The Hindu festival of Diwali is one my most favorite times of the year. It brings back warm memories of my grandmothers making mouth watering sweets, lots of cleaning of our homes, and anxiously waiting for the big day - celebrating with families and friends and preparing sweets and goodies to give away to loved ones. It is something that I hoped to continue as I get older, and pass down as memories for my son. It is a time of happiness. It is a time of storytelling. It is a time of prayer. As I get older I have found that the rituals get less and less with me, but my focus is more so the significance of this holiday.
But what is the story behind Diwali that is so special? It is two fold - It is welcoming the Goddess of Wealth into the homes and wish for a prosperous New Year. Wealth is not just measured by material -it is spiritual, physical and mental wealth - and on this day we offer prayers and light "diyas" to welcome her. It is also the story of good triumphing over evil. The story associated with it is that of a prince named Ram who was exiled to the forest for 14 years with his wife Sita and his brother Lakshmana. During that time, in the forest, Sita gets kidnapped by this evil king called Ravana and Ram begins his search for Sita. King Ravana was in Lanka, but in order to find him, he enlists the help of a monkey king/god named Hanuman. It is a wonderful story because it shows the determination of Ram on finding Sita, , it shows courage on the part of Hanuman to undertake this task of finding Sita single handedly, and it shows how with Right Action, Clarity, and Love, one eventually is able to defeat "evil. Diwali is celebrated because the city of Ayodhya was celebrating its Prince's return and they decorated every street, every corner with rows and rows of lights. You see, although the Prince was exiled, the city was very sad without its prince - there was darkness all around- and so the light symbolized the joy he was bringing back. Although he was the rightful heir to the throne, he had to go through his journey to get to return back home. And he went through his journey without complaining, without resentment, without bitterness or anger. He simply moved with his duty treating all alike and fulfilling his duty to the best he can.
The story of Diwali teaches us that and much more - our trials and tribulations are many but how we respond to it is what is important, not the final outcome. These stories have remained with us since childhood and by hearing and reading these stories over and over again, it taught me to remove the negativity in my life. Only if we are able to remove the negativity within ourselves, and by that I mean the doubts, the insecurities, the ignorance in our lives, can we have clarity. There could be a row of lights in front of us and we would be unmoved by it, because we are clouded by ignorance - but we must begin to remove the ignorance and negativity within us so that we can see the light.
Light is light -it does not go away it is always there , but we must be willing to see it and only we can make ourselves see it. So on this day before Diwali, I want to wish each of you happiness, joy, prosperity and clarity - I hope you gain a glimpse of the light in you - because it is only when you begin to see your light you can spread light and be a beacon of light for those around.
Use the word clarity and light in a poem. see what comes up.
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