This Diwali, let there be light

Diwali, the festival of lights is celebrated with much fervour and delight in various regions across India; as symbolic of not only the triumph of good over evil, but also as indicative of the enlightenment of soul. There are numerous mythological parables associated with the revelries and sacraments observed on this day among which these four are the most prominent.

Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile and after defeating Ravan who abducted his wife Sita. Pandavas came out of the forest after their 12-year banishment, during which they faced not only extenuating circumstances but also several threats on their lives. Lord Vishnu in his 8th incarnation as Krishna destroyed the demon Narakasura after travelling all the way from Dwaraka in Gujarat to Kamaroop in Assam. Goddess Lakshmi emerged from the Milky Ocean when Devas and Asuras churned the ocean for amrutha (ambrosia).

All the above legends celebrate the conquest of not only the darkness that exists externally but also underscore the resolve to overcome the darkness within. They give us a reason to celebrate and a cause to contemplate and reflect upon the grit and tenacity that make such victories possible.

It took Lord Rama 14 years of living in the forest, the heartache of losing his wife and fighting the demonic Ravan to arrive at his day of triumph. Similarly, Pandavas lived in disguise, in danger, in debilitating conditions and sometimes in abject shame to finally reclaim their throne. It is only after great dissonance and agitating the mighty ocean that nectar was found.

Great things take time, perseverance and diligence. Diwali then is not only about celebrating victory but also about rejoicing in the resilience of the human spirit that can find meaning and purpose in enervating circumstances.

This festival is also about the fruits of patience that come to those who trust in the divine order. It teaches us that no matter how extended and murky the night; it will always be overcome by the day. Sometimes life may make us feel that we are exiled to a forest with no respite like Rama, or that we have lost something that was right fully ours like the Pandavas.

Like Lord Krishna, we might have to face arduous journeys to reach our destination, or feel the acerbic pull and push of life in search of nectar. In these trying times we must remember the message that these stories communicate — no matter how dark the night, if there is light in your heart, you will find your way home.

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This Diwali, let there be light

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