Spare a thought for the poor and the aged

For Hindus, the Diwali festival is the crowning glory of festivals held every year.

It is a joyous occasion that friends and families celebrate together.

Hinduism is woven in a garland of rituals and its adherents spare no effort to ensure that the known deities are propitiated and appeased, ensuring the bountiful flow of blessings into their lives.

Charity and chastity come to the fore, as the goodness of the followers’ spillover.

Friends and neighbours are invited to join in the celebrations.

It strengthens relationships and adds colour and cheerfulness to the occasion, as the glittering candlelight on the ground imitate the stars above.

Diwali festivities have transcended boundaries that divide nations and are observed wherever the practitioners of Hindu faith have migrated.

Essentially, it means every country in the world. Even the White House has organised functions in the past to recognise this auspicious day in the Hindu calendar. Every year it is becoming bigger and brighter, gaining prominence and strengthening its influence not only among the Hindus but also among people of other faiths who value its underlying message of victory over evil.

Its universality is augured by this message, as it is the struggle of every religion and indeed very nation, to fight evil and there is a galore of evil that affects every nation.

Universally, the cord of humanity is fragile and needs to be renewed and strengthened regularly.

Religions have caused bitterness, malice and hatred among the peoples of the world.

Yet, all religions preach love, tolerance and forgiveness but it is widely known that religions are also used to divide people and nations to achieve the baser instincts of its preachers and practitioners, including politicians.

What truly needs to be done is the demolition of the barriers that divide us and creating an atmosphere where people follow their religions but also learn to appreciate the noble values that underpin other religions.

Diwali demonstrates this principle every year and people of Hindu faith openly give opportunity to others to celebrate the festival of Diwali with them.

National Psyche

In this country, Diwali celebration has earned its place in the national psyche.

Every year it is keenly awaited, as it provides a great opportunity for other cultures to share in the celebrations, both publicly and privately.

It is also a great opportunity for individuals to stop, reflect and chart a new path, establish or restore relationships and strengthen the cord of love and unity among all the cultures that inhabit this country.

Its broad vision and universal message has the power to transform, as evil is the cancer of the human society that needs to be eradicated. To celebrate victory over evil every year is an endorsement of humanity’s constant war against it.

However, in times of such celebrations, there are those who may not be able to celebrate for a variety of reasons.

Those that are sick, suffering or bereaved must not be ignored.

Celebration of Diwali includes sharing pain and sorrows of those who may be neighbours, friends or family members.

Importantly, in the thrill of the celebrations, one must not forget the aged parents and aged family members.

They remain an integral part of those who celebrate the occasion and to ignore them is to desecrate their treasured inheritance.

True spirit of celebration only comes when a tear is wiped and a smile is brought to the lips sealed in suffering or sorrow.

Happy Diwali!

Rajendra Prasad is our Correspondent, Columnist and Commentator. He lives in Auckland.

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