Diwali

Image from the Internet

Diwali, or in Sanskrit, Deepavali, translates as “Rows of Lights.”
It is the Hindu Festival of Lights.

It occurs in the Autumn, although the exact date moves around based on Lunar Cycles — it takes place on the fifteenth day of Kartik, the Holiest Month in the Hindu Lunar Calendar. Diwali lasts five days and the main celebration takes place on the third day.

Diwali is this week!

Diwali celebrates the Victory of Light over Darkness,
Good over Evil,
Awareness over Ignorance,
Hope over Despair…

And, Boy! Do we need it Now!

Image from the Internet

Light over Darkness!
Good over Evil!
Awareness over Ignorance!
Hope over Despair!

The Festival celebrates the story in THE MAHABHARATA in which Lord RAMA and his wife, SITA, return to their kingdom of Ayodhya, after RAMA and monkey god HANUMAN have defeated the demon king RAVANA, rescuing SITA from his evil clutches. RAVANA, the demon king has ten heads which some say symbolize the ills of mankind: Greed, Ego, Pride, Willfulness, Anger, Envy, Delusion… Remind you of anyone in contemporary politics?

Ravana. Image from the Internet

It does make me Happy to think of Evil Defeated.

Sita, Rama, Lakshman, Hanuman. Image from the Internet

It feels like a big part of why we are here.
Is there a need for Light over Darkness?
Do the ten heads of RAVANA still exist today?
Last week, NIKI HALEY, tRUMP’s appointed United States Ambassador to the United Nations sided with only 13 other countries including Saudi Arabia and Iraq voting against a Resolution condemning the death penalty for having gay sex.
This week, tRUMP signed an Executive Order and announced that he would withhold Government Funding for Health Insurance subsidies which make Health Insurance affordable for most low income people in this country — some six-million Americans are now threatened with losing their Health Care.
He has threatened to stop government assistance to the U.S. Territory of Puerto Rico in the midst of the worst Natural Disaster we have ever faced there.
Where is the monkey god when you need him!
As with all destructive Rulers who wish to tear down rather than build up their country,
History only celebrates their defeat and our return to Order.

And that is the Good News!
The Story of RAMA and SITA returning to Ayodhya is still Celebrated thousands of years later!
Good triumphs over Evil.
It is not that we need to ignore the Darkness or pretend it is not there.
It is not that we cannot talk about it.
Rather, we Shine our Light upon it!
And Our Light Dissolves the Darkness.
“The Light shines in the Darkness and the Darkness has not overcome it!” — JOHN 1:5

Lakshmi. Image from the Internet

This Holiday of DIWALI this week also honors LAKSMI, the Hindu Goddess of Wealth and Abundance.
Families in India spend days cleaning their homes, as LAKSMI is said to visit during Diwali and it is told that she visits the cleanest homes first!
(I expect she might visit mine toward the end!)
But I like the idea of Cleanliness over Muckiness!
I like the idea of Letting Go — a most essential part of Cleaning and Organizing,
Making Room for the New —
And in many ways, that’s the point!

Abundance over Poverty Consciousness!
Blessings over Curses!
The Rights of the People over the Corruption of Lying Ten-Headed Politicians!
Light Over Darkness!
Light Over Darkness!

Image from the Internet

I first learned of Diwali about five years ago when one of my NYU Students told me that he would be missing class because he had Diwali.
Having never heard the word that I can recall, I wondered if he was telling me that he had some condition or illness.
He taught me about Diwali.

And that is why I Teach.
As the Late Great LLOYD RICHARDS taught me…
Upon completion of a Class he would say to us, “You think I came here to Teach? I came here to Learn!” And this Elderly National Treasure and Titan of the Theater Community would savor the word “Learrrrnnnn…” elongating and delighting in the Good Feeling it gave him.
And his Great Delight brought Joy to us All!

My Student and I corresponded a bit, as I delved into online research.
I found OBAMA’s address about the Holiday:

Wow! I do miss having a President so Compassionate, So Intelligent, So Poised and Graceful and Every Bit a Leader!
I do miss having a President who could talk in complete sentences and didn’t say stupid things.
Light over Darkness!
Good over Evil!
Awareness over Ignorance!
Hope over Despair…

My student shared with me how Diwali in the Hindu Calendar might be thought of as the equivalent to Christmas in the Christian Calendar.
I see Christmas as an Inclusive Holiday (And it’s only 70 Days from Today, btw!) —
a time to be reminded that the World is Saved!
We are Already Saved!
ALL of Us!
JESUS died to save All People, and so All People must Already be Saved —
There are No Exclusions in Scripture! —
Diwali is the Celebration of Light over Darkness!
The Light is for Everyone!
It does not say that we Celebrate Light Over Darkness, Except for People who are in Cloudy Areas!
It does not say: Except for those who have some specific skin pigmentation.
Nor Except for those who are not Hindu.
Nor Except for those who are Poor.
Or not even Except for PAUL RYAN and MITCH MCCONNELL — Scum though they may be — taking So Much Money from the NRA Lobby that they are willing to misinterpret Gun Laws to allow for endless massacres on US soil — They are Scum!
But they are Not Excepted!
They are as Welcome to the Light as you or I or all of the People in Joyous Jubilation in India this week!
And That is Why All of these Holidays are Such a Big Deal!
Their Blessings are for Everyone!

Image from the Internet

And there are Commercial Aspects to Diwali, as well:
Lots of Gold and Silver Utensils are purchased as Gifts,
And Sweets are given and exchanged, as well…
There is Gift-Giving in Celebration of the Light!

And So, Wherever we are this week,
Let us Celebrate the Light!
Let us Celebrate the Victory of Light over Darkness,
No Matter how Dark these Days may feel!
Let us Celebrate What we Have to Give!
All our Being!
All our Love!
All our Friends and Loved Ones!
All our Family and Relations!
All our Blessings!
All our Most Dramatic Challenges — Big Blessings in Disguise!
Even our Tiniest Challenges — Also Blessings in Disguise!
All of It!
Family and Relations!
Hope and Beliefs!
Joys and Delights!
Magic and Mayhem!
Free Speech and the Rights of the People!
Our Awakened-ness!
All the Experiences!
All Our World!
All the Planet!
All the SunShine!
Every Autumn Breeze!
The Harvest!
The Kindness!
The Love!

Image from the Internet

Light Over Darkness!
Good over Evil!
Awareness over Ignorance!
Hope over Despair…

HAPPY DIWALI!

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