Monday, October 27, 2008


Today we celebrate the Festival of Lights where the lights or lamps signify victory of good over the evil within every human being.

Diwali or Deepavali has many legends associated with it. In North India, it is associated with the story in Ramayana where people of Ayodhya welcomed Rama (after a 14-year exile) by lighting rows (avali) of lamps (deepa). In South India, it is celebrated as the day Lord Krishna defeated Narakasura.

Founder of Jainism, Mahaveer is said to have attained Nirvana on this very day. Additionally as the day, chief disciple of Mahaveer, Gautam Swami attained complete knowledge, makes Diwali an important Jain festival. Sikhs celebrate Diwali as the day of the release from prison of their sixth Guru, Hargobind along with 52 other princes with him, from detention in the Gwalior Fort in 1619.

For the Hindus, the festival marks the triumph of good over evil and the homecoming of goodwill and faith. For the Jains it is a celebration of complete knowledge. For the Sikhs, it is a struggle for freedom. And it is a confluence of all these reasons that will add meaning and purpose to our lives.

Hence when we seek to banish the darkness, it is not enough to light lamps only during the Festival of Lights. We must join the fight of the “right” against “might”. We have to connect with our faith in human values of equality, justice and peace for all. We need to connect to knowledge and a better understanding with what’s happening around us. And of course, let’s embark on the struggle for freedom from darkness, both, within and without.

To BE BETTER at banishing the bleak shade…
Stop cursing, and light the lamp within instead!

- Pravin-da

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