Dr Vindhya Persaud: Deepavali reminds us that light & goodness will always triumph over darkness

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Diwali message by Dr. Vindhya Vasini Persaud, President of Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha:

As the world adjusts to the challenges of the covid-19 pandemic, our festivals are staples that keep us grounded, resilient and optimistic. Powerful messages of unity, goodness and positivity emanate from Diwali, a national holiday, and one of the loveliest festivals on our calendar.

Observed annually on Amawasya (New Moon) in the Hindu month of Kartik, Deepavali, a Sanskrit word means cluster of lights and this sacred festival has deep significance.

Deepavali is synonymous with Lakshmi Puja; homage to the Goddess Maha Lakshmi, the eternal source of prosperity and spiritual upliftment.

The observance extends over a 5 day period which begins on the 13th day of the dark half of Kartik, when a single diya is lit on Dhanteras with a prayer for longevity and prspoerity. The second day, Choti Diwali, a few diyas are kindled, celebrating the defeat of Narkasur, a despot who disrespected and confined women.

Diwali is celebrated the third day and threatens darkness in all its forms and influences the emergence of an illuminated society in which there exists understanding, mutual respect, love and harmony. The principal prayer at this time, “Tamaso Ma Jyotir Gamaya”; from darkness, lead us unto light, sends the signal of hope, expectation and optimism.

The next day, Pratipada in the bright half of Kartik is for Goverdhan puja. The final day is Bhai Duj, when sisters tie a thread on the wrists of their brothers renewing their love.

The festival of Deepavali has spiritual, economic and social dimensions. Its social construct involves families and communities engaged in lighting diyas and cordial friendly engagement.

From an economic perspective, Deepavali is celebrated as a time when globally there is movement towards ensuring that people are poised to recover from the impact of the pandemic and prayers are said to eradicate impediments to financial stability. The Hindu perception of “VASUDEVA KUTUMBAKAM”, the universe is one family, fits in admirably with the emphasis on global vision and action for the elimination of poverty and the construction of a world where humanity can live in an equitable atmosphere.

A deeper spiritual consciousness is encouraged by the festival, people are encouraged to find and kindle the inherent divine light as diyas are lit.

I would like to remind all that, Deepavali can make a profound impact on a negative environment as it creates a climate conducive to fraternity, goodwill and mutual respect for each other.

As we celebrate this sacred festival, let us continue our drive and advocacy for the empowerment and protection of children, women and the vulnerable against violence and abuse, equal opportunity for all, a safer and secure country, protection of citizens’ rights and welfare, and economic progress and abundance for all Guyanese. These must remain prominent on our agenda. It is my prayer Guyana and my Guyanese brothers and sisters will be abundantly blessed by Maha Lakshmi so that our country will always enjoy unity, peace and prosperity.

I am delighted to extend greetings to all on this festive occasion and look forward to an infinite number of years of Guyana continuing to celebrate this beautiful festival in a manner that can be emulated by the world. It is a heart-warming reminder of how beautifully we celebrate our diversity through respect for each other’s traditions, cultures and beliefs. Let the light of Deepavali burn infinitely, eliminating darkness in all its forms and fusing us in a bond of love, respect and unity. Shubh Deepavali to all.

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