is the Indian festival of lights and is celebrated on a large scale
throughout India and the Indian Diaspora. It is also celebrated in
Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Malaysia, Singapore, Guyana, West
Indies, Fiji, and of course, here in the United States. Diwali is about hope, Diwali brings light, Diwali signifies end of darkness and Diwali signifies end of ignorance and beginning of enlightenment. You can greet your friends with any one of these phrases, “Happy Diwali”, “Diwali Mubarak”, Diwali ki Shubh Kamnayein” and the very Best of Diwali to you.
is spelled differently, and is called by many names. There is Divali
among others, and Deepavali, meaning the festival of lights. Although
Diwali is a Hindu tradition, many a people of different faiths
participate in celebrations – Jains, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians,
Buddhists, Zoroastrians and others of India and Indian origins.
decorate their homes with lights and Rangoli, i.e., colorful drawing in
the front yard of the home, sidewalks, even roads in India with
colorful powders or colorful pieces of chalk. Women and Children look
forward to expressing their artistic talent in this season. Their
surroundings filled with colorful lights to enliven the day, to mark the
dawn of a new era in one’s life.
few years ago, Jyoti and Nishi Bhatia, former President of DFW Hindu
Temple and President of Dallas Hindi Association respectively, asked me
to speak about Diwali in a dinner gathering to a group of people from
different faiths and cultures, and I cherished it, I love talking about
Diwali, as its essence reflects the ideals of pluralism, and symbolizes
hope and positive energy, victory of good over evil; a new beginning.
It is indeed seeing the light at the end of tunnel.
Celebration is a part of the epic Ramayana, and the Ram Lila (enactment
of the story on stage) is played out all night long in towns across
India. I grew up watching it in front of my house, and my friends played
different roles in the show. Indeed, one of my former relatives played
was a challenge for me to teach Ramayana to a group of people who knew
nothing about it. It turned out to be a successful program. I prepared
the nearly all white audience that I will be narrating the story through
the power point and along will be reinforcing the names and roles of
the key persons in the story and will ask them for feed back at the end.
Friends, I cannot tell you the joy, the Bhatias and I felt when each
one of them answered the questions from the story. They got it! It is a
powerful story and takes about 30 minutes to narrate.
epic is filled with educative tales, edifying poems, and fables. It is
probably through their constant retelling in the villages over centuries
that Hinduism is most efficiently disseminated from generation to
Mahavira, Confucius, Tao and others served the same purpose. it is
almost like the laws of physics ; water finds its own level, and
righteousness finds its own existence.
is one such incarnation who reestablished the moral code for social
conduct and proper relation of mankind to divinity. He was truthful and
a just king.
- People wear new clothes
- Share sweets as a symbol of happiness
- Renew the relationships
- Strengthen the bonds
- for most businesses it is the new financial year
- An inventory of assets is taken
- An assessment of family and relationship
- Last harvest for the farmers
- New things are bought
on this blessed day, we have a blank slate to start, let’s plan on
filling it with doing good things for ourselves, to our family, friends,
community, nation and the world until next Diwali.
are good things? Words and actions that bring peace, Mukti, salvation,
Moksha, nirvana, Nijaat and freedom to us, yes us. There is so much of
joy waiting to be had. If we can remove hatred and anger towards others,
forgive others and ask for forgiveness (Michami Dukadam is a beautiful
phrase the Jain’s use), then a blissful year is sure to come for each
one of you and me.
- May this Diwali purge your heart, mind and soul from hate, malice, anger and ill-will;
- May this Diwali open your hearts and minds towards fellow being;
- May this Diwali brighten your life, and may this Diwali mark the dawn of a new era;
are a big part of Diwali as well, and innumerable poets have written
poetries and songs about Diwali. Here is my effort, I wrote this seven
years ago on the occasion when Diwali and Ramadan were celebrated
around the same time.
दोनों में खुशी ही खुशी है
donon may khushi hi khushi hai –
रमज़ान एक नया इंसान बनाता है
Ramzan ek naya insaan banata hai –
रमज़ान में हर बात का रिव्यू होता है
Ramzan may her baat ka review hota hai –
रमज़ान पिछले साल का स्लेट क्लीन करता है
Ramzan pichlay saal ki slate clean karta hai –
दिवाली और रमज़ान से सबका अच्छा ही होता है
Diwali aur Ramzan say subka acha hi hota hai
Mike Ghouse is a public speaker, thinker, writer and a commentator on
Pluralism at work place, politics, religion, society, gender, race, culture,
ethnicity, food and foreign policy. All about him is listed in several links at
www.MikeGhouse.net and his writings are
at www.TheGhousediary.com and 10
other blogs. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers
pluralistic solutions on issues of the day.