Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Diwali – India’s Best Lights Festival

During Diwali, days houses, shops and establishments are thoroughly cleaned, white-washed and repaired and then tastefully decorated. All over the cities, towns and villages there are meals and fairs and special shops are set up to sell sweets, fire crackers, lamps, pots and pans, fruits, flowers, toys, gift items etc. People are on a buying spree and purchase a lot of things including sweets, jewelry, new clothes and costly gifts. The bazzars and fairs are overcrowded and the businessmen have excellent sales and profits.

It is an occasion of merry-making, exchange of sweets, gifts, greetings, good-wishes and for asking forgiveness from one another. At night earthen lamps are lit, fire-crackers burnt and visits are paid to friends and relatives. The exchange of pleasantries, gifts and sweets etc. give the much needed relief from the tensions, worries and routine of daily life. But gradually the earthen lamps are being replaced by candles and electric lights. This has affected the potter badly and his income has dwindled. The festival reminds us of Lord Rama’s triumphant return to Ayodhya after defeating Ravana of Lanka. On this day Rama was crowned as king of Ayodhya and celebrations were held on a large scale. And every nook and corner was lighted with lamps at night. During night Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth is worshipped and her blessings sought. The businessmen close their old accounts and open new books on this auspicious day. The Jains celebrate it because Mahavir, the 24th Tirthankara obtained Nirvana on this day.

 The festival is being increasingly used to give expensive gifts by the contractors, businessmen, power brokers etc., to the politicians, bureau crates, and officers to seek their illegal favor in near future. This is a very corrupt practice being indulged in. Gifts worth crores rupees are showered with a definite purpose of getting undue favors, sanction etc. drinking and gambling are other evils associated with the festival. People indulge in drinking and create scenes. Many people play cards and gamble. The stakes are very high and bids placed amount to lakhs of rupees. Thus, black and ill-gotten money is free.

Lord Jesus – Light in the World

This is exactly what the Lord Jesus has done. The Gospel in the Veda Pusthakan (or Bible) describes Jesus in the following way:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.  In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1: 1-5)

So you see, this ‘Word’ is the fulfillment of the hope that Diwali expresses. And this hope comes in this ‘Word’ from God, which John later identifies as the Lord Jesus. The Gospel continues by stating that

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.  Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—  children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. (John 1:9-13)

 This is explaining how the Lord Jesus came to ‘give light to everyone’. Some think that this is only for Christians, but notice that it says that this offer is for ‘everyone’ in the ‘world’ to ‘become children of God’. This offer is one that everyone, at least everyone who is interested in, like Diwali, Light overcoming the darkness inside them.


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