. But when they came back to their own capital in Ayodhya, there was a big jubilation and Bharat, His brother – he was very much attached to his brother and he ruled that country with the paduka – they say is the kind of sandalwood chappals they use – of his brother. He put it on the throne and ruled. So that is how the Bharat milan- the meeting of Bharat with Shri Rama- is celebrated, and that was the time He was crowned also as the king. So it is long time back, thousands of years back this thing has happened. That jubilation is very significant that the right king gets His own throne, and He rules. And all the injustice and all kind of atrocities He has gone through has to be completely finished from His life. And that’s why Diwali is important.
So the last day they worship the Goddess Lakshmi. Because it is Her blessings that brought forth all these beautiful meetings. And that’s why they worship Her, Lakshmi, as such. But there are nine types of Lakshmis within us, which I think I have told you sometimes back.
Now in that Lakshmi Puja is this, that you worship the Lakshmi Herself. It doesn’t mean money, not at all. To worship money is wrong. But what it means that Lakshmi is the money which is with us – or the whatever prosperity with that – should be very carefully spent, because She is very mobile and the money can slip out. On the contrary you should not be at all miserly. Miserly people – Lakshmi is not happy. But if you want to spend, you must spend it in the right way, otherwise the money is spent in the wrong way.
Now when the Lakshmi was created – you must be knowing out of the churning of the sea She came out. She had four hands, one hand was to give. She is generous, She gives. Like this She gives, and with one hand She blesses. These are Her two hands. One is to give, and to bless the person.Very important it is, that when you give to somebody something, you forget about it, and you bless that person. Not only you give money, but also you bless that person.
The other two hands have got two lotuses of pink color. Pink is the color of love. And a person who has money should have a house which is full of love. Any guest who comes in the house should be respected. He should be treated just like God. In India you have noticed how they think foreigners – “foreigners” means God to them. Here “foreigner” is a bad word, but in India is very respectable. If you are a foreigner means that you are God. How they have looked after you, you know that, in India. This is the reason, this is the basic culture of India that anybody who is a guest – he may be anything – if he is a guest then he is to be treated like God. In the other countries it’s just the other way round, you know. If you are a foreigner then people think it’s not even proper to talk to that person. I don’t know how the mentality is like that.
But not in Sahaja Yoga. Sahaja yogis are not like that. They treat the guests very well, I’ve heard. They look after each other and they are beautifully collective. So this is what is the meaning of the lotus, is a house full of love. Like a beetle which has got even thorns, when it comes to the lotus, the lotus open out and the beetle goes inside and sleeps very nicely and comfortably. Even the beetle – undisturbed. That is how one should treat, if you have money. But here what I find in the world now, if you have money you become yourself like a beetle. They’re so full of thorns and horrible ideas, so insulting, and think no end of yourself. It’s just surprising is that money which should give them the form of Lakshmi – Lakshmi Swarupa – they become like devils. And the way they treat other people is even worse than that.
So these are the significance of the form of the Goddess. But the best is, She’s just standing on the lotus. That means no pressure on anyone. She exists on Her own – no pressure. She doesn’t put any pressure on anyone, just on Her own She stands and all Her weight and all balanced on Her own dignity. This is the way a Lakshmi should be. And that’s how, if it is, when happens in the countries where people are having now financial crisis and all kinds of crisis, things will improve. People will enjoy. They don’t enjoy their money, nothing. They don’t enjoy. This is just aggressiveness and also funny ideas of having a, something, very expensive things and what you call the designers. Now I think these are designers are anti-Lakshmi, that they have come. Because they are extracting all your money nicely and all your money goes to waste. If not that, then people take to womanizing or to drinking – such wasteful habits. They don’t do anything which we can call as really the blessing of the Lakshmi.
So one has to remember that when you want to give something to someone do it with the full heart. Such full heart that it forms that Lakshmi Prasada. You see, that should happen, otherwise what’s the use of giving presents to anyone? You see, they are very funny people, you know who give presents out of a very narrow outlook. But they try to give presents. Like in Japan, if you go, they’ll give you such a big present. You go on opening and opening and opening and opening it, till you come to a point when you’ll get a matchbox. In the matchbox – inside the matchbox, you will take two, you can say, it’s two doll-like things made out of small little those matchsticks. Start looking at them “What this is, why such a big design?” and very surprising. But they are very simple people otherwise, very simple. When we went there, they told us they – wherever we went, you know even in a shop when it was raining they would give us a present.
Now I said, “What is this? Why are they giving us a present like this?”
So the lady who was translating, she said “They think You are from a royal family.”
I said, “What makes them feel we are from a royal family?”
“Because You don’t go to hairdresser.”
I said, “Really?”
“Yes. In Japan, royal family people never go to a hairdresser.”
I said, “I didn’t know this, that they don’t go to the hairdresser.”
“That’s why they think, You are from the royal family.”
Just imagine what ideas people have about hairdressing and all that. But in India or these places a woman must be properly combed – her hair. She shouldn’t look like a hippie going round, you know. Because we have many people who still believe in a kind of a hippieism and they wear their hairdress like that.
Now, woman plays a very big part in the society as I told you. Whatever way she wears, whatever where she goes about, also the children pick up much more then from the mother than from the father. Sometimes could be much more from the father also. But actually the, all the refined things are picked up from the mother. So it is more for the ladies to understand how they dress up, how they live.
Nowadays – I went to London and I’ve asked one Indian Sahaja yogini “What is the fashion now?”
So she said “jipreya” in Marathi. “Jipreya” means if you put your hair like this is. See in India, if we have hair like this the mother will say “Now remove your jipreyas.” Because if you put like that hair your eyes can become squinty. But that’s the fashion to put the hair like this, you see – very much, sometimes on the eyes also. So that’s a jipreya fashion. And this now is quite common I find everybody dignified ladies also, except for Mrs. Thatcher, everybody puts on this kind of a thing. I don’t know how Mrs. Thatcher has escaped it.
But anybody who does anything that should not be followed by women. It’s very slavish. Because this is the fashion, that’s why they do it. That’s the fashion, so they do it. It’s absolutely stupid to do that way and to play into the hands of these people who make fashions. Because you are independent. You must stand on your own character. you must stand on your own understanding of things. Instead of ruining your faces you should try to improve them by your dignity, by your understanding.
Now it’s more on the women – I am sorry to say – Lakshmi Puja is more on the women that what they have to understand, what they have to be, how they should be. I have always told you that it’s necessary for a woman to be dignified, very much more than the man. Man can be stupid – doesn’t matter, you see, doesn’t matter so much. But women have to be dignified and sensible. And men, as it is, don’t know much as you know that very well. Poor things, you know, they are They are educated only in the universities. But as far as the practical side is concerned, they don’t know anything. So one should not feel bad about it. I mean, it’s very enjoyable to see the way men make mistake and then they go on saying “No, no, I know this, I know that,” and they don’t know anything! So –
But man will never say, “I don’t know.” You see, that’s his character. It’s all right. You must know that he doesn’t mean it, because he really doesn’t know anything! Also in art. I don’t think men know much about art, and also their one side is missing is aesthetics. Poor things, they make one type of clothes wear all throughout. Just one type of dresses they will make and that they will make and wear throughout. They don’t have any demand. But women are artistic. And if our Indian women give up wearing saris and take to jeans, where will the villagers go? Because they live with their saris that they make during holidays and things like that. So in India is not possible to introduce all these dresses. In the school maybe, but later on they all give up, because they like saris. So the saris are still on and will be on because it’s so artistic, it’s so beautiful. One sari doesn’t look like another sari. So the idea of beauty and the idea of art much more with the women, not with the men. And so one should see that if men don’t know, doesn’t matter. But you make your houses absolutely artistic. Make it comfortable like the lotus, as I said, that should be such.
But some of the ladies can be very much like a Hitler, you know, in the household, very dictating. “This should be like this, that should be like that,” making the life of men absolutely miserable. I have known a person who used to carry a newspaper in his house. So I said, “Why do you carry it all the time?”
He said, “Whenever I sit, I put the newspaper first and then I sit.”
“Because if it is spoilt a little bit my wife will shout at me.”
I said, “Why?”
“Because she doesn’t like anything to be spoilt. So she’s so particular. I carry a newspaper always with me – wherever I have to sit I put the newspaper.”
I said, “It’s too much.”
He said, “You will also have to do that, I tell You.” So very particular about the whole house that it’s impossible to live in that house. It’s even worse than a hospital. So some women can be very particular about that and very methodical, could be.
But normally women should be very loving and extremely accommodating, and also being friendly with all the family members, with everyone. It’s very important that I’ve a family so big. We have a very large family, so many brothers and sisters and everybody one better than the other. It is so remarkable that everybody has a different type of a perfume, I think, or a kind of a fragrance that shows an individual personality in them. Despite that they are all so nice and so good, so accommodating and so much enjoying, that it’s remarkable how people live together.
Specially in Russia I found the women are very adaptable and very humorous. And they were making fun of everything and enjoying life. Very surprising, we had taken presents for them. But we had taken for about two thousand people, but there were sixteen thousand people. So how could we give these presents?
So the women took out their chains and they said, “All right, we’ll give it to men, all right. We’ll give them our ear-tops, all right,” and they were making fun of men, who were feeling bad that they couldn’t get anything. Such fun, you know, such understanding. Because they are not so money-oriented I think and they are very spiritual-minded. So a spiritual woman wouldn’t bother about other things like this and will keep a dignity of her own and will show by her every gesture that she is spiritual. This is something so sweet, you know.
As I was telling you, on one side sometimes you feel a little different, say, I said it about Japan. But in the same Japan when I went there, I liked their tiles very much. So they were building up something, I liked the design of their tiles. So I said, “Can I take one from here?”
“No, no, doesn’t matter. We’ll send it to Your ship.” And on the ship a big load of those tiles arrived.
And the captain asked Me, “Now what are we to do?”
I said, “How did you get it?”
He said, “They brought it to You.” All kinds of varieties of those tiles, can you imagine?
So on one side it is a way of expression, on the other side is different. So one should understand also. When somebody gives you something you should understand what is the significance of that, and not to feel bad about it. The significance of that could be very much great, you may not understand. So better to ask, why they have given you these things. That is what is, what we call auspiciousness, one of the great qualities of the Lakshmi is, that it should be auspicious. Whatever you give should be auspicious.
Like sometimes I have seen little children out of mischief will bring a lizard and try to give you. I mean, it’s very inauspicious to do that. But they are not told that it’s inauspicious, so they are doing like that. They have to be told it’s not auspicious, it will not please the Goddess. So that has to be understood very well that you should not try to insult the Lakshmi by giving something which is wrong. If you don’t know, you should find out and do it properly.
In this way this is the Diwali thing. But the greatest message of this is that the kingdom was given to Shri Rama. Shri Rama was the embodiment of justice and fair play. And this was given to Him. In the same way we have to feel that our expression of gratitude, our expression of love should be such that it should be given to a person who is a symbol of such greatness like Shri Ram. It’s a very, very subtle thing one should try to understand. If you don’t want to give, you should not give. But if you want to give, then you must give something which is worth the person to whom you are giving. That is one of the lessons you should have about Shri Rama’s temperament.
When He went into the village and He found there was an old woman and this old woman had all her teeth out practically. And she was from the aboriginal and she gave Him some we call them “ber” – is something like is a kind of a fruit, small fruits.
And she said, “See, I have tasted all of them and all of them are very sweet. Because You should not have something which is not sweet. So I have tasted them with my tooth, I have put my tooth on to them and I have tasted it. So please have them.”
Immediately He took it. But His brother Lakshmana got very angry that it’s very inauspicious in India, if you have put something in the mouth and then you want to give to somebody is something [utishta ? ] – is not to be done. But Shri Rama said “I have never eaten such beautiful fruits. They are the most beautiful fruits I have eaten.”
So His wife says, “Also give Me some. After all, I am Your half this thing, You must give Me.” So Shri Rama gave Her some. She said, “Wow, what a thing it is, tremendous.”
She ate it and then the Lakshmana says “Give me also, sister-in-law.”
She said, “Just now you were saying all kinds of things against this lady. Why do you want to have it?”
He said, “Now please forgive me and give me.”
So, see, it shows that Shri Rama could see her love, her vibrations in those fruits that she had offered. And He could appreciate to that extent that He gave it to His wife and the wife also joined hands with Him. This is what it is. That whatever you do, you do it with love. If you do it with love, you will be able to make it auspicious. But if there’s no love, you are just doing for some purpose, then it is useless. So this is what is there for giving; giving to the person like Shri Ram, and to such a great incarnation. She just thought of her love and she gave it to Him. In the same way you have to be very simple, simple-hearted, and then you will know what is the best to be done.
So today is, actually the Diwali is over and I want to wish you again and again a happy Diwali and a very prosperous new year.
May God bless you all.
The same Lakshmi becomes Mahalakshmi. That is, when you understand the value of money and when you are saturated and you are fed up. From inside you get detached, then a new form of Lakshmi comes forward, that is Mahalakshmi. That’s the power which takes you higher and higher, which is the spiritual awakening. You have seen in all the countries which are very rich, this desire started that they should seek the truth, they should find out the truth and that’s how you are all here. That means Mahalakshmi Power started working in you, that you were seeking the truth. And while seeking the truth you came to Sahaja Yoga. So this Mahalakshmi is very important for you also.
And you know Kolhapur, there’s a temple of this Mahalakshmi which came out of the Mother Earth. But they themselves didn’t know that in that temple why they sang “Jogawa,” which said that “O Ambe, awaken.” Ambe is the Kundalini. So why in Mahalakshmi’s temple they sang? You can understand that, why in that temple they started singing the song of “Jogawa” by which to raise the Kundalini.
H.H. Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi