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Hope: The Psychological Effect of Deepawali

www.passionateinmarketing.com | November 13, 2023

What keeps us motivated when life pushes us down? When we feel helpless about things not being in our control, what nudges us to keep going? Have you ever felt a spark during these tough times or felt like a door just opened? This is what hope feels like. Hope is when you believe that something good is yet to come. The spark, or the door that opens and shines amidst the darkness, is like the light that embodies Diwali. Diwali is one of the most important festivals among Indians. It is the festival celebrated on account of Lord Ram defeating the evil King Ravana. Every year, people light lamps and burst firecrackers that light up not just the atmosphere but also the moods of everyone celebrating. It is also a common practice to clean our houses and cleanse our minds during this time.

The psychology of hope

Throughout their vanvas in the forest, Lord Ram, Lakshman, and Sita faced multiple obstacles and difficulties. It almost felt as though life kept pushing them down, challenge after challenge. Despite this, Ram had the courage and motivation to keep going till the end. What drove him? What kept pushing him to keep trying? It was actually quite simple. It was hope. Just like Ram, we also face challenges one after another and are in a continuous battle to win over the difficulties of life.

There are times when we lose hope and start fading. A festival like Diwali acts as a gentle reminder to us that, at the end of a long road, there is good waiting. It nudges us to hope and continue with our hard work and effort to make a good life. We all know and understand the simple concept of hope. But we often forget how powerful it can be. If there is no factor to nudge us in the right direction, there is no motivation to achieve what we want in the end, which is usually happiness and peace of mind.

Hope improves self-esteem and physical and mental wellbeing. Being hopeful increases the likelihood of success in the achievement of goals. Hope can change a negative threat, which can be a problem to survive, into a positive obstacle that can be overcome. Since hope increases motivation, it improves agency and, consequently, our ability to act or take action towards a desired goal. Thus, hope is an important high-level action identifier. Hope can help identify an action at a higher and more abstract level. This means that a person who is hopeful is likely to identify actions at a higher goal level.

For instance, if, as a student, I imagine taking a test as “achieving my goal” vs. “remembering the chapter”, the former is higher-level identification and helps focus on the “why” of an action as opposed to the latter, which focuses on the “how”. Of the two, “why” helps reduce the pain of “how” and helps us work over the difficulty of achieving clarity of the concepts and lessons in a given chapter or a book. In this way, hope can help us take action rather than only wishing. When we light diyas and keep them burning through the night (the darkest night of the year), we aren’t just wishing for a brighter future; we are actively lighting the path to that brighter future.

Seeking help is something that can be extremely difficult when we lack hope and feel lonely. Once we hope, we overcome. Focusing on the “why” and the goal helps the “how” fall into place since we take action. This was true for Lord Ram as well, who sought help in many instances. One instance is where Lord Ram seeks help from Goddess Durga/Shakti, the embodiment of creation, maintenance, and destruction.

Although there are many versions of the story, the popular version goes like this: Ram, while on his mission to save his wife Sita, sought the blessings of Goddess Durga. In order to seek her blessings, Ram required 108 Neel Kamal (blue lotus). Unfortunately, he was only able to get hold of 107 of them, and since his deep blue eyes resembled those of a neel kamal, he offered them to the goddess as compensation for the last lotus. Highly pleased by this, Goddess Durga gave Ram her blessings, and he was ultimately able to defeat Ravana. We can do the same and seek help from more skilled or knowledgeable others to overcome difficulties that we encounter.


The most important psychological factor in Deepawali is hope. It plays an important role in changing or forming beliefs and habits in people. Ensuring that the good wins over the evil despite the challenges one encounters is a motivation for everyone who hears the story of Lord Ram. The lighting of diyas on the darkest night of the year shows that hope has important psychological effects that are translated into positive action. Hope helps us focus on the “why” and the belief that even the most difficult of the “hows” are possible and achievable. Consequently, we don’t just wish; rather, we act for a better future, improved self-esteem, and better physical and mental health.

This article has been co-authored by Dr. Abhishek Sahai, Faculty of Psychology, FLAME University, Dr. Shruti Goyal, Faculty of Psychology, FLAME University, and Ankita Anand, Undergraduate Student, FLAME University.

(Source:- https://www.passionateinmarketing.com/hope-the-psychological-effect-of-deepawali/ )