This is a simple Diwali message is for all my Indian friends, and those – like me – that love India. Diwali also offers, in these challenging times, a more universal message of hope, and renewal.
This ancient Hindu festival of lights is one of the great Northern Hemisphere harvest and renewal celebrations, at the start of a grand cycle that stretches through Christmas, and the Western and Chinese New Years. Before the key celebration, people will decorate and clean their homes. The main Diwali night is a time for wearing new clothes and lighting the diyas or lamps that give the festival its name. Then, in a traditional household, prayers are offered to Lakshimi – the goddess of wealth and success. Fireworks and the sharing of sweets will follow.
Like much about India culture it is multi-layered with myths and meanings, vibrant and bright with colour, and – above all – optimism. There are many underlying stories. The Ramayan describes Lord Rama’s glorious return to his Kingdom of Ayodhya after fourteen years of exile, marked by lighting of lamps. Diwali can mark Lord Krishna’s victory over the demon Narakaasura. It is associated with the story of the fall of Bali, a demon king conquered by Lord Vishnu. One major, constant part of the festival is the celebration of Maha Lakshmi – goddess of wealth and prosperity – through the ritual of puja (prayers), offering flowers, prasad (a food offering) and incense.
Such stories are a vehicle for a more spiritual meaning. Diwali signifies the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil, and hope over despair. It is a time of cleansing, forgiveness and new beginnings.
So, a very Happy Diwali to all of you! Whatever your own beliefs, I hope the next twelve months is a time of new starts, new connections and opportunities, new achievements, and success.
Deepavali ki Shubhkamnayein
Deepavali Habbada Shubhashayagalu
Shubh Deepavali Diwalichya Shubhechha
Subho Deepavalir Preeti O Subeccha
The image with this post was sourced from Wikimedia, it is ‘Rangoli with Light and Shadow’ by Ramnath Bhat.