Diwali is a symbol of a fresh start, a new beginning. I always say that God doesn't open our old files. Whenever we go to Him, whenever we bow our heads humbly and say, “God, I am yours,” He will accept us. We must only offer ourselves completely at His holy feet.
On Diwali, most people begin a new checkbook, as a symbol of a “fresh start,” and they usually write the first check payable to God. This is a beautiful symbol of devotion to Him. It symbolizes that everything we are, everything we have, everything we earn is being laid at His holy feet. This is the beauty of Indian culture. In our yagnas, the mantras end with “idam na mama.” This means, “not for me, but for you, God.”
However, once we’ve written that check to God, placed it in the mandir, said a few mantras and taken prasad, do we actually live any differently? Do we really offer our lives to God, or do we only give Him this one piece of paper each year? The check to God is not an end in and of itself. Rather, it is the means to an end. It is Indian culture’s way of teaching us to always remember God, in everything we do, and to always remember that it is He to whom we owe everything. Without His grace and His blessings, nothing is possible.
This year, let us vow to not only offer God a check (a piece of paper), say a few mantras and then go on with our lives as they were before. But, rather let us vow to live according to the realization that we owe everything to Him and let us truly make an attempt to offer back to Him.
So, this year, write the first check to God. Yes, this is beautiful. Put that check in the mandir. But, then, write the second check to God’s children who are suffering. “He who serves the poorest of the poor is also serving Me,” our scriptures say.
Swami Chidanand Saraswati