Diwali -celebrated in Canada


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Diwali -celebrated in Canada
Ontario (Canada) October 17, 2009

oday 17th October, Hindus, Jains and Sikhs are celebrating Diwali in Canada. Earlier on 8th October Prime Minister of Canada attended Diwali function organised at Parliament Hill, Ottawa. This "festival of lights" invariably warrants lightening of inner lamps to dispel darkness of ignorance of inner being and then to celebrate Diwali in the rejoice of awareness of the inner light (Atman) or the Supreme reality (Param Purush). He who sees outside, dreams; he who sees inside, awakens. Several organisation celebrate Diwali in Canada as elsewhere in the world. The festival of Diwali marks the victory of good over evil. It is the most cherished and eagerly awaited gala festival of the year.

The assembled guests included federal ministers, ambassadors, Counsel generals and other various dignitaries, business men.

Later in Mississauga Ontario, Ram Mandir staged Ramleela. The dazzling decor, the spectacular entertainment, the rhythm of the beating dhol and a flair of colourful Indian saris and dress sparked a spirit of celebration with panache. The event was well attended by mayor of Mississauga and elected political leaders. Mayor Hazel McCallion captured the hearts of every one by her eloquent message and charismatic demeanour.

Diwali or more aptly Deepavali is very enthusiastically celebrated for five continuous days and each day has its significance with a number of myths, legends and beliefs..

This festival is celebrated by Hindus and non-Hindus in all parts of the world men and women, children and seniors, rich and poor all observe this festival of light to ward off the darkness and welcome light into their lives. Diwali leads us into Truth and Light and is celebrated all over the world on a wide scale on Naraka chathurthasi day just on the dawn of (September /October) every year.

A popular prayer of Rig-Veda says; "Tam so ma jyotirgamayam; mrityormaeritam gamay."(Take me from darkness to light and from mortal worlds of recurring birth and death to immortality. The very essence of our philosophy is the assertion that there is something beyond the physical body and mind which is pure, infinite, and eternal, called the Atman. Just as we celebrate the birth of our physical being, Diwali is to be celebrated as awakening of Inner Light. This knowledge outshines all darkness, awakens individual's true nature, not as the body, but as the unchanging, infinite, immanent and transcendent reality. With the realization of the Atman, comes universal compassion (atamvat saravbhooteshu) love and the awareness of the oneness of all things .This brings Inner Joy or bliss (Ananda).

Various significant events like return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya after victory over Lanka, killing of demon Narakasur and annihilation of Indra by Shri Krishna are associated with the celebrations of Diwali.

Skanda Purana marks it for the accomplishment of 'kedara gauri vrata' (austerity) by Maa Shakti. Worship of Goddess Lakshmi symbolizing wealth and prosperity is done on this day to invoke her blessings for the year ahead. According to a legend, it was on this day that Goddess Lakshmi emerged from the Ocean of Milk (Kshira Sagar) during the great churning of the oceans (Samudra-manthan). Another popular legend relates to Vaman Avatar (incarnation) of Vishnu on this day to kill the demon king Bali. Thereafter it was on this day, that Vishnu came back to his abode (Vaikunth).

The festival, nevertheless, has a far greater spiritual significance. Celebrations of Diwali cannot end up barely by lighting candles and bursting crackers or making merriments.

But how to tread on this journey of attaining inner bliss (Ananda) For this ,first we should understand and realize that the entire existence is based on duality .Every reality has an opposite and an illusion("Viloma").Even modern scientists tend to acknowledge this fact. Third Law of motion of Isaac Newton is a law of "Maya" : "To every action there is always an equal and contrary reaction; the mutual actions of any two bodies are always equal and oppositely directed." Action and reaction are thus exactly equal. "To have a single force is impossible. There must be, and always is, a pair of forces equal and opposite."

Fundamental natural activities all betray their Mayic origin. The very texture and structure of creation herself is "Maya". In her own domain, she is eternal and inexhaustible. A common man, that too ridden with so much of ignorance in the height of this Kalyuga is busy in external pursuits of illusion. He hardly knows anything about himself and has been constantly groping in the dark. Thus he remains in a perpetual flux, unable to reach finality; fit indeed to formulate the laws of an already existing and functioning cosmos, but powerless to detect the Law Framer and Sale Operator. The majestic manifestations of gravitation and electricity have become known, but what gravitation and electricity are, no mortal knows. The essence of spirituality is to tear the veil of "Maya" and to pierce the secret of creation. As long as man remains clung to "Maya", he is subjected to the dualistic delusions of nature, ; he cannot be enlightened. Celebration of Diwali would just be one of the social rituals for him. This "Maya" or avidya can never be destroyed through intellectual conviction or analysis.Only interior enlightenment lead to its realms

This implies that if truth (Satya) exits, untruth or illusion (Maya)should also exist in equal quantum .If happiness exists, gloom too should exist. If there is life; there is death too . Our intellect cannot illumine or know God as an object of knowledge .The central focus in the scriptures, namely, Sankhya, Yoga, Nyaya, Vasisheshika, Purva Mimamsa, and Uttar Mimamsa or Vodanta, is to answer this question and present the nature of man, universe and God, or the triad of Jeev-Jagat-Ishwar Brahman is defined in the Vedas as one that presents itself as absolute truth - onewithout second; eternal, omniscient and self-illuminating, as absolute bliss or joy. Scriptures too ultimately declare 'neti,neri,neti'( We don't know) about the Supreme reality. The cognitive power of intellect is unable to illumine the ultimate reality but the same intellect can know him if its ignorance is dispelled after being illumined by the knowledge as the lamp illumines the objects surrounding it. In this process, we require a Sadguru who has known God as the Absolute Reality. It is only then that reality presents itself as our own pure and infinite Self.

Thus, a true enlightenment can be attained only by the grace of Sadguru. Then nothing remains to be known or defined. Once Atman realizes his absolute entity, it reaches the state of perfection. Such a soul reaches and attains this abode of immortality. He is free of all bondages. For him it is the unchanging existence. He is immortal, without beginning, endless, infinitude beyond time, space and causation. He attains total bliss and blessedness. Such is the state of immortal world. This is the world of immortality; the ultimate abode of the Sant (Sadguru). This domain is the abode of Atma where they go and finally rest. "Mahram hoi so janey santo aisa desh hamara, bin badal vahan bijli chamke,bin suraj ujiara"(only those who know the intimate secrets of spirituality are aware of that world. Thunders occur there without lightening and there is light without sun).Then there is Diwali forever.

Kanayalal Raina
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