Diwali – More than just Festival of Lights

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Mon Nov 23, 2020

Triumph of good over evil is what humankind has always celebrated, and that’s what Diwali is all about. The word derives its root from the Sanskrit word Deepawali where deepa means “light” and avail means “series.” Before we get into the historical significance of this festival, we should know that the lamp lighting during Diwali is also a metaphor for knowledge and consciousness. The reference is to drive awake the endurance within you.

But how did all this start?

If you know India, you must have learned of King Rama, the embodiment of all noble virtues. The life of Rama played a prominent part in defining the character of India, so much so that even today, after thousands of years, Rama is still a perfect role model for many. He was born into a royal family, though still his life was full of difficulties. He was exiled to the forest for 14 years. His wife was abducted by the evil king of Sri Lanka, King Ravana. He had traveled all the way to Sri Lanka by making a bridge out of stones over the Indian Ocean for her, and he even waged a war to bring her back. The most important thing about his life was no matter how many disasters life threw at him, he conducted himself gracefully without deviating an inch from his noble virtues. People who are natural seekers of life bolt down to this quality of the man because he embodied the principle that it is very difficult to control everything that is happening in the outside world, but we are responsible for what is happening inside us. Our determination and belief can mold us in a shape we want. The day Lord Rama won the battle against Ravana who had abducted his wife is celebrated as Dussehra. Hence, Dussehra is celebrated as the festival of triumph of good over evil. And the day he returned to his kingdom Ayodhya with his wife Seeta after 14 years of exile is celebrated as Diwali.

Diwali is a magnificent festival for Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and even some Buddhists all over the world, and it's an official holiday in about a dozen countries. Diwali is a five day festival that is not just about lights, but also about delicious sweets, beautiful decorations, fireworks, and most importantly, family and friends spending time with each other.

As Hindu scripture says its “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam,” the world is one family, and irrespective of what you believe in or not believe in we all try for one thing, a joyful life. Let these lights of Diwali drive away the darkness of suffering in this world and fill everyone’s soul with an aura of purity and a happy compassionate mood.

Happy Diwali!

 

 

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2020 - Fall - Issue 10
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