Brightest lessons on the darkest night of the year

October 19, 2017 OTHER


Siddhartha Rastogi


Diwali originates in the Epic of Ramayana, the story of Rama and Sita, the story of Good over Evil, the story of devotion of Hanuman, the story of innocent Shabri feeding tasted berries to her beloved God.


This is a story which has been told in each Indian household by Grandmothers and has passed on through generations. But the story of Ramayana is beyond this and many learnings from this Epic are missed.


A few of them have been covered in this note:


Following rules and adhering to the spirit behind it – During Treta Yuga when Lord Rama was born, one’s Word mattered more than Life. “Pran jaye par vachan na Jaye”. We see two instances in Ramayana. Ram was Dashrath’s favourite son and he knew he couldn’t live without him as Rama was born to Dashrath after many years of prayers and blessings of Sage Shringi. When Dashrath’s third wife asked for Bharat, her real son, to be King and Rama to be sent to Vanvas outside the boundaries of Ayodhya for 14 years, Dashrath could have denied his word or could have shifted his kingdom to where Rama stayed. But he didn’t do that. He followed his word. He lost his life in misery from being separated from his beloved son.


Another case in point was that at the time of marriage Rama gave his word to Sita that she will be his only wife and under no circumstance he will marry any other. As per the tradition of Ayodhya it was mandatory for person to be anointed as King only if he is married and had to sit for Yagna with his wife. Rama, after coming back from 14 years of Vanvas, had to leave Sita as one of his subjects didn’t approve of it. Sages and Brahmins forced Rama to remarry but he stuck to his word and in spirit got a golden statue made of Sita sit next to him for Yagna.


Principle of Detachment – Sita had the power that no man could touch her without her will. All the world and the subjects of Ayodhya knew this. Despite this, Sita took the Agni Pariksha, or trial by fire, to prove her purity as she had spent years in Ravan’s captivity. Lord Brahma the Creator of World also certified Sita’s innocence and purity. But that was not enough for some people to accept Sita as pure. Rama, a Principled King, asked Sita to go away from him and from worldly comforts and pleasures. The reason was not that Rama doubted Sita but that as a King and patriarch of his subjects, his role as king was far greater than as a husband. So he needed to show his subjects that Dharma was more important than the person he loved most in his life.


Principle of Stewardship – The Ramayana teaches us that everything in this world has been created by the Almighty and he is the ultimate owner. Bharat, the younger brother of Rama, ruled Ayodhya by keeping Rama’s paduka on the throne, ruling on behalf of Lord Rama. This teaches us that deeds may be ours but not the outcome. The outcome is directed by the Universal grand plan. If you go deeper into the process of ideation or thoughts, the ideas to do good themselves come from the Universe or Providence which chooses you to do that act. Many rely on mortal intelligence believing that they are responsible for what is happening with them or around them.


Tough times bring out the best in You – In the forest, Sita found herself stronger for her children in the womb. She not only gave birth to two beautiful children but made them capable and strong. This is reflected in the fact that Luv and Kush, both at a very tender age, defeated Rama’s army and Lakshman, one of the best archers in the world. Thus, one can conclude that Sita’s hardships helped her to make Luv and Kush acquire capabilities much earlier than Rama and his brothers did.


Diwali reminds us of lessons which are pertinent for happiness and success. In essence, Diwali helps us recollect the virtues which Lord Rama had and which till today help us have a better and more fulfilled life.


Diwali is the biggest Hindu festival across the globe, symbolizing the defeat of evil and the victory of good. Diwali falls on No Moon day, the darkest night of the Hindu Lunisolar month of Kartika in the Bikram Samvat calendar. The epic of Ramayana says, on Diwali day, Lord Rama returned to his kingdom Ayodhya after defeating Ravan, the demon king of Lanka.


The interesting question to ask here is – why does Diwali fall on the darkest night of the year. The biggest festival on the darkest night.


Let’s step back and analyze.


Moon symbolizes calmness, cool benevolent thoughts. Sun gives us strength and energy and stars are our guiding path. All these are missing on Diwali night, which has only one source of light. The light of the Diya. This small flame of goodness and righteousness is enough to guide a human being on the right path!


Life is to be led in a way that it helps others. The difference between animals and humans is that the former only live for themselves whilst humans live for others. Our basic nature is to help others and derive happiness from it. That is the single biggest reason why only Philanthropy gives ultimate happiness, while the pursuit for material things only keeps you busy chasing a dream and often when you achieve that dream it doesn’t give happiness. Ever wonder why feeding a poor child biscuits or helping a blind man or an old man cross the road gives happiness which you don’t experience even earning millions?


The Anagogic Banker gives you a point to ponder this Diwali – Why keep interminably running the race for more and more until you make “enough” money to give back?





Siddhartha Rastogi

Siddhartha Rastogi

Siddhartha was born to a learned middle class educated family in Semi Urban India. His father was an extremely honest man who because of his honesty had to pay the price in corporate world. Mother is a determined woman who ensured that children are being well taken care off. After a few years of birth, doctors called Siddhartha, a slow child having flat foot. He would fall more than he could walk. Determined mother ensured all therapies for her son to come out strong to fight the world. Siddhartha joined swimming when he was in 6th standard. Seeing other children of his class, he jumped in 10 feet deep pool and learnt swimming on his own, the very same day.

From that day there was no looking back. He topped his city in 12th and went to score highest in his B school exams. During his profession as banker, he became youngest branch manager of a MNC bank managing their biggest wealth branch in the country. There he found love of his life and got married. His love of his life emerged in the form of his daughter who completely changed him for good.

Siddhartha Rastogi is Director for a boutique Investment bank in India.

Siddhartha is a forward looking thinker & writer who has written a book on decision making. 8 Simple steps to effective decision making.

He writes on various social and current issues via his blog and can also be found on twitter.

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