National Diya Light-up set for Sunday

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The Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh-(Hindus for Selfless Service -HSS) will host their annual “National Diya Light-up” on Sunday, November 8 at Rahaman’s Park in Houston.

The first National Diya was lit in 2015 at the same location, and had illuminated the entire area as it ushered in the period of Diwali. This event will mark the sixth consecutive National Diya of Guyana, and, as usual, the occasion will be attended by Government officials, Heads of leading Hindu and other religious organizations, and young leaders.

The aim of the National Diya lighting is to promote, preserve and spread awareness of oneness and national unity. The theme for this year’s Diya Light-up is “Fighting COVID-19 with the light (Deepa) of knowledge”

The period of Diwali is one of the most festive and beautiful times of the year. Diwali literally means “a row of lights”. It is a time filled with light and love; a time when Hindus all over the world rejoice. It is the darkest night of the darkest period, yet it is a celebration of light! Diwali is heralded as the triumph of good over evil.

The meaning of Diwali, its symbols and rituals, and the reasons for celebration are innumerable. Diwali celebrates Lord Rama’s glorious and long-awaited return to his kingdom of Ayodhya after his fourteen years of exile in the forests.

It commemorates Lord Krishna’s victory over the demon Narakaasura, who had kidnapped and terrorised the gopis (devotees) of Vrindavan. It is also celebrated as the day Bhagwan Vishnu married Maha Lakshmi. Diwali is also associated with the story of the fall of Bali – a demon king who was defeated by Lord Vishnu. In general, Diwali signifies the triumph of good over evil, of righteousness over treachery, of truth over falsehood, and of light over darkness.

However, Diwali is not just a festival of lights, so that we may burn candles, fireworks and sparklers. Sure, these are wonderful ways of expressing our gaiety. But it is not the only or true meaning of ‘light’. Diwali is a festival of the light which dispels the darkness of our ignorance; it is a festival of the light which shows us the way on our journey through life. The purpose is not to glorify the light of the lamp or the firecracker. The purpose is to glorify the light of God. It is He who bestows the real light, the everlasting light upon the darkness of this mundane world. A candle burns out.

A firework is a momentary visual experience. But the candle of a still mind and the fireworks of a heart filled with bhakti are divine and eternal; these are what we should be celebrating. The light of Diwali should be within us. It should symbolise the personal relationship between God and ourselves. Let the light penetrate inward, for only there will it have lasting benefit. A piece of cotton soaked in ghee, lit with a pure heart, a conscious mind and a desire to be free from ignorance is far “brighter” than hundreds of expensive deepaks (lamps).

Apart from the spectacular display of the National Diya, there will be a Maha Lakshmi Puja, Vandhana, few remarks and cultural music to portray the significance of the national holiday.

Unfortunately, there would be no cultural show this year due to the COVID-19. The event will commence at 17:60h (5:30h) and conclude at 19:00 (7:00pm) and will be streamed on HSS Guyana Facebook page and local media entities.

Shub Deepavali- “Fighting COVID- 19 with the light (Deepa) of knowledge”