What is puja?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
The word 'Pu' means fullness, and 'Ja' means that which is born out of fullness. So puja means that which is born out of fullness. And what you get out of doing puja is also fullness, and contentment. Doing puja creates a subtle vibration in the atmosphere which brings positivity.
Diwali is festival of lights. Lord Buddha said,"Appo deepo bhava", you become a light unto yourself. And the Vedas and Upanishads say'You are all lights, some of you are lit and some of you are unlit, but the potential to glow is in everyone'.
So Diwali is the day to remove darkness. And to remove darkness, one light is not enough, the entire society will have to light up. It's not enough if just one person is happy in a family, every member has got to be happy. Even if one member is unhappy, the others cannot be happy. So said every home should light up.
The second thing we need to bring into our lives is sweetness. Distribute not just sweets but also sweetness to everybody. The festival of Diwali is to remind you that if you have any bitterness, any pressure, or any stress in your heart, like fire crackers burst it all out and start a fresh new life, and make it a celebration.
Diwali is celebrated on a new moon day, and on this day we invoke the Goddess Lakshmi. Goddess Lakshmi represents the divinity manifesting as the giver of prosperity. In India, God is not only 'He', God is also 'She'. So sometimes God is addressed as 'He' and sometimes as 'She'. Like how white light has seven colours in it, similarly the one divinity has many different flavours. So today is the day we will invoke Lakshmi with all the ancient chanting from the Rig Veda and feel the positive vibrations and the abundance.
The day before Diwali is called Dhanteras. In the ancient days, people would bring all the wealth on this day to the house and place it in front of the Divine. Usually people keep their wealth in the bank, or keep it in the lockers and hide it. But earlier, on Dhanteras day, they would put all their wealth in front, see it and feel abundant. Wealth is not only gold and silver, wealth is also wisdom. So it was celebrated like that. You also must cherish your wisdom and feel abundant.
Dhanteras is also the day of Ayurveda, as herbs are also a wealth. Herbs and plants are wealth. It is said that it was on the day ofDiwali the nectar was given to mankind.
So today, move ahead in life feeling that you are blessed, and feel contented. Whenever we feel blessed, more comes. There is this saying in Bible, "Those who have will be given more and those who do not, whatever little will also be taken back".
From the ancient time, the thought is -- you must feel the abundance. Abundance starts from within and then manifests on the outside. So you have plenty of blessings. Go with this feeling.