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Added On : 2013-01-10

It is a great privilege to write on any religious festivity and especially so on the extremely important and significant Festival of Lights – Divali.


Much has already been written on the origin and significance of Divali. It is, therefore, a very useful and necessary exercise for us to examine and to try and comprehend the deep and inner meaning of this sublimely festive occasion.


The two main characteristics of ‘fire’ are to illumine and to destroy. Darkness immediately disappears on the advent of light; fire completely reduces to ashes all that comes into contact with it.


Whatever may be the origin of Divali, be it the return of Lord Shri Ram from self – exile, or a celebration for harvest time, or Lakshmi Puja, it is significantly noteworthy that on this auspicious occasion, millions of clay pots or deeyas, are used as lamps, into which oil and wick are placed so that finally light may come. One may wonder why clay pots! This represents the human frame, this vulnerable tent of clay, which on the summons of the Sergeant ‘death’ will be burnt and reduced to ashes, and proud mortal man with all his vain ego, will be consigned to oblivion. Likewise, the oil is the fuel of our life, and the wick, the measure of man’s earthly existence. When the spark is kindled, the illumination is the soul and spirit.


The lighting of the ‘deeya” (lamp) for Divali symbolizes the re-awakening of the spirit, in the realization that our existence on this sphere is limited. In it is to be discovered that as the wick of our lives keep burning dangerously shorter day after day, the light of our souls must be utilized to its fullest capacity to destroy the ignorant darkness of our false pride residing within the innermost recesses of our hearts. When, and only when, this is achieved by constant and diligent efforts of self-realisation, then the brightness of that self-same light of the soul would so forcefully shine around us that the darkness of other travelers on the path divine would be illuminated, rendering their search for truth and perfection much easier and simpler.


There is a great and urgent need for the diffusion of ‘that light’ in the world today. Throughout the world, thousands of men, women and children are on the suffering list.


Unless Divali can mean to all of us (Hindus, Muslims, Christians and the followers of all other faiths alike) here in these parts, a re-dedication of our lives to the higher principles of love for all – unless we can truly embrace one another in the real spirit of brotherliness – unless every creed and race can really find an equal place, the whole celebration is a mere empty exercise in futility.


Let us pray that Divali would usher in a new era of hope for mankind, so that once and for all, the hideous enemies of hatred, jealousy and ill-will, would forever be reduced to ashes and their places taken by real true abiding love and peace on earth and goodwill to all mankind.


Pandit Seusankar Seunarine


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