This year Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Jains will celebrate Diwali on the third day of November. Diwali is a five-day festival with third day being the day of lighting lamps, worshipping Lakshmi and bursting fire-crackers. Essentially, Diwali or Deepawali is identified as festival of lights. The lamps are lighted to kill the evil darkness. This signifies the victory of good over evil, and the conquest of light over darkness. All these metaphors essentially convey the message that darkness is evil, that it must be removed. I respectfully disagree. I think, in popular culture, the darkness has been vilified too much. Though in spiritual culture, the darkness has been explored and studied beyond these populist metaphors.
Consider the second law of thermodynamics, which states that in general the entropy of an isolated system tends to increase. The processes of universe, the movement of planets, the movement of galaxies, the movement of river from highs of mountains to lows of oceans, the movement of life towards death – ALL these processes and every process of universe, if free of external influence, tends to go towards state of least energy and highest entropy/randomness. Now what is light? Light is not found naturally in universe. Most of the universe is dark matter. It is darkness that rules, that prevails across galaxies and planets. Some planets will not have light, but all planets will have darkness. Darkness is the highest entropy and least energy a system can achieve. Galaxies are running away from each other, with speeds proportional to the distance between them, leaving vast darkness between them. Galaxies are running away from each other to reduce the energy of the universe, and to increase the entropy in it. Universe will finally culminate into darkness and nothingness, a state of highest disorder and least energy.
Light is a physical phenomena in which the atoms have more than the least energy and have less than the highest entropy – i.e. Light is somewhat structured. It can be studied, it has been studied. Light is composed of photons, which are the quantum of light. When you light a bulb, you tend to heat up [increase the energy] of the tungsten filament and put these photons around the filament in a structure, you reduce their entropy, you increase their energy; so that the effect or illusion of light may be created. The more appropriate way of saying this is that the illusion of darkness being removed is created. Below every lamp, one can see darkness, which is kind of symbolic saying that light originates from darkness. Darkness may symbolise “nothingness” too. Light is therefore NOT the desired state of universe. Light decays. It decays into darkness. The aim of every light is to be lost into the eternal darkness. Every star, every sun of the universe is decaying. Every life is decaying and will decay, only to merge into this dark matter or energy.
Darkness is therefore the desired and the natural state of the universe. Hindu philosophy is consistent with this world view. That is why a festival called Mahashivratri is also observed. Lord Shiva, the lord of darkness, death and destruction, is worshipped on this festival. The word Shiva is synonym of darkness and nothingness. Lord Shiva meditates on the darkness. He meditates on the nothingness. The ultimate knowledge is the true realisation of the fact that darkness is all that prevails. Darkness here means nothingness, and not ignorance. Shiva is not ignorant, he does not signify ignorance, he signifies nothingness/darkness. Darkness being an equivalent of ignorance is modern human construct. It is part of modern lexicon.
Darkness is a great equaliser. The light, which is just energised and structured darkness, divides the worlds into pattern, into beautiful and ugly, into pleasant and unpleasant, into relevant and irrelevant, into love and hate, into man and animals and so on. Darkness equalises all. For darkness, all are one. Nothing. Darkness knows no patterns, no colours, no beauty, no pleasure, no love, no hate, no flaura and no fauna. For darkness all are dark. Darkness is therefore, in my view, the ultimate reality. Humans must realise it. They must realise that all will decay into darkness. The nations, the men, the societies, the families, the relationships, the love, the light, the hatred, all abstract and material, shall one day merge into the eternal darkness. There is no other truth.
I would want to explain more about each and every statement made here. And can suffice every statement with ample examples. We can derive a number of lessons from this truth. From deciding public policies to building giant corporations, this truth alone can be a framework, around which policies, objectives and targets may be set. But I leave it all to imagination of the reader.