The common and public understanding and significance associated with Diwali is that of victory of good over evil, and getting away from darkness and moving towards light. It is true. But message and meaning of Diwali goes far beyond and deeper; signifying becoming wise and evolving spiritually.
Diwali is short form of Deepawali; meaning row of lights. Lighting lamp signifies awakening of wisdom, and row of light or lamps signifies lighting the lamp within you as well as in others; celebration stands for spreading the wisdom to others; family, friends, and so on. Just like lighting lamp absorbs darkness; wisdom conveys absorbing the ignorance.
When we light lamps on Deepawali, the day of Amavasya (complete darkness, no moon) our surroundings and homes get lit and become brighter. This ritual has a meaning underneath. It signifies that even in worst of circumstances or situations, it is wisdom alone that will help us to lead a happy and fulfilling life, enable us to see things more clearly and therefore we should learn to absorb wisdom through knowledge as knowledge is the only thing that will lead us to victory through difficult times.
Everyone lights Diyas on the day of Diwali, which signifies that every individual as s/he light Diya in their homes, should light the inner lamp of wisdom; light more lamps, i.e. spread this wisdom around; when there will be wisdom in every heart, all lives and surroundings will become pure and happy. Lighting lamps teaches us to recognise and appreciate various facets that life is made of; as well as respect and recognise qualities in others.
Bursting of crackers on Diwali day is also symbolic of pent up emotions which create noise and pollution as they burst. Same happens in life when anger and frustrations builds inside our mind and body due to various circumstances and bursts when goes out of control or is triggered. The day we decide to let go of the pent up emotions and negativity by becoming wise through knowledge, life will change for the better as we will create space for positivity. The explosion of firecrackers that we hear is a reminder of inner explosion that we should avoid or deal with wisely.
Pooja or rituals are an important part of Diwali. Pooja signifies spirituality; finding connection with higher energies that run this universe. Spiritual facet adds depth to any celebration. Celebration without a spiritual conect will not bear lasting consequences. If Deepawali celebrations were only meant to be get togethers where everyone dresses the best and eats the best…. it would hardly have any meaning and will be forgotten in a day or two.
So this Diwali, go beyond outer celebrations; look within. Remind yourself of wisdom that you can achieve through knowledge to improve your own life and that of others. Those who understand the true meaning of Diwali for them it is not a festival that comes once a year; they experience the joys of Diwali every day!