Deepavali/Diwali 2019 By Pt Dipak A Rambharose
The very essence of Diwali is Light. It is the truest and most essential friend of all. In fact, the term ‘Deepaavali’ means ‘An Array of Lights’. And while there can be a literal interpretation of this term, as it relates to the social and cultural impact of this wonderful festival, I find that it is the very core philosophical teaching that reverberates with the masses, moreso, the youths of today’s world, i.e. Diwali is the triumph of Light over Darkness.
In a world where darkness is rapidly increasing, and evil has taken on such uglier faces in society, it is very important that we all find the light within. Even more important, I feel, is the ability to understand that evil can be a face we ourselves might even take on, if we are not too careful. Such a face is a face we cannot recognize. And that is simply because it is not ours.
‘Finding the Light’ means finding one’s self; one’s truest identity, self-knowledge. This is one of the oldest teachings of Sanaatan Dharma (Hinduism) and is a quest which leads one on a path that helps to peel away the layers of the false self (ignorance) through the help of the light of knowledge. Thereby revealing the Majestic Lakshmee, The Goddess of Light herself, present at the very core of our hearts.
As Hindus worldwide prepare to celebrate this great festivity, I am reminded of a thought; shadows, though dark and dreary, are only made possible by the brilliance of light. As you light your diyas, let each lamp be a reminder of the various sources of light there are in this world. And be reminded that YOU are the greatest source of light in your life. Help another who can only see and live in the shadows. Simple acts of kindness like charity, prayers, music and spreading love (including for one’s self) can help us all to achieve a better world.
Here in the Twin Cities, we all share a common view of finding ourselves and building a better society, through such simple acts. Prayers at home and Mandir, cooking and sharing of vegetarian meals, musical programs and celebrations involving people from all walks of life, are very common. Happy Diwali!